Chairman Cox's Statement on the Terrorist Attack on America
September 11, 2001
At 9 a.m. EDT
Tuesday, as a hijacked Boeing 767
slammed into the World Trade
Center, I was in the
in the private dining room of the
of Defense. Don Rumsfeld, the
and Paul Wolfowitz, the Deputy
and I were discussing how to win votes for the Bush
defense plan that is now pending
in the House and Senate.
later, the Pentagon itself was hit
by a Boeing 757 loaded with
the entire building was immediately
I escaped just minutes before the
building was hit. Most of
those who remained were
huddled in the National Military Command
in a basement bunker of the building. From there, America's military response is
just moments before the Department of
Defense was hit by a suicide
was describing to me why America needs
abandon its decade-old two-major-war strategy, and focus on the real threat facing us in the
21st century: terrorism,
and the unexpected.
worked on the ballistic missile threat
commission [the 1998 bipartisan
group popularly known
at the Rumsfeld Commission], there was an
every few months that focused the
of those in denial," he told me. "For
example, India shocked the world
when it detonated a nuclear device.
Then Pakistan. Then
Korea launched a two-stage ballistic
"Terrorist groups, some state-sponsored, are
developing these same missile
capabilities as we meet
here. They are developing the chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons to go with them.
not have all the pieces yet, but they
will. That is why Congress
has got to give the
the tools he needs to move forward with
defense of America against ballistic missiles, the ultimate terrorist weapons.
remain vulnerable to missile attack, a
terrorist group or rogue state
that demonstrates the
capacity to strike the U.S. or its allies
long range could have the power to hold our entire country hostage to nuclear or other
blackmail,'' he said.
me tell you, I've been around the block
a few times. There will be
another event." He
it for emphasis: "There will be another event."
minutes of that utterance, Rumsfeld's
words proved tragically
Both he and
Wolfowitz emphasized the recent
partisanship that has made
military planning near
Whereas during the Clinton
the congressional votes to deploy
missile defense where overwhelmingly
now that President Bush has made it
his commitment is more than rhetorical,
is significant backsliding.
As the Senate
armed services subcommittee met in
secret to work on details of the
defense authorization bill for fiscal
year 2002, which begins
Oct. 1, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) threw
the gauntlet last week, threatening to
any actual deployment of a missile defense
would violate the 30-year old ABM Treaty
the former Soviet Union. That is tantamount to killing any missile defense that works, as
both the President and Secretary
Rumsfeld have made
In the House,
as the defense committee worked in
open session to complete the
spending bill for the
Defense Department and defense work of the
Department, Rep. Ike Skelton (D-Mo.), the
Services Committee's top Democrat, said
he would seek to divert $860 million from
defense to other Pentagon needs when the
hits the House floor. The committee rejected that on a party-line vote last month.
implored the Congress to provide
all the money the President has
requested for his budget
-- not just the 2% earmarked for missile
"We need every nickel of it,'' he said.
But not all
Democrats have been playing the
partisan game. "I saw
the attack on Pearl Harbor.
I remember June 25, 1950, when the North
attacked,'' said Sen. Daniel Inouye
the Armed Services panel chairman, at
week's hearing. "There is one lesson I will never forget: If we want to prevent war, we
must be prepared for war.''
The war for
which we must be prepared will not be
fought with the Soviet Union,
nor governed by the
rules of the Cold War. We got the first
of its ugly face in Tuesday's "event."
we will listen, and unite.