[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: George W. Bush (2003, Book II)]
[September 19, 2003]
[Pages 1183-1185]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Letter to Congressional Leaders Reporting on Efforts in the Global War 
on Terrorism
September 19, 2003

Dear Mr. Speaker:  (Dear Mr. President:)
    On September 24, 2001, I reported the deployment of various combat-
equipped and combat support forces to a number of locations in the 
Central and Pacific Command areas of operation. On October 9, 2001, I 
reported the beginning of combat action in Afghanistan against al-Qaida 
terrorists and their Taliban supporters. In my reports to the Congress 
of March 20 and September 20, 2002 and March 20, 2003, I provided 
supplemental information on the deployment of combat-equipped and combat 
support forces to a number of foreign nations in the Central and Pacific 
Command areas of operations and other areas. As a part of my efforts to 
keep the Congress informed, I am reporting further on United States 
efforts in the global war on terrorism.

[[Page 1184]]

    Our efforts in Afghanistan continue to meet with success, but, as I 
have stated in my previous reports, the United States campaign against 
terrorism will be lengthy. To date, U.S. Armed Forces, with the 
assistance of numerous coalition partners, have executed a superb 
campaign to eliminate the primary source of support to the terrorists 
who viciously attacked our Nation on September 11, 2001. The heart of 
al-Qaida's training capability has been seriously degraded. The 
Taliban's ability to brutalize the Afghan people and to harbor and 
support terrorists has been virtually eliminated. Pockets of al-Qaida 
and Taliban forces remain a threat to United States and coalition forces 
and to the Afghan government. What is left of both the Taliban and the 
al-Qaida fighters is being pursued actively and engaged by United States 
and coalition forces.
    Due to our success in Afghanistan, we have detained hundreds of al-
Qaida and Taliban fighters who are believed to pose a continuing threat 
to the United States and its interests. The combat-equipped and combat 
support forces deployed to Naval Base, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in the 
Southern Command area of operations since January 2002 continue to 
conduct secure detention operations. We currently hold more than 650 
enemy combatants at Guantanamo Bay.
    In furtherance of our worldwide efforts against terrorists who pose 
a continuing and imminent threat to the United States, our friends and 
allies, and our forces abroad, we continue operations in other areas 
around the globe. We continue to work with the Government of the 
Philippines to protect United States and Philippine citizens and to 
defeat international terrorism in the Philippines.
    We continue to conduct maritime interception operations on the high 
seas in the Central and European Command areas of responsibility and 
have expanded these efforts to the Pacific Command areas of 
responsibility to prevent the movement, arming, or financing of 
international terrorists who pose a continuing threat to the United 
    Combat-equipped and combat support forces also have been deployed to 
Georgia and Djibouti to assist in enhancing counterterrorism 
capabilities. The United States forces headquarters element in Djibouti 
provides command and control support as necessary for military 
operations against al-Qaida and other international terrorists in the 
Horn of Africa region, including Yemen. We continue to assess options 
for working with other nations to assist them in this respect.
    I have taken these actions pursuant to my constitutional authority 
to conduct United States foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and 
Chief Executive. In addition, these actions are consistent with Public 
Law 107-40. As I stated in my previous reports, it is not possible to 
know at this time either the duration of combat operations or the scope 
and duration of the deployment of U.S. Armed Forces necessary to counter 
the terrorist threat to the United States. I will direct additional 
measures as necessary to exercise our right to self-defense and to 
protect United States citizens and interests. Such measures may include 
short notice deployments of special operations and other forces for 
sensitive operations in various locations throughout the world.
    I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the 
Congress informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution and Public 
Law 107-40. Officials of my Administration and I have been communicating 
regularly with the leadership and other Members of Congress, and we will 
continue to do so. I appreciate the continuing support of the Congress 
in our efforts to protect the security of the United States of America 
and its citizens, civilian and military, here and abroad.

                                                          George W. Bush

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Note: Identical letters were sent to J. Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the 
House of Representatives, and Richard B. Cheney, President of the