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U.S. Politicians Crank Up "War" Rhetoric

September 13, 2001

World Trade Centre Twin Towers Burn As the rescue of people and recovery of bodies continues in New York and Washington, American politicians of all political persuasions have stepped up the rhetoric of "war". It is reported today that the Congress and the White House are discussing a "resolution of resolve".

Senator John McCain, a Vietnam war veteran and prisoner-of-war, who sought the Republican Party presidential nomination last year, spoke in the Senate:

"These were not just crimes, they were acts of war, and have aroused in this great nation a controlled fury and unity of purpose not just to punish but vanquish . . . vanquish our enemies. Americans know now that we are at war, and will make the sacrifices and show the resolve necessary to prevail. I say to our enemies, we are coming. God may show you mercy. We will not."

President Bush has also described the attacks as an act of war.

Under the United States Constitution, the Congress has the power to declare war. The last time it did so was in 1941, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour.

As shock and amazement now give way to grief and anger, the tone of language in the US can be expected to harden further.

In other developments, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), invoked a mutual defence clause in its treaty. A NATO statement from the 19-member organisation said:

"If it is determined that this attack was directed from abroad against the United States, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty."

Article 5 says "an armed attack" against any of the allies in Europe or North America "shall be considered an attack against them all."

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