The senator says capturing Osama bin Laden won't end the war on terrorism.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- Americans are used to getting things fast. Fast food. Fast oil changes. Even a fast victory in the Persian Gulf War.
When it comes to winning the war against terrorism, however, U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, wants to remind Americans that they are going to have to wait and be patient.
"We do have a tendency in this country to try to get things over with very quickly, that's just the way we are. We live in a society where everything is quick," he said. "We don't want to wait for anything, and this is going to be a long struggle."
DeWine, a member of the Senate's Select Committee on Intelligence, said that while he feels the conflict in Afghanistan has gone well for the United States, "we need to keep it in perspective."
What's ahead: He said that the war could last for years, and Americans should recognize that Afghanistan will not be the final battlefield.
"We've always known that the war on terrorism is not just going to be settled in Afghanistan, and it's not going to be settled just by capturing [terrorist mastermind Osama] bin Laden, or seeing bin Laden dead," he said.
DeWine said that capturing bin Laden, who is suspected of plotting the Sept. 11 attacks, will not deter terrorists in other parts of the world.
He added that the end to the conflict in Afghanistan won't stop countries that are developing biological, chemical and nuclear weapons that could be used in this country.
DeWine also noted that federal intelligence agencies are working together to protect the United States from an attack, however.
"I think the good news is you're seeing the FBI and the CIA and our other intelligence agencies working together as they've never worked together before, with a very common goal," he said.
What's being done: DeWine said the federal agencies are working to strengthen security around the symbols of America, as well as the country's infrastructure and other areas that have been vulnerable in the past.
In addition, he said federal officials want to completely overhaul America's public health system to prepare for a terrorist attack.
The officials don't know how much it will cost to take those measures, DeWine said. He also said that the officials will need some time to take all the needed steps to protect the country from terrorism.
"A lot of things that we have to do cannot be done overnight," DeWine said. "They're going to take a long time to do, but we have to get on it."