Administration vows to fight back 'like we are at war'

Wednesday, September 12, 2001

AP Special CorrespondentWASHINGTON (AP) -- On the day after fearsome terrorist attacks likened to Pearl Harbor, Secretary of State Colin Powell vowed Wednesday that America will fight back "like we are at war." Congress returned to the Capitol and federal agencies reopened their doors as the Bush administration sought to reassure a nation struggling to recover.

President Bush, in the Oval Office shortly after sunrise, invited senior lawmakers to the White House for a national display of unity.

His spokesman, Ari Fleischer, spoke words meant to soothe. "We believe the perpetrators have executed their plan and therefore the risks are significantly reduced," he said.

A mile or so from where he spoke, search and rescue teams worked in the remains of the portion of the Pentagon that collapsed on Tuesday, hit by a hijacked jetliner. Officials said they doubted they would find any additional survivors, and said the number of deaths could reach into the hundreds.

That would pale in comparison to the carnage in New York, where two more hijacked planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The buildings collapsed, with thousands feared lost.

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