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Cheney says efforts have disrupted terrorists
WASHINGTON -- Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday that U.S. officials have disrupted some operations of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network and prevented some potential attacks. But he cautioned, "We have to assume there will be more attacks."
"Terrorists and their supporters are, for the first time, beginning to worry about their own safety," Cheney said.
Cheney spoke at a dinner for the International Republican Institute, which presented awards to him and his wife Lynne. The institute, which is independent of the Republican Party, conducts educational programs about democracy in more than 30 countries.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., a former Navy fighter pilot and one-time prisoner of war in Vietnam, introduced Cheney and joked about the amount of time the vice president has spent out of the public eye at a secret location since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"It's good to see you out again, having once been held in an undisclosed, secure location myself," said McCain, who is chairman of the institute.
Cheney said terrorists are "being swept up in a worldwide roundup that is operating 24 hours a day."
"We have clearly disrupted their operations and no doubt prevented some planned attacks," he said.
The vice president said military strikes by U.S. and British forces have cleared the way for actions like the recent ground attacks by U.S. Rangers and special operations forces.
Over the weekend, three U.S. bombs went astray with two landing in a civilian neighborhood, the Pentagon said, noting that it had no information on casualties. Taliban rulers said more than 100 patients and medical workers were killed Monday when a bomb struck a hospital.
Cheney emphasized efforts the military is taking to avoid hurting civilians.
"Unlike the terrorists, we value human life and we do not target civilian populations," he said.
"We have to assume there will be more attacks. That is the only safe way for to us proceed," Cheney said. "These last six weeks have brought a good deal of uncertainty and many changes into people's lives. Many of these changes are probably permanent, at least in the lifetime of most of us."