A Newshour Extra For Students Special Report:
from the VP's Office
U.S. officials are doing everything they can to prevent future terrorist attacks, said Vice President Dick Cheney in a NewsHour interview on Friday.
We are at war
During the 40 minute interview, Cheney said everyone has to be more watchful and cautious than in the past.
"It's a very different kind of conflict in the 21st century than what we got used to dealing with in the 20th century," he said. "And we all have to change, adjust and adapt to that.
Vice President Cheney spoke to Jim Lehrer from his office in the Old Executive Office Building, a government building located right next to the White House in Washington D.C.
Since the war against terrorism began, Cheney has been in an "undisclosed location" away from the White House so that he and Bush would not be in the same place at the same time. This was his first interview with the news media in the past month.
"The scope of it is greater than it's been before, and we know for a fact - especially given the attacks of September 11 - that they have the capacity to inflict great damage on the United States," Cheney said. "And so we are in fact at war."
Making some changes
Most Americans support the military efforts in Afghanistan but wonder how the U.S. government will know when to declare victory.
Cheney said the war effort is going to last a long time. "We are vulnerable as a society to these people who wish us ill and are willing to die in the effort," he said.
"So we're all going to have to make some changes and possibly accept some limitations we'd rather not accept, but it's necessary unfortunately in the time we live in."
The threat of potential terrorist attacks has always been a possibility but only after Sept. 11 did the U.S. government decide to dedicate billions of dollars and hundreds of people full-time to the effort.
Be cautious in the future
When discussing possibility of future attacks, Cheney said, "There's no reason for us to operate on the assumption that it was a one-off event that's never going to happen again we have to assume it will happen again, and that's the only safe way for us to proceed."
Recently, letters sent to a TV news anchor and a politician contained anthrax, a bacteria which can be deadly if not treated. Cheney said that everyone needs to be cautious, especially when handling strange mail. "I think anybody who has a reason to be suspicious of a package or a letter that they're receiving ought to contact their local law enforcement officials and it's the responsible thing to do."
For more on this topic, the Online NewsHour is following stories on the investigation and the U.S. reaction.
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