NORAD NEWS

Eberhart: 'This May Be The Most Important War Ever'

By Merrie Schilter-Lowe | NORAD and USNORTHCOM Public Affairs | October 20, 2004

PETERSON AFB, Colo. - The global war on terror "may be the most important war this nation has every engaged in" but winning a war " where the enemy hates you more than he loves life" will not be easy, said Gen. Ed Eberhart, North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command commander.

Eberhart was the featured guest speaker at the recent Homeland Defense Symposium banquet in Colorado Springs. He said it could take "a generation" to win the war on terror and the use of "military force alone" will not accomplish the job.

"We must use all our tools - intelligence, academia, the military, and diplomatic channels," Eberhart said. He said the nation should also "go to school" to learn about the enemy and even employ student exchange programs and joint business endeavors.

Terrorists have not launched another major attack on the United States since Sept. 11, 2001. Eberhart said that may be partly because "we have taken the fight to the enemy" and because "we've killed and captured terrorists."

During a media roundtable at the symposium, Eberhart also said terrorist groups may have scrapped plans for attacks and started over several times. "Every time we go into a 'safe house' and gather information, or unravel a plan, unravel a plot . . . the terrorists start over because they think (their operations) have been compromised."

Although the NORAD and USNORTHCOM commander said he has not seen "anything specific" or any "increased indication" of a pending attack at the moment, Americans should not let down their guard because "the clock is still ticking" until there is another attack. And the next attack probably will not involve multiple aircraft hijackings, said Eberhart.

"Personally, I don't think we'll see another 9-11 and the worst thing we can do is fight the last war," he said. Because of his beliefs, Eberhart said the nation must continue to protect its maritime approaches and other "key infrastructures."