Part III: The Next Step

<B>Scott Pelley</b> Quizzes The President On The War On Terror

Thursday, Sept. 11, 2003, is the second anniversary on the attack on America. In the last two years, the president has ordered troops to three fronts - Iraq, Afghanistan and the worldwide hideouts of al Qaeda.

60 Minutes II didn't know at the time, but when Correspondent Scott Pelley spoke with the president near the first anniversary of 9/11, the war with Iraq was just seven months away.

President Bush told us then that he wanted Americans to stay focused on the terrorists of al Qaeda as he did every day. In fact, it is a battle he reminds himself of every day in the Oval Office, literally keeping score, one terrorist at a time.

In his desk, the president says, “I have a classified document that might have some pictures on there, just to keep reminding me about who’s out there, where they might be.”

And as the terrorists are captures or killed? “I might make a little check there, yeah,” Mr. Bush admits.
Since then, he's checked off some of al Qaeda's top tier with the arrests of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, accused of planning the attack on America; Ramzi Bin Al Shibh, allegedly a 9/11 plotter; and a man known as "Hambali," al Qaeda's top man in Asia.

But still at large are Osama bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri, al Qaeda's No. 2 in charge. They are the men who changed the president's world view.

Now, Mr. Bush occupies Iraq with 148,000 troops and is fighting in Afghanistan with 10,000 more.

Saddam is no longer in power, but he hasn't been captured, and there's no sign of the weapons of mass destruction that the president said were a threat worthy of war.

Mr. Bush came to the White House intending to pull American troops back from entanglements overseas. He's become a president who's defined by the wars he's waged.

His job approval rating, in a CBS News Poll was 90 percent when troops rolled into Afghanistan. Today's it's 55 percent - almost exactly the same as it was in the beginning, before the attack on America.



Part I: The President's Story

Part II: The Days After


  • Tricia McDermott

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