Thursday, September 13, 2001

America Attacked

Inouye says terrorist
defense vital

He suggests such a defense
should be funded apart from
U.S. security systems

By Helen Altonn

U.S. Sen. Daniel K. Inouye says terrorism should be a separate priority item for defense spending, "just as much as when you go to war.

"You're not going to be asking, What should we do with this? Should we cut out something to pay for it?"

A funding authorization bill for defense activities in the next federal fiscal year, starting Oct. 1, is coming up next week in the Senate, said Inouye, chairman of the Subcommittee on Defense.

Meanwhile, a supplementary budget request will be submitted by the administration for funding this year to cover recovery costs, damage to the Pentagon and "100 different things" resulting from Tuesday's terrorist attacks, Inouye said.

"I don't see how they can make any accurate estimate," he said. "They asked me about it and I said, 'Send it in and we'll send it out.'"

Inouye added that the mood in the Senate is anger and determination to see those responsible punished.

"There will be action on a broad front. There is the will to do it and the resolve. They are sufficiently angry," he said.

"In the cloakroom, where they can speak, you should see some of their faces and the anger in their voices," he said.

Suggesting that terrorism be treated separately, Inouye said he told his committee members if they have to cut into the Social Security surplus, "we can do that and rectify it right away, make an adjustment later."

He said $150 billion has been appropriated to add to the surplus, "and what we're doing, maybe, is reducing that a little, $5 billion or $4 billion, whatever is necessary."

As far as the national defense program is concerned, Inouye said, it is a long-term research program.

"Some have said there's no real threat right now. Well, if we take that attitude and say, 'When the threat comes, we'll start the research,' that's too late."

Often, plans are made for weapons systems in military systems "hoping we may not have to use it," he said, "because if you use it, it's war."

Star-Bulletin reporter Richard Borreca
contributed to this story.

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