STANFORD (AP) — Former Secretary of State George Shultz said the United States should respond aggressively to Tuesday’s terrorist attacks and must not let them change the nation’s way of life.
“This is an act of war by somebody,” said Shultz, who was President Reagan’s secretary of state from 1982 to 1989 and now is a fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace at Stanford University.
Shultz said he expected the nation will find out soon who was responsible for organizing the attack.
“I think we should retailiate vigorously ... making it as clear as possible to the people who do this the cost is going to be very high,” he said.
Shultz also said the United States needs to strengthen its intelligence-gathering abilities overseas.
“We have to look to the quality of our human intelligence. An awful lot of terrorist incidents don’t take place because of intelligence that allows you to do something about it,” he said.
“Human intelligence is hard, it’s something that doesn’t come easily for us. You find yourself associating with some unseemly characters. It’s a tough kind of business.”
Shultz said that while he was in office, national security experts were more concerned about terrorist acts against Americans overseas than on U.S. soil. But while Tuesday’s attackers “did something that was unexpected, turning commercial airplanes into bombs, I and many others have been saying it’s a tough world out there.”
Even so, he added: “It’s important that we not allow this to disrupt our lives unnecessarily. And I don’t think it will. We’re resourceful, dynamic people.”