WASHINGTON - The United States will not launch a massive D-Day invasion to win the war on terrorism, but is preparing for a long, deadly fight following the Sept. 11 attack on America, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Tuesday.
As U.S. forces intensified a major buildup within striking range of Afghanistan, Rumsfeld said the war would not open with an invasion like the 1944 allied attack on France that sparked the fall of Nazi Germany in World War Two.
"There is not going to be a D-Day, as such, and I'm sure there will not be a signing ceremony on the (battleship) Missouri" such as the surrender of the Japanese in the Pacific that ended the war, he told a Pentagon news conference.
"It will not be an antiseptic war, I regret to say. It will be difficult. It will be dangerous. And ... the likelihood is that more people may be lost."
The Sept. 11 hijacked plane attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington have prompted the biggest U.S. mobilization since the 1991 Gulf War, with heavy bombers, warships and elite Special Operations troops moved to the Gulf, Central Asia and Indian Ocean region near Afghanistan.
The military buildup code named "Operation Enduring Freedom" is in apparent preparation for an anticipated strike on Afghanistan's Taliban rulers, who have refused to hand over fugitive militant leader Osama bin Laden, the prime suspect in the attacks that have left nearly 7,000 dead or missing.
Rumsfeld, responding to questions from reporters, cautioned against expecting a major invasion in President George W. Bush's newly declared war against terrorism.
"It is by its very nature something that cannot be dealt with by some sort of massive attack or invasion," he said.
"The truth is (that) this is not about revenge. It's not about retaliation. This is about self defense. The United States of America knows that the only way we can defend against terrorism is by taking the fight to the terrorists," he added.
The code name of the U.S. military buildup was changed to "Operation Enduring Freedom" after the initial name, "Operation Infinite Justice," ran into objections from some Islamic scholars on grounds that only God, or Allah, could mete out infinite justice in their view.
The military on Tuesday announced the activation of nearly 1,700 additional Army, Navy and Air Force reserve and National Guard troops - including "combat communications" specialists - under authorization from President Bush to activate as many as 50,000 part-time troops. It brought to about 14,000 the number called to active duty in the past week.
With a possible U.S. attack on Afghanistan drawing closer, the Pentagon also said on Tuesday that the military had been authorized to prevent thousands of key troops from retiring or otherwise leaving the service.