President George W. Bush vows to smoke him out of caves and holes. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld speaks of "draining the swamp." Vice President Dick Cheney wants his "head on a platter."
The Bush administration is doing its best to demonize and degrade suspected terrorist Osama bin Laden to rally support for retaliation and whet Americans' appetite for bringing the exiled Saudi Arabian millionaire to justice "dead or alive."
US officials call bin Laden the prime suspect in the Sept. 11 suicide hijacking attacks believed to have killed more than 6,000 people.
Public evidence linking bin Laden and his al-Qaida organization to the 19 hijackers is mostly circumstantial. That, however, has not stopped Bush and top members of his administration from using dehumanizing terms to describe him, often implying bin Laden and his fighters are loathsome animals.
"They run to the hills; they find holes to get in. And we will do whatever it takes to smoke them out and get them running," Bush said.
This is not the first time an US president has demonized an enemy. Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush did so against Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The elder Bush even compared him to Hitler and sometimes gave the name "Saddam" a snarling, nasal pronunciation.
Clinton and his top aides depicted former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, now in custody in The Hague and awaiting trial on war crimes, as a bloodthirsty tyrant in advance of NATO's 11-week bombing campaign in 1999.
Former President Bush used harsh language against former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, ousted from power in a 1989 US invasion and now serving a 30-year sentence in Miami on drug-trafficking charges.
* Bill Clinton and George Bush demonized Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
* Clinton depicted former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic as a bloodthirsty tyrant.
* The elder Bush also used harsh language against former Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega. .
Dehumanizing an enemy is not only a common practice for leaders seeking to steel their countries for military action, "it is required," said Anthony H. Cordesman, a defense analyst at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"If the United States doesn't raise it to this profile, many countries are not going to take us seriously. We have to signal that this is totally serious," Cordesman said.
But personalizing an enemy also carries risks, suggested Fred Greenstein, a Princeton political science professor: "You rev up expectations. But that can set the stakes inappropriately high -- because then you've got to go for this guy."
He noted the obvious: despite the rhetoric leveled at Saddam, he remains in power today, 10 years after the Gulf War.
After using the "dead or alive" phrase, Bush toned down some of his subsequent references to bin Laden so as not to inflame potential allies as he searched for diplomatic partners.
But administration officials made it clear bin Laden remains public enemy No. 1.
In his Thursday night speech to Congress and the nation, Bush warned Afghanistan's leaders that they would share bin Laden's fate if he and his followers are not handed over immediately.
"Our war on terror begins with al-Qaida. ... It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated," he said.
To Richard Murphy, a former US assistant secretary of state who now is with the private Council on Foreign Relations, "The rhetoric is very much designed for the American ear."
But Murphy said that it also sent mixed signals to the Arab world. "An Arab broadcasting station asked me, `Does `smoke him out of the hole' mean you're going to start chemical warfare?'"