- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The world reacted with shock and fear to the vulnerability of a superpower, while leaders from Europe to Asia to Latin America pledged to make the fight against terrorism a top priority of international politics.
Allies were virtually unanimous in saying the world had profoundly changed because of the attacks on U.S. landmarks in New York and Virginia.
Presidents and prime ministers on all continents summoned their security teams and put their forces on the highest state of alert.
Transfixed television viewers in all time zones repeatedly watched the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York, symbol of America's financial and economic power, crumble helplessly after being hit by hijacked commercial airliners.
Secretary of State Colin L. Powell cut short a trip to Latin America, which began on Monday, and returned to Washington from Lima, Peru, instead of flying on to Colombia.
"A terrible, terrible tragedy has befallen my nation, but it has befallen all those who believe in democracy," Mr. Powell told a gathering of the Organization of American States (OAS). He urged the OAS foreign ministers to quickly pass a democracy pact as a clear collective message against terrorism. The charter was adopted unanimously.
"Terrorism, as is noted, is everyone's problem," Mr. Powell said, "and there are countries represented here who have been fighting terrorism for years and have seen horrible things happen in your countries. It is something we must all unite behind."
America's NATO allies said the United States can count on their support in an intensified war against terrorism, which the alliance called a battle that "all civilized nations must win."
"The NATO nations unanimously condemn these barbaric acts committed against a NATO member state," the alliance said in a declaration issued during an emergency meeting in Brussels. "The mindless slaughter of so many innocent civilians is an unacceptable act of violence without precedent in the modern era."
European leaders from Britain to Russia suspended business as usual yesterday for crisis meetings and grappled for the strongest language to describe their nations' reactions to the attacks, which many politicians called the "Pearl Harbor of the modern age."
Air-traffic authorities said all flights from Europe to the United States had been suspended.
"This is an act of war by madmen," European Union External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten told Reuters news agency.
British Prime Minister Tony Blair expressed his disgust before racing back to London from a labor conference in Brighton, England, where he canceled a scheduled speech.
"This mass terrorism is the new evil in our world today," he said. "It is perpetrated by fanatics who are utterly indifferent to the sanctity of life."
Queen Elizabeth II said she watched developments in "growing disbelief and total shock" and offered her prayers to Americans.
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder promised President Bush "unlimited solidarity" in a letter of condolence for as-yet unknown casualties. The parliament in Berlin suspended normal business.
Flags were lowered on official buildings in Germany and on Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's office. "I'm shocked at the terrifying, insane terrorist attack, which has hit the people of a friendly nation, as well as the conscience of the entire world," Mr. Berlusconi wrote in a message to Mr. Bush.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also conveyed his deep condolences to the American people, condemning the "terrorist acts," his spokesman was quoted by Interfax news agency as saying.
Moscow put troops on alert and told Washington it supported a tough response to the strikes.
"The series of barbaric acts directed against innocent people fills us with indignation and revolt," Mr. Putin wrote in a telegram to Mr. Bush. "Such inhuman acts must not go unpunished."
Japan offered to help the United States and moved to tighten security around U.S. bases on its territory.
"We will do anything we can do on our part," Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi told reporters at his official residence.
Kenyans, with fresh memories of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombing, gave mixed reactions to the attacks, offering sympathy but also urging Americans to understand why U.S. Middle East policy makes them targets.
"Maybe the Americans will now get a taste of what we went through," said Consolata Wanjiru Mugo, who was hurt in the Nairobi, Kenya, blast, according to wire reports.
Mexican President Vicente Fox, just back from a visit to the United States last week, said: "We reiterate our total, categorical rejection of all forms of violence, of all forms of terrorism."
Pope John Paul II condemned the attacks in a message to Mr. Bush, calling them an "unspeakable horror" that had thrust the United States into a "dark and tragic moment."


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