- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

Grief, anger grip the nation

The atrocities of Tuesday left many Americans wondering how terrorists could strike at the heart of our nation's power. In fact, they did not — and never can.

The heart of our nation's power has never been our military and financial might, but our commitment to a civilization based upon liberty and love. Reaffirming these highest values — even more than rebuilding our physical security — poses the greatest test to our nation's mettle.

As we commence this task, let us take inspiration from the selfless firefighters and paramedics who died trying to save strangers trapped in the World Trade Center. Let us follow the example of leaders such as Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, who joined the many servicemen and servicewomen at the Pentagon in tending to the wounded. Let us imitate the quiet love shown by hundreds of people who stood in line to donate blood to aid their suffering neighbors. This is a nation of people who respond with love in action to the question, "Who is my neighbor?"

Such acts of selflessness, service and love will carry us through extremely difficult days ahead. Our reaffirmation of these values will strengthen an American foundation that can never be shaken.


JONATHAN IMBODY

Springfield




The only positive thing that could emerge from this latest and deadliest terrorist attack on the United States is that it might persuade us to adopt a proper approach to combating terrorism. The past policy of appeasing and negotiating with terrorist organizations merely encouraged them to shed more blood. Furthermore, the past policy of blaming only the terrorists and not the governments that harbor and finance these bloodthirsty killers guarantees more terrorism. This latest, well-organized assault on the United States could not have been possible without the help of such evil governments.

The United States must take substantive military action against all known terrorist bases as well as governments that sponsor terrorism. War is war. Harboring terrorists is a criminal act of war. Had a proper approach to terrorism been implemented sooner, Tuesday's tragic events would not have occurred.


GLENN WOICESHYN

Calgary, Alberta




This is war in a very real sense. Just as in other wars, we must deploy the appropriate force to destroy those who are responsible for the attack. If they were aided by any government, we must use the full force of our military to eliminate that government — as well as any other government that sponsors such activities. If there ever was a time for "an eye for an eye," it is now.

This is war. Let's take the gloves off.


TED HOGAN

Merced, Calif.




The Friends of India Society International (FISI) condemns the dastardly acts of terrorism on U.S. soil. FISI expresses regret and sorrow for the victims and their families. This act marks the worst day in the history of terrorism.

Ramzi Yousef, a Pakistani national, attempted to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. He also was planning to blow up American planes servicing the Pacific route. Tuesday's acts, unfortunately, appear to be the result of a grand plan incorporating both agendas.

Regardless of the political agenda or ideology of those responsible for such heinous acts, terrorism claims the lives of innocent people. Thus, the world community must take effective steps to combat terrorism internationally.

The time has come for the United States to join with countries such as India and Israel, which are plagued by terrorism, to coordinate action — including military action — against individual terrorists, terrorist organizations and countries directly or indirectly sponsoring terrorism.


GAURANG DESAI

Chapter leader

The Friends of India Society International

Fremont, Calif.




While we are struggling with the reasons for the horrific attacks against the United States, we should not overlook what might well be the cause of it all: Middle Eastern oil. If it were not for the conflicts between extreme environmentalists and the oil industry, the United States would have learned from the 1970s Arab oil embargo and reduced our dependence on Middle Eastern oil. Instead, we increased it from 35 percent to nearly 60 percent.

There is no excuse for enabling Arab nations to wage decades of terrorism against the United States — from the hostage crisis in Iran to these dastardly acts of war, which resulted in the tragic loss of so many innocent lives. Indeed, it has been a one-sided holy war financed largely by the gas we buy and pump into our tanks every day.

The immediate question is: Should we continue to counter- attack when that only escalates terrorism and brings on further attacks? Or should we become energy-independent, stop buying oil from Arab nations and isolate them as rogue nations? Surely, America cannot and should not be expected to resolve unrelenting religious conflicts and terrorism around the world in places such as the Middle East, Ireland, the Balkans and Africa. We certainly can, however, reduce sticking our nose where it doesn't belong.


DANIEL B. JEFFS

Apple Valley, Calif.




Once we ascertain with complete assurance the identity of the terrorists responsible for Tuesday's attacks a de facto declaration of war — we should retaliate with a relentless war of extirpation. Rogue nations harboring these terrorists, if they interfere, should also be made to suffer. Any government's continued collusion with and protection of these cowardly war criminals sufficiently justifies military action against that nation. On this, even world opinion, which usually is biased against America, should concur.

Withholding retribution would be an invitation to further abominations against us. We have an absolute right to defend ourselves. For the sake of world peace and safety, we should erase every fanatical, implacable, evil enemy seeking our destruction. Because of our restrained responses to past terrorism, such forces have come to regard us as impotent "paper tigers."

We must reply using the only language terrorists understand — targeted, unremitting, irresistible force.


JEFFREY S. MAFFEI

Atlantic City, N.J.




I represent the generation born since the end of the Vietnam War. Until Tuesday morning, we awoke each day with the feeling that our lives were safe from any immediate danger of attack by a foreign aggressor. We have faced adversity, some of us more than others, but we have been blessed with the comfort of knowing that we were at least safe from enemies that come from outside our borders.

At times, the insulation that we enjoyed seemed surreal; how many people in the history of the nation-state have enjoyed such a cushion from violence? Only a small minority of us were touched by loss during the Gulf war — the only major military involvement during our lifetime. Our parents still can feel the pang of losing loved ones in Vietnam, and our grandparents still can recall the wake-up call that echoed from the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Yet we were still innocent. The idea of an attack on our own shores was limited to images created by Hollywood.

While those who lost loved ones in the recent tragedies will suffer the most, these next few weeks will be a time of unique mourning for the tens of millions of my peer group. We will mourn the loss of our innocence, and we will never again wake up in the safe environment that we once inhabited.

We did nothing to deserve the protection we enjoyed for so long, and perhaps we did nothing to lose it, either. These attacks may have lengthy political ramifications, or they may spark a quick and destructive retaliatory blow. However, they have, above all else, brought an end to an idyllic and anomalous era in human history. Along with the burial of thousands of innocent people this week, my friends and I bury a sense of security that has been a constant, though oftentimes tacit, component of our lives. Today, I both reflect thankfully upon the gift that we were given and regretfully move on to a life in which that gift has been taken away.


JEREMY R. CESAREC

Waukesha, Wis.


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