- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 13, 2001

Sirens. Bodies flung all over young ones, old ones. Smoke. Debris flying through the air. Fathers, daughters dialing loved ones frantically on a cell phone, all lines busy. That was supposed to be "yesterday's story" about the latest Hamas suicide bombing of Israelis. Suddenly, it was America's own.
The hijackers' methodical, simultaneous attacks on four fronts point to a foreign terrorist group. The suicide bombings on the two towers of the World Trade Center happened within 18 minutes of each other. Shortly thereafter, a plane flew into the Pentagon. All four hijacked planes were 757s or 767s, jets with similar cockpits. The targets were symbols of national strategic importance, not the sort that a domestic terrorist would attack. This was a coordinated terrorist attack that could only be carried out by those with the detailed, fatalistic, anti-American mindset of an Osama Bin Laden or the Taliban.
"The fact that they chose a World Trade Center, which has been hit before, leads me to believe maybe they wanted to finish the job that was done in February 1993, that killed six and injured more than 1,000," said James Phillips, a Middle East expert from the Heritage Foundation, who considers bin Laden a prime suspect. In the earlier bombings, too, bin Laden was said to be the mastermind.
Afghanistan's ruling Taliban insisted Tuesday that the terrorist they have been harboring could not be capable of such an act. Well, bin Laden's record speaks for itself. In fact, one of bin Laden's followers was expected to be sentenced in New York next week for his role in bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. Bin Laden's attacks have hit the United States where it hurts the most: its embassies, a Navy ship and the World Trade Center.
And let us not forget that the Taliban has a proven record against Americans. They still hold two young American women hostage in Afghanistan. Three days before the attacks, 24-year-old Heather Mercer was at the mercy of the Taliban's terrorist rule in Afghanistan's Supreme Court. She and another American had been held in prison incommunicado for five weeks along with six other international aid workers for proselytizing a crime punishable by the death penalty. While the Taliban insisted that the "judgment at the end will be just," there were few answers for the Westerners, who demanded to know the exact nature of the charges and how they were supposed to get defense lawyers.
For the sake of the security of the American people, those who harbor terrorists should know that judgment at the end will be just. The security lapses that turned Washington, New York and Pittsburgh into fields of horrors must never happen again. The enemy has shown itself willing to strike closest when we are sleeping.


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