I am gathering examples of the heated rhetoric being used on editorial pages today. Some of this stuff is truly scary. Please mail me if you find anything not listed here.
Also, please note that I have nothing but sympathy for the victims of this terrible crime, but I do not wish to see all the freedoms and values I cherish taken away because of it.
The worst thing I have read today was in the National Post; it
unfortunately not now online. Not only is the attack Bill Clinton's
fault (isn't everything), but the writer (Mark Steyn) takes time
to ridicule the handicapped:
Yesterday's atrocities were a rude awakening from the indulgences of the last decade, with some awful stories to remind us of our illusions - disabled employees in wheelchairs, whom the Americans with Disabilities Act and the various lobby groups insist can do anything able-bodied people can, found themselves trappend on the 80th floor, unable even to do as other did and hurl themselves from the windows rather than be burned alive.The End of Our Holiday From History - George Will
There can be no immunity from these vulnerabilities, but that is not a reason for fatalism. A proactive policy begins with anticipation. Therefore the first U.S. policy response must be to reevaluate and strengthen the national intelligence assets, particularly the CIA and FBI, which are the sine qua non of counterterrorism.We Must Fight This War - By Robert Kagan
Americans are slow to anger but mighty when angry, and their proper anger now should be alloyed with pride. They are targets because of their virtues -- principally democracy, and loyalty to those nations that, like Israel, are embattled salients of our virtues in a still-dangerous world.
Please let us make no mistake this time: We are at war now. We have suffered the first, devastating strike. Certainly, it is not the last. The only question is whether we will now take this war seriously, as seriously as any war we have ever fought, whether we will conduct it with the intensity and perserverance it requires. Let's not be daunted by the mysterious and partially hidden identity of our attackers. It will soon become obvious that only a few terrorist organizations are capable of carrying out such a massive and coordinated strike. We should pour the resources necessary into a global effort to hunt them down and capture or kill them. It will become apparent that those organizations could not have operated without the assistance of some governments, governments with a long record of hostility to the United States and an equally long record of support for terrorism. We should now immediately begin building up our conventional military forces to prepare for what will inevitably and rapidly escalate into confrontation and quite possibly war with one or more of those powers. Congress, in fact, should immediately declare war. It does not have to name a country. It can declare war against those who have carried out yesterday's attack and against any nations that may have lent their support. A declaration of war would not be pure symbolism. It would be a sign of will and determination to see this conflict through to a satisfactory conclusion no matter how long it takes or how difficult the challenge.American Holy War - By William S. Cohen
To be effective, this effort will require greater international cooperation, intelligence collection abroad, and information gathering by law enforcement agencies at home. Information is power, and greater access to information will require the American people and their elected officials to find the proper balance between privacy and protection. It has been difficult to get sustained, thoughtful, broad-based dialogue on this delicate topic, but the sooner such dialogue occurs the more likely it is we will strike the right balance. This will raise difficult questions regarding government intrusion, but the main threat to our civil liberties stems from the chaos and carnage that could result from a biological attack for which we were insufficiently prepared and the demands for action that would follow. Those who engage in terror feed on any display of fear or weakness, and those attacked must either fight or fold. Our people, not just our government, stood up to the fascist and then the communist threat to freedom. Americans did not triumph in the long, twilight struggle of the Cold War only to forfeit our victory to anonymous extremists in this war. As with the last, this struggle will not be won with a single military response. Victory will require the American people to display courage, faith, unity and determination to carry on for the indefinite future.To War, Not to Court By Charles Krauthammer
This is not crime. This is war. One of the reasons there are terrorists out there capable and audacious enough to carry out the deadliest attack on the United States in its history is that, while they have declared war on us, we have in the past responded (with the exception of a few useless cruise missile attacks on empty tents in the desert) by issuing subpoenas.Written on Water - Mark Helprin
Secretary of State Colin Powell's first reaction to the day of infamy was to pledge to "bring those responsible to justice." This is exactly wrong. Franklin Roosevelt did not respond to Pearl Harbor by pledging to bring the commander of Japanese naval aviation to justice. He pledged to bring Japan to its knees.
You bring criminals to justice; you rain destruction on combatants. This is a fundamental distinction that can no longer be avoided. The bombings of Sept. 11, 2001, must mark a turning point. War was long ago declared on us. Until we declare war in return, we will have thousands of more innocent victims.
Nor is the enemy faceless or mysterious. We do not know for sure who gave the final order but we know what movement it comes from. The enemy has identified itself in public and openly. Our delicate sensibilities have prevented us from pronouncing its name.
Its name is radical Islam. Not Islam as practiced peacefully by millions of the faithful around the world. But a specific fringe political movement, dedicated to imposing its fanatical ideology on its own societies and destroying the society of its enemies, the greatest of which is the United States.
But when we do, there should be no talk of bringing these people to "swift justice," as Karen Hughes dismayingly promised mid-afternoon yesterday. An open act of war demands a military response, not a judicial one.
Military response against whom? It is absurd to make war on the individuals who send these people. The terrorists cannot exist in a vacuum. They need a territorial base of sovereign protection. For 30 years we have avoided this truth. If bin Laden was behind this, then Afghanistan is our enemy. Any country that harbors and protects him is our enemy. We must carry their war to them.
We should seriously consider a congressional declaration of war. That convention seems quaint, unused since World War II. But there are two virtues to declaring war: It announces our seriousness both to our people and to the enemy, and it gives us certain rights as belligerents (of blockade, for example).
The "long peace" is over. We sought this war no more than we sought war with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan or Cold War with the Soviet Union. But when war was pressed upon the greatest generation, it rose to the challenge. The question is: Will we?
Short of a major rebuilding, we cannot now inflict upon Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden the great and instantaneous shock with which they should be afflicted. That requires not surgical strikes by aircraft based in the United States, but expeditionary forces with extravagant basing and equipment. It requires not 10 aircraft carrier battle groups but, to do it right and when and where needed, 20. It requires not only all the infantry divisions, transport, and air wings that we have needlessly given up in the last decade, but many more. It requires special operations forces not of 35,000, but of 100,000.God Have Mercy, War Has Come Home - John Balzar
For the challenge is asymmetrical. Terrorist camps must be raided and destroyed, and their reconstitution continually repressed. Intelligence gathering of all types must be greatly augmented, for by its nature it can never be sufficient to the task, so we must build it and spend upon it until it hurts. The nuclear weapons programs, depots, and infrastructure of what Madeleine Albright so delicately used to call "states of concern" must, in a most un-Albrightian phrase, be destroyed. As they are scattered around the globe, it cannot be easy. Security and civil defense at home and at American facilities overseas must be strengthened to the point where we are able to fight with due diligence in this war that has been brought to us now so vividly by an alien civilization that seeks our destruction.
The course of such a war will bring us greater suffering than it has brought to date, and if we are to fight it as we must we will have less in material things. But if, as we have so many times before, we rise to the occasion, we will not enjoy merely the illusions of safety, victory, and honor, but those things themselves. In our history it is clear that never have they come cheap and often they have come late, but always, in the end, they come in flood, and always in the end, the decision is ours.
Death: America's last war claimed 148 battle deaths in the Persian Gulf. On the opening day of this war, we have only wild guesses of how many more fell.SIMPLY KILL THESE BASTARDS - Steve Dunleavy
But better today when our foes have only stealth and suicide. How far away are they from nuclear bombs in laundry trucks? From vials of anthrax in detergent boxes? We know their ambitions.
They picked this day to rouse us.
Our world is diminished. It is in the hands of the single-minded now. America, though stunned, will not cower. It staggered but will prevail.
THE response to this unimaginable 21st century Pearl Harbor should be as simple as it is swift - kill the bastards.New Day of Infamy - William Safire
No, I don't mean hunt them, arrest them, extradite them and prosecute them in a court of law.
I mean a far quicker and neater form of retribution for this cabal of cowards. A gunshot between the eyes, blow them to smithereens, poison them if you have to.
The point is that Osama bin Laden has been at war with us for a decade - make no mistake, he's behind the attacks.
He is the sole individual who has the billions of dollars, the training camps and the fanatics to have perpetrated this sophisticated bloodbath.
We should give the Taliban, which protects this monster, 24 hours to clear the city of Kabul of innocent civilians and then start the process of urban renewal with high-altitude bombing.
Then we should go into the interior, hunt down the desert rat and execute him and his followers on the spot.
And if Saddam Hussein makes so much as a peep, do him, too.
The time has come.
Lashing out on the basis of inadequate information is wrong, but in terror-wartime, waiting for absolute proof is dangerous. When we reasonably determine our attackers' bases and camps, we must pulverize them -- minimizing but accepting the risk of collateral damage -- and act overtly or covertly to destabilize terror's national hosts. The Pentagon's rebuilt fifth side should include a new Department of Pre-emption.Now it's our turn - Philadelphia Daily News Editorial
What comes now?
Along with the funerals, the grieving and the intelligence shakeup comes a grim recognition that America is at war and this time our land is one of the battlegrounds. The next attack will probably not be by a hijacked jet, for which we will belatedly prepare. More likely it will be a terrorist-purchased nuclear missile or a barrel of deadly germs dumped in a city's reservoir.
Which poses the most pertinent question: What are we doing to protect our skies, to develop innate immunity and multivalent vaccines, and to carry the war to the enemy?
REVENGE.America is soft - David Horowitz
Hold on to that thought.
Go to bed thinking it. Wake up chanting it.
Because nothing less than revenge is called for today.
We will demand nothing less than a full and deadly response. We have been merciful in the past with the terrorist thugs who have attacked this country. We have condemned them and imposed economic sanctions, but we have not hunted them down with murder in our eyes.
Yesterday's attacks, however, amount to a declaration of war against the United States, a sneak attack even more devastating than the one on Pearl Harbor 50 years ago. At least the Japanese were honorable enough to attack a military target. This time, our enemies went after civilians, among them children.
In war, there are casualties. We had our number yesterday. It is time to inflict casualties of our own. And it shouldn't be "proportional" or just enough to send a "message." Our response should be the final word.
To the cowardly zealots responsible, know this: Do not judge our commitment to your destruction by the strangely careful and neutral tone of President Bush's speech last night. His speech did not begin to capture the righteous anger American citizens are feeling right now.
In the days that are coming, as the dead are finally counted, our rage will only build. And everytime we look at the skyline of New York City, or step into an airplane, or turn our calendars to nine, one-one, we will remember your actions, and crave only one thing: blood for blood.
This country is at war, and we are far behind in securing our citizens' safety and preparing for our defense.The Price We Must Pay - Larry Kudlow
We know the answer. America is soft. America is in denial. America is embarrassed at the idea that it has enemies and must protect itself.
That means it's time to spend the surplus on national security now. Beginning with a missile defense system that will prevent even bigger terrorist disasters in the future.
It is time to dramatically increase our domestic counterterrorist and intelligence efforts, and to step up the monitoring of all groups who have declared war on the United States.
It's time to tighten our security systems, beginning with airport checks. It's time to let the profiling of potential terrorists -- and that does mean Islamic and Palestinian terrorists -- outweigh the objections of the ACLU and other leftist groups.
It's time for those on the political left to rethink their alliances with anti-American radicals at home and abroad.
It's time for the president to identify the monsters who planned the day of infamy, and then to carry out a massive military strike against them and any government who sponsored these acts.
It is time for a new sobriety in America about what is at stake in the political battles with those who condemn America as an "oppressor" nation.
It is time for Americans who love this country to stand up in her defense.
After today's heinous crimes committed by terrorists against the U.S. and the rest of civilized humanity, there must be a sea change in American policies if we are to effectively play the rough hand that God has dealt us. We are at war. And war changes everything, including policies. We must now embrace war policies.World War III - Thomas L. Friedman
Among the carnage and massive human suffering there is an important wake-up call that must be heeded by Democrats and Republicans alike: We live in a dangerous world, and we must never forget how utterly important it is to maintain our defenses in order to preserve freedom and democracy and our way of life.
The terrorist invasion of the U.S. mainland underscores the urgent need to rebuild the defense and national security structure that has slowly but steadily eroded in recent years. Barbaric terrorists have revealed significant flaws in our intelligence systems and in our security arrangements at home. This will all have to be changed. The threat of terrorist use of nuclear or other weapons of massive destruction hammers home the urgent need for strategic defense measures and a general technological rebuilding of our defense posture.
In financial terms, this will cost hundreds of billions of dollars. So be it. It's a drop in the bucket for the defense of freedom. We will sell bonds to finance military security. bonds will finance investment in freedom.
But amidst the grieving and the anger, none of us should lose sight of the long-term goal of preserving our freedom and democracy. This is a national security goal, and it is also an economic security goal. What happened today changes everything. Lord give us the strength to learn from it and take the right actions to preserve it.
Does my country really understand that this is World War III? And if this attack was the Pearl Harbor of World War III, it means there is a long, long war ahead.This Is War - Ann Coulter
And this Third World War does not pit us against another superpower. It pits us the world's only superpower and quintessential symbol of liberal, free-market, Western values against all the super-empowered angry men and women out there. Many of these super-empowered angry people hail from failing states in the Muslim and third world. They do not share our values, they resent America's influence over their lives, politics and children, not to mention our support for Israel, and they often blame America for the failure of their societies to master modernity.
The people who planned Tuesday's bombings combined world-class evil with world-class genius to devastating effect. And unless we are ready to put our best minds to work combating them the World War III Manhattan project in an equally daring, unconventional and unremitting fashion, we're in trouble. Because while this may have been the first major battle of World War III, it may be the last one that involves only conventional, non-nuclear weapons.
These are some of the issues we will have to address as we fight World War III. It will be a long war against a brilliant and motivated foe. When I remarked to an Israeli military official what an amazing technological feat it was for the terrorists to hijack the planes and then fly them directly into the most vulnerable spot in each building, he pooh-poohed me. "It's not that difficult to learn how to fly a plane once it's up in the air," he said. "And remember, they never had to learn how to land."
No, they didn't. They only had to destroy. We, by contrast, have to fight in a way that is effective without destroying the very open society we are trying to protect. We have to fight hard and land safely. We have to fight the terrorists as if there were no rules, and preserve our open society as if there were no terrorists. It won't be easy. It will require our best strategists, our most creative diplomats and our bravest soldiers. Semper Fi.
This is no time to be precious about locating the exact individuals directly involved in this particular terrorist attack. Those responsible include anyone anywhere in the world who smiled in response to the annihilation of patriots like Barbara Olson.This Is War - Seth Lipsky
We don't need long investigations of the forensic evidence to determine with scientific accuracy the person or persons who ordered this specific attack. We don't need an "international coalition." We don't need a study on "terrorism." We certainly didn't need a congressional resolution condemning the attack this week.
The nation has been invaded by a fanatical, murderous cult. And we welcome them. We are so good and so pure we would never engage in discriminatory racial or "religious" profiling.
We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.
The most important thing President Bush has said so far is that as America goes after the perpetrators of these attacks, it will draw no distinction between those who committed the deeds and those who harbor them. Many of us will see in that remark the hope for a change in American strategy--one that will finally enable America to move away from a law-enforcement approach to terrorism and onto a war footing that will enable us to take this struggle to our enemies.The Target: bin Laden - William F. Buckley Jr.
This is not a law enforcement problem but a war. The enemy is not "terrorism," which is but the tactic. This war is being fought against America and the West by Islamic extremists and by the governments that they control or intimidate. By using the law-enforcement agencies and the courts, America has had to focus on the terrorist perpetrators and failed to address the problem of governments.
In practice, though, all forms of litigation and the enforcement of criminal laws have been a recipe for defeat. Not only because they are unwieldy and lead to ridiculous situations but also because they target named individuals. It would be as if America launched the Normandy invasion in an effort to arrest Hitler and Goering. What caught my attention in the president's remarks Tuesday evening was language that suggested he was going to try to avoid falling into this trap. By stating at the outset that he was going to draw no distinction between the perpetrators and those that might be harboring them, he has opened the door to warfare against the nations that tolerate terrorists on their soil.
Here there will be no shortage of targets, from Afghanistan to Iran to Iraq to Syria to the Palestinian Authority. Or even, for that matter, Saudi Arabia, which proved so recalcitrant in cooperating in our investigation of the bombing of an American barracks. There will always be those who will talk of the "root cause" of terrorism, the way an earlier generation of isolationists talked of Versailles and other "root causes" of German anti-Semitism and the rise of Hitler. The important point now is to move away from viewing this as a law-enforcement problem, on which President Bush has made an encouraging start.
These last questions will take much time to explore. But there is no reason to deliberate over Osama bin Laden's involvement. He is probably the aggressor. If it happens that he is not -- that some newborn entrepreneurial terrorist amassed the information and developed the resources to carry through the September 11 massacre -- we can proceed on the assumption that any nation equipped to fight a two-front war can fight a two-front terrorist concentration. If Osama is not hand-to-hand guilty of the events of Tuesday, he should suffer as though he was. It would not be as though we were punishing someone blameless. He has gone through the expected formality of denying sponsorship of the World Trade Center massacre -- while congratulating those who executed it.Eight Thoughts on Mass Murder - David Gelernter
Our challenge is in two parts, the first being the elimination of bin Laden. The speech by President Bush had the singular feature of advising the world that the United States would deal equally with those who perform acts of terrorism and "those who harbor them." That has to mean, most directly, the Taliban government in Afghanistan. It is hardly obvious what it is we are in a position to do. But our movement against Taliban has to come quickly, and has to be viewed as massive and irreconcilable. It must end in the end of the life of Osama bin Laden.
The second challenge is to confront the sepsis of bin Laden's brand of Moslem fundamentalism. Suicide missions are in vogue in the Mideast. The elimination of bin Laden will lance a boil, but will do less than eliminate the poison. There were several references on Tuesday to the cowardly attacks of the aggressors. But that word was thoughtlessly used, as simply one more weapon in the arsenal of derogation. The kamikaze Japanese pilots were many things, but not cowards. The men who guided the airplanes into their final destination were deranged, and the consequences of what they did were horrible.
But those who are willing to give their lives to their cause aren't cowards, and the cause that moves them is proportionately grave. We handled the problem of kamikaze-minded warriors by dropping an atom bomb on the source of that infestation. There is no corresponding target for the holy warriors in Palestine and elsewhere in that part of the world. When it is not possible to reason with holy warriors, it is necessary to immobilize them or crush them. Lopping off the head of bin Laden is a gratifying step, but only a first step. Absolute defensive severity is a necessary defense.
1.You don't win wars by defending yourself. You win them by attacking the enemy. People say, "This is war," and they're right. But if our policy is merely defense and counterattack, this war can't possibly be won. The U.S. must take the initiative. The president should tell his service chiefs: Give me a plan of attack, now, against any known terrorist or terrorist state. They are all our sworn enemies.At War - NR Editors
2.The U.S. ultimatum to Afghanistan. By the time you read this, we may already have delivered an ultimatum to the government (such as it is) in Kabul. We needn't and shouldn't wait for the investigation of the September 11 massacres to finish. We know what bin Laden is -- and if he didn't mastermind this mass murder, we want him anyway, because we don't play games with terrorists anymore. It is Afghanistan's job to find the man and hand him over. Our ultimatum should read: You have so many hours to turn him over, or prove to our satisfaction that he's not in Afghanistan. If you don't, we'll declare war and systematically destroy everything you own, every building and field, every shop and sheep in Afghanistan, one by one, until you hand the man over or there's nothing left. (Of course we'll always tell you our next target, so you can evacuate if you care to.) And if we wreak havoc and still don't get our man -- in the future, bloody-minded states might think twice before sheltering aspiring murderers.
No one should think of this as terrorism, which is the effort to spread death and dismay among civilian populations. Much death and grief ensued, but the targets were precisely picked to incarnate American power, democracy, and wealth. The September Massacres were a rational attempt to thwart the will and depress the spirits of the United States.Time to use the nuclear option - Thomas Woodrow
Our enemies have proximate motives, as political and military actors always do. But let no one imagine that any American policy or lack of it, or any change in our ethnic or religious makeup, could have insulated us from such a strike. The United States is hated because we are, indeed, powerful, rich, and good. Like the temples of Rome sacked by the barbarians, or the Greenwich Observatory that was the target of anarchists in Joseph Conrad's Secret Agent, our national headquarters and totems excite the fear and wrath of those in the world who feel themselves shortchanged. For this historical moment, anyone who has a quarrel with the status quo will find us, with varying degrees of truth, somehow implicated in his discontents. Our exposure to these emotions is an unavoidable badge of honor.
Because this was an act of war, its agents must not be pursued by resolutions, lawsuits, or all the other legalistic and diplomatic devices by which we have tried to combat terrorists in the recent past. President Bush's and Secretary of State Powell's early talk of "hunting down" the perpetrators is misguided. These are not traffic violators to be given a desk ticket at the night court of The Hague. After the time it takes to guess the attackers' commanders, which should not be long, those commanders, and their allies and patrons, should be paved over. If our retaliatory strikes hit a few of the world's warriors who happened not to be involved in this war, that will be no great loss.
News reports showed dancing in the streets of Middle Eastern cities, graphic proof that our enemies are not restricted to cadres of ideologues or leaders. Striking the war-making capacity of hostile nations may involve clearing some of those streets. When that happens, we should not shrink. Our European allies have, in many cases, battened off deals with rogue states. They should be told that, if they continue to do so, their assets in this country may be appropriated to repair the damage done to Washington and New York City.
We should therefore be of good cheer. In the darkest early days of World War II Winston Churchill told British diplomats on the European continent to light their windows, to hold the usual functions, to conduct themselves with confidence and spirit. No skulking in bunkers or military bases for him, or for us. Schedule the rebuilding of our wasted icons. Our fellow citizens are lost, but the steel and glass will come back. When it does we will hang out a million flags.
The time has come for the United States to make good on its past pledges that it will use all military capabilities at its disposal to defend U.S. soil by delivering nuclear strikes against the instigators and perpetrators of the attacks against the nation's political capital and the nation's financial capital.
At a bare minimum, tactical nuclear capabilites should be used against the bin Laden camps in the desert of Afghanistan. To do less would be rightly seen by the poisoned minds that orchestrated these attacks as cowardice on the part of the United States and the current administration.
The fight against the bin Laden groups will be a fight to the death, and this is another valid reason to make use of our nation's nuclear forces. Unlike the more limited goals of wars between nations -- territory, formal surrender, etc. -- bin Laden's goals are the elimination of the United States as the global leader for progressive political, economic and cultural change. Should, God forbid, the United States withdraw from the Middle East and Persian Gulf, the terrorists will raise their sights to eliminate our influence elswhere in the world. For a vision of what these groups see as their ultimate objective, we need look no further than the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, where women are beaten in the street for walking in public, owners of television sets are sent to prison or shot and ancient Buddhist monuments to universal peace and understanding are reduced to rubble.
No, the bin Laden groups must be exterminated completely before they become more powerful in their efforts to exterminate us. We should use our nuclear capabilities to help achieve this. We must, as a nation, take the firmest action possible against this growing evil in the world, before its poison spreads even further. If not the United States, who? If not now, under these circumstances, when?
top | home