PILOT EDITORIAL: Not just blood for blood

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

When President Bush called this a "war," he was not overstating. The military manpower and machinery is being assembled to wage an assault of any kind - including a protracted ground assault.

"Everybody who wears the uniform, get ready," Bush said.

Even as investigation into the terrorist tragedies continues, the national gun is loaded, and being aimed. Support should be universal for the effort to rid the world of terrorists, but we must also take care to act not just from a "blood for blood" mentality, but in a calculated fashion to eliminate all those who actually had a hand in the planning and execution of the horrific acts.

It might satisfy our anger to hastily hurl weapons at widespread regions or even entire countries where terrorists have been known to shelter; but it would be a shallow victory to avenge the death of thousands of our innocents by taking the lives of thousands of other innocents, or unnecessarily expending the lives of thousand of our service people.

Those who are responsible deserve death, and will have it. Not so much out of revenge, but to protect all of the nations from their insane evil. This time, a Gulf War-type outcome, making a lot of noise but leaving the terrorist leader standing, is not good enough.

It is shocking that our leaders have ignored the threat as long as they have. It is said that at least 12 terrorist camps are operating to train individuals to attack the United States - so openly that the TV channels are able to pull out file footage of the field training going on at these camps. When we are done, none can exist any longer, and never again can they be permitted in a civilized world.

We have seen so much blood spilled, in New York, Washington, Pennsylvania. More will be spilled, we know, as we destroy those groups responsible and all those like them. Yet our response cannot be ruled by blood-lust. Unprincipled violence will not answer unprincipled violence. Let our response be swift, final, but reasoned and targeted.

It seems we have the unity of nearly every nation in the world. There is no place for terrorists to hide any longer. Our response should be such that all of our people, all of the nations, can be proud to be united in it.

To call it a war is giving them to much credit. It is to be more precise the grinding of human vermin under the heel or humanity.

We should all pledge our complete support to the president and the congress and the leaders of our allied nations in this effort. And they should pledge to us that the war they are preparing to wage will be fought in a way that honors the memory of all of the Americans who have already paid the ultimate price.