Byline: Donald Lambro
America is emerging from the destruction, death and darkness of the September 11 terrorist attacks, as New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani says, "stronger and better than ever."
Nearly two months after that catastrophe stunned our nation and brought the mighty U.S. economy to a near-standstill, we are waging an economic and military comeback that is typical of America's can-do, never-give-up spirit and resolve.
Americans are working harder and productivity is up. The stock markets have been shaking off their earlier gloom, betting that the economy will recover next year and go on to new heights.
We are, as President Bush urged us to do, going about our business and our lives. The sold-out World Series was as dramatic as ever. Air travel is slowly climbing back. The government settled its damaging antitrust suit against Microsoft, giving the high-tech sector a needed boost. Plunging gas and oil prices are giving the economy a well-timed shot in the arm.
Even the latest economic data showing that the economy contracted by 0.4 percent in the third quarter was not as bad as the minus 1 percent or more forecasted by most business economists.
"That's proof that the tax cut passed earlier this spring had a positive effect, and that fiscal policy as well as monetary policy is working," White House economic adviser Larry Lindsey told me.
At the same time, Congress has passed strong anti-terrorism legislation giving the Justice Department and other law enforcement agencies new powers to fight terrorism here and abroad. Immigration procedures are being toughened, so we can arrest, imprison or deport violators of our laws.
After some time-consuming mistakes in the chaos of preparing for war and the fear generated by the anthrax attacks, the administration strengthened its war-making, national security apparatus:
A rapid-response, White House war-room information center was set up to shoot down Taliban misinformation and other terrorist propaganda. Frequent and up-to-date briefings are now held by defense officials and homeland security chief Tom Ridge to keep us better informed and confident that the war is going as planned. And Mr. Bush, far more visible than he was before, is meeting with allies as he rallies the country and the world in the war on terrorism.
Meantime, U.S. warplanes are relentlessly pounding the al Qaeda terrorists' bases and their Taliban militia supporters, who have dispersed into civilian centers, mosques, homes and other populated areas to avoid death. …