Magazine article USA TODAY

Reflections on Terrorism. (Parting Thoughts)

Magazine article USA TODAY

Reflections on Terrorism. (Parting Thoughts)

Article excerpt

TERRORS FROM NATURE--such as earthquakes, floods, volcanic eruptions, disease, etc.--are one thing; those produced deliberately by humans are quite another. There is a long history of such acts, some more devastating than others, yet humanity has survived them all, as we will survive the carnage visited upon New York City and the Pentagon. We will do so and lessen, if not eradicate, such acts of terrorism by using our heads and intellects, rather than our hearts and emotions.

During World War II, promising eternal reward, Japanese generals recruited kamikaze pilots to commit suicide by diving their bomb-laden planes into American warships during the great naval battles in the Pacific in 1944. Had they been able to continue this campaign, our navy would have had to pull back. Our casualties from this encounter were some of the worst in sea warfare. In that same year, England suffered terrorist attacks in the form of the German's new secret weapons, the V-1 and V-2 rockets. They rained down indiscriminately on London and, in June and July, accounted for more than 5,000 deaths and 3,000 injuries. Approximately 30,000 buildings were destroyed in the attacks. A sign of Adolf Hitler's desperation, the rockets were simply weapons of terror, authorities declaring that "they were of little military value."

Less than a decade ago, fanatics flooded a Tokyo subway with the deadly nerve gas Sarin, killing 12 people and creating havoc. Now, a new weapon of terror has been used--the commercial jetliner. Just as the Native Americans used the buffalo's own clavicle to scrape its hide after killing it, our own planes were used by the terrorists to bring down the World Trade Center towers and destroy part of the Pentagon.

In these types of tragedies, our first reaction is to ask how they could have occured. We demand that scapegoats be found and that heads roll. (We also ask clergy how a good God could permit such terrible things to happen--to which no meaningful answers are given.) Much of the blame has been put on intelligence failures. Of course, that's easy to do in retrospect, but one has to admit that few specialists, if any, could have predicted this mass suicide by four or five terrorists per plane. It had never been done before. We should lick our wounds and start to renew our lives from where we are, not from where we were. It does no good to say that the mysterious "someone" should have seen this coming. After all, Iranians seized American citizens and imprisoned them for a year. Marine barracks in Lebanon were blown up with considerable loss of life. Later, two embassies in Africa were bombed. The Oklahoma City Murrah Federal building was demolished with hundreds of lives lost. Despicably, this was done by an American. No one was able to predict these events.

Other nations now realize that such acts of terrorism are more than crimes against one country; they are crimes against humanity itself. The U.S. now has support among other nations, thanks to the steadfast diplomatic efforts of Pres. Bush. Both he and New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani must be praised for reaching into deep reserves in calming New Yorkers and the nation. As a result, there is a resurgence of patriotism, and the Armed Services are writing up enlistments as they haven't for a long time. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.