I have been so busy this last year with our syndication and other projects, and I was so disgusted with my fellow Americans during the election of 2000 that I had put down my pen. The developments of this past week require that I pick it up.
Like most of us in this great country, I have witnessed the events of September 11, 2001 with utter astonishment and disbelief. Reflecting on the pain and suffering of tens of thousands of innocent Americans leaves me angry, frustrated and despairing. My heart literally aches. I find it hard to focus, difficult to work.
I've had a couple of days to ponder the recent attacks on America. I feel compelled to put some of my thoughts down on paper. Perhaps it will provide some therapeutic relief. My emotions still run high.
I am troubled by the opinions of some that we need to be very restrained in response to these attacks. That we risk offending teetering allies if we don't. These attacks on America are of historic magnitude. The tragedy of Pearl Harbor pales in comparison. The only comparison in the history of this country is the attacks on America in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore by the British during the War of 1812. Even that cannot compare when measured against the tremendous scale of destruction in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. this week.
This presents a historic opportunity for America. An opportunity to prove we have not become so fat, dumb and happy that we can't respond with intelligent passion and that the last great American patriots were not our World War II generation.
We also have the opportunity to display what makes America and Americans so special. Our enemies can experience once again our absolutely dominating refusal to give up and the unbelievable resilience of the American spirit. We have much to teach the World.
I hope we can avoid the whining, hand wringing and useless memorial building that has marked recent tragedies. Let's go kick some terrorist butt, rebuild the WTC even bigger and better, ramp up the financial markets and economy and show the world what being American really means. There is no better tribute to all the victims in the air and the ground and to the heroes who lost their lives in Pennsylvania.
The equivalent of a small American town was annihilated at the World Trade Center in New York City. The number of casualties in this single event may approach that of the number of American casualties in the entire Vietnam War! Outrage is appropriate now. If it's not appropriate to feel anger and demand retribution now, when will it be appropriate? Can we not feel justified in our outrage and anger without our very own homes being demolished by terrorists? What will it take for us to aggressively defend our country, ourselves, our family, our way of life?
We must resist the temptation to over-intellectualize our situation. The terrorists and their supporting states are adept at turning our own tremendous respect for life and desire for fairness and justice against us to make it nearly impossible to respond to their acts of war effectively.
Rather than trying to discover exactly who and where these terrorists are and chasing them around the Middle East for years, let's turn the terrorists supporters into their worst enemies. We don't need to waste resources with months of expensive and time-consuming intelligence work prior to taking action. For the most part we already know the governments that support terrorists. By making terrorists supporters pay a bigger price for their support of terrorists than their cooperation with America, they will choose to cooperate with America. It's the good old-fashioned concept of "incentive/disincentive". It works. We are na´ve to think that we are going to effectively fight terrorism by launching a couple of cruise missiles or putting a few terrorists in jail every couple of years or so.
I don't understand our willingness to make our lives more difficult as a response to these attacks. Obviously we need to take greater care. But I think we are too willing to accept some responsibility for these horrific events. Taking Leatherman pocketknives on airliners is not the problem. We are too willing to make the citizens of the United States pay a price in freedom, convenience and profits. Let's make the culprits who committed these acts pay the full price. It is impossible to be so secure that terrorism will be eliminated. All that will be eliminated is our free, secure, democratic society. Let's insist the perpetrators pay the full cost for their actions, the ultimate price, their very lives. Only then will we have done all we can to prevent future terrorist acts, but don't fool yourself - even this is no guarantee.
I have been listening to debates regarding the appropriateness of responding to violence with violence. I do believe that other less destructive solutions should be tried first, but how do you respond to an adversary that has proven repeatedly that he has no respect for human life, even his own? Sometimes the elimination of your enemy is the only safe solution. If it's kill or be killed, how else can one respond?
We must put into action a plan that aggressively attacks those countries that support these cowardly terrorists until they fully capitulate. We can be sure that these inhuman beasts will attempt to shield themselves with their own civilians and even their children. We must not waver. We have too much to lose. It is true war is hell, just look at Manhattan.
I am so proud of the way America has reacted so far. The unity, toughness, defiance and compassion have been touching. This is truly historic heroism. The manner in which we handle this catastrophe will be judged by historians World over for generations to come.
So far, so good.
God Bless America!