The terrorists shall know terror

   I know what I think, but I donít know what I should think.

    Iím thinking about retribution on a scale that hasnít been seen in three generations. Massive destruction. Obliteration. Iím thinking Dresden. Hiroshima. Nagasaki.

    Iím not thinking about a few carefully-targeted cruise missiles. Iím envisioning a sky blackened by bombers and smoke. Iím thinking that the next time the maps come out, Algeria, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq and any other place where there is hate for America just wonít be on them. Theyíll be gone.

    Iím thinking we have to kill them before they kill more of us. All of them. Whoever they are.

    I want them to feel as ants about to be crushed by a size 12 shoe, except that I want them to know whatís coming.

    I want the terrorists to know terror.

    I want them to feel the horror my wife felt as she looked out her office window and saw a jetliner crash into the building which had defined her view of the world. I want them to be as cared as she was walking down some fifty flights of stairs not knowing yet from what she was evacuating nor if she would make it away.

    I want them to feel my fear in not being able to reach her as I watched the destruction on the television.

    I want them the feel the emptiness I felt the next morning as I walked to the commuter train station to buy my newspapers, walking through a parking lot with many cars that had been there all night. Cars belonging to commuters who werenít coming home.

    Cars belonging to mothers and fathers who will never again see their families, sit down to dinner or watch a ball game.

    I donít want to know the meaning of words like restraint, caution and patience.

     Iím thinking I donít care about the damn oil. If we need the oil, we take the oil. Weíll pay them their damn money.

    I want to start carrying a gun.

    When we talk of finding the people responsible, we have to do more than grabbing the low-level lackeys who did the dirty work. Hitler wasnít a field soldier.

     I canít grasp what happened. Like everyone else, Iíve come to expect airliners being blown up every so often by these evil creatures. Suicide bombers elsewhere in the world are in the news almost every day. But those are not like this. There are thousands of dead people. Murdered people.

    Killed in less than an hour.

    Americans must recognize that to call for retaliation and a stop to terror, they must be prepared to sacrifice. They must be willing to send their sons, daughters, fathers and mothers into harmís way.

    Patriotism is not based on someone elseís sacrifice. If someone doesnít know what a Gold Star Mother is, they better ask a veteran. And if they are not willing to become one they should not demand it of their neighbor or fellow citizen. Wars are not won by someone elseís children.

    Teach your children well. Iíve heard people talking about children believing that the attack is some sort of spectacle. Like a movie. And I know parents who think letting their kids play video games with simulated destruction is an okay way to spend time. These things are connected.

    We should remember that our neighbors with names like Ahmad and Khalid are here because they had the good sense to get out of those miserable excuses for countries which they formerly called home.

    We are a resilient people. We have become accustomed to becoming accustomed Ė school shootings, terrorist bombings, random murders are treated as just headlines unless we have a personal connection to the victims. The pain will fade. We must sear our anger and outrage into our national consciousness like a brand.

    This time must Ė and shall Ė be different. Yes, violence begets violence. But only until there is victory for the forces of good. It is the way it has been and the way it is.

     Toll the bell of freedom for all the victims. And let the hammer of justice strike at our enemies so they can no longer hurt us. For they will be dead.


September 14, 2001