We must protect our nation

Timothy Schmidt

The horrible attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon jarred the world into a new era of terrorism. World leaders from Japan to Mexico, Russia to Great Britain rushed en masse to express their horror and offered support to help us combat the evil that cost thousands their lives and millions their sense of security. After the senseless destruction of humanity, it was inspiring to see our differences disappear as all parties, creeds, and ethnicities came together to denounce this inconceivably heinous act.
There can be no rationale behind the killing of innocent men, women, and children-this is the work of madmen. No negotiation or diplomatic conferences will thwart people who coolly steer a 747 into skyscrapers at hundreds of miles per hour.
Our response to this should be twofold; we should eliminate threats of terrorism, while increasing our nation’s defenses.
Any known terrorist threat to the United States should be surgically destroyed, using all of our resources. Cut off their funding, destroy their bases, bully their host nations into giving them up. We should not act carelessly, bombing a nation indiscriminately. Rather we should carefully locate terrorist cells and work with our allies to “smoke them out of their holes,” as our President has repeatedly said. We must work hard to ensure that only those guilty of trying to perpetrate terrorist crimes or those who permit them to occur are dealt with. This must not be an act of vengeance, but an act of self- defense to prevent further attacks.
At the same time, we can hardly expect this to end all terrorism. America will need to make sacrifices in order to substantially decrease the chances of this happening again. While the exact prescription for increased defense is beyond this writer’s purview, the President has taken the correct first steps with his creation of a cabinet-level Director of Homeland Security position. This new office will coordinate work done by many federal agencies and departments, the FBI, CIA, and state governments, in order to increase our level of preparation against future attacks.
A friend of mine commented to me that, in the total scheme of things, these attacks only mean 6,000 dead-we should not start a war over this. But I disagree. We should not give in to terrorists by crawling into a hole and hoping that it won’t happen again. Since the days of Tripoli, our nation has stood up to those who wanted to take away our freedom, and it should be no different now. Groups that cause terror on such a massive scale and nations that harbor them must be stopped, to show the world that mass murder is not an effective tool to bring about desired change.