Many Americans watched thousands or even tens of thousands of their fellow citizens die before their eyes Tuesday morning.
People who had their televisions turned on shortly before 10:30 a.m. Eastern time and 7:30 a.m. Pacific time had just watched video replays of a Kamikaze-type attack upon the World Trade Center.
Even the chilling sight of a civilian passenger aircraft angling into position for a direct crash into one of the 110-story twin towers could not prepare us for what was next.
We watched live video of the tower as its top 30 or so stories burned. And then, the top of the building collapsed before our eyes. We watched in stunned silence as it impacted on the structure immediately below, starting a horrible chain reaction of destruction. We knew immediately that an incomprehensibly high number of human lives were lost in those few seconds.
And it didn’t take long to realize that what we were witnessing was the result of perhaps the single most deadly attack against Americans, either on foreign or domestic soil.
Deadlier than Pearl Harbor. Deadlier than the Battle of Midway. Incredibly, the death toll could approach the 50,000 who died in the three-day Battle of Gettysburg in the U.S. Civil War.
Tuesday’s Kamikaze-style attacks were nothing less than a direct attack against the people and property of the United States of America. The enemy didn’t use bombs, didn’t use missiles and didn’t use ground or sea forces. Don’t let anyone try to tell you that this was merely someone’s attempt to make a statement. We will remember Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, as the day that the nation’s eyes were opened forever to the scope of the threat posed by foreign terrorists. It was the day that an individual or group as yet unidentified declared war on the United States of America.
The majority of our readers were not alive when Pearl Harbor occurred, so this is the first time many have experienced the horror of a successful attack of large magnitude against the United States by a foreign interest.
We are now at war. We’re not exactly sure with whom, although it should become fairly clear in short order.
Nobody is in favor of civilian casualties or the loss of human life of any kind. But the time has come for the United States to exercise its might and position as the world’s superpower, and to spare no expense and leave no stone or nation unturned to locate and capture and-or eradicate the perpetrators. President Bush Tuesday morning vowed to do just that.
It’s time that we show not only the perpetrators of this attack, but other terrorists who have designs on U.S. interests, that we are not to be messed with. In the aftermath of the terrorists being captured or eradicated, it is important that other terror interests in the world be left shaking in their shoes at the enormity, precision and the decisiveness of the U.S. response.
We mourn the thousands and perhaps tens of thousands of Americans who died Tuesday in New York, Washington D.C., and near Pittsburgh. We must defend our way of life and avenge their senseless deaths by realizing we are at war and eradicating our enemy.
Mr. Tom Mitsoff is a daily newspaper editor and syndicated editorial columnist. His web address is http://www.tommitsoff.com.