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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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A measure of our resolve
Jonathan Pait
September 11, 2001

Somalia, Bosnia were questionable measures of our national resolve. Our people—many my age and younger—entered a conflict with no clear purpose for our national security. We stayed and we still stay involved in these conflicts. No one can doubt the resolve of our politicians to involve our country in international “police actions.”

Unfortunately, some of us doubt the resolve of our politicians to act with resolve now that we have faced an attack on our mainland unlike any other in our history. (As I type this, the radio announcer tells me that President Bush will soon speak.) Will he show that resolve?

President Bush tells us that “freedom will be defended.” He says these “faceless cowards” will be “hunted down” and “punished.” We have now expressed our resolve. The question now becomes to what extent will our walk match our talk.

Is it shock we feel or is it anger? Is it shock that grows to anger? Will our anger tempered with reason lead us to act as the powerful nation we are or will we act as a “state” in the “global community” afraid to appear “imperialistic” and “arrogant.”

Obviously, no action should take place without information. Some have called this “an organized act of war.” While, that statement may be an exaggeration, it is true that you do not enter a war without proper intelligence. We cannot act in this case without knowing where to strike.

One thing is for certain; whoever is responsible is living in a country somewhere. That is where the question of our resolve comes most into focus. Let’s say that the attacker lives in Afghanistan. This country continues to show willingness to protect Oussama Ben Laden. Already in this case the Taliban has issued a statement saying that Ben Laden was not responsible. Our suspicions remain.

Would we slap their wrists with some long-range cruise missiles or would we take more concrete action? Does anger motivate us to wish our President would stand broadcasting to the world and say, “Afghanistan, we want Ben Laden. We request your aid. Help us to bring this man to justice. If you will not help us, then you force our hand. We will have Oussama Ben Laden.

Conflicts in Somalia and Bosnia led us to put our soldiers in harms way. Will New York receive the same attention?

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