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TERRORISTS CAN'T BE CALLED 'INTELLIGENT'

Over the last few days, I've heard numerous descriptions of the terrorists as intelligent, calculating and determined individuals. Calculating and determined I'll grant them, because they accomplished what they set out to do. I have serious doubts, however, as to their true intelligence.

I associate intelligence with the ability to utilize logic to make rational decisions. Therefore, the reasoning (or lack thereof) behind the events of Sept. 11 has me utterly baffled. I can understand that those responsible wanted to make a statement for their cause. I can even comprehend that the terrorists felt they would be rewarded for their sacrifice in the afterlife. My problem is with the method by which they delivered their message and what they expected to accomplish.

Let's think about this logically. You're the terrorist and your goal is seemingly to alleviate the plight of your people and further your cause. Your adversary is, in this case, the United States, inarguably the most powerful country in the world. You choose as your "message" to kill thousands of U.S. citizens in a highly dramatic fashion for the entire world to see.

What do you now expect to happen? Do you think that the U.S. government will apologize for the atrocities that it has done to your people and become your ally? Do you think U.S. citizens will "see the light" and rise up against their government?

Both of these possibilities seem completely absurd to me. The obvious recourse of the United States will be to use all of its power to search out those responsible and eradicate them from the face of the earth. The terrorists haven't helped their cause in any way.

Instead, they have made things more difficult by reducing, if not completely eliminating, the number of people who support their beliefs. They have accomplished the opposite of what they set out to do.

MARK MCLAUGHLIN

Amherst

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