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We've all heard the condemnation of the terrorists, the accolades of the rescue workers, the leaders' vows for justice and the country's appeals to God for strength and peace. The vows to find the guilty parties and inflict punishment on them so justice may be served can be heard or seen on every radio and television station.

This whole experience has been frightening to me. The senseless pain and death; the cowardly attacks of the veiled enemy and the threat to our American way of life all weigh heavily upon me. More frightening to me than this, however, is the knowledge that violence begets violence and the understanding that the face of justice and revenge often masquerade under the same guise.

While justice seems appropriate and necessary, revenge can only fuel the smoldering ashes of the devastation already felt in the destruction of the twin towers and the assault on the Pentagon.

America is strong. It does not need to act the part of a "bully" to save face or prove a point. American leaders need to rationally, methodically and earnestly gather information, identify the cowards responsible and relentlessly pursue a just intervention. The devastation inflicted upon America cannot be ignored or forgotten; but it should not be used as kindling for the embers of hatred, prejudice or revenge.

A wide-scale assault on Afghanistan would inflict undue pain and hardship upon a people who are already suffering under their severe and unrelenting government. Such a broad assault will not serve to punish the guilty.

A country as wealthy and technologically sophisticated as America can surely develop a means to locate, isolate, identify and evict the guilty parties without breaking the backs of innocent civilians.

West Falls

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