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Fear and Shock

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Fear.

No other word can describe the feeling following Tuesday's devastating events. The death toll is indefinite at this point and will likely stay that way for days upon weeks upon months. But, no matter what the final tally is, the "Attack on America" will undoubtedly pale beside the United States' retaliation.

Shock.

Until 8:45 a.m. EDT, the very thought of such an assault was unfathomable to the people of America, and all of western civilization. After all, things like this don't happen here. They happen in places far removed from our daily lives, not in our backyards and not to people like us. Or so we thought.

The ignorance of the West, specifically the U.S., has resulted in the largest incidence of terrorism the world has ever seen and the repercussions will be felt all over the globe. Our sense of security, the idea that we are safe from carnage and ruthlessness, is shattered. The social fabric of lives was irreparably torn when two planes were deliberately flown into the civilian-filled World Trade Center. Minutes later the Pentagon was ripped to shreds when a third plane crashed into it--it being the headquarters of the U.S. military.

An attack of this magnitude, on buildings so symbolic of western capitalism, democracy and freedom, should force us all to take a look in the mirror. How is it possible that we could provoke this kind of hatred? What will this mean for our future, both immediate and down the road? The answers are only as clear as the
enemy.

If this is in fact a terrorist attack, as it most surely is, who is responsible? No one has yet come forward to take credit. When they do, how will President Bush respond? The bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 was incomprehensible but at least the enemy was definite. The Japanese were to blame, and the U.S. had someone to punish. The population was vindicated and they proved their dominance. It is not the case this time.

There are many assumptions being made about who is responsible, most frequently Osama bin Laden. But how do you wage a war against one man and his militant political group? Bush cannot flex his immense military strength to end this fight. He cannot cut off the group's head, and expect the body to die. The fallen leader would become a martyr, a new leader would rise and the convictions of the group would grow infinitely stronger. It is a complex problem with no simple answers, and the most frightening possibility of all--the potential for war.

Lesser events have triggered massive military offensives, and if the United States decides to launch an attack, Canada will likely follow. Our grandparents were forced to fight for their grandchildren's freedom, and it seems we may have to do the same for ours. And this should frighten us all.

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