[EDITORIALS]Terrorism's Deadly Lessons

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[EDITORIALS]Terrorism's Deadly Lessons

The whole world is aghast at an unimaginable crisis in the United States. Hijacked civilian airliners became suicide bombs one after another and swept away large buildings, removing the lives of thousands of people. The acts of terrorism on the twin towers of World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon that houses the U.S. Department of Defense in Washington - which are symbols of America's economic and military prowess - are akin to a declaration of war. It is natural that President George W. Bush put the U.S. military at home and around the world on high-alert status and resolved to punish and take revenge on those responsible.

The priority for the United States government at this point is to shore up the crisis and minimize its political and economic ramifications. It should also adequately prepare for the possibility of additional terrorism in the immediate future and find out who committed such cowardly acts.

The biggest dilemma for the United States, however, is that the enemy has yet to be identified. The followers of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi exile and a key figure in anti-American terrorism in the Islamic world, are being suspected of masterminding the attacks but it remains unclear whether they indeed carried out the crime. Through a thorough and unbiased inspection and investigation into the crime, the United States should stave off the possibility of the situation degenerating into a vicious cycle of blood bath that could result from a premature retaliation. The world will closely monitor America's steadfast resolve and courage.

What has become apparent through the attacks is the identity of the enemy that threatens world peace and security in the post-Cold War world. Anonymous terrorism efforts that mercilessly attack innocent civilians cannot be justified by any logic and reveal the uncivilized nature of the crime. We will remember the "Bloody Tuesday" as the day when the civilized world declared war on terrorism. The war will continue until the madness of the terrorists are completely eliminated.

As the attack has made clear, terrorism cannot be a problem for any single country and it cannot be resolved through an effort by any single country. The international community should strengthen cooperation for the eradication of terrorism and form a well-coordinated and effective network to that end.

The Bush administration's missile defense, which is aimed against the danger of missile attacks from rogue states, should be rethought in light of the terrorism this time. The United States government should keep in mind that what punctured America's defense network was not missiles and nuclear weapons but small weapons a small number of terrorists wielded.

Preventing terrorism is impossible without the cooperation from the international community. That is one reason why the Bush administration should lend an ear to the international community's dissatisfaction with its unilateral foreign policy.

South Korea has a long history of suffering from violent terrorist acts. Emphasizing the importance of preventing terrorism is never sufficient, especially in expectation of the World Cup next year, which is to be held in Korea and Japan. A rock-solid anti-terrorism force must be in place. We should also be concerned about the impact of the terrorist attack on the dialogue between North and South Korea and North Korea-U.S. relations. The United States has put North Korea on the list of rogue states along with such countries as Iran and Iraq. There is a possibility that the United States may request a stricter set of verifications and inspections from North Korea regarding the North's missile and nuclear facilities, which could make the dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington more difficult. The South Korean government should be concerned about the possibility that the attack on the heart of the United States could adversely affect the reduction of tensions on the Korean Peninsula and reconciliation between the two Koreas. While maintaining the basic premises of the engagement policy toward North Korea, we should also take this crisis as an opportunity to look back one more time whether the sunshine policy is loosening our grip on national defense and security.
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