[EDITORILAS]Be Careful of a Rash RetaliationAfter awakening from the nightmare of "Bloody Tuesday," the world is now closely watching the reaction of the United States. U.S. President George W. Bush declared that the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were "acts of war," and made clear his intention of putting military retaliation on the same level as war. Mr. Bush vowed to severely punish not only the terrorists who committed those acts but also the countries that harbor them. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said the military was prepared to take action against groups or nations responsible for the attacks － without advance warning. In an ABC-Washington Post poll, 94 percent of U.S. citizens said that they supported military retaliation, and 86 percent supported retaliation, even if it meant going to war.
It is reasonable for the United States to hunt and punish leaders and wirepullers of the terrorist attacks, as the country has been severely damaged by the calamity in which even the number of victims has not yet been grasped. Global opinion is also supporting it such punishment. But the problem is that the attacks were delivered by "faceless" terrorists. The country has yet to know whom it should retaliate against and what countries it should go to war against. The identity of the terrorists will be unveiled by ongoing investigation, but nobody knows how long that will take.
The United States needs to find out the whole picture of the crime, to justify its retaliation and punishment and to obtain sympathy of the world. It must never conclude in advance. The country should unveil the face of the terrorists through clear evidence. A rash retaliation will encourage anti-American sentiments and cause a vicious circle of revenges. The world is afraid that retaliation and punishment by the United States might develop into another world war.
The lives of innocent civilians in the countries in which the terrorists may be hiding are as precious as the lives of the U.S. victims of the terrorist attacks. It might be the intention of the terrorists that the United States should cause fresh hatred and blood through "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth." Washington should keep in mind Benjamin Franklin's saying that "They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."