TERROR ATTACKS TEST AMERICA'S RESOLVE
Detroit Free Press: There she stood, Lady Liberty, welcoming the world to America's shores. Behind her, smoke and dust poured from the collapsed towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The split screen showed more smoke and destruction in Washington, where the Free World -- and those who long for freedom -- look for strength and leadership.
This, too, was a day that will live in infamy.
The first reactions must be the necessary ones: Contain the damage, recover the bodies, treat the injured, secure the nation and keep the peace. President George W. Bush should extend all the resources of the federal government, including the military, to assist local authorities in this work.
No safe haven: At another level, America must marshal its forces, gather intelligence and lean hard on its allies and dependents around the world to aid in the pursuit of those responsible for these attacks. There should be no safe haven for them anywhere, and any nation that would offer sanctuary is as culpable as the terrorists themselves.
The attacks exposed a serious weakness in the American intelligence network; how could an operation on this scale have gone undetected?
Lady Liberty still stands tall. Shrouded in smoke. Covered in dust and blood. She is crying. She is afraid. She is angry. But she will not yield.
HOW DO WE RESPOND TO THE UNTHINKABLE?
Dallas Morning News: Sixty years ago, more than 2,000 Americans lost their lives at Pearl Harbor. As horrible and as unprecedented as that tragedy was, the only advantage was that Americans knew their enemy, who flew in on airplanes marked with the symbols of their country.
The world has since changed radically. In Tuesday's sneak attacks on the United States, our own hijacked airliners were used to attack power centers of our country. But just because we live in a new world order, where rogue actors can transcend nation-states, it does not mean that the United States and its allies cannot and should not respond against the worst attack on the nation's shores.
Force: Our response to Tuesday's attacks in New York and Washington must be united, direct, efficient, powerful and, if need be, sustained. If leaders like Saddam Hussein are at all involved, then we should respond forcefully against Iraq and prepare ourselves for a prolonged campaign to end his reign of terror.
But as many experts speculated Tuesday, more than likely the mastermind behind this sophisticated attack was either a collection of terrorists or Osama bin Laden, fueled by hatred of the United States and Israel.
If that is the case, then the United States and its allies must wait for the right moment and pounce with the force needed to stop this network of terror. The murky new world of international terrorism will require Americans to exercise patience until the U.S. and its allies can deliver the appropriate response. Unlike declaring war against a nation, we must become as sly as serpents. While we have been used to campaigns of attrition, we must become expert in maneuvering until we find our target.
ENORMITY OF THE DAY YET TO SINK IN
San Jose Mercury News: America is in shock.
The terrorists who carried out Tuesday's carnage struck at the heart of our society. The World Trade Center, symbol of American wealth and prosperity, collapsed before the eyes of millions of horrified Americans. The Pentagon, symbol of our military strength, was pierced and laid open to the eyes of the world, smoke and flames pouring from within.
To do this, terrorists used our airplanes, the ones millions of us ride every day, lulled by X-ray machines and other security drills into thinking we are safe. How ineffective that seems now.
Fear: The purpose of terrorism, beyond creating fear, is to incapacitate and disrupt. This achieved that as no act before in the nation if not, perhaps, the world.
It's not just the lives these acts took -- we shudder to count -- but the way it makes the survivors feel that counts.
America will not surrender in the face of such an attack. America will only rally to resist this terror and to strike back at those who perpetrated it.
The countermeasures must be forceful, but they must not be blind. President Bush has vowed to hunt down the perpetrators. It is against them, not some enemy generally, that the retaliation must be directed.
But first, we mourn.
We mourn the dead, the wounded, those whose lives are changed forever. The enormity of this day has yet to sink in.
A CALL FOR CALM
Fort Worth Star Telegram: Not since the Sunday morning of Dec. 7, 1941, has there been such a deliberate and deadly attack on U.S. soil as occurred Tuesday morning in an obviously coordinated wave of terrorism.
First, let us urge calm.
The chaos that follows such a tragedy as this is no time to make snap decisions. First we must deal with those who have survived and with those who did not.
National security: Second, let us also realize that the concept of national security as we have known it throughout our history has changed forever.
Third, let us not blame people who live among us for the acts of their cousins who may have been responsible for this attack.
Let us guard our cities and their citizens; let us verify who is responsible for this horrible act of destruction; then let us deliver severe punishment to those responsible.
This is a time for national unity.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001: REMEMBER THAT DATE
The Arizona Republic: You will never forget Sept. 11, 2001.
Your world changed profoundly Tuesday morning. Yesterday, the 20th century finally ended.
A continental United States that was mercifully spared the physical devastation of two world wars is now a place vulnerable to attack in fact and spirit.
We will all spend the coming weeks trying to fathom the human loss that results when passenger airliners strike and bring down twin towers each three times the size of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. We will try to comprehend what it means for a determined band of plotters to strike the military headquarters of the world's greatest power.
Many of us will learn of people we know and love who perished. We will cry and we will anguish.
Dangerous world: But know this. Sixty years ago Imperial Japan bombed us out of our slumber at Pearl Harbor. Americans then had also let their guard down. They slept as the world grew more dangerous.
When stirred, those Americans rallied their armies, cranked up their factories and launched ships.
Today our generation gets the call.
This enemy is far different. He is more elusive and cunning. He will be hard to find. But he will be found and he will learn that Americans aroused are a fierce and terrible force to reckon with.
A TIME FOR CONCERN, OUTRAGE -- AND RESOLVE
Wichita Eagle: By now, the surreal TV images are burned into Americans' minds: the clouds of black smoke rolling off the twin towers of the World Trade Center; the sudden implosion of the buildings and thick dust hanging over downtown Manhattan, N.Y.; victims stumbling away from the carnage. Most Americans' reaction is one of stunned disbelief: Is this scene happening in America, on our peaceful soil?
Violent change: But believe it we must. The American landscape has violently changed. It is not just the skyline of Manhattan that has been forever altered with the destruction of the World Trade Center but also a nation's sense of its own security. We are living in a world in which no nation or institution -- not even the Pentagon -- is beyond terrorism's reach.
Our immediate reaction is sadness and grief for the many victims. The death toll from this most horrible act of terrorism will be staggering. The nation mourns the loss of life and the untold pain and suffering of the victims and their families. Many churches have set up prayer vigils for the victims, which would be an appropriate response for citizens wanting some affirming way to express their pain and sense of helplessness.
Our second reaction is outrage over this cowardly attack on defenseless citizens. And that outrage and mounting anger must lead to a steady sense of resolve that, in President Bush's words, "Terrorism against our nation will not stand."
As of this writing, no terrorist group has been confirmed as the mastermind of this heinous attack. But let there be no doubt that America will not rest until the perpetrators -- whoever they are, wherever they are -- are tracked down and brought to justice.
There will be cries for blood and for swift, terrible retribution against America's enemies. But as difficult as it might be, this tragedy will require, first of all, patience. The nation must take the time to determine with certainty who is behind the bombing and then determine the appropriate response.
The smoke billowing off the World Trade Center and the Pentagon bring to mind nothing so much as the photos of Pearl Harbor after the Japanese attack in 1941. The buildings are powerful global symbols of America's economic prestige and military might, which also made them very visible targets.
In a sense, this will be our nation's Pearl Harbor -- an alarming wake-up call -- in the war on terrorism.