Retaliation is a trap
President George W. Bush appears to have forgotten that the rule of law comes before revenge.

British journalist Robert Fisk suggests that President Bush is headed for the very disaster that the perpetrator of the terrorist attack may have laid down for him. In an article in the September 16 issue of London's Independent, he notes that the crime was clearly perpetrated "to provoke the United States into just the blind, arrogant punch that the U.S. military is preparing."

A war of retaliation, such as the U.S. plans, and like the Russians carried out in Chechnya, sees the participants become locked into a battle where the enemy appears ever more ruthless and evil, he says. The situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians is one example of the evils of retaliation and how far it can take people.

"America was targeted for attack because we are the brightest beacon for freedom and opportunity in the world," Mr. Bush tells the world.

"How the West chooses to react is a matter of supreme importance," Noam Chomsky said in a radio interview September 16. "If the rich and powerful choose to keep to their traditions of hundreds of years and resort to extreme violence, they will contribute to the escalation of a cycle of violence, in a familiar dynamic, with long-term consequences that could be awesome.

"Of course, that is by no means inevitable. An aroused public within the more free and democratic societies can direct policies towards a much more humane and honourable course."