Terrorism is everywhere

In the Cassell Encyclopaedia Dictionary, terrorism is defined as "organized violence and intimidation, usually for political ends." The Pocket Oxford Dictionary says it is "systematic intimidation as a method of governing or securing political or other ends."

The attacks on New York's Twin Towers and on the Pentagon in Virginia were, without doubt, examples of calculated political terrorism -- not the only terrorism that goes on in this world. What made it different is that it was so bold, so brutal, so vicious, so in-your-face-tragic. It was also, for the first time, taking innocent lives on U.S. soil.

In its October 10 issue, the Morning Herald in Sydney, Australia, points out the duality of the U.S. government. It reported the words of White House spokesman Ari Fleischer as saying, "If Osama bin Laden was gone tomorrow, that war would continue beyond tomorrow. And so that one person really is not what this is about."

Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was reported to be in agreement, having said the war would last for "a period of years, not weeks or months," and that the goal was "not one individual, it is not one group."

On the one hand, the U.S. Administration wants bin Laden "dead or alive''; on the other, it says that this is not about one man. On one hand, U.S. forces are dropping bombs; on the other, they're dropping peanut butter and jam for the starving Afghans.

On the one hand, the U.S. has no interest in who runs Afghanistan; on the other, it is doing all it can to topple the Taliban regime. On the one hand, it wants nothing to do with "nation building"; on the other, it promises it won't cut and run as it did after the war between the Soviet Union and U.S.-backed rebels in Afghanistan in the 1980s.

"It suited the United States to put a face on terror, but now the bombs are falling, its message is changing."
Gay Alcorn, analyst for the Sydney Morning Herald.