On December 13, I stood in front of the television screen at my workplace. I had watched the same screen in horror on September 11. This time I knew what I was watching. I read the transcript and watched the tape. President Bush is right. Osama bin Laden is evil. He is arrogant and boastful. He is a man who finds laughter and satisfaction in mass murder. Bin Laden's praise of Allah along with his words of hate in no way buffers their true meaning. If peace is to prevail, bin Laden and his al-Qaeda organization must be crushed. Bin Laden is not doing the work of Allah—he is playing Allah. Al-Qaeda seeks to destroy America, not liberate the birthplace of Islam. It seeks not to liberate the people of the Middle East, but to raise its members to the level of deities.
After September 11, I wrote that "the idea that we must sacrifice life to save life or to avenge the loss of life must stop." I was wrong. Such ideals, though worthy, would leave too many lives at risk. As individuals, as a nation, and as a community of nations we must fight to destroy the evil that bin Laden represents. Nothing justifies the atrocities committed by al-Qaeda. We must relentlessly pursue the men responsible for September 11. America should accept nothing short of unconditional surrender. When evil controls a nation-state, when it marbles itself into the fabric of a nation, the remedy must be swift and severe. It is not a job for a surgeon. It is not a job for a detective. It is the job of the military. There can be no mercy without complete submission.
The recently released tape of bin Laden is revealing. He is no holy man. He is a man who uses religion to justify his own megalomania. On the tape America played for the world to see, bin Laden reminisced about watching the attack of the World Trade Center on television. What the world watched in horror he and his minions watched in celebration. Knowing the second plane would hit, bin Laden instructed his associates to wait for even more destruction. Sitting with a Saudi cleric, he gleefully described how the planes did more destruction than he ever imagined. He boasted of directing a martyrdom operation and calculating in advance the number of casualties. He sent his people to their deaths. He awaited the death of civilians with optimism. We owe it to past and future generations to stop bin Laden, and to stop al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda has declared war on America. In this war, God does not bless America and Allah does not bless al-Qaeda. The acts of al-Qaeda and our response are all secular in origin. Stopping bin Laden and al-Qaeda is right and just. Nothing short of unconditional surrender is acceptable.
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