Make no Mistake...this Was an Act of War
No, I don't believe we'll ever prove that this was an act by a nation. It wasn't. But it was an act of war conducted by a political organization that you might say doesn't have a nation. Ever hear the old saying "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter!"? This organization may control factions of the government in several nations. And we know they have been aided and abetted by those governments, either through being of like minds or fear.
There has long been a debate over how to deal with terrorism. Many have said that by calling it war, we legitimize their cause by giving them the protections entitled to combatants under the Rules of War. Because of that no matter what, we must treat them as criminals.
The other side of the coin is that in many instances you can't effectively fight these people as criminals. Too many niceties about the rules of evidence and such.
I think it's time that we recognized this loose coalition of terrorist cells for what it is, an armed political movement dedicated to destroying our way of life. I really don't mind giving them combatant staus under international law. With the declaration of war, we will be free to pursure them to the ends of the earth. The only way we will ever prevail is to defeat them the way we defeated Germany and Japan. This includes any nation that would harbor them or give aid and comfort to them. Half measures and restoring the staus quo won't work. It will only prolong things and ultimately cause more innocents on both sides to lose their lives.
The only solution is going to be a comprehensive settlement to the entire mideast problem. It's going to require NATO involvement. It won't be a quick in and out after a build up period like Desert Storm. It will be both conventional combat like before and it will also probably mean a lot of unconventional combat on American soil. Bin Laden has no tanks and artillery to defeat with ours or air force to shoot down. But he does have people willing to die for his cause as long as they take a lot of us with them. He will attempt to make us lose our resolve and give up. How, by more of what happened yesterday. Oh the hijacked airliner kamakaze trick probably won't work again real soon, but there are plenty of other ways someone willing to sacrifice his life in the attempt can kill a lot of Americans.
I fear that our lives will not be the same as they were for a long time. Think WWII. It's of the same magnitude with what there is to lose.