Here are some points in connection with U.S. reaction to the September 11 terrorist attacks:
Atrocious crimes have been committed. It is right to make every effort to bring the perpetrators to justice.
This effort should be aimed at justice, not undiscriminating revenge.
Holding the perpetrators accountable and bringing them to public trial before a suitable tribunal will disseminate the lessons to be drawn from these atrocities and act as a deterrent for the future.
If it is demonstrated that governments as well as terrorist groups are implicated, then responsible persons in those governments should be named and their delivery to a tribunal demanded, as the U.S. has done with Osama bin Laden and his collaborators.
All anti-terrorist actions of the United States should clearly show that the U.S. is holding specific individuals accountable for specific reasons and should avoid blanket accusations and indiscriminate death and injury. U.S. actions should not create future terrorists.
The use of military force should only be a last resort, should be limited to the purpose of bringing presumed perpetrators to justice, and should be visibly related to that purpose.
The UN Security Council resolution of September 12, 2001 proposed by the United States and passed with its vote makes explicit this point of bringing individuals to justice. Paragraph 3 of the resolution states: “[The UN Security Council] Calls on all States to work together urgently to bring to justice the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these terrorist attacks and stresses that those responsible for aiding, supporting or harbouring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable.”
We must study the sources and causes of terrorist motivation. Information thus far available shows that most of the nineteen perpetrators of the September 11 hijackings were educated men from fairly solid middle class families, not unemployed residents of refugee camps. In conducting this study, we must be as balanced as possible, including in the study U.S. actions and policies that might have contributed, but also considering all other pertinent sources of motivation.
Because it is already widely known that one important source of Muslim resentment against the USA is U.S. support for Israel in the Israeli-Palestinian confrontation, we should urge the administration to develop an equitable and practical plan for resolving this confrontation, perhaps based on the last stage of the Barak-Arafat negotiations before their collapse, and to press this plan systematically on both Israelis and Palestinians. The time has come for both, in the interest of world security and their own security, to agree to a plan for reconciling their differences.
We also need an administration action plan to alleviate the plight of the Iraqi civilian population under UN sanctions.
We should continue to remind the Administration and the U.S. public of the relevance of the UN role in combating terrorism.
This is a time of high emotions with much pressure for unity and uniformity. It entails a risk here that the American public and the Congress may be stampeded into unwise actions. We should insist that all decisions on terrorism be approached with reflection and best judgment. All U.S. citizens should insist on retaining the right to draw their own conclusions and to use their own judgment.
This point is especially applicable to proposals to limit political freedoms inside the U.S. and for military action abroad.