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An Evil We Need To Erase

Did they look at the children, or quickly avert their eyes? I wonder that about the terrorists who used airliners as weapons 15 years ago today.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, by 19 men who hijacked four airliners. No other information is needed to understand the enormous brutality of what happened.

What we know about the murderers — and thousands of others who came before and after them — is that they claim to believe that as long as they are fighting in Allah’s name, no action is considered an atrocity. Among their attempts to justify that is pointing out that their enemies, including Americans, sometimes take innocent lives, too.

It is true. We refer to it as “collateral damage.” It happens when, during armed conflict, an attempt to kill the enemy results in deaths of others, sometimes children.

But there is a difference. The U.S. military is constrained by rules of engagement that make it difficult to launch attacks if there is a possibility of innocent people being harmed. It is one reason President Bill Clinton refused to grant permission for an attack prior to Sept. 11, 2001 that might have killed Osama bin Laden.

The 9/11 terrorists were different. They could have chosen alternative methods of attacking their targets. Yet they selected airliners and when they got aboard two of them, American Airlines Flight 77 and United Airlines Flight 175, they found children were aboard.

Flight 175, which was crashed into the World Trade Center, carried three children. They were ages 2, 3 and 4. Flight 77, which slammed into the Pentagon, included five children ages 3-11.

How could anyone, for any reason, have looked into the faces of those precious little ones and continued on a mission to kill them?

During the days after Sept. 11, 2001, that was the greatest horror of the day, in my mind. Since then, Islamic terrorists have slaughtered hundreds, perhaps thousands, of other children — often in ways much more direct, such as shooting and beheading, than the hijackers used.

It has been suggested all Americans and our allies need to do is somehow “contain” such evil.

No. It needs to be eradicated. Look at your children or grandchildren and tell me I’m wrong.

Myer can be reached at: mmyer@theintelligencer.net.

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