Commentary

Statement of Cato Vice President Ted Galen Carpenter on Terrorist Attacks

WASHINGTON-Three hijacked planes crashed into major U.S. landmarks today, destroying New York’s World Trade Center and causing major damage to the Pentagon in Washington. Cato Vice President for Defense and Foreign Policy Studies Ted Galen Carpenter had the following comments:

“The monstrous attack in New York City and in our nation’s capital justifiably generates outrage on the part of all Americans. We grieve for the innocent victims and their families.

“The first order of business must be to determine who is responsible for these terrible acts and to order appropriate retaliation. Terrorist assaults of this magnitude should be treated as an act of war against the United States, not merely as a criminal justice matter. The President should immediately seek the full authorization of Congress to use whatever military force is necessary against the guilty parties. If the perpetrator is a government, the objective of the United States should be nothing less than the removal of that government. If the perpetrator is a terrorist organization without government sponsorship, the objective of the United States should be to track down and eliminate the members of that organization.

“In the course of responding to these horrible events we must be careful not to undermine the American values of freedom and liberty. If we damage our constitutional freedoms in the name of combating terrorism, the terrorists will have achieved a lasting triumph.”

Ted Galen Carpenter is vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute.