New York Times
Give Yasir Arafat credit for some encouraging first steps against Hamas, the group that claimed responsibility for last weekend's deadly terrorist bombings in Jerusalem and Haifa. Placing Hamas's spiritual leader, Sheik Ahmed Yassin, under house arrest sent a clear message to Hamas supporters, who have responded with angry protests. The real test of the crackdown, however, will be whether Mr. Arafat's security forces break up Hamas's actual terrorist networks, starting with the arrests of approximately three dozen people for whom Israel has provided evidence of involvement in terrorist attacks against Israeli targets.
It should take no more than a few days to carry out these initial arrests. During that period, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's government should exercise restraint in its military operations. Gen. Anthony Zinni, Washington's new Mideast negotiator, is holding meetings with Palestinian political and security officials and should be able to tell Israeli leaders whether Mr. Arafat is following through on promises to break up Hamas's terror network. A sustained effort will be needed, stretching over many months, to keep the terrorists from regrouping.
In recent months, Hamas has emerged as a powerful force in Palestinian-administered areas of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Polls show that the Islamic-oriented organization, which combines aspects of a political party, social service organization and underground army of suicide bombers, is now more popular than Mr. Arafat's secular nationalist Fatah party. ...
Over the past 14 months, Mr. Arafat's endless equivocations on curbing anti-Israeli violence have emboldened Hamas and broadened its support. Last weekend's terror attacks were aimed not just at killing Israelis, but also at further undermining Mr. Arafat's political grip. He can no longer afford to duck the challenge of facing down Hamas.
Many times before, he has made modest moves against Hamas's terror and then insisted that Israel reward him with steps like easing the closure of West Bank towns or freezing the expansion of settlements. Israel should move on these issues, and did temporarily ease closures last month. Its failure to do go further, however, does not justify Mr. Arafat's half measures. If he wants to negotiate peace with Israel, he must see to it that those who murder Israelis are put and kept behind bars.
Sixty years ago, Dec. 7, 1941, the Sunday calm was broken by the sound and fury of modern America being born.
The Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor claimed 2,403 lives. But it did not, as some authors mawkishly claim, end America's "innocence."
Americans in 1941 were far from innocent about their role in international affairs. Europe had been rent by war for more than 2 years. France was prostrate before Hitler and Nazi tanks had reached the suburbs of Moscow. Slowly, Americans had repealed or modified their strict neutrality laws and pledged "All aid to England short of war" - a distinction that was already blurred in the North Atlantic, where American destroyers and Nazi U-boats were trading blows in an undeclared conflict.
But if America wasn't "innocent" in 1941, it was deeply divided. Politically, the isolationist movement still boasted the support of leading Americans such as Charles Lindbergh. More significantly, the nation was cleft along racial and gender lines. The best jobs were reserved for white men. Women's work was "never done" - and only rarely rewarded by a paycheck. Black and Hispanic Americans were brutalized by a color line that could bring torture and death to those bold or unlucky enough to cross it.
The three and a half years of desperate struggle that followed Pearl Harbor irrevocably changed America - and set the stage for a fairer division of America's labors and rewards. ...
Like Pearl Harbor, 9-11 caused Americans to set aside artificial divisions and draw together. Blood donations, a sure sign of community spirit, soared. With few exceptions, Americans even recognized that the Arabs and Muslims among them were, overwhelmingly, loyal citizens who should not be lumped in with the homicidal terrorists.
As Americans look back six decades later to the event that drew us into World War II, we must renew the unity and purpose that led us to victory then - and pull together to finish the job our forebears so nobly started.
The Cayman Islands are noted for their great snorkeling and secretive banks. A wonderful tourist destination, the Caymans are the home of some of the cleanest water in the world and least transparent banks.
The fact is that the Caribbean paradise is a haven for tax evaders and money launderers. Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau told a Senate committee earlier this year that $800 billion is on deposit at some 600 banks licensed in the Cayman Island -- more than twice as much as is deposited in all New York City banks combined. That's a lot of cabbage.
Of course, there are honest and legitimate accounts in the Caymans, and a new agreement between the Bush administration and the Cayman Islands will, for the first time, help the Internal Revenue Service determine which is which.
The new sharing of tax information should help Uncle Sam collect what is owed in taxes from those who would try to shield taxable funds and also help in America's war against drugs, organized crime and international terrorists.
Salt Lake Deseret News
Perhaps more than at any other time since it occurred, there is added meaning to commemorating the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Friday marks the 60th anniversary of what then-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt described as "a day that will live in infamy."
Close to 2,400 people lost their lives on Dec. 7, 1941, when 350 Japanese planes assaulted the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Hawaii's Pearl Harbor, sinking or damaging 21 American warships. Six decades later, the battleship Arizona still lies on the bottom of the harbor with a thousand men entombed inside.
The surprise attack stunned the nation and heralded America's entry into World War II.
The nation was just as stunned on Sept. 11 of this year when terrorists hijacked four planes, smashing two of them into the World Trade Center in New York City and another into the Pentagon, resulting in thousands of civilian casualties. The fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania when courageous passengers rushed the hijackers. ...
Americans learned in 1941 they were made of stern stuff. Their actions following the attack on Pearl Harbor led newsman Tom Brokaw recently to write a book with the self-explanatory title, "The Greatest Generation."
That's the legacy of Pearl Harbor and World War II. ...
That same kind of courage and commitment will be required to win the war on terrorism. Achieving that is how today's generation can honor the legacy of those who were serving their country on Dec. 7, 1941.
Today may see the surrender of Kandahar, the Taliban's last stronghold in Afghanistan. The fall of the Taliban brings to mind what Vince Lombardi once said about football: Winning isn't everything, it's the only thing. Our victory over the Taliban forces is only the first step in what certainly will be a long war against terrorism. But a win is a win, and we should savor the moment.
We should savor it for many reasons. First among them is that America's stature as the leader of the free world has been restored. Those terrorists and nations who counted on weakness and irresolution remembered America only from the Clinton years. They may have even snickered when the president told the world it would have to choose to be with us or against us. Words have been cheap for so long, there was no reason to think these were different. But the America that mounted a devastating air campaign three weeks after September 11, attacking relentlessly from near and far, was something new. We, with our closest allies, determined we would act, and we did, without waiting for permission from the United Nations or any other imprimatur.
The leadership and resolution our president has shown are a very strong base on which to build the alliances and cooperation needed to finish the job. Terrorism is with us around the world, and it finds homes and financial support in far too many places. Taking this war beyond Afghanistan is essential, but will be exceedingly hard to do. The president will have to lead and persuade as he has never done before. In this, we should all support him because this war, half-done, would be as bad as if it had not been done at all.
So we cannot savor the moment too long. But we can say a little prayer for those who have given their lives in our defense and for those who will put everything on the line for us again and again in this conflict's future. To those at the point of the spear -- the special operations guys, the Army and Marine troops, the pilots and the sailors -- and all those who are working hard at mundane tasks making sure the shooters have what they need to shoot, we should all be grateful. Let's also give thanks that our president has faith in America and the strength of character to do what must be done.
Portland, Maine, Press Herald
Sixty years ago, Americans found themselves victimized by a surprise attack that killed thousands. The Japanese raid on Peal Harbor put into question many of the things U.S. residents had come to believe - that oceans insulated us from our enemies, that our own security was beyond doubt and that isolationism would protect us from the world's war.
Yet the bombing awakened a slumbering giant, as Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto recognized. The nation mobilized on an unprecedented scale. Some 12 million citizens - from a population of about 140 million - were under arms during the Second World War. Those who did not join the military were, nonetheless, important contributors to the war effort. They conducted scrap metal drives, readily accepted rationing, went without luxury and volunteered for civilian positions within the war effort.
In this regard, the inevitable comparisons between Pearl Harbor and the Sept. 11 attacks are imperfect. In both cases, our responses began with shock, sadness and uncertainty, but quickly turned to resolve. On the other hand, there is no draft today, no fuel shortages at home, no empty shelves or conversions of automobile factories to war machines.
The inconveniences most of us face - longer lines at airports and Canadian border crossings, for instance - would hardly qualify as sacrifice to those who won the battle against fascism.
Still, the overriding reality - that American citizens have been attacked on their own soil, that we were reminded of our vulnerability - gives us some sense of what Dec. 7, 1941 means to our parents and grandparents. Our readiness to defend the country and its principles should follow their example.
(Compiled by United Press International)