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The attacks may not defeat us, but they sure leave us with unresolved issues.
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As far as I can tell, the "cause" is to kill as many Americans as possible. Not much of a cause. Not what Americans would view as the politics of inclusion.
The lack of a motive is just one of the unresolved questions that the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 have left us with.
It is human nature--at least civilized human nature--that we seek perspective for everything that happens. No matter how upsetting the situation, our immediate reaction is to attempt to reconcile it in our minds. We try to understand it.
I think that's why I remain as troubled as I am by the events of that day. In so many respects, from the swiftness of the events themselves to the enormity of their toll to the unending aftermath, it is the senselessness of it all that still boggles my mind. And I don't think I'm alone in this.
No matter how many news stories I read, no matter how much television coverage I watch, I can't answer one basic question: Why?
Ever since I walked into the newsroom here that Tuesday morning and joined a group of people huddled around the television just in time to see the second plane hit the second World Trade Center tower, all the questions a journalist is trained to ask could be answered--except for that one.
Once the second plane hit, we knew what it was: terrorism, designed to kill many Americans. One thought process later, we knew who: Osama bin Laden, who had tried before to take out the World Trade Center.
When a third plane went into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed in Pennsylvania, the modus operandi was clear: hijacked jetliners used as missiles.
As far as bin Laden is concerned, the motive is to kill Americans, and in that alone he measures his accomplishment. In persuading his brainwashed pawns to sacrifice their lives in carrying out their evil deeds, he had to sweeten the pot by promising them that nirvana awaits on the other side, and this was their way to achieve it.
For most Americans, such an ideology does not compute. Still, we set out to live our daily lives as best we can, saddled with this ugly backdrop and the conflicting emotions it continues to stir.