This news item scares the **** out of me. (Taken from MSNBC.com)

    THE SCALE of the attacks and the loss of life — mostly in New York City’s World Trade Center, but also in Pittsburgh and Washington — ensured that “no option has been taken off the table,” senior U.S. officials said. Asked if that included nuclear weapons, one senior official said: “I said no option is out of the question. That’s precisely what I mean.”

It is frightening how quick things are advancing. I wrote a column this afternoon that touches on this, but it looks like its press date (Thursday) might be too late. The final draft will be up at Daily University Star or you can read a rough draft here…


    Pacifist Ammo #1

    by James M. Branum (Mass Communications Graduate Student)

    At the time of this writing, America has passed the first few hours after hell paid a visit to America. Rescue efforts are beginning, airspace is shutdown, and the government is in exile in Nebraska. Reality has taken on the horror of a Tom Clancy novel gone bad.

    As we would expect, President Bush spoke to the nation a short while ago. Most of what he said would be what we would expect of our national leader, but one sentence stuck out for me as being a moment of unintentional brilliance; “The resolve of our great nation is being tested. But make no mistake: We will show the world that we will pass this test.”

    I do not know if Bush realized the truth of what he said, but he is right. America is being tested, however, I don’t share Bush’s confidence that we will pass the test.

    You see we have failed the test before, when we were bombed in Oklahoma City.

    I saw first-hand the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing as a freshman student journalist at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. I will never forget seeing the bombsite lit up by giant halogen lights during the recovery efforts. It was as if every shard of glass, every piece of rubble was frozen in time and space by Timothy McVeigh’s actions.

    Later, I did a feature interview with a professor in the Nursing department who volunteered her time at the bombing site. Her stories of caring for the wounded and shell-shocked at the bombsite were so incredibly sad, and I could see that she too had become a victim of Tim’s violence by having to witness such terrible carnage.

    A few weeks later I joined thousands of Oklahomans at the mass memorial services to grieve over the incredible loss of life. It was rare to find anyone in Central Oklahoma who didn’t know someone who was either killed, wounded, or who had survived the bombing. It seemed like the entire state went through the grieving process together.

    No event compares to a terrorist attack in its level of psychic devastation. It is a natural human reaction to desire vengeance on those responsible. However, when we chose to indulge the urge to execute Timothy McVeigh, we failed the test and consequently perpetuated a tragic cycle of violence that began in Waco with a religious nut who thought that violence was an inevitability and stockpiled weapons to wait for Armageddon.

    The cycle then took off as the FBI decided to create a showdown at Koresh’s compound. Instead of arresting Koresh when he was out jogging, they created a siege situation that fulfilled his messianic delusions and resulted in the deaths of 74, including many innocent children.

    The cycle rolled on as the militia nuts took up the cause to avenge the massacre of the Branch Davidians. Most of the nuts were all talk, but one was not. Timothy McVeigh, poisoned with the message of hatred and vengeance, launched a terrorist attack that killed 168 including again many children.

    America could have stopped the deadly cycle of violence but we did not. We killed Tim to appease our collective rage, and in doing so flunked the test. There is little hope that the nuts will give up their fight, so the cycle will likely continue.

    For once, Bush is right. America is being tested again. The easy response will be a barrage of cruise missiles on one of the suspected terrorist strongholds, but I’ll be praying that America spurns the siren calls of jingoism and retaliatory hate.