It is important to understand that on September 11, 2001, the United States was on the receiving end of an act of terrorism under US and international law. An act of war has yet to be determined.

The aforementioned statements, particularly in light of so much death and destruction, might be hard for some readers to absorb. The difference between terror and war is significant. Both actions require different responses. One cannot be substituted for another simply because rational thought has left the premises.

An act of terror is not an act of war as saying what you mean is not meaning what you say. The difference is hardly subtle and very significant.

Acts of terror are made by political rouges independent of a state actor. While some may argue that these political rouges were financed by certain state actors that engage in the sponsorship of terror, we don’t know if a state actually sponsored any terror on the day in question. Until we know, the investigation must proceed as an international terror investigation.

A terror investigation is exactly what Bush is doing despite his war rhetoric. Unfortunately, it does not appear that Mr. Bush understands the difference. An act of war can be done only by a sovereign state actor. In earlier days of relative peace, it was precisely this definition that prompted the creation of terrorism laws.

At this point, readers may still believe that we are mincing words. The chief argument is that if we, being the United States, did something like the World Trade Center attacks, they, being some other nation, would consider it an act of war. The answer is that they would be correct–one nation committing an act of violence against another is, in fact, an act of war.

Until another nation is involved, Cyberista would prefer that Mr. Bush keep his head on straight and save the draft and military mobilization for a later date when the facts present themselves to allow such action. In the meantime, Johnson and his notorious Gulf of Tonkin Resolution should serve as a historical warning against declaring war where there is, in fact, only terror.

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