The Dilemma of Retaliation

Should the U.S. retaliate against the hijacking of the TWA airliner and the events that followed? If so, whom should it hit, and how?

Those were not questions the Reagan Administration would discuss over the weekend. Officials insisted that their thoughts were riveted entirely on the lives of the passengers aboard the hijacked jet. But they were well aware that retaliation poses agonizing dilemmas, especially for an Administration that has promised to strike back at terrorists yet has never done it.

None of the options are appealing. The U.S. could, for example, bomb a known training camp for terrorists in the...

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