What Do We Do Now?

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Colin Roddick at a candlelight vigil at the U.S. Capitol

Tuesday's terrorist act was a delivery with an uncertain return address. If Osama bin Laden is indeed to blame, he and his network will become targets of the most far-reaching and determined counter-terrorist operation in history. But even if we do find the culprits, how should we respond? Should we remake Afghanistan as a smoldering plain, plow the fields with salt, wreck a terrible vengeance?

In polls, Americans overwhelmingly say yes. But should we temper our response, be certain to hit only those responsible, even if it means waiting months, years to retaliate? Or should we strike fast, and hard, even if it means killing some innocents? Would we feel better once we did?

Three writers respond:

Richard Stengel: Is it Really War?

Lance Morrow: The Case for Rage and Retribution

Tony Karon: How to Beat Bin Laden