I am not american ( I would like to be), but I share with many milions of people around the globe the spirit of America: free country, country blessed with many extremely talented people (many of them immigrants), the way how system of democratic government and free economy should be build, and everybody should get fair chance. As example of country worth to follow. Example of how to build our own government.
(I know that it is partly naive, that american democracy has own share of problems - but still US problems are far better than in other countries...)
So I was also shocked when I heard about crashed planes - I visualized for myself small Cessna with a small bomb. I realized all the horror only hours later - and it did not sinked in yet. It's numb inside - I cannot understand this, because it does not make any sense.
Now, as a programmer I think: how tis happend, what went wrong, and how to prevent it?
What if some muslim extremists are the culprit. There are 1.2 Bilion muslims, and 99.99% of them do not support this horrible act and are sorry for america. If USA will hurt many thousands of innocent civilians, what will be the result? Enough support for 0.001% of remaining terorists to repeat this many times - now they know how to cheaply, low tech hurt USA (couple of knives are all you need and with proper trainig, you can do it with just bare hands).
I agree that USA should retaliate - and probably one of the reasons why this happened is that USA did not finished decisive action in Gulf War, and in many other occasions, so enemies of USA was misled to think it is a weak pacifist country and is afraid to hurt them back. And I understand why USA was reluctant to hurt them back: because US poeople strongly believe in sanctity of human life, any human being of any religion, and this believe is part of "spirit of america" and all the good what is in it.
Some people do not believe in sanctity of life of any human being, and for them kamikadze-style suicide might be a solution for own failed life, which (guided by spiritual macchiavelian guide) may even clear all percieved sins. There will always be these despareate people, and other machiavalian guides ready and able to train them. The worse and more inhuman will be USA's response, the better for the extremists: the more desparates will turn in. We confirmed this many times in recent history in too many countries.
If you want to shoot at a bear, you should be damned sure you will kill him.
I know it will not be easy, but IMVHO the only solution is to try to understand what made these people so desperate that they decided to do what they did. How to make these people so scarce that they will not meet each other, they will be lonely wolves without support group, not able to accomplish something as bad.
USA plans to spend $100 Billions for missile defense. 9/11 just proved how inadequate it is to prevent harm to US people. What if these money will be spent to build school and well with clean water and hospital in every village ot the countries of third world?
USA know marketing and should be better in. One cannot push love down somebody's throat. And I know this is exactly what will be very hard to sell to americam public right now. It will be chalenge of leadership. And I am sorry to say, current leadership most likely will look at the issue not from point of view of international responsibility.
Remember one of the Murphy's laws:
Every complicated, hard to sumarize problem has one simple, easy to explain WRONG solution. And is looking for a person in charge to deliver it.
I hope I am wrong. I wish we could solve perl problems instead. But I am scared what will happen next.
We just seen horible prove that violence does not have any sense, it is not an answer - it is another (wrong) question.
I heard many times that we inherited our planet from our parents. That is not true: we borrowed it from our children. We need to act in the way it makes sense to them, 100 years from now, or we fail the trust they have to us.
I am hoping I am wrong and America will find inner strength and little luck to have right person in right place (as it did many times in history) to do "hard right over the easy wrong". Unfortunatelly, this was in the platform ot the other candidate...
To make errors is human. But to make million errors per second, you need a computer.