You may not know it, but you

Tuesday, September 25, 2001 at 1:00am

Like it or not, all of us have been drafted into the war against terrorists. We are all soldiers, and we have a job to do.

The primary weapon of the terrorist is fear. Instilling fear in people is how the terrorist wins. You can see it all throughout history. Hitler had the Gestapo, Stalin had the KGB, the Mafia has paid assassins and leg breakers. All tyrannical movements use fear to gain and keep control.

Right now, millions of Americans are frightened. That is normal. The sudden terror inflicted on America by unknown forces was devastating and horrifying. The illusion that we, the citizens of the strongest nation in the world, are safe from murderous fanatics has been shattered. The images of everyday Americans jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center are indelible. It could have been any of us. The violence was definite and bloodcurdling. Fear is entirely appropriate in this case.

The question then becomes, what do we do with our fear? Do we sell our stocks? Do we cancel our travel plans? Do we change our work and leisure habits? Now safety should be a priority for everyone, but giving into fear and altering our lives in a way that damages our country is surely a victory for the terrorists.

So we must fight hard and conquer our fear. Take that plane ride. Buy some stocks. Work harder at your job. All these things will help America. I have interviewed people who say this is nonsense, that everyone should be looking out for himself. They say there's nothing wrong with shorting the stock market or canceling vacation plans. I say this is unpatriotic. This is not a time to be playing it safe

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