The first duty of governments is to protect the lives and health of their citizens and their second duty is to assure healthy economic conditions.
[quoteright'/>When a terrorist kidnaps a group of people, such as by hijacking a plane, the first duty of the government is to get the hostages safely away from the terrorists. Short range concessions may be necessary to achieve this primary goal.
Next, to punish the terrorists and stop repetition of such acts, an all-out effort is necessary to capture the perpetrators.
There must be an international authority with police power to persue terrorists into any part of the world. There must be no sanctuary for terrorists. There must be no means of escape. Eventually they will be apprehended. Any concessions, such as release of other terrorists, that might have been made under duress are to be reversed. This is both justice and protection for the hostages.
Now, it will take skilled and possibly expensive police work to track down the culprits. Such seeking is a professional challenge to the police skills of the world, and a small price to pay for saving lives and stopping terrorism. Further, legal precautions need to be taken to avoid any risk of abuse of police power.
We need to move towards an international understanding allowing such a police force to come into existence. The United States is in the best position to take the lead. We are travelers, we are a nation that values human life, and we are a nation of just laws.
CHARLES WALTON, another Silicon Valley denizen, operates a product development and consulting business in Los Gatos, CA.
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