As our country emerges from a period of national mourning, Dulles NOW activists wanted to express their gratitude to President Bush for the determined restraint and sober leadership with which he has led and united a shocked and angry nation since September 11.
A less experienced Administration could have used the atrocities perpetrated in New York and Washington to justify the immediate, massive, and blind military strikes that natural human instincts for vengeance and wounded national pride demanded. It is a measure of Mr. Bush's resolve that such actions were avoided, retributions the perpetrators of terror no doubt wanted to make inevitable. This hardest of decision received overwhelming popular approval and commands admiration. Likewise, President Bush deserves recognition for the repeated personal efforts he has made, and continues to make, to quell the growing wave of racism and bigotry.
Profound pitfalls remain. In addressing legitimate and grave concerns of national interest, we fervently hope that Mr. Bush will apply the same level of steely caution to the dangerous tasks ahead and that he will remember that many of the peoples whose fate lie in his hands have already been severely penalized by the political and personal vagaries of his predecessor.
As we mourn the loss of so many innocent lives, we refuse to believe that their ultimate sacrifice will not bring greater justice to a long-oppressed part of the world and that America's light will not shine in ways it never has before.