Friday, September 21, 2001

Remember 9-11-01

A stern president
delivers ultimatum

The issue: President Bush
addresses the nation and moves
armed forces into assault positions.

The pace has quickened. President Bush clearly rose to the occasion last evening in his address to the Congress and the American people, delivering a stirring call to arms even as he counselled patience and resolution. The president laid out a comprehensive strategy to destroy not only the terrorists who caused the deaths of 6,500 people from 80 nations on Sept. 11 but terrorists everywhere, saying: "We will direct every resource at our command ... to the defeat of the global terror network."

The president was emphatic in warning governments, which he did not name but which have given help and haven to terrorists, that neutrality is not an option. "Either you are with us," the president said, "or you are with the terrorists."

The president delivered an ultimatum to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. He demanded that Kabul turn over the terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden, and all other terrorists in Afghanistan to U.S. authorities, to clear the terrorist camps and allow American forces to inspect them, and to free foreign nationals held in Afghanistan. The president was forceful in asserting: "These demands are not open to negotiation or discussion."

Bush was careful to draw distinctions between Muslim terrorists and all other Muslims, whether in their own nations or here in America. "The enemy of America," he said, "is not our many Muslim friends." He urged Americans to live up to their best principles by respecting the rights of all compatriots, no matter their race or religion.

The president's address will surely go far to rally the American people but it will not squelch debate over the nation's course of action, nor should it. That debate is evidence of a robust democracy and is a strength, not a weakness, that will produce the best and most widely supported decisions in the days ahead.

Even as the president spoke, American armed forces under his command moved into position on land and at sea to strike targets in Afghanistan and elsewhere thought to harbor terrorists. The president cautioned: "Americans should not expect one battle, but a lengthy campaign unlike any other we have ever seen."

Turning to the military leaders seated just below him in the Capitol, the president ordered them to be ready: "The hour is coming when America will act, and you will make us proud."

Prompt action needed
at state, federal levels

The issue: Last week's attack
on America has devastated the
tourist industry, which needs help.

AMERICA'S war against terrorism may turn out to be lengthy, but the economy -- in Hawaii and across the nation -- could suffer permanent damage in a very short time. Federal, state and county measures are needed promptly to soften the blow and help various industries struggle through the next few months on the road to recovery. They have gotten off to a good start in the last few days but the days of real sweat are still ahead.

The Social Security "lock box" is open, as is Hawaii's $40 million rainy-day fund of tobacco-settlement money. Governor Cayetano has suggested tapping into the $190 million Hurricane Relief Fund and diverting airport construction money.

The governor is calling the Legislature into special session next month to authorize use of those state funds. The money would be used to offset a tax cut, a waiver of airline landing fees, an extension of unemployment benefits, and other measures aimed at helping bring the state's $11-billion visitor industry back to its feet.

In the past week, Hawaii tourism has been down 40 percent, a slump that could quickly bankrupt some travel-related businesses and send shock waves throughout the state's economy. Federal regulatory agencies are asking banks, saving institutions and credit unions to waive late payment fees, extend loans and make other concessions to customers, and Cayetano is making the same pitch to Hawaii's financial institutions.

The proposals surfaced from a three-hour meeting of Cayetano and the state's top banking, tourism, aviation and political leaders. "We are facing a statewide problem that impacts everyone in this state, whether you work for the tourist industry, pump gas or work for the state," he said.

President Bush has signed into law a $40-billion emergency spending package, and a bill to provide assistance to airlines is being prepared. Consumer confidence in the nation's economy and air transport safety are vital to Hawaii's rebound. Recovery of international tourism is crucial, and Cayetano will be joined by former Governors Ariyoshi and Waihee in a trip to Japan to provide assurance that Hawaii is open for business.

R&R in Hawaii
for rescue workers
is a fine idea

As high-level tourism and political leaders consider ways to buttress Hawaii's teetering economy, a splendid idea springs from a small businessman here that could reap a multitude of benefits.

In a letter to the editor published today, Gene Lancette, whose flight back home from Minneapolis the morning of Sept. 11 was canceled because of the terrorist attacks, suggests that Hawaii offer free vacations to New York City and Washington, D.C., firefighters and police officers who have been toiling relentlessly in rescue and clean-up operations.

Lancette, a professional photographer, says this would extend the graciousness of Hawaii's aloha across the nation: "It would be an excellent opportunity to show that we care."

The images of these heroic men and women savoring Hawaii's beaches and sunshine could also go a long way in luring others to vacation here and showing that the state's tourism industry is up and running.

The cost could be borne equally by hotels, airlines, retail stores, tourist attractions, restaurants and other tourist-related businesses. Taxpayers could kick in a share through state grants.

"It would show that we can find a way out of anything," says Lancette.

Published by Oahu Publications Inc., a subsidiary of Black Press.

Don Kendall, President

John Flanagan, publisher and editor in chief 529-4748;
Frank Bridgewater, managing editor 529-4791;
Michael Rovner,
assistant managing editor 529-4768;
Lucy Young-Oda, assistant managing editor 529-4762;

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