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As I write, it is still barely possible to comprehend the full magnitude and meaning of the terrorist attack unleashed on Sept. 11. I’m told more people were killed at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and in the Pennsylvania plane crash than we lost in any single day of fighting during World War II. America has again been taken by surprise by forces of evil, and we have been drawn into a new kind of global conflict. In the space of a few minutes, the 21st century lost its innocence for a new generation of Americans. Beyond the immense personal loss and suffering caused by these acts of terror, Americans must now cope with a more uncertain future. The uncertainties relate to our national security, our economic interests and ultimately America’s place in the world. A dark cloud of insecurity now hovers over a country once thought secure. A terrorist group has inflicted damage that no conventional military aggressor ever could hope to inflict. A gaping hole in our air transport security system has been exposed. Our counter-terrorism intelligence capabilities have been questioned. There is no reason to believe we have seen more than the tip of the iceberg in the attack against America. The U.S. military’s efforts to root out the groups behind the terrorists in foreign lands may provoke further attacks against America, Americans abroad and our allies. In short, a horrible cycle of violence and insecurity may have only just begun. In this climate, we must balance the need to strike back and for stronger security measures against the imperative to uphold the rule of law and civil liberties. We know from past mistakes that we must not betray civilization to protect civilization. We, as lawyers, have a special role to play in this regard. While much is written and said about the negative image lawyers have in our society, the simple truth of the matter is that in communities across America lawyers always have been presumed to be leaders, to be individuals possessing judgment and balanced and logical thinking. We now have a responsibility to speak out individually and collectively in reminding our fellow citizens that, among other things, regardless of our anger and desire to strike back, the U.S. Constitution and the role of law never must be forgotten. POWERFUL WORDS Apart from the cost of physical recovery and further recessionary pressures on the U.S. economy, one of the most serious economic implications of what has happened may have to do with globalization. In a sense, destruction of the World Trade Center was the ultimate anti-globalization protest. Since the end of the Cold War, we have operated on the correct assumption that an increasingly borderless world is a good thing. Free trade and open markets, capital and labor mobility, and information flows have all been integral parts of global economic growth over the past decade. But the events of last week may cast a long shadow over the hopes about rapid globalization in the minds of investors, tourists and citizens of the world. The sense of heightened risk will take time to subside. Acts of terror will not be enough to undermine the fundamental logic of our increasingly interdependent world, even with all its imperfections. The international outpouring of grief and condolences and pledges of support are reminders that America is not alone in this time of crisis. They also remind us that we must value international cooperation. Of course, we will defend our homeland and ourselves vigorously, but in the end our best defense is our common humanity. Many years ago, at another time of national crisis, Walter Lippman wrote words that have even more meaning today than when written: “You took the good things for granted. Now you must earn them again. It is written; for every right that you cherish, you have a duty which you must fulfill. For every hope that you entertain, you have a task that you must perform. For every good that you wish could happen — you will have to sacrifice your comfort and ease. There is nothing for nothing any longer.” There could not be a better message for each of us and our country. Robert S. Strauss served as a special agent of the FBI after earning his law degree from the University of Texas. In 1945, he founded the firm that became Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. Under President Jimmy Carter, Strauss served as Carter’s personal representative to the Middle East peace negotiations. In 1981, Strauss was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award.

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