American hearts surely go out to Russians, who have once again suffered a terrorist attack, this last one in a school with more than 350 hostages dead, many of them children.
Americans might also reflect that what's happening in Russia signals the need for a worldwide fight against terrorism as a means of securing goals, not just against particular terrorists.
In some ways, the terrorism the Russians are facing is different from what Americans faced in the attack of Sept. 11, 2001. While al-Qaida may have had a hand in funding the atrocity in Russia, the terrorists seem to have been separatists responding to Russia's tactics — some dreadful — in maintaining rule over Chechnya. America was hit chiefly because of what America represents in the world.
All acts of terrorism, however, have this in common: They randomly kill the innocent. Americans have a particular enemy, an Islamic faction that is fanatical, hate-filled and fascist, on which America must focus primarily. But Americans, along with the rest of the civilized world, must also stand up against terrorism as a tactic, no matter what its motive might be or what group is employing it.
If worldwide outrage is sufficient, if the understanding goes deep enough concerning the ongoing threat terrorism poses to all people, terrorism can be lessened over time. The terrorists have to learn that their methods will never win them sympathy, just condemnation, and will never win them whatever they seek, just a determination to exterminate the guilty.
Russia, we cry with you.