One word I've heard very little this past week is "peace". It seems to have been blotted out by "revenge", "victory", and "war". Still, for some of us, peace seems like a much more important goal than vengence.
To work toward peace, America needs to examine justice in a broader light than the punishment of a particular group of evil terrorists. Freedom, liberty, and justice are high ideals, ideals Americans have often ignored abroad in defense of a particular way of life at home. Our own freedom, liberty, and justice are given far higher priority than the freedom, liberty, and justice of others; even genuine horrors outside of the nation's borders only occasionally tempt us to act, especially when the benefits within our borders are unclear.
Working toward peace requires exploring the reasons so many people rejoice in our pain, and taking long-term steps to reduce that anger and hatred. Working toward peace demands a much closer examination of our foreign policies and their impact on both allies and opponents. Working toward peace may demand abandoning the "me first" attitude of traditional diplomacy, and attempting selflessness when it seems most counterintuitive.
This is a difficult road to take, even to suggest, in the light of this past week's events. It's a road that might have been much more easily taken forty or fifty years ago. I worry most, however, that someone else will be making that precise claim forty or fifty years from now when it is, perhaps, too late.