FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Alaska's congressional delegation talked of retribution after the terrorist disaster on the East Coast. But the state's senior senator said national leaders need to help American young people understand the tragedy that has occurred.
''We don't know yet who we are at war with now, but we are at war,'' said Republican Sen. Ted Stevens. The United States will deliver terrible retribution once the nation's leaders figure out who was responsible, Stevens said.
But he said on the Senate floor Wednesday that ''I hope we take the time to explain to them (young Americans) why we're going to retaliate. I hope we take the time to explain to them why we're going to change some of the security procedures of our country.''
''I am confident the responsible party will come forward,'' said Rep. Don Young. ''They cannot hold down the great joy of this. And when that's done, I'm hoping that we will do what I expect this president to do and the Congress to do and that's expect to have a pound of flesh.''
Stevens said retaliation must be carried out carefully.
''What we do is going to be terrible retribution, unloosing the power of the greatest nation in the world, military and economically, and I think we should,'' Stevens said. ''But we've got to be awfully sure who we're after.''
''I wouldn't want to indiscriminately attack those who have failed to maintain the standards we have about terrorism,'' he said.
Both Young and Stevens compared the attack to Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, but said this was worse.
''This is more dastardly,'' said Stevens, who a pilot in World War II. ''This is an unknown enemy of America. The Japanese (raid) was a sneak attack, but we all knew, they had symbols on their planes.''
Murkowski said Americans would ''have to come to grips'' with combatting terrorism and new security measures.
Murkowski said he had heard of plots similar to Tuesday's attack during his eight years, from 1984 to 1992, on the Senate Intelligence Committee.
''You know, we've stopped a lot. There was an effort to take down a half-dozen jumbo jets at one time,'' he said. ''In the old days we had lots of spies, and now we have fewer.''
Young said the attacks might be linked to protests against the World Trade Organization, scheduled to meet later this month in Washington, D.C.
''If you watched what happened (at past protests) in Genoa, in Italy, and even in Seattle, there's some expertise in that field,'' Young said. ''I'm not sure they're that dedicated, but eco-terrorists -- which are really based in Seattle -- there's a strong possibility that could be one of the groups.''
Stevens said he feels the terrorists must have been foreign.
''I can't, in my heart, believe that an American would be involved in that,'' Stevens said.
The very sophistication of the attack means those behind it will be found out, Stevens said.
''Look at the type of planes that have been used.... It's not normal to have that many people who can step in and fly 757s and 767s,'' he said. ''They've been in simulators somewhere. They've been trained somewhere. They've been coordinated somewhere.''
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