The murder and mutilation of Daniel Pearl ought to make several things very clear.

First, the war on terror has just begun.

We're dealing with people who love to murder others, who have contempt for the United States, our values and the sanctity of human life. They are evil. They are also determined.

Second, we are different.

We don't target civilians for murder, much less ritual slaughter. We treat our enemies with far more compassion than they treat us. The butchery of Daniel Pearl exposes the hollow silliness of the complaints that we were being too nasty with the prisoners at Camp X-Ray.

Third, even now, when our instincts tell us to rise up and crush our enemies, we've got to temper our determination with humanity, taking care to single out true agents of evil rather than entire nations.

But make no mistake. We must capture and punish Pearl's killers and we must throw into our attackers a combination of certainty and fear: certainty that we will act, and a fear of what will happen to them when we do.