Organic Matter: War against terrorism is rapidly becoming scale of mental highs, lows

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has repeatedly said the war on terrorism will not end with the death or capture of Osama bin Laden.

His entire al-Qaida network must be eliminated and then there are other countries that sponsor terrorists to deal with.

The war could last for years is what we are told.

If that's true, we had better get used to being on an emotional roller coaster.

At least, that is how I feel if event of last week become common.

American air strikes escalated Thursday in the Tora Bora area near the border of Pakistan.

Tora Bora contains a network of caves where bin Laden and his lieutenants may be hiding.

The war continued on the home front as U.S.

officials debated whether to release a videotape showing bin Laden discussing with delight with a Saudi sheik the attacks of Sept.

11.

The tape reportedly was made Nov.

9 and found in a residence in Jalalabad.

Officials consider the tape, which was released to the media Thursday, as further evidence of bin Laden's role in the attacks as he demonstrates specific knowledge of the time, location and methods employed.

A Pentagon statement said it allowed release of the tape after balancing "concerns about any additional pain that could be caused by its release against the value of having the world fully appreciate what we are up against in the war against terrorism."

Reaction was swift among people who viewed portions of the tape on newscasts as reported by the Associated Press.

"I can't believe they're actually praising their god for this," said David Castellano, a computer technician in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"They seem overjoyed by the fact that it was a worse tragedy than they anticipated."

Mark Finelli is an investment banker from Tucson and was on the 61st floor of one of the towers when it was hit.

He said he felt very violent and enraged and wanted to punch the screen.

"He's an evil man," said Marine Lance Cpl.

Tate Parmer of Salt Lake City.

"He definitely needs to be taken out."

Capt.

Keith Morehead of Fire Station 24 in St.

Paul, Minn.

may have best summed up how Americans now feel about bin Laden.

"It no longer matters if Bush says he's guilty or Rumsfeld says he's guilty because now he says he's guilty," Morehead said.

While the bin Laden tape was the biggest piece of news, there were other events to spark our emotions.

On Wednesday, a B-1B bomber crashed into the Indian Ocean after it took off for Afghanistan from the island of Diego Garcia.

The four Air Force crewmembers on board were in the water for about two hours before being rescued by the guided missile destroyer USS Russell.

A $280 million dollar plane was lost, but thankfully there were no fatalities.

Work continues at Ground Zero in New York City, where the World Trade Center's twin towers fell after each was hit by a jet under the control of terrorists.

Wednesday also brought some good news for retired New York firefighter Lee Lelpi.

His 29-year-old son, Jonathan, died in the WTC collapse and his body was recovered from what once was a subterranean shopping mall beneath the twin towers.

The Lelpi family now will be able to gain a measure of closure that hundreds of other families cannot until their missing loved ones are accounted for.

However, it was sad to learn Thursday that a woman, who lost her husband in the attack, had committed suicide Monday.

Pat Flounders, 51, apparently died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in her home.

Her husband, Joe, 46, worked for Euro Brokers, Inc.

on the 84th floor of the trade center's South Tower, the second skyscraper hit on Sept.

11.

She was in poor health and recovering after recently having a pacemaker implanted in her chest.

A friend said the widow lost the will to live following her husband's death.

Terry Organ is the Miner's education, health and weather reporter.