If we use these actions as a guidepost to the meaning of "cowardly", then how do our own war-time aggressions appear? Were the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki the most courageous attacks any country could hope to have initiated? How about our terrorist attacks (both economic and military) against Cuba or Iraq, the carpet bombing of rural populations in Vietnam, or the murder and forced internment of Filipinos? Are these events to be held aloft as pinnacles of greatness and ultimate good? I'm sure we can all come up with excellent rationalisations for these atrocities. We had our reasons and our reasons are not to be questioned.
The United States has attacked the civilian populations of many countries and yet we have never been indicted on war crimes. Why is that? That's an easy one. We are the world's superpower. Anyone who stands in our way will feel our wrath. We will decry your actions as cowardly, even though you give your lives for what you believe in. We will destroy your populations, degrade your infrastructure. When we are done with you, you will come begging for our help.
I'm not saying what happened in New York on September 11 is excusable. It was a horrible act of violence which should be condemned until the sun no longer shines, but we cannot pretend that we are innocent of crimes equal to and worse than these attacks, or that our reasons for murder are more holy than those of others.
Do not think for a moment that these attacks were unprovoked. Someone is very angry at the United States for something. Angry enough to kill thousands of innocent people to get their point across, angry enough to die doing it.
So today I implore you to pray to your chosen diety, mourn the senseless loss of life, and think very hard about what we have done to bring this upon ourselves.