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AMID THE SUFFERING, SOMEONE IS CELEBRATING

Somewhere, someone is celebrating.

Somewhere, someone is receiving heroes' accolades for a mission accomplished.Somewhere, someone is congratulating himself - or perhaps herself - for conceiving and planning a successful mission.

While the bleeding goes on, the throb of pain grows, the mourning mounts and shock reverberates across a nation unaccustomed to such barbarity within its borders, somewhere, someone is gloating about the Oklahoma City massacre.

That is the thought that most amazes and infuriates decent Americans.

But somewhere, someone is rejoicing about this latest slaughter of the innocents, convinced that this vile deed has contributed to some cause that justifies the suspension of universal imperatives of the human conscience.

It is not, of course, the bombers who are celebrating.

They are hiding. But it will do no good, They will be caught.

No, it is those who persuaded them to do it, those who duped them into becoming mass murderers who are exulting - toasting each other, perhaps.

But their rejoicing will turn to remorse.

The wine will turn bitter as blood, for they have made a fatal error with the Oklahoma atrocity.

This time, they have stung too hard and, in so doing, have aroused a slumberous giant from torpid tentativeness toward international terrorism.

No one who witnessed a President Clinton so angry that he was trembling when he appeared on television could doubt that.

The exultant architects of the car-bombing display a foolish contempt for and a fundamental ignorance of the dynamics of the complex character of American society.

They believe they can frighten America into abandoning its role as the leader of the forces for freedom and democracy in the international community.

Such is the thinking of those committed to the use of the cowardly terror weapon - the inflicting of random violence against unsuspecting civilians, even children in a day-care center - that they believe they can shake the confidence of any nation.

Some nations have been cowed by such acts into becoming more accommodating in their policies toward the states that sponsor the terrorists and the most notorious terrorist organizations.

But not this nation.

The bombing of the World Trade Center in New York was an effort to show that even the United States cannot count itself invulnerable to such terrorist pressure.

Wednesday's villainy undoubtedly was intended to drive that point home with greater emphasis by showing that this country could be hit anywhere, at any time, not just in its most cosmopolitan urban centers.

The villains made their point, but they did it too well.

This, their vilest act thus far in this country, will bestir this nation to combat international terrorism in the way that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor rallied American people to fight World War II.

Americans will demand justice for the victims of the villainy in Oklahoma City, but they will not be satisfied with punishment of only those who drove the vehicle that carried the bomb.

Neither is Clinton likely to be satisfied with a limited measure of justice - and punishment.

The president said the United States will not "be intimidated by evil cowards."

And he is right.

But it is not enough just to apprehend and convict the actual killers.

This country must lead and provide all the diplomatic, law enforcement, intelligence and even military resources necessary to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism.