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January 31 , 2009

The Price of Terror


President Bill Clinton called it "an attack against America," but after Libyan agents planted a bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 103, killing 259 people in the air and 11 on the ground, America did not strike back. Instead, the grieving relatives of the victims did the unthinkable—as mere civilians-and tried to force Libya to pay for its crime. Lawyers told the families that they could never sue Libya in American courts, and they were right. This would require changing a bedrock principle of international law—a change that every government in the world feared and fought, including the United States itself.

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