USA Pride                         

I received many interesting emails worth sharing, as I'm sure most of you did.  Rather than clutter up everyone's mailboxes, I've created this page.  My only criteria is that they are thought-provoking, not necessarily that I agree with them.   I've received others, which I hope to post soon.  --BW

Back

Opportunities to Make a Difference

Photos of the WTC
(taken by GWHHS's Gary Abrams and Friends)

Click here if you haven't heard about game that was cancelled in 
Philadelphia the night of President Bush's speech to the nation.
(submitted by Roy Sheinbaum)

Neat pictorial/message sent by Shirley Kranz

Click on the following bookmarks to go to the messages lower on this page.

World for Our Children (this is really sweet)

A Message for Peace

Interview With God
ActForChange Activism Update: September 27, 2001

Letter From Dr. Tony Kern, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret)

Essay by Nan Charlton (a.k.a. Nanci Grant)

10 Points We Are Missing

Taylor and Beth's Message of Peace

Perspective

Message from His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Message from Roger Ebert

Message from Deepak Choprah
Message from Neale Donald Walsch
The World Trade Center:  The Price Of Pansyhood by Fred Reed
Message from Alima Dieter

Compassion and Revenge

An Afghan-American Speaks

Click on the following links to visit them on the Internet.

Beautiful and powerful images of support from around the world (sent by Jeff Conklin)

More images of support  (sent by Peter Lish)  Duplicate in case the other link is tied up

Petition for Peace and Justice (sent by Jeff Conklin)

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World for Our Children

(sent by David Lippy)

Here is the most appropriate response I can think of for my concern about the kind of world our kids are inheriting.  I'm so glad it was sent to me. It's a post written by one of my friends on a board for expectant mothers.  This girl lives very close to NYC, and this is her response to all our  "WHAT KIND OF WORLD ARE WE BRINGING OUR CHILDREN INTO?!"  posts.

"We are bringing our children into a world......

where they are turning volunteers away at the downtown hospitals because so many have turned out to help...

where they are asking employees at my medical center to withhold giving blood for 2 weeks because the current response to the need in our community is so great...

where nurses and doctors are coming in without being called and staying longer than they need to to bring care to those who need it...

where total strangers helped others find the way out of the consuming clouds of smoke and rubble ...

where the bravest of the brave gave their lives for the sake of saving a stranger...

where so many of those bravest are still going above and beyond their duty to recover survivors...

where construction companies have donated their time and equipment to help with clearing away the debris...

where large, usually cold-seeming pharmaceuticals and medical supply companies have come forward offering whatever is needed to accommodate the number of patients...

where some people , for whatever reason, didn't go into work that day - each of them is a miracle...

where some were in the buildings that were hit, and somehow made it out in time - are all living miracles...

where I've never felt so united with the stranger next to me, who isn't just a stranger anymore, but a fellow- American...

Of all the things that have shaken me to the core in the last 24 hours,
my faith in the goodness of humanity is stronger than ever."

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A Message for Peace

(by GWHHS's own, Debra Kahn)

 

To describe what happened on September 11 as frightening, sick or awful

requires us to create new definitions for those words. We can not put

words on what took place. As I worked with the children in my classroom

on Tuesday, and received tidbits of information in low whispers from my

colleagues, I felt numb, unable to comprehend what i was told was

happening in New York and nearby in Washington DC. It was not until

later when I saw the video footage on television and watched again and

again from different perspectives as the planes flew into the Twin

Towers, as people jumped to their deaths from the building and as these

skyscrapers -- the essence of the New York skyline -- collapsed, that

I could begin to fathom in my mind what had occurred. And even now I

know that I cannot comprehend the magnitude and the horror of what took

place because, thank god, i was not there.

 

Seeing these events on television and reading about the experiences of

individuals in the newspaper really helped me process what happened.

But to balance the media reports of this tragedy, to re-direct the

effect of these horrible images and talk of war that we are being

bombarded with now, I want to share with you a different perspective.

On Wednesday our school was closed. But our entire faculty met in the

morning to discuss how we could best meet the needs of both children and

their parents -- our community -- to help them deal with this tragedy.

 

We started out talking about how to frame this horrible incident in

light of the approach the media takes to communicate these events.

Headlines like “America Attacked” add to the consciousness of fear and

fuels the retribution oriented demeanor of our society.

 

Should we seek and support retribution? Is that what the majority of

Americans want? Well, after listening to television reports and reading

newspaper headlines many will certainly feel swayed to want to destroy

as we have been destroyed. But is that really the answer? Is that the

message we want to convey to our children?

 

As we talked we recognized the need for some form of justice, but we

also acknowledged the need to stand for peace and to continue to

communicate that message to our community, to both parents and children,

so that we are not just victims of the media, as well as victims of

these fanatical individuals.

 

Do we want to become part of the cycle of justice through violence, or

do we want to support the systems of justice that do exist in the

world? Organizations like the United Nations and the World Court in

the Hague have been set up to make countries and individuals accountable

for their actions. We can support these structures that seek justice,

not revenge. We can build awareness toward those institutions instead

of toward acts of war and retribution.

 

The media tends to continually repeat news events to such a degree

that the fabric of my brain becomes etched with them. It is difficult,

nearly impossible to escape the effect of these images. Certainly the

children will be affected whether or not they consciously are exposed to

these images. Their parents will feel them and convey fear and hatred

even if they don’t realize it.

 

One of the teachers reported that she had not talked with her five year

old son about what happened, except to say that the reason why we left

school early was because a very bad crash had occurred and we needed to

keep the roads clear so that the rescue workers could get through to

help people. She did not tell him any more details, nor did he watch

any TV. Yet he woke up in the night having a bad dream saying that a

building had tumbled down and a plane had crashed, but people were

trying to help the hurt people. What do children sense and internalize

in spite of how much we try to protect them? They will pick up

information and store it in their brains and in their bodies, making

decisions about life.

 

We decided that to counteract the media’s focus on the fear, anger and

desire for retaliation that these events have precipitated, we needed to

talk to the children about empathy, gratitude and love. Empathy for the

victims, gratitude for the firefighters, police, doctors and fellow

Americans who are trying to save lives, gratitude for our own lives and

the love that we can experience in our own hearts and for each other.

One thing we can do to counteract terrorism is to promote the ideals of

peace - in our actions, in our words, in our own private practices,

toward our friends and family. Whether it’s caring for the earth,

sending a card to someone who is hurt, reaching out to the elderly or

the disabled, the only hope for living in a world with out violence is

to teach our children how to make their own individual lives positive.

We need to teach them that peace is an action.

 

Gandhi said, “Face violence with soul-force.” That’s the kind of force

we want to propagate in our children. The building of their soul, the

power of their spirit, the acknowledgment that who they are inside can

never collapse.

 

For me, it was phenomenal that we could come together as a faculty and

talk about what happened. Not from a political perspective and not from

a perspective of retribution and revenge. But we spoke from a platform

on how to make peace real for ourselves, for our children and their

parents. We discussed how we can keep the spirit of peace alive -- in a

real way, in a heart-felt way -- despite what is being promoted all

around us.

 

It’s the quintessential battle. It’s why our director started the

school in the first place, it’s why I’ve worked there for ten years.

Not as an escape from the realities of our society, but to be a beacon,

to pave a path of light and beauty alongside the dark ragged paths of

this world. To walk secure, not in the knowledge that I am safe in this

world, but to know that I am safe in what I stand for, in myself.

 

As someone said in our meeting on Wednesday, the forces of love are

stronger than the forces of hate. So today, in the aftermath of this

horrible violence, as you talk about what happened with your children,

family members and friends, please remember to speak of Love. Remember

to appreciate life. Remember to cherish your neighbors from every

country in this world. And remember that peace begins with you.

 

Debra Kahn

Teacher

Oneness-Family School

Chevy Chase, Maryland

 

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Interview With God
(I can't remember who sent this to me.  Sorry!)

The link for the whole  article is:  http://www.theonion.com/onion3734/god_clarifies_dont_kill.html 

Here's an excerpt:  

...

"I don't care how holy somebody claims to be," God said. "If a person tells you it's My will that they kill someone, they're wrong. Got it?  I don't care what religion you are, or who you think your enemy is, here it is one more time: No killing, in My name or anyone else's, ever again."

....

"I tried to put it in the simplest possible terms for you people, so you'd get it straight, because I thought it was pretty important," said God, called Yahweh and Allah respectively in the Judaic and Muslim traditions. "I guess I figured I'd left no real room for confusion after putting it in a four-word sentence with one-syllable words, on the tablets I gave to Moses. How much more clear can I get?"

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ActForChange Activism Update: September 27, 2001


We continue to mourn the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. With others, we also continue to contribute and raise money for relief work and for efforts to build a more just world. We have raised our match from $1 million to $1.5 million as donations pour in at www.GiveForChange.com. Click here to see a list of groups we hope you will consider.

Many members of the ActForChange community have asked what else they can do in addition to providing financial support. We have compiled a list of actions which relate in some way to the events of September 11. We have even located a way to contact the only accessible public representative of the Taliban! (click here for that action). It remains important to let decision-makers know that we are engaged in civic life and attentive to the responses being made on behalf of the American people.

In the weeks after the initial horror, the debate over how to respond to the attacks has become more reasoned and has broadened from seeking immediate revenge to a more long-term and thoughtful approach. As some hate crimes against Arab Americans happen, President Bush has made clear with his words and actions that such racist retaliation is "un-American."

Talk of nuking Afghanistan and Iraq back to the Stone Age is rapidly receding, amid efforts to discuss both a long-term commitment to fighting terrorism and to consider why some so hate the United States. Internal dissent about whether to wage a broad stroke war is rising, but is increasingly discussed as part of the American tradition rather than treason. This is all to the good and demonstrates the resilience of the American people.

Please consider the following actions.


ACTIVISM OPPORTUNITIES

Tell the Taliban What You Think
The Taliban has been roundly condemned in the international community for providing a safe haven for Osama bin Laden and other known terrorists in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon. If you wish to send a message to Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban Ambassador to Pakistan, calling on the group to turn over bin Laden and ease the oppression of women and relief workers in Afghanistan, ActForChange will print out your e-mail and mail or fax it to him.
**Please note, for security concerns, no last names or addresses of individuals will be provided under any circumstances.
Click here to take action now!

Don't Erode Civil Liberties Without Serious Debate
Attorney General John Ashcroft has used the tragedy of September 11 to dust off long standing proposals to severely limit civil liberties, including a broad expansion of wiretapping and unlimited preventive detention of immigrants. While Mr. Ashcroft is demanding immediate passage, Congress should be deliberate and thoughtful before broadening surveillance and detention. Click here to take action now!

Demand Diverse Views in Media Coverage of Terrorist Attacks
The broadcast television networks did an excellent job of showing the horror of the attacks, but a poor job of explaining the full range of perspectives on what should come next. By far the worst was Fox News. Urge Fox to include a full range of perspectives in their coverage.
Click here to take action now!

The Taliban, Osama bin Laden, and Afghan Women
For years, many feminist organizations have been trying to focus world attention on the brutal suppression of women and girls by the Taliban, with little success. With the horrific acts of September 11, this problem has not gone away but come into clearer focus. Urge Secretary of State Colin Powell to do everything in his power to help Afghan women and girls, who have been held hostage by the brutal Taliban militia and must be freed. Click here to take action now!

Reduce Our Dependence on Foreign Oil
While the terrorist attacks did not occur because we are addicted to oil from the Middle East, the United States should not have to take into account the reactions of countries like Saudi Arabia simply because we depend on their oil. Strangely, the Department of Energy has proposed to roll back new standards for air conditioners that would save vast quantities of petroleum. Contact Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham and let him know that rolling back the energy-saving air conditioner standards is a bad idea. Click here to take action now!

Ensure Airport Security
Urge your senators to increase public safety at airports by transferring the responsibility for airport security from the airlines to the airports or the federal government and ensuring that screeners are given adequate support, proper training, sufficient pay and a strong voice in order to provide the safest travel for us all.
Click here to take action now!


Working Assets Matches Donations Up to $1,500,000
In light of the recent tragedy, Working Assets has expanded the Tax Rebate Matching Grant program to include organizations supporting relief efforts, peace and justice. Working Assets will double the power of your donation, up to $1,000, to one (or many) of the nonprofit groups listed on GiveForChange.com by matching contributions up to $1.5 million. Please see site for complete details. As always, your online transaction is fast, easy and tax-deductible — simply click here to donate.

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        Letter From Dr. Tony Kern, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret)

                                           (sent by Edmond Shell)

 

This was written by an academic advisor at the Air Force Academy. He was
not only one of the most brilliant men his student (who passed this
letter along to the net) ever met, but also an individual who combined
that brilliance with common sense to lead others. The historian's words
are ones that haven't been heard yet but those which his student
believes will come to be true before we have the chance to recover from
this initial tragedy.

*************************************************************

Recently, I was asked to look at the recent events through the lens of
military history. I have joined the cast of thousands who have written
an "open letter to Americans." Please share it if you feel so moved.

14 September, 2001

Dear friends and fellow Americans:

Like everyone else in this great country, I am reeling from last week's
attack on our sovereignty. But unlike some, I am not reeling from
surprise.

As a career soldier and a student and teacher of military history, I
have a different perspective and I think you should hear it. This war
will be won or lost by the American citizens, not diplomats, politicians
or soldiers.
Let me briefly explain.

In spite of what the media, and even our own government is telling us,
this act was not committed by a group of mentally deranged fanatics. To
dismiss them as such would be among the gravest of mistakes. This attack
was committed by a ferocious, intelligent and dedicated adversary. Don't
take this the wrong way. I don't admire these men and I deplore their
tactics, but I respect their capabilities.

The many parallels that have been made with the Japanese attack on Pearl
Harbor are apropos. Not only because it was a brilliant sneak attack
against a complacent America, but also because we may well be pulling
our new adversaries out of caves 30 years after we think this war is
over, just like my father's generation had to do with the formidable
Japanese in the years following WW II.

These men hate the United States with all of their being, and we must
not underestimate the power of their moral commitment. Napoleon, perhaps
the world's greatest combination of soldier and statesman, stated "the
moral is to the physical as three is to one." Patton thought the
Frenchman underestimated its importance and said moral conviction was
five times more important in battle than physical strength.

Our enemies are willing--better said anxious -- to give their lives for
their cause. How committed are we, America? And for how long?

In addition to demonstrating great moral conviction, the recent attack
demonstrated a mastery of some of the basic fundamentals of warfare
taught to most military officers worldwide, namely simplicity, security
and surprise. When I first heard rumors that some of these men may have
been trained at our own Air War College, it made perfect sense to me.
This was not a random act of violence, and we can expect the same sort
of military competence to be displayed in the battle to come. This war
will escalate, with a good portion of it happening right here in the
good ol' U.S. of A.

These men will not go easily into the night. They do not fear us. We
must not fear them.

In spite of our overwhelming conventional strength as the world's only
"superpower" (a truly silly term), we are the underdog in this fight. As
you listen to the carefully scripted rhetoric designed to prepare us for
the march for war, please realize that America is not equipped or
seriously trained for the battle ahead. To be certain, our soldiers are
much better than the enemy, and we have some excellent
"counter-terrorist" organizations, but they are mostly trained for
hostage rescues, airfield seizures, or the occasional "body snatch,"
(which may come in handy). We will be fighting a war of annihilation,
because if their early efforts are any indication, our enemy is ready
and willing to die to the last man.

Eradicating the enemy will be costly and time consuming. They have
already deployed their forces in as many as 20 countries, and are likely
living the lives of everyday citizens. Simply put, our soldiers will be
tasked with a search and destroy mission on multiple foreign landscapes,
and the public must be patient and supportive until the strategy and
tactics can be worked out.

For the most part, our military is still in the process of redefining
itself and presided over by men and women who grew up with - and were
promoted because they excelled in - Cold War doctrine, strategy and
tactics. This will not be linear warfare, there will be no clear
"centers of gravity" to strike with high technology weapons. Our vast
technological edge will certainly be helpful, but it will not be
decisive. Perhaps the perfect metaphor for the coming battle was
introduced by the terrorists themselves aboard the hijacked aircraft --
this will be a knife fight, and it will be won or lost by the ingenuity
and will of citizens and soldiers, not by software or smart bombs. We
must also be patient with our military leaders.

Unlike Americans who are eager to put this messy time behind us, our
adversaries have time on their side, and they will use it. They plan to
fight a battle of attrition, hoping to drag the battle out until the
American public loses its will to fight. This might be difficult to
believe in this euphoric time of flag waving and patriotism, but it is
generally acknowledged that America lacks the stomach for a long fight.

We need only look as far back as Vietnam, when North Vietnamese General
Vo Nguyen Giap (also a military history teacher) defeated the United
States of America without ever winning a major tactical battle. American
soldiers who marched to war cheered on by flag waving Americans in 1965
were reviled and spat upon less than three years later when they
returned. Although we hope that Usama Bin Laden is no Giap, he is
certain to understand and employ the concept. We can expect not only
large doses of pain like the recent attacks, but also less audacious
"sand in the gears" tactics, ranging from livestock infestations to
attacks at water supplies and power distribution facilities. These
attacks are designed to hit us in our "comfort zone" forcing the average
American to "pay more and play less" and eventually eroding our resolve.
But it can only work if we let it.

It is clear to me that the will of the American citizenry - you and I -
is the center of gravity the enemy has targeted. It will be the fulcrum
upon which victory or defeat will turn. He believes us to be soft,
impatient, and self-centered. He may be right, but if so, we must
change. The Prussian general Carl von Clausewitz, (the most often quoted
and least read military theorist in history), says that there is a
"remarkable trinity of war" that is composed of the (1) will of the
people, (2) the political leadership of the government, and (3) the
chance and probability that plays out on the field of battle, in that
order.

Every American citizen was in the crosshairs of last Tuesday's attack,
not just those that were unfortunate enough to be in the World Trade
Center or Pentagon. The will of the American people will decide this
war. If we are to win, it will be because we have what it takes to
persevere through a few more hits, learn from our mistakes, improvise
and adapt. If we can do that, we will eventually prevail.

Everyone I've talked to in the past few days has shared a common
frustration, saying in one form or another "I just wish I could do
something!" You are already doing it. Just keep faith in America, and
continue to support your President and military, and the outcome is
certain. If we fail to do so, the outcome is equally certain.

God Bless America

Dr. Tony Kern, Lt. Col., USAF (Ret)
Former Director of Military History, USAF Academy


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          Essay by Nan Charlton (a.k.a. Nanci Grant)

 

Billy,

It's taken me awhile to thaw out after the shock. Finally, after three

nights of Halle running into our room screening about "Dracula coming", my

deep despair gave over to mindful rage. Here is the fruit of its labor.  I

knew if I didn't write something about this, I would never creatively write

again.  I've sent it to The Times Op-Ed page and it will be published in the

equivalent of The Times in Istanbul.  I wanted to share it with you and

anyone else you feel it appropriate.  Let me know what you think. I hope you

are well and safe and all those you love.

Love, Nanci

 

Dear Mr. bin Laden and Al-Qaeda Organization,

First of all, I would like to apologize on behalf of my country. To scroll

back towards a beginning, we obviously dropped the ball after the

Afghan-Soviet Conflict, when we abandoned the Afghani people and the

Mujahadeen freedom fighters. I¹m sure I can understand how, without job

security, cause and country, you evolved into the bloodthirsty Terrorists

with no regard for human life, that you are today. If this act of aggression

had anything to do with accountability, I would gladly raise my arrogant

hand.

Sure, we¹ve all heard that you¹ve put your money where your mouth is by

funding the building of roads and hospitals in various different countries.

Commendable? Absolutely, and perceived by the downtrodden as altruistic -

yet also one of the many disguises you hide behind. Altruism requires love

of humanity. There is nothing worse than a perpetuated hoax. That you have

perverted, denigrated and demeaned the Koran, using supposed devotion to

misguide your own people, is almost more reprehensible than the destruction

you have inflicted upon us. Hopefully, your agenda -- one of ultimate global

power and domination -- will be exposed to the Muslim community at-large.

Does that make you different from what you accuse us to be, or does it make

you just another wannabe?

Muhammad (Peace be upon him) said, "if you hurt one man, than you hurt all

of mankindŠif you save one man, than you save all of mankind (*paraphrased).

So in essence, you have written a ticket to your own destruction, with us or

without us. Indoctrination: not a new concept to us. If you fall by the

wayside, there will be ten others like you to take your place. Heck, we¹ve

all read and seen "The Boys from Brazil." It isn¹t just God that seeks to

create in His or Her own image.

In spite of the tragedy and horror that we have experienced in the last 11

days, you provided us with a "wake-up call." You succeeded in reminding us

what freedom means, and that there is an infinite difference between

nationalism and patriotism. It¹s made an unfocused man into a President and

leader, and a young country, such as we are, reaching for its maturity. In

time of crisis, when our diversity seems fractured, we are but "one people",

fortified by the many parts of one government. It does not, however lessen

our responsibility as part of a greater system, this small and precious

planet.

You succeeded in teaching us that grief, a lesson that is far reaching, can

be an unfortunate and powerful common denominator to unite a people. Fear is

something you walk on -- like coals of a fire -- and with mastery, your body

follows unscathed. Faith is something far beyond religion. Goodness, love

and tolerance are easy and you¹ve proven that hate and evil take tremendous

effort and planning. Yet, no one has formally thanked you. "Ladies and

Gentleman get out paper and pen," my friend Carol said, and I answered, "for

this is a defining moment in humanity."

You are no better than a common opportunist and still I wonder how you wash

the perpetual blood off your hands. You wish to decimate us but instead we

learn a sobering lesson in humility. "Today is opposite day," as my

9-year-old daughter would say. In spite of your intentions, our world will

become more compassionate. First and foremost, Muhammad (Peace be upon him)

was a great and peaceful teacher. No person of rational thought would, or

could, ever equate you as his messenger. In spite of you and through you, he

has won because you chose to terrorize and instead you taught. Perhaps we

were sent to stop you from misrepresentation. In many spiritual schools of

thought, it is known that teacher and pupil symbiotically choose each other.

Beware your own personal jihad.

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                        10 Points We Are Missing
                            
(sent by David Lippy)

WASHINGTON (September 28) - America is understandably

obsessed by the bloody and tragic attack. There are

more flags around than ever and much patriotic talk.

Endless discussions take place in government, the

media, and among citizens regarding what this

experience means and what to do about it.

Yet despite all the good instincts and intentions

expressed by the American leaders and people - and the

virtually endless discussion of such matters - it

seems as if the debate over security arrangements and

implications has gone seriously astray. For those used

to Israeli concepts on this subject, there are a

number of mistakes already being made that seem

dangerously wrong and likely to lead to more debacles

in the future.

And the United States could learn a great deal from

Israeli experience, methods, and technology.

Here are 10 points that are being neglected and

virtually never mentioned in the hours of coverage,

meters of printed pages, and chattering of newly

self-appointed instant experts.

1. Avoid panic. While some emotions are properly

strong in the aftermath of the attack, others are less

appropriate. The terrorists are being handed an

additional, if perhaps temporary, victory by the

irrational fear of immediate repetitions. The economy

is suffering seriously while the airline and

travel-related industries are particularly hard-hit.

Shouldn't someone tell the American people every few

hours that if the terrorists needed three to four

years to plan this last attack, another one is

unlikely to occur soon? A terrible thing has happened,

but this doesn't mean that it is going to take place

every week. Osama bin Laden's forces last struck

effectively against US embassies in Africa more than

three years ago. His operatives are now heading for

cover and it will take them some time to regroup.

2. Focus resources. America is a big, powerful country

used to having all the resources needed to meet any

goal. But security resources are inevitably limited.

Don't waste assets trying to protect everything or

spreading your forces to thin. To cross the ocean and

hit America, terrorists are not going to focus on a

shopping mall in Muncie, Indiana.

Priority must be put and kept on high-profile targets,

especially in New York, Washington DC, and Los

Angeles, along with specific buildings in other key

cities.

3. Don't fight the last war. America is now gearing up

to protect itself from a group of terrorists who

hijack aircraft using knives and fly them into

buildings. Much of the American security strategy

seems keyed to preventing precisely the same attacks

as those occurring on September 11.

But terrorists, too, read newspapers and know this is

happening. Moreover, the whole point of terrorism

tactically is an ability to change targets and

methods. The next attack could involve anything

ranging from renting private planes to chemical

warfare, or an Oklahoma-type attack using a car bomb,

to just shooting at people. Counterterrorist planners

need to have some imagination - but not too much (see

point 2, above) - in figuring out the more likely

threat and not just a rote repetition of the previous

assault.

4. Basic defenses are the most effective ones. With

all the attention focused on security failures, a

simple but obvious point is being neglected. If the

X-ray machines and metal detectors had been run

properly, the terrorists probably would not have

succeeded.

Rather than invent all sorts of new technology and

defensive forces, it would make more sense to ensure

that the existing ones perform properly. At a recent

congressional hearing, a senator recounted how he had

gone through an airport - after the September 11

attack - and those staffing the X-ray machines had

been engaged in horse-play rather than paying

attention. You don't need air marshals or armed pilots

if you do proper inspections on the ground and keep

the cockpit door locked. Most of Israel's airport

security systems have been in use since the 1960s with

relatively little change.

5. High-quality people. There is no substitute. In

Israel, the best people go into security and

intelligence work. At airports, security relations

with passengers are handled by bright young people who

know the importance of what they're doing and are

especially conscientious because this is their first

job. In America, with exceptions of course, those

doing this work are there simply because they cannot

get other employment.

There was a warning about 15 years ago that the

airport security people were paid less than those

working at fast-food restaurants. No matter how much

you spend on technology or what clever plans you

develop, these are only as good as the people

implementing them.

Precisely because attacks are so rare, Americans have

a very hard time taking security seriously. Given the

high levels of crime, though, this is a luxury that

cannot be afforded. I visited a famous journalist

friend who lives in a community where residents pay

thousands of dollars a year for protection. A few days

after the attack and practically within sight of the

World Trade Center, the guard waved me through when I

mentioned my host's name. It became quickly apparent

that he thought I lived there without checking

anything. In America, the job title "security guard"

is a joke, and it is not unknown that the "guards" may

have criminal records themselves.

6. The security issue that dare not speak its name.

America is not under attack by tribes from the Amazon

river, Eskimos, Polynesians, or Zulus.

Everyone knows this fact, but even to mention it is to

invite the most vicious personal attacks and

name-calling. But let's say it for the record: the

terrorist attacks on the United States are being

planned and implemented by Muslims from the Middle

East, primarily Arabs. Therefore, it may be

politically correct but it is also politically insane

to pretend otherwise.

The great majority of Muslims and Arabs in America (or

in the Middle East for that matter) are not involved

in such terrorism. The civil liberties of all

Americans should be respected. Nevertheless, if

intelligence and security resources aren't focused on

this area, then how can anything be effective?

Everyone is at great pains to stress that prejudice is

wrong and innocent people should not be harassed.

Yet almost no one has pointed out - except for Daniel

Pipes - the extremely important point that key Muslim

groups, including those invited to meet with President

George W. Bush, are controlled by radicals who support

terrorism. If the lives of thousands of people are at

risk, the importance of being politically correct or

not hurting someone's feelings may seem less

significant.

Ethnic profiling does make sense. Anyone who believes

this has never stood on line behind a Colombian

citizen at an American customs' station. Surveillance

of Islamic and Arab groups in the United States does

make sense. There is a valid reason for national and

ethnic profiling.

Sorry, but that's the truth. Ignore it if you want to

do so, but understand that this puts lives at risk.

7. Avoid questionable allies: If Iran, Syria, Yemen,

and Lebanon are invited into an anti-terrorist

coalition, can one expect success? Whatever grudge

some of these leaders have against the Taliban or

desire to get some reward for fooling the United

States, are these regimes really going to help fight

terrorism?

Let's face it: When and if the current crisis cools

off, bin Laden may be a respected consulting terrorist

living in Teheran, Damascus, or Baghdad. These

countries are going to sabotage any US military strike

or pressures, because they know that similar methods

could be used against them some day. They don't want

to turn in the names of terrorists, because they might

be hiring them in a few months. Already the US

government has been whitewashing such countries as

Saudi Arabia and Yemen, which it was castigating only

weeks ago for their refusal to cooperate in solving

previous terrorist attacks against Americans in their

countries.

8. Tell the American people the truth about what's

being said in the Arab world and Iran: Most of the

statements cited in the American media are formal

expressions of regret from Middle Eastern leaders. Yet

the support and sympathy for anti-American terrorism

is sharply understated.

Here is one example from MEMRI, one of the groups

(Palestinian Media Watch should also be mentioned)

doing a remarkable job of making this material

available. The chairman of the state-sponsored Syrian

Arab Writers Association, Ali Uqleh Ursan, wrote in

the group's "intellectual" organ that, on hearing

about the attacks, "I felt like someone delivered from

the grave; my lungs filled with air and I breathed in

relief, as I'd never breathed before."

And incidentally, he cited American attacks on Korea,

Vietnam, and Libya (in addition to support for Israel)

as reasons for taking revenge. I have compiled about

300 pages of this material from a wide range of

sources since September 11, including many expressions

of joy on non-public Islamist chat groups.

9. If you don't deter today you will pay tomorrow. In

1998, hundreds of people were killed in attacks on US

embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Most of them were black Africans and a number were

surely Muslims, though the terrorists didn't care

about that. The American response was a joke: an

hour-long bombing attack on Sudan and in Afghanistan.

And even this was criticized as excessive by many

observers, who questioned whether there was full

evidence for hitting the site in Sudan.

If punishments are so limited, why shouldn't states

sponsor terrorists, including bin Laden, and

individuals become terrorists? Why aren't American

leaders and opinion makers saying every day: The

failure to hit back hard after previous terrorist

attacks is one of the main reason why 5,000 people are

dead in New York? Such a conclusion certainly suggests

the importance of tough - and violent - action today.

10. Listen to those who have been right all along.

Instant experts are proliferating everywhere: people

who a month ago couldn't have told you the difference

between a Sunni and a Shia Muslim are now expounding

on the details of Islamic doctrine and radical Middle

East politics.

The first time I heard about the dangers of a major

terrorist attack in the United States was from Israeli

experts almost a decade ago. While I doubt that Israel

had any remarkable intelligence on the current

attacks, very detailed material on revolutionary

Islamist activities within the United States and the

efforts of Middle East groups to build agent networks

in America was being passed by the Israeli government

to the United States as long ago as the early 1990s.

And the United States now faces issues of

countermeasures and responses similar to those

confronting Israel for more than 40 years. Perhaps

Washington will at last be ready to listen to some of

these perspectives and experiences.

And yet, even aside from the huge problems of

punishing or catching the terrorists, there are real

doubts about how this crisis is being handled today. I

can't help but wonder whether, say six months or a

year from now, the US response to the September 11

attacks will become known as the disaster that

followed the catastrophe.

(The writer is the deputy director of the BESA Center

for Strategic Studies at Bar-Ilan University.)

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Taylor and Beth's Message of Peace
(This was given to me, Billy, by my sister-in-law.  My nephew, her son, is battling for his life at St. Jude's in Memphis.  If you're interested, check out this site I made for him.)

It seems like an eternity ago and yet I can still feel the breath on the back of my neck as my son spoke to me leaning forward from the back seat of the car.

Within twelve hours of finding out Taylor had a tumor in his leg and that they strongly suspected cancer, we were in the car on the long journey to St. Jude's Hospital in Memphis.   About halfway there, Taylor leaned forward and asked me a question which lead to the following conversation.

"Mom, if you could have one wish come true, what would you wish for?"

I quickly responded with "that you don't have...."

Taylor cut me off and rephrased his question.  "No, I mean if you had two wishes and you could wish for anything in the world, what would you wish for?"

"That's easy," I said,  "that you don't have cancer and that you don't have cancer."

Taylor paused for a minute and then said, "if I only had two wishes and I could wish for anything in the world, first I would wish for world peace, and second I would wish we had no need for hospitals."

The wishes of an eleven year old boy who is facing a catastrophic illness put world peace before himself and then included the world in his wish for health.

I am in awe at the selfless strength that is displayed on a daily basis by Taylor.  And I feel privileged for the gift I have been given to know him and honored to call him my son.

We are so appreciative for the incredible support and prayers of so many people.

Please help make Taylor's first wish come true.  Be an advocate for peace and pray the world will follow that example.

                                                              -Beth Newton  September 15, 2001

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Perspective
(sent by Roy Sheinbaum)

On Monday there were people fighting against praying in schools. On Tuesday you would have been hard pressed to find a school where someone was not praying.

On Monday there were people trying to separate each other by race, sex, color and creed. On Tuesday they were all holding hands.

On Monday we thought that we were secure. On Tuesday we learned better.

On Monday we were talking about athletes as our heroes. On Tuesday we learned what hero really means.

On Monday people were fighting the 10 commandments on government property. On Tuesday the same people all said 'God help us all' while thinking 'Thou shall not kill'.

On Monday people argued with their kids about picking up their room. On Tuesday the same people could not get home fast enough to hug their  kids.

On Monday people were upset that their dry cleaning was not ready on time. On Tuesday they were lining up to give blood.

On Monday politicians argued about budget surpluses. On Tuesday, grief stricken, they sang 'God Bless America'.

On Monday we worried about the traffic and getting to work late. On Tuesday we worried about a plane crashing into our house or place of business.

On Monday we were irritated that our rebate checks had not arrived. On Tuesday we saw people celebrating people dying in the USA.

On Monday some children had solid families. On Tuesday they were orphans.

On Monday the president was going to Florida to read to children. On Tuesday he returned to Washington to protect children.

On Monday we emailed jokes. On Tuesday we did not.

On Monday we were naive, spoiled and self-centered. On Tuesday, we began the awakening.

It is sadly ironic how it takes horrific events to truly place things into perspective.

The lessons learned last week, the things we have taken for granted, the things that have been forgotten or overlooked, hopefully will never be forgotten again.

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Message from His Holiness The Dalai Lama
(sent by Taylor Rena Call)

I am deeply shocked by the terrorist attacks that took place involving four apparently hijacked aircrafts and the immense devastation these caused. It is a terrible tragedy that so many innocent lives have been lost and it seems unbelievable that anyone would choose to target the world trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington D.C. 

We are deeply saddened.  On behalf of the Tibetan people I would like to convey our deepest condolence and solidarity with the American people during this painful time.  Our prayers go out to the many who have lost their lives, those who have been injured and the many more who have been traumatized by this senseless act of violence. 

I am attending a special prayer for the United States and it's people at our main temple today.  I am confident that the United States as a great and powerful nation will  be able to overcome this present tragedy.  The American people have shown  their resilience, courage and determination when faced with such difficult  and sad situation.  It may seem presumptuous on my part, but I personally believe we need to think seriously whether a violent action is the right thing to do and in the greater interest of the nation and people in the long run.  I believe
violence will only increase the cycle of violence. 

But how do we deal with hatred and anger, which are often the root causes of such senseless violence?  This is a very difficult question, especially when it concerns a nation and we have certain fixed conceptions of how to deal with such attacks. I am sure that you will make the right decision.  With my prayers and good wishes.

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Message from Roger Ebert
(sent by Terri Gilbert)

If there is to be a memorial, let it not be of stone and steel. Fly no flag above it, for it is not the possession of a nation but a sorrow shared with the world.

Let it be a green field, with trees and flowers.  Let there be paths that wind through the shade. Put out park benches where old people can sun in the summertime, and a pond where children can skate in the winter.

Beneath this field will lie entombed forever some of the victims of September 11.  It is not where they thought to end their lives. Like the sailors of the battleship Arizona, they rest where they fell.

Let this field stretch from one end of the destruction to the other.  Let this open space among the towers mark the emptiness in our hearts. But do not make it a sad place. Give it no name.  Let people think of it as the green field. Every living thing that is planted there will show faith in the future.

Let students take a corner of the field and plant a crop there. Perhaps corn, our native grain.  Let the harvest be shared all over the world, with friends and enemies, because that is the teaching of our religions, and we must show that we practice them.  Let the harvest show that life prevails over death, and let the gifts show that we love our neighbors.

Do not build again on this place. No building can stand there. No building, no statue, no column, no arch, no symbol, no name, no date, no statement.  Just the comfort of the earth we share, to remind us that we share it.

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Message from Deepak Choprah
(Sent by Alima Dieter)

As fate would have it, I was leaving New York on a jet flight that took off 45 minutes before the unthinkable happened. By the time we landed in Detroit, chaos had broken out. When I grasped the fact that American security had broken down so tragically, I couldn't respond at first.

My wife and son were also in the air on separate flights, one to Los Angeles, one to San Diego. My body went absolutely rigid with fear. All I could think about was their safety, and it took several hours before I found out that their flights had been diverted and both were safe.

Strangely, when the good news came, my body still felt that it had been hit by a truck. Of its own accord it seemed to feel a far greater trauma that reached out to the thousands who would not survive and the tens of thousands who would survive only to live through months and years of hell. And I asked myself,  Why didn't I feel this way last week?  Why didn't my body go stiff during the bombing of Iraq or Bosnia?

Around the world my horror and worry are experienced every day. Mothers weep over  horrendous loss, civilians are bombed mercilessly, refugees are ripped from any sense of home or homeland. Why did I not feel their anguish enough to call a halt to it?  As we hear the calls for tightened American security and a fierce military response to terrorism, it is obvious that none of us has any answers.  However, we feel compelled to ask some questions.

Everything has a cause, so we have to ask, What was the root cause of this evil?  We must find out not superficially but at the deepest level.  There is no doubt that such evil is alive all around the world and is even celebrated.  Does this evil grow from the suffering and anguish felt by people we don't know and therefore ignore? Have they lived in this condition for a long time? One assumes that whoever did this attack feels implacable hatred for America. Why were we selected to be the focus of suffering around the world?  

All this hatred and anguish seems to have religion at its basis.  Isn't something terribly wrong when jihads and wars develop in the name of God?  Isn't God invoked with hatred in Ireland, Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Israel, Palestine, and even among the intolerant sects of America?  Can any military response make the slightest difference in the underlying cause?  Is there not a deep wound at the heart of humanity?  If there is a deep wound, doesn't it affect everyone?  

When generations of suffering respond with bombs, suicidal attacks, and biological warfare, who first developed these weapons?  Who sells them?  Who gave birth to the satanic technologies now being turned against us?  If all of us are wounded, will revenge work?  Will punishment in any form toward anyone solve the wound or aggravate it?  Will an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and limb for a limb, leave us all blind, toothless and crippled?

Tribal warfare has been going on for two thousand years and has now been magnified globally. Can tribal warfare be brought to an end?  Is patriotism and nationalism even relevant anymore, or is this another form of tribalism?  What are you and I as persons going to do about what is happening?  Can we afford to let the deeper wound fester any longer?  

Everyone is calling this an attack on America, but is it not a rift in our collective soul?  Isn't this an attack on civilization from without that is also from within?  

When we have secured our safety once more and cared for the wounded, after the period of shock and mourning is over, it will be time for soul searching.  I only hope that these questions are confronted with the deepest spiritual intent.  

None of us will feel safe again behind the shield of military might and stockpiled arsenals.  There can be no safety until the root cause is faced.  In this moment of shock, I don't think anyone of us has the answers.  It is imperative that we pray and offer solace and help to each other.  But if you and I are having a single thought of violence or hatred against anyone in the world at this moment, we are contributing to the wounding of the world.

Love, Deepak

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Message from Neale Donald Walsch
(sent by Celeste Epstein)

Statement - September 11, 2001

 Dear friends around the world.

The events of this day cause every thinking person to stop their daily lives, whatever is going on in them, and to ponder deeply the larger questions of life.  We search again for not only the meaning of life, but the purpose of our individual and collective experience as we have created it-and we look earnestly for ways in which we might recreate ourselves anew as a human species, so that we will never treat each other this way again.

Our opportunity now is to demonstrate at the highest level our most extraordinary thought about Who We Really Are.

A central teaching of Conversations with God is: What you wish to experience, provide for another.

Look to see, now, what it is you wish to experience, in your own life, and in the world.  Then see if there is another for whom you may be the source of that.

If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.

If you wish to know that you are safe, cause another to know that they are safe.

If you wish to better understand seemingly incomprehensible things, help another to better understand.

If you wish to heal your own sadness or anger, seek to heal the sadness or anger of another.

Those others are waiting for you now. They are looking to you for guidance, for help, for courage, for strength, for understanding, and for assurance at this hour. Most of all, they are looking to you for love.

This is the moment of your ministry. This is the time of teaching. What you teach at this time, through your every word and action right now, will remain as indelible lessons in the hearts and minds of those whose lives you touch, both now, and for years to come.

We will set the course for tomorrow, today. At this hour. In this moment.

So, talk with God today.  Ask God for help, for counsel and advice, for insight and for strength and for inner peace and for deep wisdom.  Ask God on this day to show us how to show up in the world in a way that will cause the world itself to change.

That is the challenge that is placed before every thinking person today.  Today the human soul asks the question: What can I do to preserve the beauty and the wonder of our world and to eliminate anger and hatred in that part of the world which I touch?

Please seek to answer that question today, with all the magnificence that is You.

I love you, and I send you my deepest thoughts of peace.

Neale Donald Walsch

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The World Trade Center:  The Price Of Pansyhood by Fred Reed
Fred Reed used to be the columnist for Army Times
(sent by Lenny Sissleman)

A few unorganized thoughts regarding the events in New York:

(1) We lost. Our moral posturing about our degradation is merely  embarrassing. We have been made fools of, expertly and calculatedly, in the  greatest military defeat the country has suffered since we fled from Viet  Nam. The Moslem world is laughing and dancing in the streets. The rest of  the earth, while often sympathetic, sees us as the weak and helpless nation  that we are. The casualty figures aren't in, but 10,000 dead seems  reasonable, and we wring our hands and speak of grief therapy. We lost.

(2) We cannot stop it from happening again. Thousands of aircraft constantly  use O'Hare, a few minutes flying time from the Sears Tower.

(3) Our politicians and talking heads speak of "a cowardly act of  terrorism." It was neither cowardly nor, I think, terrorism. Hijacking an  aircraft and driving it into a building isn't cowardly. Would you do it? It  requires great courage and dedication -- which our enemies have, and we do  not. One may mince words, but to me the attack looked like an act of war.  Not having bombing craft of their own, they used ours. When we bombed Hanoi  and Hamburg, was that terrorism?

(4) The attack was beautifully conceived and executed. These guys are good.  They were clearly looking to inflict the maximum humiliation on the United  States, in the most visible way possible, and they did. The sight of those  two towers collapsing will leave nobody's mind. If we do nothing of  importance in return, and it is my guess that we won't, the entire earth  will see that we are a nation of epicenes. Silly cruise-missile attacks on  Afghanistan will just heighten the indignity.

(5) In watching the coverage, I was struck by the tone of passive  acquiescence. Not once, in hours of listening, did I hear anyone express  anger. No one said, coldly but in deadly seriousness, "People are going to  die for this, a whole lot of people." There was talk of tracking down bin  Laden and bringing him to justice. "Terrorism experts" spoke of months of  investigation to find who was responsible, which means we will do nothing.  Blonde bimbos babbled of coping strategies and counseling and how our  children needed support. There was no talk of retaliation.

(6) The Israelis, when hit, hit back. They hit back hard. But Israel is run  by men. We are run by women. Perhaps two-thirds of the newscasters were  blonde drones who spoke of the attack over and over as a tragedy, as though  it had been an unusually bad storm -- unfortunate, but inevitable, and now  we must get on with our lives. The experts and politicians, nominally male,  were effeminate and soft little things. When a feminized society runs up  against male enemies -- and bin Laden, whatever else he is, is a man -- it  loses. We have.

(7) We haven't conceded that the Moslem world is our enemy, nor that we are  at war. We see each defeat and humiliation in isolation, as a unique  incident unrelated to anything else. The 241 Marines killed by the truck  bomb in Beirut, the extended humiliation of the hostages taken by Iran, the  war with Iraq, the bombing of the Cole, the destruction of the embassies in  Kenya and Tanzania, the devastation of the Starke, the Saudi barracks, the  dropping of airliner after airliner -- these we see as anecdotes, like  pileups of cars on a snowy road. They see these things as war. We face an  enemy more intelligent than we are.

(8) We think we are a superpower. Actually we are not, except in the useless  sense of having nuclear weapons. We could win an air war with almost anyone,  yes, or a naval war in mid-Pacific. Few Americans realize how small our  forces are today, how demoralized and weakened by social experimentation. If  we had to fight a ground war in terrain with cover, a war in which we would  take casualties, we would lose.

(9) I have heard some grrr-woofwoofery about how we should invade  Afghanistan and teach those ragheads a lesson. Has anyone noticed where  Afghanistan is? How would we get there? Across Pakistan, a Moslem country?  Or through India? Do we suppose Iran would give us overflight rights to bomb  another Moslem country? Or will our supply lines go across Russia through  Turkmenistan? Do we imagine that we have the airlift or sealift? What effect  do we think bombing might have on Afghanistan, a country that is essentially  rubble to begin with? We backed out of Somalia, a Moslem country, when a  couple of GIs got killed and dragged through the streets on TV. Afghans are  not pansies. They whipped the Russians. Our sensitive and socially-conscious  troops would curl up in balls.

(10) To win against a more powerful enemy, one forces him to fight a kind of  war for which he isn't prepared. Iraq lost the Gulf War because it fought  exactly the kind of war in which American forces are unbeatable: Hussein  played to his weaknesses and our strengths. The Vietnamese did the opposite.  They defeated us by fighting a guerrilla war that didn't give us anything to  hit. They understood us. We didn't understand them.  The Moslem world is  doing the same thing. Because their troops, or terrorists as we call them,  are not sponsored by a country, we don't know who to hit. Note that Yasser  Arafat, bin Laden, and the Taliban are all denying any part in the  destruction of New York. At best, we might, with our creaky intelligence  apparatus, find Laden and kill him. It's not worth doing: Not only would he  have defeated America as nobody ever has, but he would then be a martyr.  Face it: The Arabs are smarter than we are.

(11) We are militarily weak because we have done what we usually do: If no  enemy is immediately in sight, we cut our forces to the bone, stop most R&D,  and focus chiefly on sensitivity training about homosexuals. When we need a  military, we don't have one. Then we are inutterably surprised.

(12) The only way we could save any dignity and respect in the world be to  hit back so hard as to make teeth rattle around the world. A good approach  would be to have NSA fabricate intercepts proving that Libya was  responsible, mobilize nationally, invade, and make Libya permanently a US  colony. Most Arab countries are militarily helpless, and that is the only  kind our forces could defeat. Doing this, doing anything other than  whimpering, would require that ancient military virtue known as "balls."  Does Katie Couric have them?

©Fred Reed 2001. All rights reserved.   

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Message from Alima Dieter

Recent events had reminded me of an often-told story which seems particularly relevant now. 

Imam Ali, nephew and son-in-law to the Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon him, was a renowned and fearless warrior.  During one particularly intense battle as Ali faced an opponent, and raised his sword to deliver a blow that would have taken the man's life, the man spit in his face.  Ali stopped, and did not kill the man.  Surprised and perplexed the man said, "Why didn't you kill me?"

Ali responded, "I could not, for if I were to kill you now, it would be out of my own anger because you spit in my face, and not for the sake of Allah."

His moral impeccability, and maybe even more importantly, his self knowledge, prevented him from taking another life as a result of personal anger.  This degree of moral character is precisely what will be needed from us if we are to move forward as humanity.  May God grant our political and religious leaders, and each of us personally, a measure of this strength of character at this important crossroads in history.

With affection and love, Alima

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Compassion and Revenge
(submitted by Jonathan Bender)

The attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon are occasions of great significance. They are opportunities for you to feel inside, to find those parts of yourself that are in fear, and to make the decision to move forward in your life without fear. That is the challenge for each individual on this planet today. The pursuit of external power - the ability to manipulate and control - creates only violence and destruction. The painful events in New York and Washington are living examples of that reality.

The causal chain that created this violence is one in which compassion and wisdom are absent. Are wisdom and compassion present in you as you watch the television, and read the papers? It is important to realize that you do not know all that came to conclusion, or into karmic balance, as a result of these events. Because you are not able to know all that can be known about them, you are not in a position to judge them.

When you are able to look at the events of the Earth School from this perspective, you will see clearly the central importance of the role that you play in it. That role is this: It is for you to decide what you will contribute to this world. Many will be asking your opinion of these events. Each question is an opportunity for you to contribute to the love that is in the world or to the fear that is in the world. This is the same opportunity that presents itself to you at each moment.

 If you hate those who hate, you become like them. You add to the violence and the destructive energy that now fills our world. As you make the decision to see with clarity and compassion, you will see that those who committed these acts of violence were in extreme pain themselves, and that they were fueled by the violent parts of ourselves - the parts that judge without mercy, strike in anger, and rejoice in the suffering of others. They were our proxy representatives. If you can look with compassion upon those who have suffered and those who have committed acts of cruelty alike, then you will see that all are suffering. The remedy for suffering is not to inflict more suffering.

 This is an opportunity for a massive expression of compassion. It is also an opportunity for a massive expression of revenge. Which world do you intend to live in -- a world of revenge or a world of compassion?

 Teaching By Park Ji Won Jang Nim 9-12-01 Buddhist Lama

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An Afghan-American Speaks
By Tamim Ansary  Sept. 14, 2001
(sent by Bonnie Lazurus)

You can't bomb us back into the Stone Age. We're already there. But you can start a new world war, and that's exactly what Osama bin Laden wants.

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age."  Ron Owens, on San Francisco's KGO Talk Radio, conceded today that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?"  Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."  And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived in the United States for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters.  

But the Taliban and bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps."

It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity.  They were the first victims of the perpetrators.  They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats' nest of international thugs holed up in their country.  Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban?  The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.  A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan -- a country with no economy, no food.  There are millions of widows.  And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets.  These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.  

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age.  Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and healthcare? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs.

Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans; they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban -- by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.  

So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people.

Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that, folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by?

You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.  And guess what: That's bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the West. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the West wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose; that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong -- in the end the West would win, whatever that would mean -- but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours.

Who has the belly for that?  Bin Laden does.  Anyone else?

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