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(2001 Thread) Plane just crashed into the world trade center - Page 7

post #181 of 331
Thank you!

post #182 of 331
As I write this I have just returned from taking my two cats for a walk in the autumn grasses. There was frost this morning but the sun is shining and has left everything bejewelled. The leaves are quickly turning colors and the sky is an impossible blue. It is so hard to believe that this is the same world where such a vast tragedy has happened and people are eagerly lining up to kill each other..

I wish I could lift all the sad and suffering people and give them a day of peace here in NB. On a day like this it's very hard to hate anyone..or maybe I'm just wishing. I just can't fathom that mindset...my anger is quick,hot and quickly over with. Hating whole peoples and being willing to murder thousands is just plain insane; I don't care what cause you cover it with.

I think we of the west need to realize that other cultures exist and have done so for much longer than we have. Their outlooks and values are different than ours and that they have absoloutely no interest in becoming us. Throughout history we have tried and failed to impose our values and our beliefs on the greater world;whether thru military might or economic pressures. From the crusades to the corporate raiders we have never succeeded in changing anyone. Don't you think it's about time that we stop trying to control the world??

OK..I know I'm rambling here...but we are sitting on a cornerstone of history here and we need to think beyond the moment. How many dead will it take for us to avenge our fallen? How many of us will die to balance their scales? Where is the end to this insanity? Indeed,will we become so drunk with killing that we will turn on ourselves...slaughtering those of us who say ENOUGH!!?

The world is becoming a very scary place...I think I'll go sit among the leaves once more.
post #183 of 331
Dear Kittyfoot, I am with you on not wanting innocent civilians (I am really tired of that phrase, but what other one have we?) getting killed, but terrorism will grow until it destroys all these things that we -- the human species, east and west -- hold to be civilization. However much we may differ, none of us wants a bunch of storm trooping types shooting us in the streets when they feel like it or shoving dissenters into concentrations camps. Believe me, my folks barely survived all that already -- I was lucky to be born in America -- and you don't really want that kind of thing to happen again, only worse.

There are two alternatives with True Believers (have you read Eric Hoffer's book, but the way? Came out in the 1960s...) -- You either have to join them, or you have to fight them. Because they are not reasonable people. For them you are the enemy unless you agree with them, and then, even if you agree with them, they have whole classes of people they want to kill or imprison. There is no middle way. At the moment, 8 Christians are in Taliband prison for "trying to convert Muslims to Christianity." If they are convicted, they fact the death penalty. True Believers can't abide even the smallest deviation from the "true path."

Most mdern Muslim clerics stress most of the same values most of the Christian and Jewish religious leaders hold dear -- tolerance, compassion, and decency. There are religious leaders everywhere who preach hatred and aggression against people who don't agree with them. But they aren't the majority by any means.

When someone kills others because he/she believes that all other peoples are subhuman because they disagree with the True Believer, or don't agree act or look like him/her, we call them terrorists. They can believe they are religious, or nationalistic, or politics, or it can be just that they hate certain skin colors of levels of intellect. But under the skin, they are all alike -- they are souless, monstrous people who have no compassion for anyone or anything outside of their "own." Sometimes it is an entire country bent on murder -- over 6 million of my people died in a holocaust because the Nazies were allowed to gain enough numbers and strength to take over an entire country -- and they almost took over the entire world.

Frankly, I don't want to sit still while yet another group grows in strength and numbers to swallow up the world, and neither should you. Because terrorism feeds on successful killing. The more successful, the bolder they grow and the more sick, souless people they draw into their groups. Give them rope, and they will multiply New York by the dozens. And that is no lie.

I pray that noncombattants will not be killed. I pray that the Afghani people, who have had so much to bear over this past 30 years, will not be in the line of fire. I would say that at the moment they are "voting with their feet" in literally the hundreds of thousands as they pour across the borders of Afghanistan into any country that will accept them. I personally think their terror of a blanket American attack is not realistic, but the proof will be in the pudding.

All my life I have been involved in the peace movement. But there is a point when survival is the bottom line. America fought in two world wars so that democratic governments counld survive. Do you think it was wrong of them to fight the nazies, for example? I agree that the line must be drawn very carefully so that war is the very last resort -- but you cannot negotiate with terrorists, and we cannot survive increasing terroism -- we, the people of the world, cannot survive it.

So we have to fight it. People will get hurt. Please God, they will be few in number. Bush said it very well -- fighting terrorism is not a wild frontal assualt with everything you've got thrown at the enemy without concern for civilians caught between -- it is a clandestine war -- a surgical war -- one where worldwide agreements and diplomatic unity are more important than the offer of troops -- where the war will be on the people who do the money laundering that gives terrorists their financial base -- where the use of special forces units or even individual assassins will be of more value than overwhelming force -- where the cooperation of police all over the world will catch more terrorists than cowboy tactics of dashing in with guns blazing. But it is a war that the global community must win or perish.

History -- future history -- will be the judge. It will either be written by terrorists who have taken power all over the world, or it will be written by rational people who can look back with relief.

But I really do not want the peace I pray for so constantly to be the peace of stillness because all that I love and all that I hoped to pass on to my children has been destroyed.

post #184 of 331
Many of the so-called "anti-war" activists from the Viet Nam War era — lately ensconced in academe, communication media and politics — seek continued justification for their youthful assumptions of yesteryear by now claiming everything will be all right if the world's inhabitants just try to be nice to one another. They further claim military action by the U.S.A. will consist of campaigns designed to kill as many civilians as possible.

So far, the anti-U.S.A. zealots have managed to kill many thousands of civilians. That strategy is not likely to change any time soon, unless it is stopped by force of arms at its bases of operation: All those who support, plan and engage in terrorism must be eliminated via deadly force or incarceration. Saying nice things about them or sending them nice letters and birthday cakes just won't do the job of work at hand. What, they're going to "see the light" and turn themselves in?

Once those involved in terrorism are brought under control, then we must all do what's necessary to prevent such criminally-insane behavior in future. (Sorry, all you psychology "experts" out there in Media Land, but terrorists are criminally insane.) In the case of the U.S.A., that means a radical modification of its policies in the Middle East. It also means an end to the Republican Party penchant for unilateralism and disregard of poor people worldwide (and especially at home). I'm not optimistic, however, about the U.S.A. waking up to its duties in regard to either Middle East policy or distribution of wealth.

Eliminating the threat of facism resulted in millions of civilian deaths. This present "war" will not extract such a price; but one should bear in mind that civilians do die in war, have died in this one and will die in future. This so-called "war" was not declared by the U.S.A. on 11 September 2001. It was declared by Islamic fundamentalists in 1979. They've had a 20-year head start; and we're still debating whether or not military force needs to be used! What are we waiting for? A good hair day?

Until those U.S.A.-hating idiots killed several thousand civilians on 11 September, I thought terrorism could be quenched via politics. I thought if the U.S.A. stopped being so one-sided in the Middle East the Islamic fundamentalists would be happy and mitigate against further acts of violence against civilians. I was wrong! Yes, the U.S.A.'s foreign policies need overhaul, for sure. But "policy" is no longer the answer. Justice, swift and sure, needs to be done; and it can't be done if our leaders remain frozen in their present "nothing can be done" state of mind.

Shuffling papers, the new be-all and end-all of combatting terrorism by supposedly stopping the flow of money, just won't hack it. There's too much money out there; and it's impossible to stop its flow into terrorists' hands. The capitalists are as myopic and zealous as the Islamic fundamentalists: Capitalists think the universe revolves around capital; but they fail to appreciate the power of hatred. Nor are they willing to take responsibility for the crimes of countless dictatorships they themselves established in order to enforce "business as usual."

Some day, perhaps, an equitable distribution of wealth will ensue; but in the meantime an end must be put to terrorist acts carried out against civilians. The present crop of terrorists is beyond rehabilitation, so it's time to eliminate them one way or another. No stern admonitions or slaps on wrists will be adequate to accomplish that goal.

post #185 of 331
Now wait a minute!!! Where did I become an apologist for the Nazis?? I had people who died in that war too. Nor have I ever stated that bin Laden or any other pack of fools should be ignored or slapped on the wrist. Never have I suggested that the people behind the terrorists should go unpunished..and I am very offended that anyone would think so.

What worries me is the willingness of the western nations to follow the terrorist webs even when they lead to our own citizens and organizations...when it's not THEM but US TOO. What do we do if we find some of OUR people involved with these maniacs? All of us need to ask ourselves what we would do if we found a member of our own family was working for an organization which is supporting terrorism? I'm afraid that our focus will become like the war on drugs...foreigners only while the big financiers on our own shores laugh at us.

Killing bin Laden or putting him in the deepest prison cell in the world is not enough. We MUST look at why so many people blame us for all the pain in the world. If we stop short,herd together and lash out at all the "different" ones..well you defined that already.

I'm not a fool..altho I wish all the world could share a peaceful moment;I know it will not happen in this life. I just pray that we don't destroy "us" while we're killing "them"!!

In the meantime,I'll go sit in my leaves and cry for the innocents.

post #186 of 331
I'm sorry..I can't do this anymore. I will not read or respond to any more of this thread. I will fight my tears and my nightmares alone. I wish all of you well and hope you will find your own peace. Enough!!
post #187 of 331
The Times


William Rees-Mogg: Remember the lesson of Pearl Harbor


The world was just as dangerous a place on September 10 as it is now. There were already numerous terrorist cells in place in all major and many minor countries. In many Islamic countries there were already passionate anti-Western feelings, in some cases fuelled by poverty, in some by the oppressive character of their own regimes, in some by hatred of Israel and sympathy for the Palestinians.

The terrorists had become increasingly sophisticated. Many present-day terrorists are middle-class professionals with a good understanding of advanced technologies.

They were already organised in cells, difficult to penetrate and with a limited knowledge of each other’s memberships. They were already well funded, partly from sympathetic Arab sources, partly from drug trafficking. Terrorism is the soulmate of organised crime. Terrorists were seeking weapons of mass destruction: chemical, biological and nuclear. Even now there is no sure intelligence about their success in obtaining such weapons.

The terrorists already had the support of a small number of states, with all the advantages that gives them of a secure haven and the facilities of governmental organisation. Modern communications meant that small groups of terrorists had the capacity to organise major attacks, without even having to rely on their government protectors.

Such was the situation on September 10, and the world was still asleep. The mass public opinion of the democracies had no consciousness of the catastrophe that was about to occur. The intelligence services had failed to penetrate the cells, though they had done studies and issued warnings. Intelligence services need government support, and government needs the support of an awakened public opinion.

The events of September 11 did nothing to change the real character of the terrorist threat. The nations of the world are almost as much at risk from terrorist attack as they were when the World Trade Centre was first struck. The extra precautions that have been taken make terrorist acts somewhat more difficult to carry out; that is all. Yet in another way everything has changed. The whole world now perceives the threat for what it is. That is the difference between the assassin who stalks his victim when he is asleep, and the assassin who has to face an enemy full awake and on guard.

There is a new public opinion. It is not fully universal. In Islamic countries, there are large numbers who mistakenly admire bin Laden as the defender of their religion, as a hero of Islam. No doubt his main strategy is to radicalise Islamic opinion and destroy the pro-Western governments of the Middle East, particularly those of his own country of Saudi Arabia and of Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has the largest oil reserves in the world and Pakistan is a nuclear power.

If he succeeded in fomenting a revolution in either country that would be a disastrous strategic defeat for the rest of the world.

Even in the West, there are voices which cavil against American measures to counteract terrorism. One can read them in some newspapers; unfortunately one can hear them on the BBC. Some BBC commentators seem to think that their duty of impartiality requires them to be impartial between President Bush and bin Laden. In both the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties, there is a left-wing fringe which reminds one of the prewar pacifists who advocated fighting Hitler, but voted against every measure of rearmament in the House of Commons. Charles Kennedy tells his party conference that he will not give President Bush “a blank chequeâ€. That seems both presumptuous and feeble, to the point of self-parody.

This “letting I dare not wait upon I would†does not in any way reflect British public opinion. It never does. In this respect there really is an Anglo-Saxon culture, which includes the United Kingdom, the old Commonwealth countries and the United States itself. These countries are not quick to anticipate danger; none rushes eagerly towards war; none seeks conflict. But they respond to a real threat with resilience; they see the issue through.

The pattern of English history is one of defensive wars, started with inadequate preparation and reluctance, usually involving initial defeats, but seen through to eventual victory. Characteristically, the eventual victory comes because our enemies make worse mistakes than we do. It has sometimes even been the same mistake: both Napoleon and Hitler invaded Russia. The bin Laden group has already repeated the mistake that the Japanese made on December 7, 1941. You would not have thought that the enemies of the United States would repeat the crime of Pearl Harbor, without understanding the terrible lesson which Pearl Harbour taught.

The American response has been very impressive, with its deliberation as well as determination. In Britain Tony Blair has given leadership to the creation of an international coalition. There was a risk that the outrage caused by September 11 would lead to a premature response. That has not happened.

By good fortune, the new President has the support of a thoroughly experienced team, including several of those who were in senior positions in 1991, at the time of the Gulf War. This group has a secure grip on policy-making, rather reminiscent of the grip that General Eisenhower had on the planning for D-day in 1944. President Bush has provided effective leadership to this very professional team.

In his interview with David Frost yesterday, the Prime Minister emphasised that the first objective of the coalition is to destroy the structure of the terrorists in Afghanistan, rooting out bin Laden and his terror training camps. If the Taleban resist this process, and become an “obstacle†to it, they will make themselves the enemy. The subsequent objective is to expose and destroy other international terrorist networks. Justice would come first, and would be followed by prevention. Mass terrorism would be put under continuous attack.

Mr Blair emphasised that there would be the closest co-operation between allies; no action would be taken just for effect; there will be an equally powerful humanitarian effort to save the Afghans from starvation. This policy has the support not only of the United States, Britain and Nato, but of the European Union, Russia, China, India and Japan, and of the United Nations. It has a diplomatic, military, intelligence, financial and humanitarian aspect. It has the support or toleration of almost all the Islamic states which border Afghanistan itself. There has never been so powerful an international alliance.

This is not a war against Islam, though bin Laden will no doubt do everything in his power to make it so. As a religion, Islam is opposed to terror. From an orthodox Islamic point of view, bin Laden is in no way a potential martyr for his religion, but a cult leader, whose cult, like many others, ends in murder and suicide. The core of American strategy against this terror is to work with the Islamic powers, such as Egypt, for whom terror has been a murderous threat.

The Americans have seen from the beginning that this is not a campaign which can be won easily, or quickly, or without risking casualties. The bin Laden terrorists have deep roots, going back to the early 1970s or before. Terrorism usually has a long history. In the case of Ireland, the conflict goes back centuries, and so it does in the Middle East. Nationalism, wealth, culture and religion are all involved, as well as the mixed legacies of past empires. These motivations have their own legitimacy. The enemy is not the peaceful expression of legitimate political ambitions, but the use of terror to advance political or religious causes.

The first reaction to September 11 was that this marked the true millennium. I think that is true. The reach of modern terrorism has been demonstrated; so have the powers of the response. They include not only the military strength of the US, great though that is, but the strength and unity of the global alliance, and the determination of world public opinion. Tony Blair argues that life cannot be safe for ordinary people unless this terrorism is defeated. His view is surely correct. So is his judgment that a united world has the power to discover bin Laden and defeat terrorism.


Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd.

post #188 of 331
Dear Kittyfoot, I'm sorry if I gave the impression that I thought for a minute you were condoning nazies. I guess I just came off two e-mails from a European branch of my husband's family and your note struck a raw nerve (they think everything is the fault of the insensitive American policies, and that any normal Muslim would be drawn to become a terrorist as a matter of course...). I am tired of hearing people speak of terrorists as if they were either normal or justified. I was angry when I logged on the the CatSite. Not the best way to carry on a rational conversation...

Sunday morning a car bomb went off in Jerusalem, fortunately without killing anyone. This morning I drove to a large shopping center in Beer-Sheva to check out a sale on cat and dog food, and part of the huge parking lot were it fronted a line of big shops was being cordoned off, police vans, blinking lights, sirens, cars being vacated from the area, people moving rapidly out of the shops directed by police and plainclothes cops. The first got in the news yesterday. The Beer-Sheva one won't because it was only a "scare" like the dozens we have every month. This is the reality of terrorism I live in every day of every week of every month of every year.

What I reacted to in your letter was your comment about why America was always trying to run things, and your concern for civilian deaths in a campaign against terrorists, and what seemed to be a feeling that America's reaction was to "line up" to kill someone... There is always that element, of course. But the fact that they are reported widely in the freest press in the world should put them in perspective as a small and stupid minority.

My entire family was involved in peace activism since we were teenagers. I opposed the Vietnam War because it was illegal in terms of international law. I did not oppose the Korean war or the Gulf war because in both cases, we took part in efforts to liberate countries that were being overrun by aggressors. I would oppose the US attacking Afghanistan in a general, conventionally fought war, but I can't imagine very many people in the US government being total idiots --- I never thought from the beginning that the US would rush off and nuke Afghanistan indescriminantly. But I keep hearing from our European branch that the US is made up of nothing but warmongers. I never believed that even at the height of the Vietnam War, or when the CIA was running out of control in South America for an unfortunate period. There are always these elements in any country, but Americans usually end up by rejecting or ejecting them from positions of leadership when their traditional collective sanity kicks in.

I am sorry I snapped at you. I really wanted to snap at my ex-brother-in-law, who, God knows, suffered in real terms from the effects of WW2. In any case, I am afraid I am also guilty of rambling too much. I really believe with you that hating groups of people -- hating anyone, actually -- is both childish and stupid, if not wicked. I don't hate the terrorists, in fact. I just think they have to be eradicated. They have no consciences, and talking to them does no good at all. One cannot negotiate. One cannot touch them in friendship. One cannot find in them that spark of humanity to which one can appeal. There is no recognition in them that the indiscriminate murder of thousands of people is a wicked thing to do. Their vision of God is so perverted that they believe that they will be gathered up to sit beside His throne in heaven when they come to him with all that blood on their hands. This vision of God is NOT the one the vast majority of Muslims (or Christians or Jews) countenance. Muslim clerics all over the world are protesting against such a view. The fact that there are Muslim religious leaders (and Jewish and Christian ones, as well) who preach hatred and death --- well, no one said that there aren't stupid and wicked people with "religious" followings -- that would be denying the science of statistics.

But you said that Americans don't recognize that there are a lot of other cultures in the world and that other people in the world don't want to be like the west. That Americans don't try to find out why so many people hate the US. There are so many historical reason for their hatred that even the "other" cultures have forgotten most of the roots. But since the Gulf War, I am absolutely confident that most branches of the US government are not only very aware of other cultures, but have begun, finally, to understand them a little. Witness that Bush, not normally a very perceptive man, listened to the good advice of his staff -- and perhaps his own Texas instincts for the direct and human approach to all problems -- and personally phoned all the principal Arab and Muslim leaders worldwide to engage them in his anti-terrorist "war." He listened to them as well. And most of the Muslim countries of the world have endorsed his "war."

I think if we can reduce terrorist action, this terrible thing will bring us a much better understanding of each other worldwide. I think that if we all can cooperate on this one thing, that down the line there will be another thing we can agree on, and then another, until we are human beings in each other's sight instead of strangers or enemies. Much will depend on how carefully the US moves, but I am banking on the hope that this terrible sacrificie of innocent lives will open new horizons for world peace.

...provided the governments don't misunderstand or pop off at each other like we just have. Because we, and the rest of the world, are all raw with this tragedy, and feeling relatively helpless. Seeing the big bomb truck and the robot thing that is sent to check out potential bombs being unloaded onto the asphalt of the parking lot this morning left me completely unmoved. I skirted the traffic confusion, found a different pathway through it to the shop I needed to go to, and parked just beyond the evacuated zone, went into the shop (where no one seemed to be deterred from normally shopping), did my own shopping, unloaded some things in my car, returned the shopping cart, and came home. When did I get so cool about potential death? But my hands shook a little on the steering column, and, observing that, I said to myself, you aren't really so unaffected, are you?

Stress is often a hidden thing, and sometimes I wish we were all being a little less "normal" and could sit and scream at something.

And dear Mr. Cat -- To quote your otherwise organized letter --

@@@@@Many of the so-called "anti-war" activists from the Viet Nam War era — lately ensconced in academe, communication media and politics — seek continued justification for their youthful assumptions of yesteryear by now claiming everything will be all right if the world's inhabitants just try to be nice to one another. They further claim military action by the U.S.A. will consist of campaigns designed to kill as many civilians as possible. @@@@@@@

Tsk-tsk. The ones I see on TV (CNN and BBC here) are all too young to have been involved in the peace movements of the 60s and 70s. And who needs to justify anything. I wasn't a so-called anything. I actively, consistently, and publicly worked to change people's minds about the Vietnam War. And in fact,Kittyfoot has the right of it ----- being nice to each other is the only way the world will ever find lasting peace, because being nice implies that you recognize the similarities in each other -- the face of the other as belonging to the same humanity that you do. That's a good thing. Sending nice letters or birthday cakes...?? Well, why not? It is much, much better to make love, not war. Just that a sometimes it doesn't work like we hoped.

But we are in complete agreement about what one has to do with terrorists. The letters and cakes and polite handshakes will never work there. But people who think like terrorists are a tiny majority of the world's populations. Otherwise we would all be dead by now. The amazing thing is that there are so many, many decent, God-fearing and God-loving folk in the world in spite of the dreadful ills of overwhelming poverty, disease, neglect, and oppression. You know all this has to be put right, because I've read all your letters now... No country in the world can be idle when terrorism threatens to destroy all hope of global stability, but at the same time, nice thoughts, nice manners, and kindeness would go a long way to greasing the wheels of the train that has to carry us to a happier future. And so would practical and consistent planning to eradicate poverty, lack of education, the slavery of women and children (not to forget a lot of men caught up in economic slavery as well as the actual kind). More governments thinking about what is right instead of what is expedient would be welcome.

Psychologists are just trying to understand, just like the rest of us. Understanding adds to human knowledge. Know your enemies. Otherwise, we're dead.

I hope that Kittyfoot has understood that I was not responding to her letter except at the very beginning. I was just reacting to my own stresses, which Americans are only just now beginning to feel -- the feeling that you are constantly walking on thin ice and that any second it could crack and swallow you up, and that there isn't a thing you can do about it but hope you get thrown clear of the cataclysm.

post #189 of 331
Just wanted to let you know, that there are "warnings" going aroud my area of the UK that Birmingham (a big central city here) is supposedly going to be bombed this weekend, I think it's just a rumour as so many people know about it.... but you can never be too careful eh? - I was meant to be going to a craft exhibition there on Saturday, but I don't know whether I will or not now..... has anyone else heard this in the UK?
post #190 of 331
Your posts never cease to astonish me and I hope in some way you are a teacher for the younger generation. Your words, your experiences speak in volumnes what books cannot convey. I am sorry that any country has to walk so carefully because they have no idea when the next bomb will go off, or the next plane will crash into what building. We here in the West are paying for not having our eyes wide open and thinking we were untouchable. As Sept.11 showed, everyone is vulnerable when it comes to dealing with lunatic terrorists.

May God (however you view Him) keep you safe. May He keep us all safe.
post #191 of 331
Dear Catarina -- Rumors and fear are the tools of terrorism. You want to go to the crafts fair? Go. It is in God's hands whether a bomb is next to you or down the street. We do learn to keep our eyes open and to avoid doing stupid things (for instance you don't EVER pick up an abandoned package, purse, etc. -- you go and report it to the nearest policeman). But in the end, all deaths come when they are intended to come. And if you start worrying about rumors and the like, the terrorists win, and freedom loses, and every day it gets easier and easier to retreat into more and more fear until you won't leave your house. But I promise you, when it is your time, a meteor will fall through the roof, or a gas main will go under your house, or your fear will just give you a good old-fashioned heart attack! Don't run when there is a fire in the theater. Walk in dignity to the exit.

And Hissy, I am neither wise nor very brave, nor avery good example for anyone. Look at how a moment's lapse of giving into my own stresses affected Kittyfoot, who is such a lovely and caring person. Constant vigilance in watching for bombs...and this is a reminder to be constantly vigilant about the feelings of other, especially in this very uncomfortable emotional climate.

God does protect me. I always seem to be either too late or too early for life-threatening events. I consider it the work of some kind of guardian angle, but I never lose sight of where such guardians come from.

But in spite of all the gifts of coincidence and luck I receive, every so often I give in to the oppressiveness of the tension around me. I am trying at the moment to organize a Tai-Chi class in my village -- there are the two witches and some overweight ladies like myself -- of past middle age -- who might benefit from the kind of stress-release of the carefully controlled Tai-Chi discipline. As I talk to people, I have suddenly be asked to teach several of the women meditation. So in the end we might form a tiny nucleus of serenity in this crazy place. Awesome.

Love and peace,
post #192 of 331
Latley, I have been pretty busy here at work so I haven't been able to read this thread as indepth as I want. I am very confused on why this has happened (from the viewpoint of the terrorists and Islam - I know no reason can justify it, I just want to understand what exactly is going on). I keep hearing on the news that the terrorists did this to basically tell us we shouldn't be supporting Israel and on behalf of Islam. But then the news also shows people speaking on behalf of Islam saying how horrible this is and that these terrorists (The Taliban & Bin Laden) are extremists and should not be considered representatives of the entire Islamic community here or abroad. Can someone point me somewhere (a previous post, an internet site, etc.) so I can understand this? I don't mean to sound so ignorant but everything I keep hearing seems to conflict. I wish I were back in my World Civilizations class in college so I could ask the professor but that was over a year ago.
post #193 of 331
If someone could understand the basis of these terrorists then I suspect they would be highly sought after right now. The cells are an outreach (albiet a fanatical one) of Islam and based loosely on the Koran. I try to equate it with how Jim Jones was? Do you remember him? And Jonestown where he took all those believers and built himself up to be their leader, brainwashed them effectively. He was not a fundamentalist preacher, he came from a mainline Christianity background and effectively was able to sway so many to follow him and believe in him. On a much smaller scale he was a terrorist and whn it was discovered that he was going to be challenged for his right to be this leader, he poisoned all of his congregation, had those politicians murdered on the tarmack and departed this life. 638 of his followers swallowed the poisoned kool-aid and 276 children also died. All because of a demented mind, mind altering drugs and fanaticism. That is the only way I can explain to myself about what is happening, we have a lunatic unleashed in the world who has taken it upon himself to hate the United States for many reasons and to finally act upon this hatred. I don't think anyone, Islamic, Christian, Catholic, Buddhist or whatever can understand where he is coming from, but I am sure that he is not acting alone and other equally powerful lunatics are guiding him as well.
post #194 of 331
Catspride...I'm not offended by you or anyone here...I'm just tired of re-hashing the past weeks. I need to clear my head of things and try to get some normalcy back in my life. I have a recurring dream running thru my head...I imagine myself in the place of one of those office workers who looks up from his desk to see the first jet just before impact. Then I jolt awake with my heart pounding. It's going away but slowly.

Second..I do appreciate your kind words,but...ummm..I'm not a she. I'm a guy:LOL: :LOL: Sorry 'bout that...hey,wait a minute,no I'm not...:LOL: :LOL: :LOL:

Lastly..I think I need to clarify some things here..I understand the necessity of acting against the monsters of the world. I know they are not rational,sane people.If I have a weapon in my hand and bin Laden before me I would put him down as surely as I would a rabid animal..but I would hate the act and the necessity for it...and I would greive for his wasted soul. At some time this man was an innocent child just like you or I...wouldn't it be fine to be able to discover what changed him and eliminate THAT? This was once a good person...as I imagine many of his followers and supporters were. What made them the way they are? I think we better find out if we really want to do more than just kill people.

Finally..I said We of the West..not America. We have fallen into the same thought patterns of a lot of the people on the "other side". the WEST is a lot of countries..Canada,Great Britain,France,Germany,etc,etc. We have ALL made mistakes in these countries over the years. We have ALL been arrogant with these peoples. We called them Wogs,Ragheads,:censor::censor::censor::censor::censor::censor:s,Kikes and all the other hateful names. We allow our corporate entities to treat them like dirt
with total disregard to their feelings and say "That's just business". When we see pictures of a famine,earthquake or other disaster in these lands don't each of us at some level think "If they just lived like WE DO,they wouldn't have those problems."? If this disaster occurred in Afghanistan wouldn't many be saying "just animals killing animals."?

That's what we need to change...all of us. Until we do the anger will remain and feed the monsters among us...ours as well as theirs. America,as our professed leader will continue to be blamed for the actions of us all..just as any chieftan accepts the responsibility for the members of his tribe. As bin Laden must answer for the actions of his followers.

I wish for everyone in the world their own "woods" where they can sit and listen to the gentle voice of God speak of LOVE..not hate.

And my call will always be PEACE!!!!!
post #195 of 331
Kitty Foot, I'm glad you made that last post! That you are a man of peace is evident — and admirable. Would that more people worldwide thought as you do.

Cats' Pride, I enlisted in the armed forces during the Viet Nam War because friends of mine were serving (and a few dying) in that country; so I felt it my duty to share in whatever perils were to be found there. While many middle-class young men escaped the draft via college deferments or whiplash-doctor medical excuses, untold thousands of working-class young men ended up in military service during that era. Upon returning home, I blocked the war out of my mind; and most of my new-found friends at college were, in fact, draft dodgers. Yet I bore them no animosity. As time marched on, however, the war intruded on my thoughts more and more; and I came to hate the system which takes or excuses young men based upon considerations which are far from democratic or equitable. I beg to differ with your assertion that the anti-war people in the U.S.A. are too young to have been involved in the Viet Nam War era. Those to whom I was referring are people my age! They're the gatekeepers in academe and the communication media; and they make decisions which bear upon the public discussion of war. Ask them about college deferments and sudden religious vocations when war clouds mount in the sky! It's my understanding (and correct me if I'm wrong) that young men in Israel are required to spend time in military service. If that's true, I'd imagine an non-equitable system of selection based upon socio-economic status would be frowned upon by the citizenry. And lest one become too exorcised regarding the "legitimacy" of the Viet Nam War, it ought to be borne in mind that nations other than the U.S.A. have been involved in military action decried by the world at large. I hate war, but I also hate politically-motivated systems which require some people to serve in the military and excuse others who have the luxury of alternatives so that their lifestyles can continue undisturbed.

post #196 of 331
Thanks Hissy,

I guess what is so confusing for me is the news coverage. They make it seem like there are thousands (maybe millions) of these Taliban Islamic followers. It makes it seem like they are just as big as the Nazis were. If so, this is very unsettling for me. In school we learned about the Nazi terror but never quite felt it unless we had immediate family ties who were involved. Now I am feeling this and it makes me fearful. From what I can understand on the news these extremeists of the Islamic faith feel that anything that doesn't follow their beliefs and rules needs to be eradicated. Look at how many Jews suffered from the Nazis. Are these terrorists planning such a barbaric takeover too? I don't mean to sound so extreme but that is the only way I have found that defines the magnitude of this situation for me.
post #197 of 331
I just went back and skimmed all 59 single-spaced 9 point type of this thread. I think we are beginning to come out of our grieving period as a group and get on to the introspective work of trying to make sense of events. Anyway, messages have been bouncing back and forth so quickly, I decided to make one e-mail to respond to the most recent threads within threads...

TO SABRA -- Hissy covered all this pretty well. Although I wouldn't call bin Laden a lunatic. He isn't really crazy, except in the way people are who hate so much they have no problem with commiting genocide or plotting mass murder. Perhaps the most interesting thing that has transpired with all of this awfulness is that the Muslim and Arab communities have finally spoken out publicly on the subject of hatred and the true meaning of the word jihad. I was happy to see a Muslim scholar on CNN a few days ago declaring that bin Ladin had perverted Islam to serve his own hatred, and that the Taliban were not real Muslims, because they had nothing in common with mainstream Islam. He cited the treatment of women especially, the fact that women couldn't work or be educated, and noted at the Taliban had taken over the government, but they had offered nothing in the way of services or protection to the ordinary people -- they had shirked their responsibilities to the Afghani people, and considered adherence to their misguided interpretations of Islam (and the policing of the people who transgressed) more important than the starving population.

Of course, there are fundamentalist Muslims throughout the Middle East, and a certain number of them are linked to terrorist organizations. In some places there are only a handful of them, but in Israel, of coure, there are the Hizbollah of Lebanon and Islamic Jihad and Hamas. Both Jordan and Egypt have been fighting them for some years now (by whatever name). It was an Egyptian terrorist -- a religious leader -- linked to bin Laden who organized the first bomb that was placed in the World Trade Center. Bin Laden has several thousand trained fighters scattered about various Muslim countries and in Europe, but of those, I imagine there is a very small number who belong to his inner circle of genuine terrorists. The Taliban are not a terrorist organization. They are a breakaway sect of the Muslim religion (Islam), and their religious thinking is back in the Dark Ages. When they took over Afghanistan, only three Arab countries recognized them (two have recently broken relations because of the New York and Washington events). That is pretty much how normal everyday Muslims think about them. But it is the Taliban who have sheltered and protected bin Laden, allowed him to build his guerilla training camps, and given him a place to plot his atrocities.

There is really too much complicated history and politics involved to go into the whole thing here, but we can stop at the fact that the so-called Islamic fundamentalist terrorists have their own brand of Islam, and even Muslims who hate Israel, for instance, won't touch the Taliban or even bin Laden with a barge pole. Nor would Christians own Jim Jones. Nor do Jews in general want to be classed with militant Jewish fundamentalists -- one of whom, if you will recall, assassinated Yitzhak Rabin. I guess it is hard for me to see people like this without equating them to the Nazies. But particularly the bin Laden group, who state quite frankly that they want to kill ALL Americans and westerners, and, of course, Jews. They don't want to conquer America. They want to destroy it and eradicate its people and its ideas and its culture. That's why I equate them to each other.

And MISTER Kittyfoot, another apology is in order. I did not pick up on your gender. To continue -- bin Laden is on tape as a much younger man revealing that he has hated all Americans and westerners since he was a little boy. I don't know when he was a cute kid, but every so often I meet one who has never been sweet, even in the cradle. I have been a kike most of my life (I forget when I first heard the word, and I am over 65 now, so it was a hell of a long time ago) so I never picked up the habit of calling people :censor::censor::censor::censor::censor::censor:, wog, wop, chink, etc. Count me out of the prejudice business. I went through a childhood of hating everyone who lived, but that was totally without discrimination. I grieve over the news programs of each day's violence, whether it is an Israeli or a Palestinian who dies. And if I hate anything these days, it is the stupidity of our governments here who cannot seem to just sit down and agree to follow some basic rules of civility. You don't have to love someone to be civil, and I just don't understand anyone who thinks that our mini-war (intifada/counter intifada) could possibly end well for either side. They should just stop.

You have your woods, I have my garden, which is also full of cats and dogs (an average of 12-16 cats and 5 dogs at the moment), and when I want a peaceful and comfortable conversation, I talk to them. Amazing how soothing they can be with their expressive looks and their ready sympathy.

As to your nightmare, thank God I haven't had a nightmare for over 20 years. A combination of learning a lesson about dreaming from Carlos Castaneda's ineresting books, where he describes entering your nightmares, going back to the moment the dream started to go wrong, and rewriting it to dream a better ending. And thanks also to the years of regular meditation that gave me the spiritual strength to take Castaneda's advice and use it. The technique of dream censorship is very useful, and I find that when my dreams end in a generally positive or non-traumatizing way, my awake time is also very positive... I had a horrible daydream though on the very first day of this disaser -- about being under the rubble in the dark and waiting for rescue, and rescue never coming. If I had not seen so many of my past lives, I could not move away from such thoughts. My imagination is very vivid.

AND FINALLY, Mr. Cat -- I couldn't agree more that it was mainly working class and the poor who ended up being drafted. I never blamed the draft dodgers -- I never considered that war legitimate. But I spent a great deal of energy sending letters to every politician I knew (and in those days I knew a lot of them, because I worked in Democratic Party politics since I was a young teenager) complaining about the disgusting treatment that returning GIs from that nasty little war were treated to when they finally got home. The servicemen did nothing less than what they were askedto do by the government. And there were a surprising number of volunteers -- it was not just a draft army. I badgered my congressmen -- Albert Gore's father was still a Senator in those days -- to honor the Vietnam War vets with a monument, but it was long in coming. But when it did, it eased my heart a little. I know that some people in the peace movement equated responsibility for that war with the army that fought it, but I guess I'm old-fashioned in my thinking.

And yes, in Israel most youngsters go into the army right out of high school. They already start several years before they graduate by spending time at an army camp learning what the army is all about and being evaluated by their army "guides." By the time they actually go to boot camp, they already know what to expect, and often they already know what they will be doing in the army. There is also a special track where very bright boys and girls are recruited into a super high level technical high school in their last two years and then continue on for an additional 2 years in special courses that will benefit the various army branches -- airplane maintenance, mechanical engineering, special computer techniques, etc... Many of the Russian kids have gone into this program. They come out as qualified to enter university in the 3rd year, and for very special students, the army pays their fees to continue on a straight track as high as their Ph.D. But it is my understanding that the extra 2 years of schooling beyond high school is more the norm

Officer training is extremely difficult, and it also entails voluntary signing up for several additional years beyond the mandatory 3. In addition, many girls also enter the army, although they are more often exempted than boys are. They serve 2 years either in the army itself or in national service (like working in a hospital or as a teacher's aid in the schools...), but again, if they opt for the officer's course, they have to add an additional 2 years on top of that. Once in the army, you are in the reserve until you get gray hair. What is more, the reserves serve one or more months EVERY YEAR unless they have a special exemption (like they are abroad studying or something). In addition, there are a lot of volunteers for what the British would call the Home Guard, who do whatever is needed in times of emergency -- man barricades on the roads to check IDs, patrol perimeters of all kinds, etc. Look for lost people -- too often victims of a snatch and murder terrorist attack.

We once had an old woman wander off from my village, and the police were called. Within less than an hour, plainclothes security people, police units, special border patrol units (on dune-buggy-type motorcycles loaded with emergency first aid kits, powerful headlights and heavily armed), several helicopters, and the home guard were scouring the desert and all the nearby villages and agricultural fields and citrus groves. The plainclothes types -- young men and women just out of the army, politely entered every house, shed, and garden, personally walked both sides of walls, piles of garden debris or deep stands of grass along fencing, looked into every parked car, and asked to see in the trunks (boots), while the mobile units and helicopters circled in careful spirals out from the center of the village. Except for the actual army and police units, all the other people were in the reserves responding to a phone call. It took 3 hours to find her, because she wandered off into the agricultural fields and then fainted between rows of tomatoes, and night fell, and things naturally slowed down so they could work their way with big flashlights. Two days in the hospital and she was back home. Amazing performance. Those of us who came to Israel in our old age never serve in the army, but young immigrants do, and older people (don't remember the age limit) can volunteer for the home guard. The army is a funny kind of thing, with some recruits working as social services types with families who have youngsters in the army, or in the slummier parts of the cities in youth centers, or organizing summer trips and winter activities for kids in the 14-15 year range, or organizing the army camp experiences for the 16-17 year range. Almost everyone comes home on the weekends and sometimes even every day to sleep at home (depends on what kinds of problems their families are having). During the first part of boot camp, the parents go and visit them on weekends at the camps, and as soon as things ease up a little bit, they come home every other weekend, and finally most weekends. A funny atmosphere for someone like myself who grew up in San Antonio with its 13 or 14 military installations and the long boot camp while the recruits never had any chance to see their families, and the spit and polish and propriety of everything. The Russians, who are recently arrived, can't believe the army. The Russian army is a kind of hell and slavery rolled into one.

Got to go. It is getting on to 3 in the morning...just about my bedtime.

post #198 of 331
Thank you, Catherine, for your excellent description of military service in Israel! Frankly, I wish the same system obtained here in the U.S.A. Also, I thank you for having cared about returning military veterans during the Viet Nam War. So, did you every hear anything in the way of responses from those politicians to whom you wrote letters in support of returning veterans?

post #199 of 331
Dear Mr. Cat,

As to responses from politicians, most letters were the usual kind -- congressman/woman so-and-so is happy to have your views on this subject and will respond at a later date. Meanwhile he/she will carefully consider your letter...

From those I knew well and who worked hard for their campaigns in Tennessee? Private discussions in a family setting, or during the gatherings after the crowds went home following fund-raising events or speeches... Things were not as formal in Tennessee at that time as they appear to be on TV series and Hollywood movies purporting to show how politics is done now 30 years later. I knew and met the younger Gores fairly often as we attended to same conventions, conferences, etc., and worked hard for Albert Gore's father until he died. And I knew a number of later State and US congressmen because of state politics. I think most of the people I knew agreed with me, and sometimes found that surprising, considering that I was a left-wing, anti-war, environmental activist. But the problem with the returning vets was less from left-wing activity than it was from good old middle of the roaders who just wanted to forget a war they couldn't win (without killing all the Vietnamese and laying the entire country waste). If the army itself would have failed in its duties, then I would have expected condemnation of the general staff, but I confess I was confused and surprised by the general majority attitude toward the army itself. It was a shame, as was the way the US withdrew from Saigon, leaving a lot of Vietnamese who had worked with them behind and vulnerable to North Vietnamese punishment. Nor did I think it was right that the GI package for returning vets was almost nonexistent compared to the benefits of GIs from previous wars. The entire thing was dishonorable and unworthy of America.

But I hope things and people are more sophisticated now. I hope that not only Americans, but also the rest of the world, will understand that this war on terrorism is going to be mainly a quiet, behind the scenes struggle and that those people who are involved in hunting down the terrorists are worthy of honor and support. They won't even have the comfort of a lot of mates when they go into the battle. They will go singly or in pairs or small squads with no fanfares or advertisement, and that kind of military action is a very lonely and fragile affair.

Now several weeks from the terrorist attacks in the US, I am able to be fascinated by the incredible flow of information about the countries (and their politics and alliances) that have majority Muslim or Arab populations. Scholars from all fields are expounding on history, culture, politics, man-in-the-street reactions, and on and on. Suddenly there are opinions and facts pouring out, each of which would have taken weeks of digging in obscure books in large libraries to amass. The Muslim world in on stage, and no detail or fact seems to be overlooked.

I try to listen to all the interviews with Muslim rulers and political leaders -- most of whom we have never even heard speak, let alone known the names of. I find I am deeply impressed by the mainstream leaders and clerics -- with their common sense, awareness of global issues, and sophistication. There is less and less of the formal, two-second spots showing Arabs in flowing robes and women wearing enveloping veils -- of fundamentalist clerics frothing at the mouth and shouting jihad at their slavish followers. The picturesque and ethnic has given way to Muslims who graduated from Harvard and Cambridge, and many other very prestigious universities worldwide, because of their brains and intellectual creativity. No more patronizing by the press. If nothing more, September 11th ended the insulting misconception of the "primitive and colorful" natives who bought their way into the world's elite only because they had oil.

I agreed with a rabbi on a recent panal discussion among two Christian ministers, a rabbi, a Muslim cleric and a now-western-based Hindu guru on the subject of God and how one should look at the events of September 11. The Christian ministers kept reiterating that you couldn't really be a godly person (or go to heaven...) unless you accepted Jesus as the savior and son of God. Of all the panalists, the closest in theology on this subject were the rabbi and the Muslim cleric, who spoke of tolerance and and the value of religious diversity. At one point, the Muslim said , "But Islam IS love..."

If nothing drastically goes wrong, I have now some hope that the US, the EU, and our two close neighbors, Egypt and Jordan, will be able to force both Israel and the Palestinians into serious and binding agreements that will be the beginning of the solutions we both need to have a lasting peace treaty. So the repercussions from the horrific sacrifice made of all those unsuspecting folk in the WTC and the Pentagon will have an effect that will be greater than just a war on terrorism. It may well make the emnity between Israel and Muslim countries a much less attractive way to be politically popular in a number of countries that have, up to now, funded terrorist actions here. This of course has something to do with the fact that most of the terrorist groups operating against Israel have ties with Al Qaeda in terms of funding, training, and weapons and explosives supplies. Being seen to support the groups here is becoming a liability for Muslim leaders. But just as important, America is reading the riot act to Ariel Sharon (Israel's Prime Minister), and making it very clear that money, political support, and patronage is going to be in very short supply if a peace plan isn't on the table soon.

But this is the Middle East, and the pressure may miss its mark because of silly notions of "not giving in" to anybody just because they're bigger... It's called cutting of your nose to spite your face...

Got to get back to work. We will all overcome this terrible tragedy, but I hope no one forgets. I believe that the world can never quite get back to square one -- a plus on the good side, in my opinion -- but what comes after depends very heavily on people having integrated the lessons of this last and the coming months as the intelligence and secret war goes on to rid the world of the sickness of terrorism.

Peace and love,
post #200 of 331
Catherine, as much as I appreciate your insights into the situation regarding terrorism I beg to differ with some of your assertions about the Viet Nam War. I apologize to the thread starter for this digression.

I'm unfamiliar with the authority upon which you base your assertion that the Viet Nam War of 1959-1976 was not legitimate. The duly-elected government at Washington had the authority to conduct military operations. Other governments — such as Australia, "South" Korea and New Zealand — were our allies in that conflict and also conducted military operations in the Republic of Viet Nam (so-called "South" Viet Nam).

I respect your right to say you opposed the Viet Nam War. Everybody with whom I served opposed the war! Nobody in their right mind likes war. But to claim it was "not legitimate" demeans the sacrifices made by those who were killed or wounded in military service. I'm sure the Russian veterans of the Afghanistan War appreciate what I'm talking about.

Furthermore, I disagree with your assertion that left-wing activity was less of a problem for returning veterans than middle-of-the-road apathy. I personally never detected such apathy upon returning home: The people whom I met in everyday life, my neighbors and co-workers, were supportive of the war effort yet confused by the constant media-bombardment of criticism which seemed to be based upon college-campus events.

After military service — and after spending several months in the workplace — I returned to college, as did tens of thousands of veterans during that era; and I can assure you I'd be financially independent today had I US$1 for every time I heard the mantra "Veterans are homicidal male-chauvinist pigs who burned down villages and killed women and children," or variations thereof. I majored in journalism yet was told by the editor of the university's newspaper that she would "never hire any :censor::censor::censor::censor::censor::censor::censor: veteran." Examples of left-wing bigotry were everywhere to be found, on and off campus.

Now, about this business of losing/winning the Viet Nam War: General Giap — commander of the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (so-called "North" Viet Nam) — recently stated he was about to advise his government to sue for peace in the aftermath of the Tet Offensive of 1968, because the Viet Cong had been all but wiped out and his regular army had been crushed.

Then, Giap said, a miracle occurred in that the U.S.A. media of communication and the anti-war activists declared the Tet Offensive a huge military defeat for the U.S.A.! Giap couldn't believe this good fortune, manufactured (as he said) by anti-war activists and passed on as gospel by the media of communication, so he instead advised his government to continue the struggle.

That was in 1968, I was there and knew via intelligence that the enemy had been routed. Many people were killed and wounded between 1968 and the end of the war — a war which would have been shortened considerably had the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam sued for peace as Giap originally intended.

Finally, there are two widespread memes which I find disturbing. One holds that U.S.A. military forces committed atrocities during the Viet Nam War which were unparalleled in the annals of warfare. Indeed, there were instances of criminal activity on the part of members of the armed forces on both sides; but such is the case in all wars. War is not a neat and tidy phenomenon, unlike scholarly debate. It's hell on earth; and it has no redeeming qualities of which I'm aware.

The second meme which seems to have taken hold, especially in academe, is the notion that the U.S.A. was fighting a bunch of farmers who were armed with pitchforks. The fact of the matter is that the People's Republic of China, "North" Korea and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics provided unlimited aid to the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam. That included all the state-of-the-art weapons systems then currently available, in addition to training programs. The enemy forces were formidable in every respect.

Catherine, I do not seek a debate about the Viet Nam War. The memories are too painful. And please be assured I respect you! But I felt compelled to present a view of that war which is, unfortunately, excluded from academe and the media of communication.

post #201 of 331
Dear Mr. Cat, I am grateful for your comments. We were not on a college campus, but in a town of about 40,000 of basically middle-class, middle-of-the-road people. And my experience with the rejection of the service men and women returning from the war related to their reactions. No one wanted to talk to the returning GIs about the war, and, surprisingly, it was a lot of the very staid and pro-war families who turned so very sour and unsupportive when soldiers returned to their wives or parents. I was pushing past my mid-30s, so that was my milieu. I totally agree with your last two points. No one could have fought even a guerilla war without the wherewithall to hold off the US Army (and its allies) for such a long time. I did not know that about the aftermath of the Tet offensive. That was really an interesting piece of history.

But this evening my mind is, of course, on the latest terrorist attack just down the road (5 minutes by hellicopter and 20 by the more round-about road) still unfolding in a moshav stuck just inside the Gaza territory. Two dead, already, several critical, an unreported number wounded, but they are using 2 hospitals -- Beer-Sheva's Soroka (where I was yesterday morning where there was a bomb scare in the shopping center,) Ashkelon's Barzelai teaching hospital, which is the nearest to the attack site. I am watching the TV -- hellicopters circling like lazy predatory birds, recognizable only by their big forward lights, and the occasional flare fired to see the ground better. The lights of Gaza all lit up. Islamic Jihad has already claimed "credit" -- The terrorists push the buttons and I suppose the cycle will start again. I hear jets, but no crumping sounds and I hope they are only for general air-safety.

Jerusalem two days ago, a shopping center yesterday (but it was only a scare), a village tonight. Well, you DO know the drill.

But you see, I think that that village should not be where it is, just inside the Gaza Strip on land that surely all international law will demand goes back to the Palestinians when they finally get their state. And the Afghanistan war -- I felt the same way about it as I did Vietnam. I see no reason why more powerful nations shouldn't rush to protect countries from unlawful invasion. But unless there were a declared war, I would not agree that any government should rush in and try to occupy someone's territory just because they didn't like the political constitution of it. Only when a government becomes a danger to all its neighbors... I know there are fine lines and technicalities and the occasional expediency, but exceptions shouldn't become rules.

You sound like you had a rough time in college. Rotten. I am kind of glad I wasn't on a college campus. I probably would have been fighting your battles for you just as hard as ever I fought against the Vietnam war. I really hate injustice...

I see there are a bunch of flashing lights at the foot of our village where the main road passes. So I think I might take my big dog out for a little walk and see what the ruckus is. prob. nothing.
post #202 of 331
Right -- back again. No problems. Just a gaggle of police-type vehicles and their drivers talking to each other. All quiet. The jets were aircover, since they have moved northerly. Hamas has claimed "credit" for the latest attack, too, and this is not uncommon that both Islamic Jihad and Hamas make cross-claims. In fact, their memberships seem to overlap and there is a lot of cooperation on some projects, so perhaps both claims are correct. Whatever.

Back to work. Another complaint about terrorism -- it interrupts one's life. It instills negative thoughts. It brings grief... that's more than one complaint.

Did anyone see Tony Blair's incredibly good speech to the convention of his Labor Party? He said it too -- maybe good can come from the horror of New York. Amen.

post #203 of 331
Catspride and Mr. Cat,

I have been fascinated and wowed by your notes back and forth. You two are such obviously intelligent people and I thank the two of you for being able to have this discussion in such a civil manner. Bravo! Also, thanks for the education you are both providing. Although I grew up at the tail-end of the war in Viet Nam, my experience was not the same as was the experience of those who were adults at that time.

On another note, I was looking for something I saw in one of the earlier comments on this thread, so I went back to page one. It was so very eery to read the first note saying that the author had just heard about a plane crashing into the WTC. Then the following notes added more and more detail...as I was reading the frenzy of horrific notes describing the events as they unfolded, I re-lived the 11th. Although it was painful to relive that day, it brought me out of my intellectualizing of the event (which is my way of coping) and reminded me of just how very horrific the events were (and still are).
post #204 of 331
Yes, lotsocats, That was what impressed me when I went back and skimmed over it all again yesterday. Intellectualizing, analyzing, picking it all apart and focusing on the nuts and bolts helps to set it at a little distance. This is how we deal with our frequent terrorist encounters here. If you immerse yourself, as we all did on September 11 and for several weeks after, you find yourself depressed and fearful all the time. But it is important for even second-hand spectators to go through a grieving period, or it sits like a cancer at your heart and you don't want to go on with living. Repression is really very unhealthy.

And as Mayor Gulianni (spelling?) said, we have to get on with life -- get out and do everyday things. Not to forget, but to declare that we are not whipped by these events.

This has been some experience! It has put our own experiences in Israel very much in perspective, and has moved me out of a more personal view to a more global one. Therapy comes in many forms.

I find the internet a remarkable and hopeful step toward establishing a truly global community.

post #205 of 331
Catherine, I'm very sorry to learn the awful spectre of terrorism is so near to you! I pray you and yours will be safe. Those sights and sounds you describe remind me, of course, of similar phenomena from my days long ago in a combat zone. I admire the courage you and your countrymen display under these circumstances! Hopefully, the day shall come when such dangers are relegated to stories passed down from one generation to the next. Take care; and thank you for sharing your experiences from long ago as well as from today! Please keep us up-to-date on what's happening where you are. Be safe!

By the way, I've just now recalled something which gives weight to your assertion regarding the treatment of military veterans returning from the Viet Nam War. (Some things eventually float to the top when stirring the muck of hated memories.) Long-established veterans' organizations, such as the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, did not welcome Viet Nam War veterans into their ranks. The older veterans believed, as did many people, the communication-media "party line" that the U.S.A. had "lost" the war — and, much like the college kids, they held military veterans (rather than meddling politicians) responsible for the conduct of the war. It did no good to point out to them that the U.S.A. never lost so much as a single battle during that war: Unswerving belief in media accounts was par for the course in those days. It's ironic that I subsequently spent so many years working in the very profession which disseminated so much mendacity regarding the Viet Nam War.

Lots O Cats, I too am impressed with this thread as a document of the events of 11 September. Kudos to Butter Cup and those who posted even as the violent events (and their aftermath) were unfolding.

post #206 of 331
Dear Mr. Cat, Yes, I remember the vets associations too, although that was from newspapers and documentaries and not from my own direct neighborhood experience But the army rankers did not lose anything. The loss was at the political levels, just as, for whatever reasons, the western allies held back at the end of WW2 and left most of the Eastern European countries to Russian "liberation" because of agreements made at Yalta. Hindsight is always so clear and clever compared to the on-the-ground reasons for things that signal historical perpendicular turns. If Roosevelt had not been so very ill at Yalta, things might have been different for Europe. If Giap's despair had been known and a calmer, more orderly disengagement could have been negotiated. If, for instance, US politicians hadn't lost their nerve, they might have been able to disengage in a less scrambling fashion. I think the crowning blow to the VN war was the sight (on the TV news at dinner time) of a prisoner with his hands bound being shot in the head -- parts of his brain and skull shooting out the other side...or the little girl running away from a village that had just been napalmed. Emotive pictures that send middle-America into their perpendicular turn.

But you know, Mr. Cat, all this is history. Most of the people on this forum only know it as that. I checked out some of the profiles for fun to look at birthdates last night, because I stayed up in a restless state watching pictures of Gaza on TV and looking at the sky to see if Sharon had yet again ordered a missile attack in retaliation for the terrorist incursion into the moshav of Alei Sinai. Our discussion of the VN war is like my father's stories of WW1 and how he was too asthmatic to be accepted, and how he spent the war filling in as a firewatcher for the National Parks in the northern Rockies, and how he nearly died there because, after reporting a fire, there were no men left in the area to fight it or to get up the mountain to rescue him. Suddenly I feel very old, maundering on about memories.

And the memories the people of the world will have of this new perpendicular turn in history will be marked by New York and those twin towers. Those who saw it from their apartment or office windows will be scarred and motivated for life, and unto the third generation, their descendents will repeat the eyewitness stories. Folk lore and myth in the making.

But I am something of a fatalist. I believe that good comes from bad, whatever the intention of perpetrators of wickedness. I believe that good even came from the Nazies and the Holocaust. I believe that mankind will survive and improve, much like the old game we used to play of so many baby or giant steps forward or back until someone reaches the finish line. I believe that this ghastly business will put us a few more baby steps into a better future, no matter how many steps backwards we may slip as each country reassesses its self-interest in the coming months, or finds itself unable to proceed against terrorism because if its own internal political dangers. There is no turning back from the concept of globalization, however long it takes to be achieved in reality, because the world is getting a taste for knowing things in realtime, and entering cooperative ventures and friendshps electronically that could never have been achieved a few short years ago. Global community is becoming almost an article of faith and promise. Unless we blast ourselves back to the stone age, it will come to pass in my lifetime, and if we do destroy our ability to go forward in this vein, the concept will remain in our historical memories and will act as a beckoning light to future generations.

Pessemistic in the short run, often, but incurably optimistic for the future. I am awaiting my rebirth somewhere down the line when I am determined to be a spaceperson -- perhaps to explore the moons of Jupiter or Uranus or to help terraform Mars.

On that note, I will try to refrain from further comparisons with older wars, now thankfully past.

Peace and love,
post #207 of 331
I just got this in my e-mails and thought some of you might like to see it. It came via our own Catarina.

By now everyone has been hearing the death toll rise and reports of the
destruction from the terrorist attacks on the US. These were deplorable
acts that we will never forget. But now is a time to look at the other
side of the numbers coming out of New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
The sad but somewhat uplifting side that the mainstream media has not
reported yet - the SURVIVAL rates and some positive news about the

*** The Buildings ***

*The World Trade Center -
The twin towers of the World Trade Center were places of employment for
some 50,000 people. With the missing list of just over 5,000 people,
that means 90% of the people targeted survived the attack. A 90% on a
test is an 'A.'

* The Pentagon -
Some 23,000 people were the target of a third plane aimed at the
Pentagon. The latest count shows that only 123 lost their lives. That is
an amazing 99.5% survival rate. in addition, the plane seems to have
come in too low, too early to affect a large portion of the building. On
top of that, the section that was hit was the first of five sections to
undergo renovations that would help protect the Pentagon from terrorist
attacks. It had recently completed straightening and blastproofing,
saving untold lives. This attack was sad, but a statistical failure.

*** The Planes ***

* American Airlines Flight 77
This Boeing 757 that was flown into the outside of the Pentagon could
have carried up to 289 people, yet only 64 were aboard. Luckily 78% of the
seats were empty.

* American Airlines Flight 11
This Boeing 767 could have had up to 351 people aboard, but only carried
92. Thankfully 74% of the seats were unfilled.

* United Airlines Flight 175
Another Boeing 767 that could have seated 351 people only had 65 people
on board. Fortunately it was 81% empty.

* United Airlines Flight 93
This Boeing 757 was one of the most uplifting stories yet. The smallest
flight to be hijacked with only 45 people aboard out of a possible 289
had 84% of its capacity unused. Yet these people stood up to the
attackers and thwarted a fourth attempted destruction of a national
landmark, saving untold numbers of lives in the process.

*** In Summary ***

Out of potentially 74,280 Americans directly targeted by these inept
cowards, 93% survived or avoided the attacks. That's a higher survival
rate than heart attacks, breast cancer, kidney transplants and liver
transplant - all common, survivable illnesses.

The Hijacked planes were mostly empty, the Pentagon was hit at it's
strongest point, the overwhelming majority of people in the World Trade
Center buildings escaped, and a handful of passengers gave the ultimate
sacrifice to save even more lives.

Pass this information on to those in fear and the media. Don't fear
these terrorists. The odds are against them.

Perhaps this will help ease some of the fear that many are still feeling and plant a tiny seed of hope.

Thanks Cat!!!
post #208 of 331
The New York Times on the Web

Rational and Irrational Fears Combine in Terrorism's Wake

October 2, 2001


The familiar became strange, the ordinary perilous.

On Sept. 11, Americans entered a new and frightening geography, where the continents of safety and danger seemed forever shifted.

Is it safe to fly? Will terrorists wage germ warfare? Where is the line between reasonable precaution and panic?

Jittery, uncertain and assuming the worst, many people have answered these questions by forswearing air travel, purchasing gas masks and radiation detectors, placing frantic calls to pediatricians demanding vaccinations against exotic diseases or rushing out to fill prescriptions for Cipro, an antibiotic most experts consider an unnecessary defense against anthrax.

Psychologists who study how people perceive potential hazards say such responses are not surprising, given the intense emotions inspired by the terrorist attacks.

"People are particularly vulnerable to this sort of thing when they're in a state of high anxiety, fear for their own well-being and have a great deal of uncertainty about the future," said Dr. Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard.

"We don't like that feeling," Dr. Gilbert said. "We want to do something about it. And, at the moment, there isn't anything particular we can do, so we buy a gas mask and put an American decal on our car and take trains instead of airplanes."

But, he added, "I'll be very surprised if five years from now even one life was saved by these efforts."

Still, many psychologists said avoiding flying might be perfectly reasonable if someone is going to spend the entire flight in white-knuckled terror. And though experts say gas masks will offer dubious protection in a chemical attack, if buying them helps calm people down, it can do no harm.

"The feelings may be irrational, but once you have the feelings, the behavior is perfectly rational," said Dr. George Lowenstein, a professor of economics and psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. "It doesn't make sense to take a risk just because it's rational if it's going to make you miserable. The rational thing is to do what makes you comfortable."

The public's fears may be heightened, he and other experts said, by the sense that the government failed to predict or prevent the Sept. 11 attacks, making people less trusting of the reassurances offered by the authorities, who have said that biological attacks are unlikely and, with vastly heightened security, air travel is safe.

Checkpoints on highways, closed parking structures at airports, flyovers by military aircraft and other security measures, they added, while reassuring many people, may for others increase anxiety by providing a constant reminder of danger.

In fact, the threats now uppermost in many people's minds, Dr. Lowenstein and other psychologists said, are examples of the kinds of risks that people find most frightening.

"All the buttons are being pushed here," said Dr. Paul Slovic, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon and the author of "The Perception of Risk." Threats posed by terrorism, he said, "are horrific to contemplate, seem relatively uncontrollable and are catastrophic."

He and other researchers have found that risks that evoke vivid images, that are seen as involuntary, that are unfamiliar or that kill many people at once are often perceived as more threatening than risks that are voluntary, familiar and less extreme in their effects. For example, in studies, people rank threats like plane crashes and nuclear accidents higher than dangers like smoking or car accidents, which actually cause many more deaths each year.

This fact is a source of endless frustration to some scientists, who cannot understand why people panic over almost undetectable quantities of pesticides on vegetables but happily devour charcoal-broiled hamburgers and steaks, which contain known carcinogens formed in grilling. And, when asked to rank the relative dangers of a variety of potential hazards, scientific experts routinely give lower ratings to things like nuclear power and pesticides than do laypeople, researchers have found.

"Everything in some sense is dangerous, in some concentration and some place, and usually not in others," said Dr. James Collman, a chemistry professor at Stanford and the author of "Naturally Dangerous: Surprising Facts About Food, Health and the Environment."

He said his daughter called him after the terrorist attacks to ask if she should buy a gas mask.

"I told her not to panic," he said. "I thought it was sort of statistically a silly thing to do, and were there ever any toxic gases out there, whatever mask she had might or might not be effective anyway."

Yet psychologists say the average person's responses make sense if one realizes that human beings are not the cool, rational evaluators that economists and other social scientists once assumed them to be.

Rather, the human brain reacts to danger through the activation of two systems, one an instant, emotional response, the other a higher level, more deliberate reaction.

The emotional response to risk, Dr. Lowenstein said, is deeply rooted in evolution and shared with most other animals. But rationality - including the ability to base decisions about risk on statistical likelihood - is unique to humans.

Yet the two responses, he said, often come into conflict, "just as the experts clash with the laypeople."

"People often even within themselves don't believe that a risk is objectively that great, and yet they have feelings that contradict their cognitive evaluations," Dr. Lowenstein said.

For example, he said, "The objective risk of driving for four or five hours at high speeds still has got to be way higher than the risk of flying."

Yet Dr. Lowenstein added that a group of his colleagues, all academic experts on risk assessment, chose to drive rather than fly to a conference after the terrorist attacks.

"If you ask them which is objectively more dangerous, they would probably say that driving is," Dr. Lowenstein said. And though his colleagues cited potential airport delays, he said he suspected fear might also have played into their decision.

President Bush and other policy makers in Washington, Dr. Lowenstein said, must contend with a similar struggle between reason and emotion in shaping their response to the attacks.

"A lot of what's going on is this battle where the emotions are pushing us to respond in a way that would give us quick release but would have all sorts of long-term consequences," Dr. Lowenstein said.

In fact, studies show that once awakened, fear and other emotions heighten people's reactions to other potential hazards. In one study, for example, students shown sad films perceived a variety of risks as more threatening than students who saw emotionally neutral films.

Fear can also spread from person to person, resulting in wild rumors and panic.

One example often cited by sociologists who study collective behavior is the so-called Seattle windshield pitting epidemic, which occurred in 1954, a time when cold war fears ran high and the United States was testing the hydrogen bomb.

That year, tiny holes in car windshields were noticed in Bellingham, Wash., north of Seattle. A week later, similar pitting was seen by residents of towns south of Bellingham. Soon, people in Seattle and all over the state were reporting mysterious damage to their windshields. Many speculated that fallout from the H- bomb tests was the cause. Others blamed cosmic rays from the sun. At the height of the panic, the mayor of Seattle even called President Dwight D. Eisenhower for help.

But eventually, a more mundane explanation revealed itself: In the usual course of events, people did not examine their windshields that closely. The holes, pits and dings turned out to be a result of normal wear and tear, which few had noticed until it was drawn to their attention.

The antidote to such fears, psychologists say, is straightforward information from trustworthy sources.

"Trustworthiness has two elements," said Dr. Baruch Fischhoff, a psychologist in Carnegie Mellon's department of social and decision sciences. "One is honesty and the other is competence."

Attempts by the authorities to use persuasion often fall flat, Dr. Fischhoff said, because "if people feel they have to peel away the agenda of the communicator in order to understand the content of the message, that's debilitating."

"Give me the facts in a comprehensible way, and leave it to me to decide what's right for me," he said.

Yet what psychologists can say with some certainty is that, if no further attacks occur in the near future, people's fears are likely to fade quickly - even faster than the fearful themselves would predict.

Studies suggest, Dr. Gilbert said, that "people underestimate their resilience and adaptiveness."

"We have remarkable both psychological and physiological mechanisms to adapt to change," he said. "I guarantee you that in six months whatever New Yorkers are feeling will seem pretty normal to them, even if it is not exactly what they were feeling before."


Copyright 2001 The New York Times Company

post #209 of 331
In the Bible (the Old Testament) there is the psalm that reads "Yea, though I walk in the valley of death, I shall fear no evil . . ." In the end that is the only way one gets over debilitating fear and gets on with the daily business of living. One becomes a fatalist -- adhering to the often heard, but seldom practiced, proverb to live each day as if it were the last.

I know that I used to think this was a terrible expression -- it seemed so morbid. Was one to think about death just around the corner all the time? That certainly would make life pretty miserable.

I began to understand the proverb only after I had been meditating for a while, and now it is a friendly, rather than a morbid, thought.

The idea of getting total mental and emotional pleasure -- as well as value -- out of every minute is, in fact, not only sensible, but results in heightened senses and the ability to accept everything, both good and bad.

I studied with a rabbi once who told me that one should strive to live in the here and now -- in doing one's duty in life without expecting or even dwelling on the possibility of a heaven or a hell. "You live the best life you know how," he would say, "and leave all the unknowable things to God. Afterlives, a heavenly reward or a hellish punishment fall in the realm of God's responsibilities. 7 of the 10 commandments relate to man's relationship to man in this life on this earth. Anything else is not our concern."

A good addition to the growing volume of excellent articles, Mr. Cat. Thanks...

Peace and love,
post #210 of 331
Finally, the journalistic media are allowing public discussion regarding the efficacy of skyscrapers — at least in the United Kingdom. It seems money talks louder than public safety, as the inherent perils of skyscrapers (and all "tall" buildings) have been well known for decades.

New Yorkers, especially, should reflect upon the year 1911: Please see Triangle Fire and determine whether or not lessons have been learned.

The BBC Online

Thursday, 4 October, 2001, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK

WTC collapse forces skyscraper rethink

By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse

The rapid collapse of the twin towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) will force major building design changes to be adopted in the US, and may reduce the number of new high-rise buildings being constructed, according to experts.

“There is going to be a debate about whether or not the World Trade Center Towers should have collapsed in the way that they did.†— Bob Halvorson, architect

The shocking events of 11 September have prompted a major reassessment of the accepted practices employed in erecting skyscrapers.

British and European architects have criticised the current US regulations for ignoring the valuable information that came out of the 1968 Ronan Point tower block disaster in London.

A detailed analysis of WTC collapse suggests that the failure of fire protection systems used in the towers' central columns contributed to their rapid demise.

'Piledriver' effect

In the days following the New York atrocity, engineers were quoted as saying that the towers behaved as they would have expected given the extraordinary circumstances.

The buildings stood for about an hour after being struck

The towers' central steel spines were weakened by the intense heat from the burning aviation fuel, and eventually gave way when they could no longer support the weight of the floors above the crash zones - that is the accepted analysis. When those upper floors began to fall, they forced everything below them to collapse in a "piledriver" effect.

But should the twin towers have collapsed so quickly? Architects and engineers have been looking at the events in more detail, asking what actually happened and what lessons could be learned.

According to some experts, US engineers have never really taken seriously the idea that buildings can collapse in this way. Khalid Dinno, of the Canadian consulting firm Walters Forensic, said that the US waited for 25 years before introducing regulations that had been adopted in Europe.

After the 1968 Ronan Point tower block partial collapse in London, in which four people died, new British Standard Structural Design Codes for concrete were introduced to prevent it happening again. According to Dinno, these codes were ignored in America.

Lack of oxygen

Professor Wilem Frischmann, of the Pell Frischmann Group and the City University, London, was part of the inquiry into the Ronan Point disaster. He said the twin towers should not have collapsed so quickly. "Prior to 11 September, I scarcely believed that this icon was vulnerable," he said.

He added that the impact of the Boeings, puncturing the outer steel shell of the towers would not in itself have caused the towers to fall. "My current analysis of the collapse sequence [suggests that] damage caused to the outside would not have triggered collapse."

“Many high-rise buildings in the USA and Britain will need to be re-evaluated because this flimsy dry-lining type of protection has become commonplace.†— Professor Wilem Frischmann, City University

Although the explosion caused by the fuel-laden aircraft would have been intense, the lack of available oxygen inside the towers would, according to Professor Frischmann, have limited the fireball's temperature to less than 1,000 Celsius. This was within the design limits that the towers were supposed to withstand.

In an analysis of the events that led to their collapse called Obituary For The Two Tall Towers, a report replete with unanswered questions, Professor Frischmann said that sprayed-water fire protection should have maintained the buildings internal strength for several hours, allowing a more complete evacuation.

But the steel supports in the central cores supporting the towers were protected from fire by plaster that had been sprayed on to them. This plaster could have been cracked by the impact, exposing the structural steel to the fire at an early stage.

"Many high-rise buildings in the USA and Britain will need to be re-evaluated because this flimsy dry-lining type of protection has become commonplace," said Professor Frischmann.

Point of impact

According to some experts, the suicide pilots hit the buildings in just the right place to bring about their collapse.

The north tower was struck at the 80th floor; the south tower at the 60th. Had the aircraft crashed lower down, around the 30th floor, it is possible that the stronger steel shell at those levels may have prevented collapse.

The lessons from the collapse will affect future construction

The regulations concerning the construction of future high-rise buildings are likely to be reviewed. According to Tod Rittenhouse, of Weidlinger Associates, who has written a report called Designing Terrorist Resistant Buildings, the design against progressive collapse must be "top of the agenda".

But Bob Halvorson, of architects Halvorson and Kaye, thinks it may prove too expensive to modify existing buildings.

He said: "There is going to be a debate about whether or not the World Trade Center Towers should have collapsed in the way that they did."

The post-mortem on the twin towers will not be swift and will rely on the plans of the buildings, records of its construction, the testimonies of survivors, video of the collapse and forensic examination of the wreckage.

"We are operating well beyond realistic experience," said Halvorson.


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