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What is an appropropriate response?
Political and philosophical considerations after the attack on the Word Trade Center

Chorus of Sanity: a collection of personal statements

Vicki Robin, Michael Moore, Diana Morley, Kenoli Oleari, Doug Carmichael, Lincoln B. Justice, Sun Tsu (abt. 2000 years ago)...

Doug Carmichael writes:

The Mayor of New York says, "this was an unprovoked act against innocent
men women and children."

I write to use all means available to simply say, there is no cause
without a cause. The creation of terrorism must be understood and dealt
with at the root of what creates people whose lives are pained enough to
make this kind of move. Everything is provoked. We must understand the
deeper picture of human reality.

Excerpt from a letter by Michael Moore:

Death, Downtown


....[A]ll day long I have heard everything about this bin Laden guy except
this one fact -- WE created the monster known as Osama bin Laden!

Where did he go to terrorist school? At the CIA!

Don't take my word for it -- I saw a piece on MSNBC last year that laid it
all out. When the Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan, the CIA trained him
and his buddies in how to commits acts of terrorism against the Soviet
forces. It worked! The Soviets turned and ran. Bin Laden was grateful for
what we taught him and thought it might be fun to use those same techniques
against us.

We abhor terrorism -- unless we're the ones doing the terrorizing.

We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the
1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me.
Thirty thousand murdered civilians and who the hell even remembers!

We fund a lot of oppressive regimes that have killed a lot of innocent
people, and we never let the human suffering THAT causes to interrupt our
day one single bit.

We have orphaned so many children, tens of thousands around the world, with
our taxpayer-funded terrorism (in Chile, in Vietnam, in Gaza, in Salvador)
that I suppose we shouldn't be too surprised when those orphans grow up and
are a little whacked in the head from the horror we have helped cause....

Will we ever get to the point that we realize we will be more secure when
the rest of the world isn't living in poverty so we can have nice running

Let's mourn, let's grieve, and when it's appropriate let's examine our
contribution to the unsafe world we live in.

It doesn't have to be like this.

Kenoli Oleari:

In a way I felt strangely unmoved by this terrorism; after all, I
spend some time everyday thinking of the billions of people who
suffer or die daily at the routine "business" as usual work of the
United States.  This is a huge sorrow to live with constantly, it
does numb the nerves somewhat.  That suddenly this consequence of
our actions shows up immediately in our midst is not surprising; in
some way it is a miracle that it took this long to show up on our
door step.  And it brings with it the same sorrow, the same loss,
the same broken lives that occur daily for billions of others at the
hands of our country's way of being in the world.  Having just
returned from Indonesia, I am deep with the awareness of the depth
of physical suffering that has become the norm for these billions of
people.  Those folks whose dream is a $3.50/day job with Nike.

I was deeply struck by some statistics that more than a billion of the
world's people live on less than a dollar a day and lack the most basic
necessities of life.

Where is peace and justice?  And prosperity and hope?  How do we act?  Is
there a hope for something else? How can those of us act who want healing
and not revenge?  How can we acknowledge the apparent inability of some
people (or groups) to see beyond revenge, without endorsing it?  How can we
act in response to this response in a way that heals, that makes more
possible an alternative other than more terror and war?  How can we model
something else in the world?  How can we make a statement that can be heard?

Vicki Robin:

As I watched the World Trade Towers collapse this morning and as the
shock works its way through my body, I am aware that people
everywhere will be grappling with what this means.  I encourage all
of you to join me in being aware in these next days and weeks of
this meaning-making activity, knowing that how we understand this
event governs how we will respond.  If people recoil into fear,
vengeance and scapegoating we are in for very dark times.  Our
conversations right now make a big difference in whether we as
people, as a nation can grieve, search our souls, stay connected to
all that is good in us.  If not, if we as people and as a nation
seek to relieve our pain through blame, then many, many people here
who have challenged the status quo will be hurt and the conviction
that we must live in a police state will not be far away.  Please
join me in compassionate conversation with as many people as
possible - not instructing others in how to respond but in listening
and feeling together and discovering what our responses might be.
May we flood our streets with love rather than fear.

Diana Morley:

I'd like to see us become independent of Middle  Eastern sources of oil.
It's because of our commercial interests in the oil that we interfere
militarily. It's because of our attack on Iraq during the
Gulf War that Osama bin Laden initially turned against the U.S. (combined,
of course, with our lack of concern for Muslim victims of war, as in
Bosnia). Maybe the horrific suffering caused in yesterday's attacks will
help get our attention so that we might see conserving energy and seeking
out alternative sources, especially renewable sources, as a small price to
pay for freeing up our commercial and military interests.



In the aftermath of the ruthless attack on the World Trade
Center and Pentagon, we implore the leaders of the United States to
ensure that justice be served by protecting the innocent citizens of
all nations.

We beg that the President maintain the civil liberties of all
U.S. residents, protect the human rights of all people at home and
abroad, and guarantee that this attempted attack on the principles
and freedoms of the United States will not succeed.

We plead for a thorough investigation of the terrorist events
before any retaliation.

We call for PEACE and JUSTICE, not revenge.

In Solidarity,
The Undersigned

The system centralizes signature collection to provide consolidated,
useful reports for petition authors and targets.

Lincoln B. Justice sent this editorial:

The terrorist attack on America in New York and Washington has certainly gotten
our attention. It is unquestionably time for the world to at last abolish 
terrorism. To eradicate it we must dig out the roots and not just knock off a
few seed head with a military attack. The roots go deep and will reappear if 
we fail to deal with those conditions that cause people to become enraged 
enough to resort to violence.

Before we lash out at foreign terrorists we could learn from terrorism 
practiced within our beloved country. Perhaps we WASPs have not noticed the 
terrorist acts against our black citizens--lynching, flaming crosses, and 
bombing of black churches. Or we do not remember what we and our ancestors 
did to Native Americans as we swept them off their lands into reservations 
until oil or coal was discovered? Do we remember the Trail of Tears or the 
Wounded Knee massacre? These acts were design to create terror in the hearts 
of these people.

Have we heard of what our agents trained in the School of America did to poor 
people in Central and South America--the Iran-Contra affair, the "low intensity
wars" in Guatemala to insure the rights of the American Fruit Company to control
native farm land? We Americans may have been blind to these atrocities, but 
not our neighbors through the rest of the world. Their underground 
information network has kept the memory of our terrorist acts alive, while our 
corporate controlled media has focused our attention on the sexual activities 
of Bill Clinton, our "war on drugs" and the stock market.

If we want to root out terrorism we must first come clean about our complicity 
in fostering the conditions that bred terrorists. Our failed war on drugs 
should be a lesson to us. Even with the strongest and most expensive military 
force on earth and the most sophisticated spy network, our government is not be
able to protect us from the swarm of angry terrorists who can descend on us with
low tech biological and chemical weapons and nuclear weapons in a suitcase. It
is like attacking mosquitoes with a machine gun and leaving the stagnant water 
in which they hatch untouched.

Before we rush out like Don Quixote fighting evil monsters in other nations, it
would be well to start rooting out terrorism at home. Most people are more 
easily converted by humble confession than by macho arrogant threats.

"A government should not mobilize an army out of anger, military leaders
should not provoke war out of wrath. Act when it is beneficial, desist if it
is not. Anger can revert to joy, wrath can revert to delight, but a nation
destroyed cannot be restored to existence and the dead cannot be restored to
life. Therefore an enlightened government is careful about this, a good
military leadership is alert to this. This is the way to secure a nation and
keep the armed forces whole."

Sun Tzu
"The Art of War"

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