Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 1, 2001
WCR Letters to the Editor
Editorial suggests the end justifies the means
By linking the attacks of Sept. 11 to the real inequalities in the world, you have suggested, perhaps inadvertently, that the perpetrators have the same ends as those fighting for the poor in the world (Editorial, WCR, Sept. 17, "A culture of peace and sharing").
It leads to the suggestion that, while we are repulsed by the means, we sympathize with the ends. This sort of thinking leads to many dangerous conclusions.
It suggests that the terrorists are somehow misguided. This is wrong.
As best we can tell, these attacks were not carried out by people intent on championing the poor. They appear to have been financed by a multi-millionaire who has grown wealthy from oil.
News reports indicate that financial positions may have been taken in the derivative markets of the world by 6 parties with a sophisticated understanding of the markets in an attempt to profit from the chaos caused by the attacks.
Perhaps they also wished to cause doubt in the people of the West about America and its role in the world. Judging from your editorial, they mau have succeeded on this point.
You make the statement that the U.S. has been a leader since the Second World War in imperialistic monoply. While the U.S. and the global economy it leads is far from perfect, let us be clear about what has happened all over the world since the 1980s. Communism has fallen. Dictators, in countries like the Phillipines and Chile, have been overthrown. These events have been clearly and unequivocally supported by the U.S.
Perhaps the actions of the American state since the 1980s should be compared to those of the states which appear to support terrorist attacks. These are states that allow their leaders to amass huge fortunes at the expense of their miserable populations.
The perpetrators of these attacks appear to have been given shelter by states that allow no dissent, and prefer to gas minority populations.
These states tolerate no opposition. Sudan, for example, is currently waging a brutal war on Christians living within its borders.
These states are home to innocent populations, suffering under undemocratic regimes. They need our help and our institutions.
The terrorism of Sept. 11 was about many things. It was an attempt to spread fear. It was an attempt to make some money. It was an attempt to destroy our institutions and traditions. It was, above all, a murderous and evil attack on innocent lives.
It was not a misguided attempt to address inequality.
Bush's overreaction cause for concern
U,S. President George W. Bush's overreation to terrorism saddens and scares me.
I pray for all those survivors and family/friends of victims wanting punishment for the few terrorists responsible as much as anyone.
Yet to liken this in principle to an act of war by calling it "war on freedom and democracy" (and have the UN behind him once a country scapegoat for feelings of anger, hate and murder is found) opens the door to vengeance not justice, and actual war, not the peace in our hearts and hands all are striving to find.
If Bush is a fellow Christian. let him go past the "eye for an eye" Old Testament, which would amount to only killing the men and terrorists responsible.
Let him see the "love your enemies" New Testament Scriptures, which involves dealing with feelings like anger, fear, and helplessness maturely so we don't overreact, act on them through war, and kill the innocent children along with the guilty and terrorists.
If tempted to point to happy, dancing pictures of men, women and children on TV, celebrating the death of US "enemies" as need to war on a whole country, just remember they've been obviously brainwashed to consider us so culturally, politically and spiritually different as enemies.
Simply fight their false ideas with the truth and educate the leaders of propaganda in truth and peace, not make war on many followers who are uneducated, simple, gullible and like innocent children.
The only true war happening here is a war on and test of ourselves.Imitating the hate-filled animals that did this terrorism, is over-reacting to those feelings, crossing the line from just punishment to unjust war and vengeance - this would cause Bush to fail his test - of whether he is a good leader, and be a hollow victory.
U.S. aggression has killed millions
The terrorist attack on the US was an atrocity and Canadians rightly sympathize with the American people.
The skyjackings and suicide plane crashes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon shocked most people on both sides of the border. But like our Christian neighbours, we are seldom given to introspection.
There were 423 terrorist attacks worldwide in 2000, up slightly in number from 1999 (most of them occurred in South America). The World Trade Towers were bombed before as have, in recent years, two U.S. overseas embassies.
The largely jingoistic reaction from U.S. TV commentators allowed that "America is hated," but they didn't address why its government and business leaders are despised around the world. Understandably, nothing was said about who profits from the American-lead imposition of corporate capitalism (globalization) and its tyrannical values.
In the past 50 years and without declaring war, U.S. aggression abroad has killed more innocent people, including children, than military intervention by any other country. Millions have been slaughtered in Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, and in clandestine military operations and "covert actions" in Asia, Central and South America, the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere.
The Canadian government has either been a willing accomplice or complicit in the carnage. Manufacturers and investors have cashed in handsomely from the global arms race. Although most of the dealers operate out of Washington, Canada consistently ranks in the top seven arms exporters.
None of the brutality can be justified in the name of democracy, because democracy cannot be imposed. If the Nuremberg laws were applied, every one of the post World War II American presidents would have been hanged. We are indoctrinated to vote into power leaders dedicated to preserving "savage capitalism" by force.
Considering the disregard that the U.S. has for the UN and world courts, it's highly unlikely that any of the terrorists' associates will be allowed their day in court, or have their manifests (if any) published in the West.
By adopting the principles in their oppressors, the terrorists have destroyed their own cause. In a real sense, they have played directly into the hands of the chief Mafia Don of the world. Violence breeds violence and two wrongs won't make things right. However, in realpolitik might is right as long as it is "them" that gets hurt.
Perhaps the biggest danger in Canada is that the U.S. government will overreact, turning the country into a garrison state, leading to the complete triumph of domestic fascism.
Let's tell the federal government to be guided by a higher purpose than blind support for one NATO ally's mere vengeance. Nothing provokes destructive feelings more than self-righteous moral indignation. It permits prejudice and hatred to be acted out under the guise of virtue.
World a dangerous place for leaders
My sympathies go out to friends and relatives of the victims in the recent disaster in the U.S.
The world in our recent history has been a very dangerous place particularly for leaders who are peacemakers.
The world would have been a much better and safer place if these leaders would not have been assassinated.
- United States President John F. Kennedy - assassinated 1963.
- Civil Rights Leader Martin Luther King Jr. - assassinated 1968.
- United States Senator Robert Kennedy - assassinated 1968.
- Egyptian President Anwar Saddat - assassinated 1981.
- Pope John Paul II - attempted assassination 1981.
- Israel Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin - assassinated 1995.
We were fortunate that the attempted assassination on the pope was not successful. He has travelled the world extensively uniting people of different faiths and races.
We have to identify and bring to justice the forces of hatred and evil who hide behind a false mask that they are doing God's work.
Thank you Fr. Rolheiser
Having lost a parent to suicide I have read hundreds of articles on this subject. May I say bravo Father Rolheiser and thank you for your excellent article, In Defence of the Victims of Suicide (WCR, Aug. 20).
In response to Camille Goutier's letter and her question, "Is there no sin anymore?" (WCR, Sept. 3). All of us have sinned and fallen short of the plan for life that God has in mind for us (Romans 3:10-12). If we were perfect we would have no need for God and Jesus would have died in vain.
As for judgment of our sins, that's God's business and not ours. (Luke 6:37-42). We would all do well to heed his words. Concerning ourselves with our own sin should leave us no time to judge others.