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Question of the Week: 113

Pagan Problem Children: What Can We Do About Them?

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 Author:    Posted: Sep. 8, 2002   This Page Viewed: 17,496,907  

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Question of the Week: 62 - 10/15/2001

What Are Your Thoughts On The Current "War on Terrorism"?

On Sunday, the United States, Britain and the NATO Coalition launched the first overt military strikes against targets in Afghanistan. Do you agree or disagree with this action? As the United States continues to build a worldwide coalition of nations to fight a 'war on terrorism', what are your thoughts on the current military buildup, 'war on terrorism' can be effective? Does it worry you that no 'end' to such a program has been defined? Are you satisfied with the amount of information that the public has been given on the operations? What sort of outcome would YOU like to see? NOTE: This is a very emotionally charged topic. Like all segments of society, Pagans can be liberals or conservatives, hawks or doves.

 Reponses:   There are 77 responses posted to this question. Reverse Sort 

I Have Heard Many Opinions On The Attacks Of The Eleventh And... Oct 8th. at 8:37:49 pm UTC

Moxy Kitty Girl (Knightdale - Greater Raleigh, North Carolina US) Age: 16 - Email

I have heard many opinions on the attacks of the eleventh and the subsiquent retaliation sunday and today, but most people seem to be making an easy but ultimately(in my opinion) harmful assumption.

We assume that these people are monsters.
We say that they are ruthless, insane, brainwashed cowards whose fanatical beleif in their own perverted version of the creator led them to such madness that they heartlessly murdered thousands.

And oh, that would be so easy, so easy and painless to beleive, when compared with what may actually be true. That they are rational human beings. That they beleived, with every inch of their souls, that what they were doing was right, was God's plan, for how else would they be able to carry it out? How else could such a thing possibly succeed?

Which is exactly what we are asking ourselves.
Perhaps the gods were watching, but could not stop it, perhaps they did not care, but then again...
Perhaps they cared, they lessened the blow, they saved many thousands while taking the rest to the next plane, perhaps they took only those who were meant to die, whose deaths would help to make america part of the world and unify the world with common pain.
Perhaps they chose to unify the world, even though they knew it meant there would be a war.

And the terrorists? I may-or may not-have a better idea of their opinions, of their mindset, than most americans. On the morning of september tenth, I... was... one of them, if only for a moment. I Felt one of their mind as my own, and it terrified me. It terrified me because it was human, because there was pain, because there was such a since of _righteousness_ in that mind, in that thought.

They are human, they are us, and that is terrifying.

The mind I saw had seen more than a dozen close friends injured or killed because of war, poverty, and the sad state that Afghanistan is in now... and he focused all of that hate, all of that pain, on the US. It was truth, it was life to him...these lies...

"The United States weakens the middle east, they support their allies the Israeli, and laugh at our poverty. They seek to make us weak because we are muslim, but they will be shown. We shall be a nation more devoted to Allah than any other, and He shall look upon us in favor and help us to destroy our enemies.

"The United States thinks we are not a threat, they think we can be treated like dogs and will never strike back, but our will is strong and allah is with us, for we shall overcome their oppression and destroy the capitalist dogs who seek to destroy us

"They call themselves 'free', but that freedom is sin in far to many forms to be counted. This nation of the United States is an afront to Allah and must be destroyed."

This hatred(which I have only now been able to express in words) is really only an outlet for the frustration that many people in the mid-east feel. Why do you think Osama bin Laden spends his money on terrorist camps rather than helping the poor? The horrors of everyday life make thousands of people more than willing to sacrafice themselves if they think it will make things better for those left behind. bin Laden is using people's emotions and twisting them to his uses. He would never help the Afghanistan people because that would rid him of the readily available troops he has now, yet he maintains a positive public image through his relations with the Taliban, and yet they support him because his wealth and popularity keep _them_ in power. It is a viscious circle feeding upon itself.

And how, How can these people find it so easy to hate us? Simple. They have never seen us, never known us, and so to them We are the monsters.

We are all the same, we are all human, and I sometimes wonder if we are all not monsters.

But I have faith in the Gods.

The Unfortunate Reality Is That Sociopaths Only Understand Physical Force; Reason And... Oct 8th. at 10:07:38 pm UTC

Dia Griene (Hemet, California US) Age: 43

The unfortunate reality is that sociopaths only understand physical force; reason and logic are useless. Which means that military measures are unavoidable. Hopefully, though, the military end of things will be completed as quickly as possible with the smallest loss of human life possible, and the Afghan people can be helped to reclaim their land and lives. We are realizing as a nation that our security is interwoven with the security of all other nations, which is why we are working hard to minimize civilian casualities and not further inflame anti-American sentiment. Peace to us all. Om Shanti Om.

War Is Never The Answer. War Will Never Bring Peace. Violence Only... Oct 8th. at 10:16:57 pm UTC

Morgan (Granite City, Illinois US) Age: 21

War is NEVER the answer. WAR will NEVER bring peace. Violence only produces more violence.
The people dying out there because of this "war on terrorism" aren't terrorists. The ones who are suffering are the people of Afghanistan, the women and children of Afghanistan who already have suffered the worst.

The attack of september 11 wasn't an attack on the civilized world and all that is represents. That attack was exclusively to the USA because of years of intrusive politics in the Middle East, just as the attack on Afghanistan isn«t an attack to the Islam. Neither of these actions can be supported. Both (september 11, october 7) are acts of terrorism that will only disrupt even more the balance on our planet. Both are acts so complicated that we can barely understand the reasons and implications behind them. And this should be the main task of the mass media: to inform the people of the world about the real causes of what is happening today. But, as always, they are being manipulated by the ones who have the power and the money.

And what about "this operation will last for years"? USA says it wants to erradicate terrorism from the face of the world. THey say that there is a network of terrorism inside 60 countries. 60 COUNTRIES!!! Is USA going to throw bombs in all those countries????

This "war" is just another act produced by the hatred and intolerance consuming our society and is just going to make this hatred and intolerance grow faster and deeper. DO NOT TEACH YOUR CHILDREN TO HATE SOMEONE THEY DONT EVEN KNOW. DO NOT TEACH THEM TO THINK THAT A WAR IS GOING TO END WITH THE VIOLENCE AND HATRED OF OUR SOCIETY. DONT LET THEM GROW WITH THE IDEA THAT THEIR PARENTS SUPPORT A WAR THAT IS KILLING MORE INNOCENT PEOPLE.

WHO OUT THERE CAN THROW THE FIRST STONE? Certainly not the United States...

I Completely Disagree With The Use Of Force. Currently We Are The... Oct 8th. at 11:57:07 pm UTC

Billie (Fort Hood, Texas US) Age: 23

I completely disagree with the use of force. Currently we are the richest country in the world, picking on, and blowing up the poorest country. I personally feel that there are other ways of going about this. I am the spouse of someone in the military, so I support our men and women in combat, but not the cause. I think that we need to change our policies towards other nations, and not force our way of life on others. We have lost nearly 6000 innocent people, so why go and kill 6000 more? Does not seem logical to me. There is no way we will ever be able to eliminate terrorism, there will always be a terrorist somewhere in the world. Killing Osama Bin Laden will do nothing but enrage his followers. Either way, there will still be attacks on innocent civilians, no matter what we do.

First Of All, Let Me Say That In My Heart, I Am... Oct 9th. at 1:24:28 am UTC

the Tarotlaydee (Clearwater, Florida US) Age: 45 - Email

First of all, let me say that in my heart, I am not a "hawk." Even though I am a US Air Force veteran and my career field while in the military was as an Intelligence Operations Specialist with the Strategic Air Command. I was stationed within the US for a short time and then for the longest assignment in my tour of duty, I was stationed in Athens, Greece. This was the early 80's and a particularly volatile time in the Middle East and Greece. Greece walked the fence between Socialism and Communism and had just finished up a coup in their country. This was right after the release of our hostages in Iran and also the shooting on our pilots by the Libyan AF. I basically provided the intelligence support for reconnaissance missions in the East Med theatre. It was my job to know what was going on in this area and to provide this information to the aircrews and commanding officers. I loved my job!

The amount of terrorism and terrorist acts kept me quite busy all the time. While I was stationed in Athens there was the bombing of the embassy in Beirut, the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, the attempted asassination of one of our classifed couriers that did his run between the US Embassy in Athens and Hellenikon AB, the bombing of Bobby's 2 Bar in Glyfada, Greece (near the base), the downing of one of our F-14's and the pilot's capture by the Syrians (later released due to the negotiations of Rev Jesse Jackson), and many other minor incidents and skirmishes. Many of the terrorist groups had operations offices in Athens, including the PLO (Palestinian), ASALA (Armenian)and the Shiites (Muslim extremists), and the Nov 17 (Greeks against the American presence in Greece). All of the above and the daily protests against us having a military presence in Greece, protests by the Communist party in Athens and the constant shelling of Beirut by the Israelis and their air war, the Syrians and their SA-5's pointed at us, and the Libyans and their threat...we were all in constant danger of reprisals and of having our aircrews shot down.

On a Sat night on Feb 2nd, 1985, I left Bobby's 2 bar to head to the base to work a mid-shift. I left about 10 or so, due into work about 1130PM. At about 2 AM I got the news that Bobbys 2 had been bombed, no casualties but a lot of injuries. At 2AM, the bar would have been filled to capacity with mostly military men and women and their dependants and a small percentage of European people. My friends were all hurt...and no one had ever claimed responsibility for this incident. Two Arabic men had been sitting in the bar...had walked in and ordered a drink from my friend Claire who was tending bar that night. They had a suitcase. That was all she could remember. Bobby's 2 was a perfect target. Why no one was killed in that tiny packed beyond capacity bar, I will never know. It was practically leveled.

Terrorism is not started in the 70's and has continued without abating since then. These Islam extremists have existed for a long time, in different groups and factions and now they have united into one dangerous group, the "al Queda." The enemy is the same, only called by a different name. Bin Laden is only their mouthpeace at this time. There is ethnic cleansing and a complete re-writing of history within Afghanistan. The blowing up of the ancient Bhudda statues this summer and the raping and pillaging of the villages has only been hinted at. If we kill bin Laden, another leader will rise up. They call us the great Satan, because we provide support to Israel and take their oil and other natural resources. They smile when they kill and if they kill enough of us, they go straight to Allah in the arms of Mohammed and sit at Allah's right hand for eternity. Their religious zeal cannot be compared to any other in the world.

Our country and people have taken enough! They are calling the Twin Towers the first act of terrorism on American soil! NOT TRUE! Embassies and military installations ARE American soil, also! We have taken a lot of abuse from these governments, factions and fanatical leaders! We have let these people into our country on student visas, made deals and Status of Forces Agreements with these governments and they flash their cash (from oil) and get whatever they want from us. Used us and abused us to the max! Do not tell me to be unprejudiced! Do not say to me that I should not suspect my Arab neighbors. The members of these terrorist cells ARE our neighbors...we have let them in and they have assimilated into our culture so well that they have been the enemy walking around among us. They know our secrets and they know our Achilles heel.

I DO not think that pilots or flight attendants should be flying unless they have a government security clearance. If they cannot be cleared because of legal problems or a drinking habit, they should not be flying. They SHOULD be armed and given a chance to protect themselves. I think our country needs to provide the maximum amount of security on flights. I think they should be providing the SAME security measures on ALL forms of mass transit, such as Amtrak and commuter trains and busses. These will be the next targets and the security on these forms of travel is lax. I also think that all cities should be doing daily checks of the bridges and overpasses and restrict the areas around these structures, as these will also be the next targets. All water sources should be checked by bioenvironmental teams every day and areas around these sources should be restricted. Our government needs to keep things classified and hidden from us...but need to provide us with a degree of safety and do not think they are doing a good job of minute telling us to go to Disneyworld and later in the same day telling us that more terrorist acts are likely.

I for one, do not see this military action ending soon. I support the President decision(he is just a figurehead, his daddy and Cheney are calling the shots) and what he is "pretending" to do, he was not my choice, however. I still believe that he stole the last election. In this war, if we can eliminate the Taliban and restore the Afghan people to their country and put their King in place there, than that could be good for that region. But these Islamic extremists are everywhere. And when this is done, another skirmish or small war will take place somewhere else and this will have a chain reaction. Terrorism will not end in our lifetimes. It will continue and we can only be vigilant here in this country. We need to stop letting people in. Put a cap on the student visas and the supposed business trips. Scrutinize EVERYONE! I will not feed the fear...but I will be watchful. And I will protect and defend myself and my family if I have to. That is my right as an American.

Ibelieve There Should Be An Effective Action Taken Against Any Terrorist Activities... Oct 9th. at 1:55:07 am UTC

Gwydion Elkmoon (Lancaster, Pennsylvania US) Age: 57 - Email

Ibelieve there should be an effective action taken against any terrorist activities anywhere in the world. As this problem effects everyone and not just the citizens of our country, the establishment of a specific "world court" should be the course to follow in bringing terrorism to an end. Unfortunatly, our country frequently engages in overkill in actions of war and to an end innnocent lives are lost. We are by far the most powerful nation on Earth, but with this power comes a responsibility to which we will be called to test. In the 1960's I served in VietNam as a pilot in the USAF. I have witnessed first-hand the horrors of war and the tragedy of lives lost for an unpopular cause. We who served in the military were looked on as "baby killers" and mental freaks and it is not surprising that the largest number of homeless in America are veterans of that war. With the terrorist attacks of 9/11, I think the false sense of security we enjoyed for so long has been shattered forever. America is no longer a safe haven in our chaotic world, and I think we had better get used to it. Osama bin Laden will die in the coming weeks, and the power of the Taliban will be abolished, but the repercussions of our actions here and now will determine our security as a nation for years to come. The world will never be free of terrorists, because when one group perishes, another is soon to rise up, each with a new set of radical beliefs and a willingness to do what they have to do to make thier "cause" known. Bin Laden believes he is fighting a war for his God. But how different is this idiot from the Christian Fundamentalists of our own country who willingly persecute Pagans in the belief that they are doing the right thing for the Christian God? Terrorism will always have it's roots in pure evil, but behind that evil is the mind-set of intolerance and uncomprimise. I believe this was a wake-up call for America, people, and rather than continuing our life styles as self-centered narcissistic brats with our big SUVs and our cell phones, we should take a long introspective look on how the rest of the world views us with our obsession with guns, televised violence, blatant materialism and self-indulgence. Sorry for the rant, fellow Pagans, but I love my country and I fought for her in an unpopular war and I can say with all sincerity that I am proud to be an American. But the days of basking in our own limelight ceased to exist on September 11 and we must remember that we must give up some of our freedoms now, so we can insure the preservation of those left in years to come.

The Positive View, I Think Some Good Will Come Of These Events... Oct 9th. at 7:07:23 am UTC

Michael (Dublin, Ireland) Age: 23 - Email

The Positive view,
I think some good will come of these events, and the current strikes may well save more lives and reduce suffering for the future.

The current Afghan government is a fundamentalist repressive order, it is not the only place in the world under these conditions, but it is one of the worst.
Under normal circumstances nobody would really care, it is far away, there is nothing of value there, and the terrorism they support was tolerable... like all their sponsered terrorism was before the twintowers episode.

Now the British and American armed forces are going to topple this government, the King in exile is prepared to return and form a legitimate government, and the nation will be rebuilt with western aid. Basicly do what was done with Germany after the 2nd world war.

A violent and savage attack is going to be turned around into some good in that many nations are making closer ties and cooperation, an entire people are being liberated from an unjust fundamentalism, and terrorism is being dealt a serious blow.
Small consolation to the friends and family of those killed by not just the recent terrorist attacks, but previous ones also, but we are making the best of an unpeasant situation.
It is inevitable that civilians will be killed and maimed by the US Air Force and Royal Air Force bombers, but I am confident it will save more lives in the long term, and it is impossible to wage war without civilian casualties.
It is to hope that these strikes will not only materially damage their capability to wage war/oppression in their own region or terrorism in the west, but also to damage their support for these actions.

I only find it a pity that it took so many deaths to convince us to topple this fundamentalism.

This Is A Tough Issue For Me. I Consider Myself To Be... Oct 9th. at 7:34:48 am UTC

Todd Ambrose (Toledo, Ohio US) Age: 27

This is a tough issue for me. I consider myself to be peaceful, but I feel that this war is neccesary. Maybe if the pagans of old would have rose up and fought, the burning times would not have happened. I also realize that our actions in Israel has provided some motivation for these attacks, and I belive that Palestine has has much of a right to exsist as Israel. I don't think that a change in our policy will stop the most extremist groups, however. The Sept 11 attacks were an attack against people of all races and creeds, including Pagan. This fundamentalisism has a potential to (and has) spread to other nations. This can't be allowed to happen. What would we do if the fundamentalist christians grabbed up there guns and decided to purge America of paganism? We would have to rise up and fight, or be destroyed. I see the actions of the terrorists as an act against pagans and witches everywhere. I do not want to see innocent people die. But we need to remember that most of this war is covert. Covert operations are targeted at specific groups, not civilians. As long as we stay focused, and target the specific groups that are responsible, and the governments that harbor them, I will support our military actions.

Well What Do Ya Know It's Ww3, And We Get To Witness... Oct 9th. at 9:35:39 am UTC

Artemis Moonshadow (Kfar Saba, Israel) Age: 16 - Email

Well what do ya know it's WW3, and we get to witness it first hand. I think it's about time that America DO something about the terrorists. On the other hand the Americans are hypocritical elitists (this is a generalization people).
I'm Israeli, my whole life I've lived under the threat of terrorism and the past year has been pure hell, and there was nothing the government could do, why? Because the US asked them nicely not to kill the people who throw stones at us. I'm not a pacifist and I belieive that there are times where force is needed and neccecry. The attack on America was an act of war, as are all terrorist attacks, in my opinion.
Earlier in my life, I thought this fight with the Palestinians was wrong and that we were the bed guys. Now I realise that throughout the history of Israel, we provoked no attacks that the land we have we either bought or fought in a "justified" war.
Israel is not occupying Palestine, America has every right to bomb Afghnistan.
Just because we use force doen't mean we will abuse that force.
In my opinion the Taliban and Bin Laden can go f**k themselves.

Fundimentalism Of Any Form Is Terrifying. In The Past, People Who Advocate... Oct 9th. at 11:48:32 am UTC

Gwydion Famespear (Luton, England UK) Age: 36

Fundimentalism of any form is terrifying.

In the past, people who advocate their views to the suppression of others have been ignored or reviled. Yet they are never really taken as being dangerous. It takes the death of 6, 000 people to convince those in power otherwise.

It doesn't matter what "cause" fundimentalism is wrapped in, it is about gaining power. Osama Bin Ladan's group don't really care about Islam. Not deep down. Islam is about people. About love of one's God and fellow humans. It is about peace.

What exactly went through the mind of Osaman Bin Laden when he planned the attack? Did he consider the people who live in the country around him? People who are now in danger of their lives.

Did he consider those who practice Islam? The people who have lived peacefully with neighbours of other faiths, but who now think twice about revealing their religion.

Did he feel that this action would show his faith is a positive light?

I doubt anyone thought that the US would NOT react to the horror of 11th September. In the past, the US government has shown how it looks after its own and that any effort to bring people to justice is not too much.

All the actions of Bin Laden appear to be those of a man wrapped in his own arrogance. In his belief of his won PR in his fight, supposedly for the Islamic cause. He is a man without conscience or thought of the destruction which he directly caused on the US or the indirect destruction which Afghanistan will now face.

But Osama Bin Laden is not alone. There are other similar leaders who convince themselves that their stated cause is their motivation. They delude themselves. their goal is power.

Terrorism is based on this. It must be challenged.

There is no totally satisfactory way to solve this. Peace is not a language such people understand. It is sad that it is always those who are suffering are destined to suffer even more. It is interesting that Bin Laden comes from a wealthy background and chose to reject a wealthy lifestyle. Most Afghans do not have that choice.

That is why there can be no end to this war. As there will never be an end to the war against crime. Indeed this is the same war, just a matter of degree.

As long as someone has something someone else wants, thinks in a way different to someone else or acts in a differenty way, conflict will always exist.

That is the human tragedy.

Heavens, What A Question. It's Kind Of Like Asking What Our Thoughts... Oct 9th. at 3:12:38 pm UTC

Cat (Asheville, North Carolina US) Age: 34

Heavens, what a question. It's kind of like asking what our thoughts are on the cosmos or something. My thoughts are sometimes random, often contradictory, and (I sometimes think) of no use to anyone anyway because my elected representatives really don't care what I think. But here are a few of them:

1) Maybe we should look at our own foreign policy before we decide to "strike back" and declare a "war" on anybody, even terrorists? I mean, face it, folks, when large groups of people hate you enough to die to prove their point, they can't ALL be crazy. And you know what Queen Elizabeth said in the film: "I dislike wars. They tend to have unpredictable outcomes."

2) On the other hand, I've thought for years that if the U.S. really cared what happened in any country that we weren't getting oil from, it would've done something about the Taliban's treatment of its own people, especially women, a long time ago. I mean, we impose sanctions on Cuba and trade with a regime who institutionalized and sanctified hatred of women and other religions--say what? I can't imagine saying this about most countries, groups, or areas, but I suppose it's possible that the people of Afghanistan would actually do better as a U.S. protectorate. Many Muslims may consider Jordan a sellout, but it's thriving economically.

3) On the third hand (this is getting rather Kali-esque) maybe there's something we could do about it besides bombing. Is it just me, or does anyone else think U.S. foreign policy has gotten more shortsighted even than usual? Right now we're dealing with a mess we created barely a decade ago, when we encouraged Afghanistan to fight the USSR, and it doesn't seem too far-fetched that what we're doing now is going to spawn new messes even sooner. Do we even know if we're sending in ground troops, which is almost certainly what's required if we're serious about this? Rumsfeld won't say; maybe he doesn't know.

4) Coda to #3: wouldn't it be nice if we could just decide who we support and stick with it for a few years? Ten years ago the proto-Taliban were "freedom fighters" against the "evil empire." Now the evil empire is our buddy and the freedom fighters are cowardly madmen who have made pacts with Satan. Hello, Congress? A little consistency, anyone?

5) And, finally, all this is provisional because I haven't done my homework. I don't know what things are really like in Afghanistan (or Israel or Palestine for that matter); if there's a clearcut good guy or bad guy in the Middle East, I don't know who's who; what the exiled king might've got up to in his glory days I rather wonder, since he's not king now. Without real research, with no more to go on than our fairly appalling U.S. news (let's not even talk about the "new CNN", I don't know that I'm even qualified to have an opinion. I love to give it as much as anyone else, but whether it's worth listening to I don't know. Certainly my representatives don't listen to it.

Coda #2: even if the "war on terrorism" is justified, it's going to bring with it some nasty baggage in the domestic sphere. I guess you all know that the defense bill that no one dares oppose (since that would unpatriotic) has a rider attached saying we're going to drill for oil in the Arctic Refuge? That little exploitation of our patriotic feelings will have longer-lasting repercussions than anything we do in the Middle East. If my fellow American pagans want to write their congressmen about something, that would be a good choice.

We Are At War. Sept. 11th Proved That. The Only Question Is... Oct 9th. at 9:09:13 pm UTC

Nissa Annakindt (Daggett, Michigan US) Age: 43 - Email

We ARE at war. Sept. 11th proved that. The only question is whether to fight back in the hope of ending these ongoing terrorist horrors, or surrender our freedom to the likes of Osama bin Laden and the Taliban. I support my country and even the president that I did NOT like previous to this. I hope other Pagan folk will do likewise.

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