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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: 23,991,812  

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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 

... Oct 10th. at 4:52:16 pm EDT

Joseph L. Futerman (Los Angeles, California US) Age: 43 - Email

I Have Both Hopes And Fears Over The "war On Terrorism". I... Oct 10th. at 7:59:20 pm EDT

J. P. DeMeritt (League City, Texas US) Age: 44 - Email

I have both hopes and fears over the "war on terrorism". I am encouraged to see the way poeple from around the world have come together to offer hope and comfort in theis time of sorrow. I'm gratified to see how the American people have unified -- not only in their resolve to find and bring to justice those responsible, but to support those who grieve, those who still struggle with the daunting tasks of recovery, and to rebuild the shattered lives and pshcyes of all.

My greatest hope is that our national leaders will carry on with restraint, resolute in doing what must be done to eliminate terrorism, but recognizing that there is no victory in violence -- that there is a respite at best. I believe that if we carry through in measured ways, we will substantially reduce the ability of existing terrorists to bring such suffering to people again in the near future. I also hope our national leaders will carry through on their promises to address terrorism throughout the world.

But I also fear the course we're taking. My fear isn't that violence begets violence. While that tends to be true, I believe it's true because there are social, political, and economic systems that cause people to turn to terror in the first place. I believe that if we understand and intervene in those systems, we can create a future free of organized terrorism. My fear is that current plans don't seem to address those systems. If we fail in that endeavor, those systems will continue to create terrorists, and all the lives, time, and resources spent on this "war against terrorism" will be wasted. I don't believe we can afford that outcome.

I would relish a discussion with anyone who feels they have insights into the causes of terrorism. I'm currently trying to build a model that explains it, and additional insights must surely sharpen the vision with which we view this problem.

Just A Few Thoughts, Not In Any Particular Order: We Need To... Oct 10th. at 9:46:03 pm EDT

Bryony Ravenwillow (Kansas City, Missouri US) Age: 33

Just a few thoughts, not in any particular order:

We need to rethink our Mideast policy. Yes, Israel is our ally. I also believe that Palestinians need a place to call their own. If there is ever to be peace in that region, someone needs to get the leaders of the two factions together, let them rant and rave and get all their grievances out in the open, and then let a neutral (meaning not U.S.) mediator help them work something out that will appease both sides. Call me idealistic, but I think it could happen.

If Osama bin Laden and his cronies in Al-Qaida are ever captured, they should be tried in an international court of law. Yes, the attack on 9-11-01 took place on American soil, but citizens of something like 63 other countries also perished in the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon. Justice should be done on their behalfs as well as in addition to the justice we seek. Yes, we lost thousands but are we just supposed to tell the Paraguayans and the Ghanaians "Sorry, bin Laden is all ours to do with as we please, because we lost so many and you only lost one or two?" He committed an international crime, the international community should have a say in what to do with him.

I believe that once the Taliban is toppled in Afghanistan, we should treat them as we did to Germany and Japan after WWII. Educate them (I read their literacy rate is only about 31%), teach them modern farming techniques, help rebuild their cities, etc. The Peace Corps and other international humanitarian groups will be instrumental in this step.

I consider myself a peaceful person, but I think that military intervention in this case is warranted. The Taliban must go if anything is to improve in Afghanistan, not just the rights and welfare of the women, but for everyone living in that country. It was a beautiful place once, it can be so again.

This last thought will get me creamed, but here it is anyway. In his videotape, bin Laden mentioned the suffering in Iraq. I hate to say this, but in this instance he's right. The U.S. has imposed many sanctions against Iraq, and the only ones suffering from them are the Iraqi people, while Saddam Hussein secretly readies his own war machines and lives fat while his people starve. This is a recipe for disaster waiting to happen. If we go after bin Laden, sooner or later we're going to have to finish what was left undone after the Gulf War and topple Hussein as well. The people of Iraq will not rise in revolt if they believe the U.S. is the cause of their suffering, plus, how can they rise if they're too sick and starving to fight? Perhaps that will be our next battle in our "war on terrorism".

I pray for courage for us in the days ahead. I pray for justice for those who would do evil against others. I pray for clarity of thought in our leaders and in our allies. I pray for understanding and acceptance of others' differences, because in the end we are all human. May the Lady and Lord watch over and bless all of us in the days and weeks ahead.

I'm Incredibly Surprised That Out Of The 51 The Posts I've Read... Oct 10th. at 10:23:43 pm EDT

Theta (San Francisco, California US) Age: 31

I'm incredibly surprised that out of the 51 the posts I've read here today, that less than a handful call for peace, non-violence and compassion. Does the Witches' Rede, "An it Harm None, Do as Ye Will" get thrown out the window when push comes to shove? Was the beautiful vision of non-violence in Starhawk's novel, "The Fifth Sacred Thing" just a charming amusement? I understand that in the case of immanent threat of personal harm, that yes, we need to act to protect ourselves. I understand that the vicious and heinous nature of the attack of September 11th is unpardonable. I understand that atrocities such as acid being thrown in the faces of Afghani women who refuse to wear veils is absolutely horrifying. But we have to be strong and temper our anger. Now is our chance to show that the fundamental tenet of our belief (for many of us at least) is powerful and can work. There must be an alternative to killing and war. We must work together to discover what it is. Perhaps massive aid to the war torn peoples of Afghanistan? - Assistance to the refugees with emigration? - Leading by example? - Communication? - Meditation? - Prayer? The Taliban can't rule if they have no one to govern.

The following passage was taken directly from the "Law of Three" page from this very website:

"Revenge, on the other hand, is defined as "an urge to get even" (we've all been there!) or "to inflict harm in reaction to an insult" We cannot go THERE!. It is difficult sometimes, especially when our loved ones have been hurt, to follow the principles outlined here...VERY difficult...."

I Have To Admit, I'd Be Glad To See A Regime Such... Oct 11th. at 6:23:18 am EDT

Karen Mitchell (Columbia, Maryland US) Age: 23 - Email

I have to admit, I'd be glad to see a regime such as the Taliban fall. This awful dictatorship has held the people of Afghanistan in poverty and fear for too long. But I also feel that any short of long term war on terrorism can only be fought under the auspices of the UN. This truely has to be a multi-national strike here. No one nation can sustain this sort of campaign alone, and shouldn't.

What worries me is the paranoia of the Bush Administration.... limiting information to Congress, trying to pass laws allowing more freedom to American law enforcement... Every day I open the Washington Post and see somewhere on the front page a warning of more potential attacks on American soil. All this does is keep people frightened and on edge... and in support of a President who has good speech writers. I still worry that this is seen more as a revenge for September 11th than an international campaign to end global intolerance. Only time will tell on this. For now, I just keep scanning the headlines and lighting my candles for peace and justice.

The "war On Terrorism" Is A Misnomer, At Best. Terrorist Tactical Acts... Oct 11th. at 12:22:31 pm EDT

Alan Braden (Rochester, New York US) Age: 36 - Email

The "War on Terrorism" is a misnomer, at best. Terrorist tactical acts usually are designed to be used by a smaller weaker force upon the body of a larger, stronger force. The goal is to strike hard and fast, crippling the morale of the enemy and leaving him with no clear target to strike back at.

The government of the United States of America has chosen to strike back directly at the people who have been identified as directing these actions against us. We are at war with the country of Afghanistan, and the ruling Taliban regime.

"War on Terrorism" is a sound bite provided to reasure you that you will be safe from future action similar to the September 11th events. Please do not let the rhetoric lull you into a false sense of security. Fanatics do not care when any Presidential press release tells them to quake in their boots.

The Taliban regime can be described as a group of religious fanatics. In belief of their religion, they define us (Americans, citizens of the United States and anyone else who enjoys our way of life) as evil. They cite the various actions of our foriegn policy (both public and covert) as evidence that we are monsters. They have decided it is up to them to teach us a lesson.

In the past terrorism has worked because no one has had the time and energy to expend towards effective revenge. In the past this has been allowed to continue because of the political climate in the world - one country's terrorist is another country's handyman (we trained Osama, remember?). When terrible things happened one nation would tell another, "Don't do anything rash, or else we will have to respond."

We no longer live in that age. Entering into the 21st century, the U.S.A. is apparently the King Of The Hill. All other countries in this world (not run by fanatics) enjoy doing business with us. We are not at war, cold or otherwise, with Russia, Korea, Vietnam, or anyone else. Right now, Afghanistan has our undivided attention.

Is it right to strike? Yes. People who commit lethal actions against innocents are murderers. Murder must be avenged, and since it is highly unlikely that the Taliban will surrender itself for trial and incarceration, it appears that we must wage war to exact our revenege and cripple their operations so that they cannot perform similar actions to us, or anyone else, again.

Am I nervous that no "end" has been set? No. No war was ever fought where the parties involved agreed upon the deadlines. Do I want more information about the specific operations that have occurred? It would be nice to have a complete debriefing about PAST incidents, but I am tired of every CNN wanna-be trying to get the next combat "scoop." Our soldiers are trying to save our lives and make us safe. Quiet possibly at the cost of their own lives. We know the Taliban to be technology savy, web-connected and cable ready...why give them foreknowledge of our actions by urging the press media to the worst of their vulture like behavior?

What outcome would I like to see? Remember we are dealing with fanatics here. They believe as strongly in their cause as we do believe that they are villians and murderers. Until the mind set of the people can be changed we will always be at risk from future attacks.

I would like an alternative ruling faction identified and put into power. I would like to install UN observers to suggest ways to repair the damage done by the old ruling factions (and the new US bombings) and I would like to send the peace corps over to start rebuliding, shoulder-to-shoulder with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and any other foreign concern who wished to contribute. I would like to see Moslem temples rebuilt and the native population encourged to worship their Gods as is proper, I would like to see teachers relocated to foster literacy and vocational training. I would like to see an inproved infrastructure of roads and railways installed. I would like to see widows given recompense and children fostered. I would like to see our immense science and technology put to use making their lands as rich and productive as our own. I would like to see a McDonalds opened before 2005, and "Araby Disney" by 2010.

I would like every fanatic on the Earth to learn that is it not merely a bad idea to attempt to hurt the citizens of the 21st Century (reguardless of particular Nationality), but it is a suicidal action.

I want them to know that it will cause their harsh, tiny world to end in such a way that their grandchildren will wonder why their ancestors were ever dumb enough to hate us.

Is that too much to ask?

I Am Forced To Agree With The Military Strikes Against Afghanistan, Although... Oct 11th. at 1:56:46 pm EDT

Aspasia (Yonkers, New York US) Age: 22

I am forced to agree with the military strikes against Afghanistan, although I deeply hurt for the innocent people who reside there. A people led by a religious fanatical faction, starving and sick crying out should have been a cry heard before such a tragic event had to happen. Understanding that the Taliban and the Afghan people are not one and the same, these series of attacks dubbed the "War on Terrorism" is right now focused on the main threat of the Taliban. I don' t think anyone can say what will occur when these attacks do end. But if this is what it takes to pull the world together in the thoughts of gaining liberty and justice for all, so be it. If the world together stands up and says "no more" to hatred and murder in the form of missiles and bullets, we are speaking the language of the Taliban. That form of government is like a cancer, a cancer of hate. This cancer resides in our world, which is very much like a global body. Sometimes to save the entire body, healthy tissue is removed with the malignancy. Just as a person with cancer must battle to keep it at bay for the rest of their lives, so may this war on terrorism go on.

My heart breaks at the thought of innocent lives being lost overseas, our own, the supporting people of NATO, and of the Afghan people. But almost 6, 000 of my fellow New Yorkers, visiting tourists and those who were on business trips from the world over to the towers are lost. A friend had all her teeth knocked out of her mouth by falling debris. Her life is forever changed, so badly damaged that she can't even get dental implants. What efforts did she ever make against the Taliban other than being American, a successful woman? In harboring such a hatred against our way of life and our freedoms - we were certainly terrorized. In my opinion, when human life is taken so wantonly, those who took human life cast away all rights themselves. Perhaps that sounds hypocritical, but keep in mind that those who lost there lives that day were just people going to work, earning a living for their families, who never made the choice not to live. That choice was made for them.

Since war has been the result, a war on terrorism, I would like to see each person teaching their children to love and tolerate others. As we stike out against the Taliban, let us show the world the great goodness that resides in the heart of every american by doing what we can to further the progress of the people, not the governing body, of Afghanistan. They too deserve a safe, happy and healthy life, without the religious tyranny of the Taliban. I may live a few miles from Ground Zero, but I would want nothing more than for the children of Afghanistan and my own son to one day play together in truly perfect love and perfect trust.

"We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love on another."
-Jonathan Swift

Unfortunately, Like Many Others, My Opinion Is That Of The Minority. I... Oct 11th. at 2:13:04 pm EDT

Garrett Loewolfe (Orange, California US) Age: 29 - Email

Unfortunately, like many others, my opinion is that of the minority. I do agree that given the current attack on America by terrorists it is highly unlikely that anything less than some military action will not be effective in deterring future terrorism.

However, there is no current exit strategy for this conflict. It is considered a war, but there is no clearly defined enemy. Our Government a few days ago informed the UN that it might be necessary to engage in warfare with other countries. In addition, we have no clear objective. How can we determine when we have successfully quieted the Middle-Eastern terrorists? And after that, what about the other terrorists that, up to now, have failed to be courageous enough to strike. The Irish, various Asian groups, and South American terrorists are just as capable of waging attacks on our country.

The bigger question is why America. Don't get me wrong, I feel that we are one of the greatest and free-est countries on the face of the Earth. But why do we need to broadcast that fact around the globe. Japan is economically just as strong, with a democracy in place and prosperity abounds. They do not snub their nose at others, but quietly go about their business. Now I am not suggesting that we become deaf in the eyes of the world, but the somewhat arrogant attitude that is displayed to other countires has to stop.

I Am In Total Agreement With The 'war On Terrorism'. For The... Oct 11th. at 4:20:10 pm EDT

Vanessa (Lubbock, Texas US) Age: 27 - Email

I am in total agreement with the 'war on terrorism'. For the most part I am not a violent person, and prefer a more peacefull solution to problems...however the terrorist mindset is a completley different entity. These people believe that if you are not of their religion that you should be killed. They view the united states as 'the great satan' simpley based on the fact that we are a free people with our own thoughts and opinions.

My brother is in the military so this subject hits close to home for me. I am completely aware that he may loose his life in this fight, along with many others, some of which are close friends and realitives. But, what would happen if we ignored the threat? How many of our friends, co-workers, realitives would we loose to hijacked planes and attacks like the WTC?

Our Fathers, mothers, Grandfathers and Grandmothers felt this way when WWII began. Thousands lost their lives in defence of freedom from Germany, Japan and Itatly.

Wars are nasty and messy. There is nothing heroic, or glorious about them...but sometimes it is necessary to fight to protect what is important. There are people who can not be reasoned with, violence is the only language that they understand.

As for the information that is being released. Terrorists have T.V.'s too. If we were told everything the 'enemy' would know it as well. I would like to see as few casulities in this war as possible. If me being in the dark keeps my brother and friends alive I'm all for it. In fact I can't even watch the news right now simply because I'm tired of hearing the same thing over and over and over. I'll turn it on for an hour and thats it.

I could write an entire book on this subject, but I think I'll end it here.

Blessed be

First Of All, It Is Difficult To Declare War On A Concept... Oct 11th. at 5:50:34 pm EDT

Diana Corpegasis (Bristol, Pennsylvania US) Age: 27 - Email

First of all, it is difficult to declare war on a concept when traditionally wars are declared on a people or a nation. Personally, I have been concerned about the Taliban regime in Afghanistan for many months, and I am supportive of the idea that we intervene with their totalitarian regime that is remarkably similar to Third Reich. I do not believe, however, that the current U.S. military action has the same goals as I would like in this respect. The War on Terrorism will be a never-ending war. It's not meant to end. To put it into perspective Marc Lance says, "Nothing could better serve the joint processes of military imperialism abroad and police state totalitarianism at home, than a permanent war against an enemy who can never win, but whom we need also never claim to have defeated." It all boils down to oil, the backbone of our economy, and who controls it. During the Gulf War the U.S. established permanent military bases in the Middle East to "protect" Saudi Arabia and the surrounding areas from "evil Iraq." Saddam was never captured or killed and so remains a "threat" and thus our military presence has remained in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. It is this military presence that has supposedly spurred or fueled Osama bin Laden's anger at the U.S. Now the U.S. is moving troops to new "temporary" bases in both Pakistan and Turkmenistan. A brief look at a map will demonstrate a very strategic location for economic control and global economic apartheid.

As for the release of information to the public, no I am not happy with what we have been fed. Some reporters who criticized Bush's reaction to 9-11 have been fired, and radio and talk shows have been threatened to be pulled off the air due to similar statements. We get only one side of the story from a very frightened and conservative media. I have a plethora of articles from alternative and indy news sources that I would love to share with anyone interested. I have learned a lot more through those sources than I have through the mainstream media. I will give two examples: In May of this year Bush allocated 43 million dollars of tax money to go to the Taliban as a result of their imposed ban on opium poppy farming; It was the Bush Administration's way of showing support in our ongoing War on Drugs, despite the atrocities committed by the Taliban toward the Afghani people, primarily women. Secondly there is a call for an investigation of our president for possible prior knowledge that such an event as 9-11 was going to happen and the possible instigation of it's occurrence in order to spur U.S. support for an attack on Afghanistan due to the key placement of Afghanistan for constructing an oil pipeline. If you knew about these two items, then kudos for you, keep up the good reading. If not, then you are probably as angry as I was when I read the related articles.

I am a librarian and disseminating information is one of my duties. I actively seek information from a variety of perspectives in order to help me develop a well-rounded decision on my own stand. So what is my current stand? I am not anti-war. I am anti-totalitarian and anti-imperial, and I will stand up to fight against global economic and military totalitarianism. By fight I do not mean by taking up arms, for I am still an individual pacifist. I firmly hold to the notion that the pen is mightier than the sword. Educate yourselves and facilitate the education of your children, family, and peers on the current situation from a variety of sources. Knowledge is power, and with it we can stand united and strong.

I Am Complete Disgusted At This Entire Situation. We Should Not Be... Oct 11th. at 8:14:25 pm EDT

Faery Boy (Petaluma, California US) Age: 18 - Email

I am complete disgusted at this entire situation. We should not be attacking Afghanistan. Be its very nature a war is something that is completely indisciminate in who it kills, either military or civilian. Again we see the United States throwing its weight around, acting tough so that Bush doesn't get the "wimp" label his daddy had for a while.

I would have hoped, since this is a pagan website, and pagans should understand what religious intolerance and violence are like, that we would overwhelmingly see this war as an attack on Islam. And while I hardly share any of the beliefs of Islam, I recognize that people have a right to follow it if that is their choice.

I don't much care for the idea of remaining politically neutral on this issue. Osama bin Laden, however much I don't like him, isn't an idiot. He sees what U.S. policies do in the Middle East. Palestinians killed by America's ally Israel, and thousands dying in Iraq because the U.S. sanctions. If America hadn't hurt so many people in the Middle East for so many years then I seriously doubt we would have ever been attacked.

And how exactly am I supposed to have a moment to personally reflect on the lost lives when I'm constantly bombarded with messages from the top of our governemt telling us to pray for the dead? I know what kind of "prayer" they are thinking of. I don't care if it might be helping some people grieve easier, it's still a blatant middle finger to the 1st Amendment.

The government is taking advantage of a tragedy to try to pass laws that otherwise would be challenged. I do not want to see Alaska opened up for drilling, and yet, in the name of "the War on Terrorism" I don't think the refuge will stay safe very long.

When the stakes are so high as they are, when the slightest action could have dire consequences we are expected to simply sit back and do what they tell us? NO! This is the time when it is most vital that we question everything that the government and military do.

I hope more than anything that the violence will end and that the future can look at this as a turning point in the way we as a society think. Freedom is what we all love, but to have freedom tossed aside it name of its protection defeats all the difficult struggles our predecessors fought so hard for.

Everyone Is Responsible For The Consequences Of Their Actions. The Terrorists Are... Oct 11th. at 8:44:50 pm EDT

siren (melbourne, Florida US) Age: 27

Everyone is responsible for the consequences of their actions. The terrorists are reaping what they have sown: fear, hatred & death. We cannot let terrorists murder innocent people, whether in this country or their own, with impunity.

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