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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: 19,678,004  

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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 

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.

I Am A Lone Voice In This Topsy Turvy Widerness. What Terrorism... Oct 11th. at 8:53:04 pm EDT

Jude lamb (Bath. England., England UK) Age: 42 - Email

I am a lone voice in this topsy turvy widerness.
What terrorism?
All hail to the power of the individual against the heart of the machine.
All these men calling up their machine gods.
Christianity, Islam and Judaism are all masculine gods. Their worship is of phallic images. The holy trinity of money, war and power.
Someone struck at the heart of the evil empire. Does it matter who did it?
This is about symbols...the whole thing has been, right from the beginning.
This is about the reasserting the power of the individual and striking at the heart of the machine.
Have you people lost your souls?
What about Seattle and Genoa?
Are you really so in thrall to this fraudulent government you have that you have forgotten the shame your own country carries?
Take a step back and shake off that blood lust... Please.
England has suffered thirty years of US sponsored terrorism.
Afghanistan is a land of rare purity and honour. They have never invaded anyone... And beaten off anyone who has tried to invade them.
Beware. Their power is in their integrity. The cowerds are the ones who use the pilotless drones and cruise missiles to murder innocent people from the safety of thousands of miles away. Until you see the Pamirs scrape the stratosphere, you will never understand. Already the passes are closed by the snows.

I Agree With The Action, My Only Exception Is Why Did So... Oct 11th. at 10:57:42 pm EDT

Daphne Schiff (Waukesha, Wisconsin US) Age: 38 - Email

I agree with the action, my only exception is why did so many have to die in order for our leaders to act. I think and feel this sort of violence can only be curtailed with more violence, the people who have committed these acts of violence have already shown they will not stop until they are dead, and nowhere in any religion be it allah, christ, the god/goddesses, budda, etc. that I have heard is violence ok. So this is the dilemma on many minds I am sure. Our own government has more secrets than there are stars in the sky. You can not make me believe they did not know this was going to happen. There are too many people from other countries consistently let loose to enjoy the "freedoms" we as americans enjoy, our forefathers have died and fought for us to have. Yes I am angry that such a folly has come to pass. I am angry that so many gave their lives to the ravings of a lunatic, these people are brainwashed and confused. I am angry that so many died so this fanatic could make a statement. I would like to see that no more are allowed in our country, that all who are here are closely watched, and/or deported and have america take care of america's people and stop worrying over other people who have the ability to take care of themselves, this is obvious by the way they managed to pull off the biggest catastrophe to date. I am sorry for all the wives, mothers, husbands and fathers who will never see their children grow or even grow old with their spouses. I pray that our government will do the right things from here on out to ensure all of us are safe.

When I First Heard The News I Was More Shocked Than Anything... Oct 11th. at 11:44:46 pm EDT

Diane Anderson (Kingsland, Georgia US) Age: 39

When I first heard the news i was more shocked than anything else, however after the shock came the anger. With the anger, came the desire for revenge.
After the anger and shock was over, I realized that being on the Pagan Path that I really should not wish for the revenge. I remembered that what goes out comes back three-fold.
Now I am actually upset that precautions were not taken earlier, when the embassy bombings happened. I understand that the goverment did trace the terroists, however the frozen bank accounts and tracking down of mbrs of Bin Laden's group should have been done then, not after the attack on the Towers and Pentagon.
I was also upset about the attack on alot of the Arab-Americans.
I'm saddened that it has to come to this, however am satisfied with the information provided by the goverment. Sometimes the Media plays too big a part in overseas operations.
Blessed Be

I Believe, Quite Simply, For All Things There Is A Season, And... Oct 12th. at 9:07:22 am EDT

Raven Prince (Fort Lauderdale, Florida US) Age: 20

I believe, quite simply, for all things there is a season, and now has come the season of death and destruction. The world is being torn apart. The US must defend itself, the Muslims feel they must avenge themselves, most of the world turns a blind eye until somehow they get caught up in the mess. All I know is, I'm a pacifist and peacemaker, and all is not right in the world right now: the lives of American citizens have been treated as meaningless on all sides, and our right to defend ourselves has been questioned, a frightening new cabinet post has been created ("Homeland" Security sends a chill down my spine), a new and extremely vague definition of terrorism has been created (rather than a terrorist being one who uses terror to achieve his means, a terrorist is now defined as one who "lashes out", sounds frighteningly vague to me), new wiretapping and seizure powers have been granted that almost erradicate our freedom of privacy (thanks to the new seizure powers granted, you can have everything seized from you if you ever belonged to any group that the Government now or will in the future consider to be supporting terrorism, even if they weren't or aren't, and if even one member of an organization you belong to does support terrorism even entirely on their own and with no one else's knowledge, your entire organization can now be held accountable. Who is this war really against? The war is against freedom, but both sides are now trying to destroy freedom. I don't like this war on terrorism at all: I don't like how it's been handled, I don't like the blurring of the line between terrorists, criminals, and law-abiding citizens, I don't like the attacks upon our civil rights, nor the fact that certain forces have taken advantage of this act to push for rapid globalization, to destroy civil rights, and to smear the lines of national loyalties (I don't care what they say, my loyalism is to my country before the United Nations, I am proud to be an American). This is a bad situation, and whatever the President may assure us about this military campaign only lasting a year or two, you can bet more likely that this is the beginning of World War III, and that before this is all over it may very well be U.S. vs. The World. The International Community treats our nation like a backwards 3rd-world country, and if they continue to do so we may soon find ourselves standing alone, relying entirely upon one another, as we once did long ago when our Forefathers defended this land from those who would try to subvert our freedoms. It is not in our nature to have freedom denied to us, and we are still of the same blood as those great men and women who founded this nation. My final message: hope for the best, plan for the worst, and be ready to stand up and defend-by arms or words or honorable deeds-the honor, integrity, and liberty that America was founded upon. Do not mistake this for a clear-cut good vs. evil scenario, we must be eternally vigilant against all those who would threaten our liberties (it's a good time to start voting, writing letters to political representatives, becoming active in one way or another for the cause of freedom, do not sit back and let others defend freedom for you or you might be surprised how quickly the rug can be pulled out from under you).

The Terrorists Responsible For The Sept. 11 Tragedies Are Not Politically Aware... Oct 12th. at 12:27:41 pm EDT

SGIWizard (St. Louis, Missouri US) Age: 35

The terrorists responsible for the Sept. 11 tragedies are NOT politically aware rebels desperately fighting against imperialism and injustice. They are dangerous psychopaths using social and political issues to act out their unbalanced rage and aggression. A mentally and spiritually sane person does not crash a plane into a building and kill thousands of innocent people to protest US government policy. Bin Laden and his followers are best understood in terms of a cult mentality, not much different from the Heaven's Gate members in their unquestioning devotion to a leader and their willingness to believe anything that leader tells them, to commit any act that leader commands, and as a Taliban chief recently put it, to "crave death as much as [others] crave life." Is believing that killing US citizens will lead to a place in paradise, where you are served by a bevy of eternal virgins, any less crazy than thinking that your suicide will take you to a spaceship flying behind the Hale-Bopp comet? US foreign policy mistakes are not responsible for that mentality, and as Pagans we should bear in mind that such irrational destructive insanity goes against everything we stand for.

I agree that the US government has made serious foreign policy errors in the past, and the Bush administration can be counted upon to use this situation to its advantage. We got ourselves entangled in a lot of s*** out of fear of communism, and we would have supported the Boston Strangler during the Cold War if he had said he was against the Soviets. We should also be vigilant against the Bushies trying to push through policies that the American people would normally not accept. Concerning a military strike against bin Laden and the Taliban, however, those issues are "right but not relevant." We should not hold foreign fundamentalists to a lower standard than we hold our own government, or even our homegrown fundamentalists. We would never make the mistake of excusing Falwell and Robertson's hateful remarks/actions as an understandable reaction to "repression" by government secularism; why then should we look for political excuses to explain away foreign fundamentalists' views? It is impossible to reason with a cult leader who demands the death of his followers and wants to turn the entire world into a graveyard. Bin Laden can present an entire laundry list of reasons for killing 6, 000 innocent people from more than 60 different countries, but those reasons do not exist in a sane reality. Even though peace is ALWAYS the best option, men like bin Laden, Atta and Alomari have no interest in peace. They would kill an American peace demonstrator without a second thought, regardless of how many "Violence Begets Violence" signs she's holding up. So although bombing Afghanistan may be distasteful to us, we have to remember that the terrorists' agenda is NOT to force a change in US foreign policy, or to give people in the Middle East a better life. I never thought I'd be quoting George Bush, but whoever wrote that first speech was right on target when they said that one only has to look at Afghanistan to see the Taliban's vision for the rest of the world. No, the terrorists' goals are to find an outlet for their hatred and rage, to impose their twisted social views on the rest of the world and to obliterate Americans -- like us Pagans -- people whose very existence is an affront to the distorted system they live by. This is an unpleasant truth, but we have to face it. Where would we have gotten by appeasing Hitler? He would have crushed us under his heel the first chance he got. Faced with this, we have no choice but to strike back at the perpetrators. Hopefully the outcome will be a renewed global realization that fundamentalist violence and repression -- from any religion or culture -- will not be tolerated in today's world.

I Don't Claim To Know Whether All This Military Action Is Necessary... Oct 12th. at 1:09:09 pm EDT

Megan (Sarasota, Florida US) Age: 19 - Email

I don't claim to know whether all this military action is necessary or not. I don't claim to have a better solution. I just know that when I watch the news I feel very uneasy. I don't feel like everything is being said. They're dropping food packets to compliment their bombs--I suppose that should make us as humanitarians feel better. But it doesn't. The news doesn't say that the numbers don't match up: they don't say that they don't have enough food to feed all of the starving people, not enough to keep that operation going for long. There is no guarantee that the food is getting to the people who need it. I don't see that dropping bombs or food will make any difference. This government hasn't proven to me, a citizen and voter, that this cause--this war--is going to serve its purpose.

I'm waiting for someone to stand up in the middle of one of the president's speeches and say, "Hey, wait a minute. I'm an American too and I don't think that this is right."

I was eight when the Gulf War started, living on and Army base in Germany. My aunt got deployed. Her husband. Another uncle. Many friends of our family and family members of my school friends. Everybody I knew had a relative in the desert in Saudi.

I remember that we had to start locking our doors when the war started. We had to start screening who went in and out of our apartment buildings because everyone was afraid of terrorists. The building where I lived was across the street from the elementary school and both buildings were next to the train tracks, seperated by a chain-link fence. I remember one day while we were all at recess, there was a dark-skinned man standing on the other side of the fence by the tracks and watching us play. He wore an orange reflector vest, trying to look like he belonged, I suppose. But he just stood there watching us. And the teachers called all of the children away from the sand pit and the swings and the monkey bars and told us not to go into the sand or near the fence, to stay on the tarmac. And they called the military police who came and took the man away after all we children went back to our classrooms. They didn't tell us what happened, just that they wanted to be sure that he wasn't a terrorist.

I remember my family members making fun of Saudi and of Saddam. I remember when my uncle returned, he brought home one of those head covers like you would see Saddam or Yassir Arafat wear on television and they would make fun of them and get drunk and laugh and use language that I didn't understand because I was only eight years old.

I remember what it feels like to wonder when family members are going to come home. To wonder where they are, what they're doing. I wondered if my uncle was blowing things up with tanks. I wondered if my aunt, who is a nurse, saw any dead people or people with missing limbs like in the movies.

I remember how anti-climactic it all felt when it was 'over' and when everybody came home. But not everybody came home--everybody from my family came home but not everybody from everybody else's family came home. I remember that even though the war was 'over' my parents still came home from work every night talking about it. They never stopped talking about it until they retired and Saddam Hussein drifted out of the news and out of their cares and everyone seemed to forget about Operation Desert Storm or what the war had been about.

I don't remember it ever really ending. I don't remember feeling that war was 'over' just that I wasn't supposed to worry about it anymore.

I guess I know now that you should never stop worrying about it. I guess now, I am looking forward at our current situation and saying, "I don't think it's going to end." Even though the voices on television--our leaders--promise an end, they promise conclusion and resolution, they promise revenge, they promise victory. I don't believe that any of these promises are real. I'm still waiting for someone to fulfill the broken promises that they made during the Gulf War. The promise that when it was all over everybody would come home and we would live happily ever after. I have no reason to believe that this 'war on terrorism' will 'end' any differently.

I feel like we're reliving a more terrifying version of the past. Is there a better way to handle this? I don't know. But I do feel that these actions are hasty and ill-planned. I do not feel that justice is being served and I do not feel that the public has been given sufficient information to make any sound judgement. I feel like we've all had flags stuffed into our fists and been told to smile, nod, and cheer for our country or else. I feel like this 'war' is quickly becoming more about the ego or America than it is about the innocent lives that have been lost.

Terrorism Is A Method Of What's Known As Asymmetric Warfare, A Concept... Oct 12th. at 1:16:55 pm EDT

Don Branum (Montgomery, Alabama US) Age: 26 - Email

Terrorism is a method of what's known as asymmetric warfare, a concept which dates back to Sun Tzu. Any method of asymmetric warfare aims to hit the enemy where his defense is weakest. There're several minor differences between terrorism and other means of asymmetric warfare, though. . . and one crucial difference.

The ultimate objective of a conventional war is to render one's opponent unable to wage war. This was one of our objectives in Iraq, and it is our chief military objective in our attacks against Taliban forces.

The ultimate objective of terrorist activity is to breed fear and unrest, and to undermine support for the government it opposes through that fear and unrest. The deaths of innocents help fuel this, certainly, but their lives--and their deaths--are irrelevant to the terrorist's aim.

The deaths of nineteen "martyrs" and five thousand "infidels" have made millions of people afraid to board an airplane. If nothing else, my majickal friends, think of the power gained from that sort of fear.

Osama bin Laden understands that fear paralyzes. He expects us to bow, just as Emperor Hirohito expected us to bow in 1941. But bin Laden fails to understand that fear, in the heart of American citizens, soon transforms itself into powerful and just action.

It's okay to be afraid. Fear is half of the formula for courage. The other half is saying, "I will not allow my fear to deter my Will."

Our collective refusal to yield to fear will be our greatest victory over terrorism. Let us pledge ourselves to courage in whatever path we may follow; may we take our steps as quickly or slowly as we must. But may we never change our course on account of a bully.

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