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Posted: Sep. 8, 2002
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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.
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| When The News Broke Sunday Night That We Were Bombing Afghanistan, I... ||Oct 12th. at 2:34:42 pm EDT|
|email@example.com (Cape Canaveral, Florida US) ||Age: 34 - Email |
When the news broke Sunday night that we were bombing Afghanistan, I cried myself to sleep. My frustration at hating war yet seeing no other alternative, my hatred of Al Quaida and the Taliban for their extremist, repressive views, my sympathy for the common Afghani all boiled within me. I couldn't think of a good way to explain what we were doing to my children. I am proud to be an American, but I was not proud of the action.
As the Taliban began to make more and more outrageous statements, I began to see the beauty of Al Quaida's choice of operational base. It was designed to make us look like thugs. "You have killed 170 civilians - you are targeting civilians, " they cried. Think about this for a minute. Either they're lying through their teeth, or we've done a spectacular job. Look at these stats on the population of Afghanistan:
Population: 26, 813, 057 (July 2001 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 42.2% (male 5, 775, 921; female 5, 538, 836)
15-64 years: 55.01% (male 7, 644, 242; female 7, 106, 568)
65 years and over: 2.79% (male 394, 444; female 353, 046) (2001 est.)
According to the same website, Afghanistan is 647, 500 km sq. in size. That converts to just under 250, 000 sq. miles, or about the size of Texas. According to the Census Bureau, in July of 2000, the population of Texas was 20, 851, 820. (To international readers - sorry, I just really felt we as Americans needed a bit of perspective we could relate to) Imagine for a moment dropping bombs on the state of Texas for five days. Even if there were no civilian targets, how many civilians would be hit? 170? And to say that we're hitting the elderly. . .as far as I can tell, that's pretty unlikely, considering the nice job of hitting them the Taliban already did themselves. 12.61% of the U.S. population is age 65 or older; only 2.79 of Afghan citizens have reached that age. The life expectancy there is 46.
In discovering this information, I have finally figured out why this campaign must occur. First, a powerful, psychopathic troop of terrorists are there, holding up women, children, the old, the dying, and the infirm as human shields. I pity the shields, too, but I just can't stand by and let them be used this way! The terrorists chose this location in part because of the humanitarian quagmire they knew this would engender, and because they knew international sentiment would falter when the U.S. attacked such a defenseless target. We didn't choose the target. Al Quaida, in conjunction with the Taliban, chose the target as coolly as a chess player contemplating his next move. Second, the irony is just too much -- Al Quaida is attacking Americans because of their disapproval and distrust of U.S. policy and presence in the Middle East, and in order to fight back we HAVE to have a Middle Eastern base of operations. So, Al Quaida tells us to get out of the Middle East, and then purposely lures us there. . .so they can attack again, and again, and again. . .because we're still there. Finally, the Taliban and Al-Quaida have effectively killed Afghanistan already. But since we're there now, they have someone to pin the deaths on, point their fingers at, shift the blame to.
Now, the REAL irony here is that our presence, and after hearing Bush's stance on "nation stabilization" last night I truly believe this to be so, will save Afghanistan. We're in a real spot as far as humanitarians go. I don't know how many people know this, but bin Laden is an Ivy League graduate with a degree in civil engineering. Part of the reason he can hide so effectively in Afghanistan is because he has a network of bunkers and tunnels through and under the mountains and the countryside. That's why the "bunker breakers" came out - to destroy the hiding places built for exactly this day. So we're bombing the living daylights out of the countryside, and still eager to save the people who live there. We probably should have pulled out of the Middle East decades ago, but we didn't out of oil-lust. The irony is that now we're there for the right reasons, and many people don't realize that. How to get out of it? Stay. Do what we have to do. Occupy Afghanistan. Help them rebuild. Feed them, teach them, immunize them. Give them the much-needed wheelchairs referred to in Tamim Ansary's Q059 post. Teach them again to support themselves, and protect them while they set up their own government. Let them hate us as they need to, but keep extending the hand of generosity until they realize they're not going to be hurt again.
The image that made me come to this realization is one concerning a co-worker with cancer. She's undergone weeks of chemotherapy, lost her hair, grown thin. But she's alive, and without the chemo, she wouldn't be. The evils done in Afghanistan are like a cancer, and there's no way to eradicate the cancer (the Taliban and Al Quaida) without doing great damage to the land they occupy. But if we don't, and I'm truly sorry we didn't before now, Afghanistan will die, just as my friend would have. So to help them is going to hurt -- a lot.
That's also why we might need to move the offensive to other theatres. What do rats in a sinking ship do? Jump, and swim for the next thing that floats, and that's just what Al Quaida will do. When Afghanistan is inhospitable, they will find the next most likely port in a storm, and set up their bases there. And we will find them, and do this again, for as long as it takes. That's why there's no easily-defined war, no end goal. I'm not really comfortable with that either, but I just haven't heard any pacifist, from Thay on down to those who post here, come up with a realistic solution. As Reagan said, there's just no negotiating with terrorists. (If anyone reading has a solution, I'd really love to hear it and converse with you -- convince me, and I'll become your biggest, loudest supporter.)
That's why it's most important now to do the right things for the right reasons, to support our military, to cast protective circles and spread white light as far as it will go. Really, white light and protection can't hurt no matter what you want for the future or the present.
Blessed Be, as always.
| I Believe In Divine Power; Not From Any God Or Goddess And... ||Oct 12th. at 2:45:59 pm EDT|
|Quizat S'Hadorak (Grand Rapids, Michigan US) ||Age: 31 |
I believe in divine power; not from any God or Goddess and human could conjure in his or her min, but a divine power void of gender and limit. A consciousness that has set things in motion eons ago. We feed on this consciousness as it feeds on us. We are one with it. This power, this consciousness is both positive and negative; without both, true balance would never be achived.
These acts were done by men who took the flawed views of man, defined in this case as Islam (a positive religion), and skewed them to the negative. These men believe in the ritual mutilation of the female genitals to prevent them from enjoying sexual contact (in the end, keeping them faithful to their spouse). These men deny their women education. These men arm teenaged boys to patrol the streets and grant them the authority and "divine right" to kill women who travel without a male family member. These men will kill other men who shave, or cut their hair in an "American" style, who don't pray to their God and obey their rules. This is not a civilization. This is barbarism.
The US was founded on Christianity, another flawed, man-made religion. It supported Slavery for majority of it's first century. It's supported many other wrong causes since then. But our leaders don't suggest killing those who follow different religions. They don't arm teenage thugs. They don't kill anyone for having hair (or lack thereof). And they don't demand ritual female genital mutilation. They do, however, recognize that terrorism is a negative thing to the extreme. Balance must be achived.
Failure to end these evil deeds will poison the consciousness for everyone.
And to our foreign friends; Your countries are no less touched by corruption and evil. England was a barbaric partner in slave trades, your leaders often murdered spouses that displeased them, your people murdered Muslims in the name of a "crusade". Germany's history is bloodied and putrid, starting with barbarians and include Hitler among their countrymen. Italy and France; Russia and Poland; Japan and Vietnam; You are all touched with rot and disease like us. But we all hold an immesurable potential for positive power. But, as many of you do, it's easier to blame the US then face your own troubles.
| Looking At It From An Allied Country As The Mine One Is... ||Oct 12th. at 2:50:46 pm EDT|
|Oscar Eslava (Pinto - Madrid, Spain) ||Age: 29 - Email |
Looking at it from an allied country as the mine one is (Spain), part of the NATO and the UE, it seems reasonable that american people needs some kind of "revenge" after the stunning suffering their souls received one month ago. In fact, I must confess I felt gald about the military campaign, but my reasons were others, and now I«m considering it and I«m sure that I just felt the most human primary feelings of agressivity towards those who just seemed to have attacked thousands of innocents without any chance to protect themselves, and, different from a "classical" war, unaware of the risks they were exposed to.
My true reasons, I suppose because I«m not only a pagan and a worshipper of the Goddes and the Female power, but also a western citizen who believes in equal rights and duties for men and women, were that since I started to listen about all the genocide that was being commited against women at Afghanistan (worst even than the female-prosecution in other countries, specially muslim ones, that was already bad enough) I prayed for someone to do something, considering even a military ultimatum to stop the slaughter or face the consequences. A calculated attack to depose the Taliban Mullahs and their empire of fundamentalist terror seemed to be the only way. But now I guess that its cost in human innocent lives is perhaps worst than the search for other solutions (did these solutions exist?Many times, war is a lack of imagination to find other solutions), and is going to have the effect of giving strenght to the fundamentalist illiterated crowds in all the muslim world to gather against an enemy perceived as the christian crusaders running over Holy Land and commiting as many slaughters as the Taliban! And we face the view of millions bowing the hits against all that smells to be western, including the educational (and always better, because its effects really LAST in time) concepts of separation between religion and social rules, governments and laws, gender equality, democracy, etc.
What can I say about the attacks? Be fast, be very careful not to damage innocents (we are different of Bin Laden and his gang on this), cut the head of the beast, don«t change it for other (the northern alliance is as much fundamentalist and dictatorial as the Taliban) and use it to spread food, hope and the seeds of culture, respect and liberty in ALL THE WORLD. It«s the better weapon to avoid future killing full of wrath.
Thank you very much. May the Goddes bless all the called at Her belly until next cycle.
| In A Way This Type Of War Is New And Different. And... ||Oct 12th. at 7:25:56 pm EDT|
|Gonzalo (Monterey, California US) ||Age: 53 - Email |
In a way this type of war is new and different. And in a very real way there is nothing new about it. In the past war was a state that existed between nations. This country versus that country and ÔtheyŐ were always bad while ÔweŐ were always good. No matter what side anyone was on that was how they looked and thought. Even during the crusades it was about the same way, the difference being a religious one but still a way to tell one side from another. Now it is a little different. There ones the world is calling terrorist feel they are avenging a wrong done their people the feel the victims of terror. They feel they have been pushed to the wall and can give no more so they had to strike back as the only means left to them. Of course it is pure folly and rhetoric, there is always another way usually a harder one than anyone would like to take but it is there. In this instance the United States is a victim of these men who feel they were the first injury party. Because the US would not fix whatever they thought was broken or from simple envy or a sense of impotence. Be that as it may they started the murdering of our people. And the natural response is to fight back. Please note that, the natural response. And there is nothing evil or intrinsically wrong with that reaction. Having faced men like that before, picking up what was left after the battle, dealing with the injured, gearing up to face the next one and going from fight to fight I learned this. Men fight for their mates, for their people, not for some far away ideal but for something as far away as the man next to them. These terrorists are fighting to die for their cause and because they feel their lives are hopeless and best spent in this manner. It will be the same for our people if and when they must face other men on the ground. Never mind the politics, the rhetoric, the words, mind the men. They are our people, they are us, whether you believe in what they are doing or not. Believe in them. We are facing a simple thing, those men hate us and are trying to kill us for their reasons, if you understand or accept them or not they want to and are out to killing us nothing else. The only way to stop that is to fight back, to kill back. The only way all the talk in the world aside. As Pagans, as Americans, as human beings we are given the right to self-defense. If you do not want it ok, if you canŐt do it, ok. But donŐt stand in the way or harass those who can and do it is ill manner and ungracious. As long as there is life there is hope but there has to be life first and if battle is the only way to secure it then battle it must be. Here is the big difference in war both sides must use the same tools, do the same things the difference is in the why. We fight as a reaction to defend ourselves and if we are better at it than our opposite numbers well and good. Look to the reasons before you make up your mind.
| It Was Foolish Of Us, As Americans, To Beleive That We Were... ||Oct 13th. at 11:30:40 pm EDT|
|Inarri (Bailey, Michigan US) ||Age: 31 |
It was foolish of us, as Americans, to beleive that we were somehow ammune to th e horrors of the world. Likewise, it is foolish for the Taliban to beleive that they can hide behind a country of innocents. Everyone, even those who do not believe, cannot escape the Rule of Three. We are simply one of the instruments carrying justice to the Taliban for it's crime on humanity. The deaths of so many (ours and theirs) are truely heartbreaking, but the terror that has spread around the world in the wake of this is far worse. Those who planned and carried out this terrible thing will be brought before whatever god they choose for judgement, as it should be.
| I Do Not Believe That Waging War On Any Organization, In The... ||Oct 13th. at 11:42:24 pm EDT|
|Elizabeth Morris (Los Angeles, California US) ||Age: 0 - Email |
I do not believe that waging war on any organization, in the long run, solves any problem.. I believe that humans have evolved beyond that point of retaliation, and are not using their skills effectively. I am opposed to humans taking lives. It is my belief that we need to apply our intleeignce to other solutions to our problems.
| Allow My To Share My Perspectives A Military Man Stationed In Europe... ||Oct 14th. at 4:32:28 am EDT|
|SSgt Ken Gentner (Speicher, Gilbert Islands) ||Age: 26 - Email |
Allow my to share my perspectives a military man stationed in Europe...
I was already on base the day of the 11th. We were preparing for a "Commander's Call" (a squadron meeting with the commander...Medals are given out to those who earned them...other issues are discussed. It is like a town meeting of sorts). I was parking my car when the news came across the radio. I rushed inside the NCO Club and switched the TV to CNN. There I stood with my fellow airmen in stark horror. We all knew what loomed on the horizon. We knew we were all going to war. I looked around the bar and eyed everyone. We were all shocked and staring at one-another. My Captain told us to assemble just after the Pentagon got hit. He told us we should all go home and hug our children and spouses.
I was ordered to pack my bags and ready my "war gear". We have been wearing helmets and flak jackets since.
Something most touching to me is the local nationals and how they reacted to this. Every German I have seen since has stopped to relay their condolences. The village across the street from the base had a candlelight vigil outside our gate the night it happened. They chanted hymns and sang our National Anthem (in German). Even if they cannot speak english, the tears in their eyes and the sincerity relates their grief and solidarity. Locals ask me for American Flags. The children race down the street with flags in their hands.
As for war. I can tell you I am ready to lay down my life to this cause. Pure and simple. As a Pagan, I respect life...but I cannot sit idly by and allow people to destroy life as they have. These terrorists must not just be "brought to justice". These people must die. Do you remember those people falling from the sky and splattering on the pavement? Do you remember the countless bodies wrapped in American Flags carried out on stretchers? Do you remember seeing the child clutching the dog and sobbing over the news of his parents' death? If these people do not die, then this evil will continue. We must make an example of these terrorists. If we do not, then we will open ourselves to more attacks.
My gut wrenches with every thought from that day. War is an ugly thing. It is a terrible thing. I do see a bit of light at the end of all of this. Perhaps we can liberate and educate an oppressed people who do not know freedom? The challenge is following through after all of this is done. Freedom can be just as crushing as oppression if the people aren't taught to sustain themselves.
I wanted this letter to be more provocative and heartfelt. I'm sorry. I guess I'm not focused enough. I hope my intentions are understood. I cannot collect my thoughts clearly. I'm so emotional over all of this, it is difficult to lay the thoughts to print.
Allow me to say this: When I go to fight this war, I want you all to know I fight for freedom and life. I will not go into this with a bloodlust. I just want our principles to be upheld. I will fight for the world as well as all Pagans and our freedom to continue as we do. When that time comes, please lend me your collective strength and let me be your sword.
| I Agree With The Military Actions, And I Am No "hawk". The... ||Oct 14th. at 5:37:55 pm EDT|
|Hunter (Toronto, Ontario CA) ||Age: 38 |
I agree with the military actions, and I am no "hawk". The terrorists will strike again and again and again unless they are stopped. War has been declared against us; our only decision now is whether we wish to win or lose.
| I Have Had A Sense Of Misinformation From Our Government. Not Only... ||Oct 14th. at 8:07:10 pm EDT|
|Loraine Shaw (Salem, Oregon US) ||Age: 26 - Email |
I have had a sense of misinformation from our government. Not only has our government perpetuated the cycle of violence that led to and will not end Sept. 11. But we are not even given what evidence there is that Bin Ladin is the responsible individual. I am not saying he isn't, I just wish what I heard on NPR didn't sound so rational compared to the propaganda drilled into my skull by the popular media. I wish I could wave a flag and feel like it didn't mean I was condoning mindless violence. To bomb innocent people? Isn't that kind of like what happened Sept. 11???? There has to be another way, I know some say passivists have no real solution. That isn't neccessarily true, but my solution has more to do with thoughtful action than hasty revenge. I would like to see that our country could evolve beyond the need for this kind of war in my lifetime. But as commented earlier, this feels like the Gulf War, only worse.....There is something very wrong here, I feel our grandchildren will not agree with this when all information being held from us is brought to light. Call me a flake if you will, my intuition has yet to lead me astray of Truth and what is Right. Be Well and Walk in Light~~~Loraine
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