Thursday, September 20, 2001
I've been saying it for over 10 years: We have got to have "vault-like" doors to the pilots. Once that door closes, no one, not even an airline attendant, can open the door until the plane returns to the ground. Supply them with food, water, toilet, whatever, just keep our pilots safe so they can do their job. Spend the money. I'll pay higher fares, a little more in taxes, just do it NOW!
--MERRY TRUCKSIS, MONTEREY
PROCEED WITH CAUTION
First, my compliments to the Weekly on coming up with such a well-balanced assessment of the terrorist attacks, and so quickly ("Making Sense of the Terror," Sept. 13). Some questions are still plaguing my mind:
Have we learned anything from this? Can we ever really be safe, and free? Life is always in a balance between freedom and security--too much of one and you lose the other. Radical Muslims will willingly fight to the death believing that God has ordered them to kill Americans and Israelis, and that is truly frightening. Surely they don't believe they will really conquer us or eliminate us all. What is their real goal?
Retaliation by us is certain. Will avenging the tragedy by bombing Kabul or other cities do much more than escalate the war? Innocent civilians on all sides who have had nothing to do with terrorism will continue to die, and Arab Americans will be particularly at risk. But how do you distinguish the terrorists who may be living among us from the rest? Fighting terrorists with our big powerful weapons is like battling killer bees with a baseball bat. You will destroy some of them, but pretty soon you stir up a hornet's nest.
Perhaps the only way to resolve this is to reach out to and establish dialogue with reasonable Muslim leaders, try to address the legitimate needs of the Palestinian people, and hopefully relegate the radical terrorist factions in the eyes of the Muslim world to the status of unwanted renegades instead of heroes.
--BRUCE COWAN, PACIFIC GROVE
LESSONS TO LEARN
It has been easy for many Americans to grow up smug and complacent, safe within our borders and our homes. I hope (but I have to say I don't have much faith in this one) that somehow the incidents of last week will help us to see ourselves more clearly. America is not the grand champion of freedom and justice that our politicians tell us it is, and we need to wake up and stop believing our own propaganda. As a people we have never confronted the atrocities that have been committed in our name, nor the ones that our government has arranged and funded in secret. Our great wealth as a nation has been created at the cost of great poverty in much of the rest of the world; our political machinations have supported oppressive regimes in the name of democracy, but really in the business of protecting American profits.
Last Tuesday's events are tragic for everyone involved and all of us who are watching, powerless to help. But they are not more tragic than the terrible recent battles between the Israelis and the Palestinians, or the troubles in Ireland, or the "ethnic cleansings" in Africa and Eastern Europe, or the indigenous people (labeled "communist rebels" in our news reports) fighting in Mexico and South America to retain their tribal lands, which also happen to be their only means of survival and the heart of their cultural identity.
Today's events are not more tragic than the ongoing struggles of Native Americans in this country today who have survived our attempts at genocide only to face racism and poverty, and continuing assaults on their lands and sovereign rights; they are not more tragic than the history of African Americans in this country.
Poverty, war and tragedy have been constants in the lives of many people, for generations. We are in shock today because this is a new experience for affluent white Americans. How will we respond?
We cannot wage war in the name of peace. Peace comes only when we recognize the humanity of those we have called our enemies, and resolve to "fight no more, forever." There is no hope for peace when some are fed and others go hungry, when a few have much and many have nothing. Peace will come when we learn to live differently on this planet that we all share, or it will not come at all and human life here will end.
JAN SAXTON, CARMEL VALLEY
ISOLATION IS ANSWER
Yes, it's tragic about the terrorist attacks, but there will be more of this type of thing due to the fact that the US is letting the United Nations dictate policy and send our troops all over the world interfering with other countries. Until we stay out of other countries' problems, we will always be under some form of attack. Our Founding Fathers stated that we were to not get involved in wars abroad and that it would only bring chaos if we did. If one knows anything about history, you would know that all great powers only have lasted about 200 years; we are going on 240. We have stuck out our necks too many times and now we're getting the ax for our help/interference. When will we learn it's best to leave some things alone? All this attack will do is cause more anger from Middle East countries because we support Israel. Let Israel take care of the Middle East problems. They have the technology and the guts to do it. The only reason Israel hasn't dropped bombs on Palestine, Iraq, etc. is that the US and the United Nations have told them to back off or we will cut off aid to their country. Good old America. We try and help and all we get is more hatred and jealousy from those we try and help.
Machiavelli (statesman and philosopher in the 1500s) stated in his book The Prince, "You can't give something for nothing without breeding contempt."
--CARRIE WILKINSON, SALINAS
Thanks to all the Weekly staff for your very thorough and comprehensive coverage in the aftermath of last week's horrific tragedies. News this week of attacks on Arab-Americans represent misguided acts of anger and revenge that will divide our communities and our world even more if we do not promote tolerance and understanding.
Just as extreme fundamentalist Christians do not represent the views of all Americans, neither do the views and actions of terrorists who may be Arab or Muslim represent the views of all Arabs or Muslims. We must cultivate compassion between and among cultures as the best response to and guarantee against terrorism in the long run. Amidst cries for an immediate military response, let us urge the Bush Administration to be deliberate and patient before committing the US and our allies to a war whose enemy may have no identifiable face and no defineable terrain.
We should bring criminals to justice. We should not engage in the projection of wholesale violence that will serve only to create the next generation of orphans who will aspire to become tomorrow's misguided martyrs.
Again, thanks to all the Weekly staff who worked on an excellent collection and presentation of local reactions and concerns. Toward Peace and Justice,
BILL MONNING, MONTEREY
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