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My Response to the Events of September 11th, 2001

After the events of Tuesday, my thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims, not only of the physical attack, but also of the profound psychological impact that this has had on all of us.Not much can be said at a time like this, but what I keep telling myself is, simply, "This too will pass."

However, we must be careful not to overreact, or rush into an irrational response.Two wrongs don't make a right.Violence only begets violence.Revenge is not the answer.We need to answer the question of why so many people are willing to die to harm the US, not just take out the responsible terrorist cells.If we simply kill those responsible for this specific attack, there will always be more to take their place.These people didn't do this simply because they ere evil, they did it because of some grievance they have with the United States.We need to fix the problem, not look for a short-term solution.

The last thing we need is more loss of human life.

Iím not saying that we need to bow to their demands -- they don't even have any demands.However, we do need to address the issues at hand.ben Laden's motivation (supposedly) is to start a war to destabilize the middle east, so that his Muslim fundamentalists can take over.We let them win not by trying to solve the problem, but by resorting to more violence.Starting a war is just playing into his hand.His crusade actually started when the US put Sadam Hussein in power, and his anger has continued since, even after the gulf war, we still supply Hussein with helicopters and allow him to use them to attack the Muslim fundamentalists.

We also have to look at why people are miserable enough to resort to joining ben Laden's group.In the same way that many domestic programs seek to improve education to decrease violence, we need to provide assistance so that people's lives aren't so miserable that the want to die.

The real concern I have is that nobody is even asking WHY anyone would do this, or what caused it.Frankly, more analysis is put into a football game than into why this attack occurred.We are so busy looking for revenge that we cloud the issues.Many people, for example, keep calling these acts "cowardly." However, flying a plane into a building is in no way cowardly.It is the act of an immoral person, not a coward.

Sacrificing your own life is not a cowardly act.Being willing to die for a cause is not a cowardly act.Crashing an airplane intentionally is not a cowardly act.No one said that the Kamikaze fighters during WWII were cowards.They were seen as extremely brave.Cowardly cannot be used as an all-purpose adjective to mean despicable.Cowardly means a lack of mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.Although I in no way admire the despicable acts these people committed, they certainly showed courage.This is only one example of how the issues get clouded.We see only evil, no people undergoing such great hardship that they are willing to resort to this kind of act.

We also mustnít be quick to judge the Palestinians for celebrating these events.Many Americans danced in the streets when we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the Palestinians have been raised to feel the same way about us that we felt about the Japanese during WWII.We must see them as human beings, just like us.When we dehumanize the enemy, we have already lost.

Zan Hecht
September 12th, 2001