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FW: A few personal reflections at the end of a terrible day

Friends_ I know this outside our remit - yet find so many relevencies,
Subject: A few personal reflections at the end of a terrible day
Date: Tue, Sep 11, 2001, 11:22 pm

In Orlando, close to The Magic Of Disney, enjoy an
unforgettable family vacation from only $69.00 a
night, in a beautiful home with 3bed/2baths &  pool

I've been fighting back tears all day as we've watched the
televised flames and smoke and death, trying to take in the
enormity of what has happened, and trying not to become numb
as the tv stations all endlessly looped the tape of the
second airliner tearing a hole out of what, on any other
day, I would have chided as a 110-story monument to US greed
and arrogance. I've been worrying about what lessons will be
drawn from these events, and who will draw them, and where
the response will lead us.

Stepping outside to get some air, I wondered if this was the
horror that people in Yugoslavia experienced as US and NATO
warplanes and cruise missiles rained destruction on them
from a safe distance. And of course it had to be. From
ground zero, where the physical victims were, this was also
a revisiting, regardless of scale, of the terror of the V2
bombings of London, and the incendiary carpetbombings of
Dresden and Tokyo, and the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and

So now we can prepare for another round of retaliations,
against whomever this administration finds responsible --
with whatever level of proof. There will be ramped up
attempts to create a fortress America, with the predictable
militarization of civil institutions and erosion of civil
liberties. Even now, Rumsfeld is ginning up his arguments
for missile defenses and the military occupation of space.
And G. W. Bush is already marketing the self-absorbed
depiction of the US as the besieged victim of the world's
most evil and envious forces. They -- whoever "they" are
(and it's far too soon to rule out an organized militia of
Timothy McVeighs) -- have destroyed the altar of American
capitalism and have torn a hole in the five-cornered symbol
of our ability to work our will on the world. They have even
forced us to close down Amtrak, Disneyworld, and the casinos
of Las Vegas.

Gunnar is right. The dominant emotions are bewilderment and
disbelief. I can defend neither the American values that
came under attack today, nor the means by which they were
attacked. But behind all of this, for me, is the sickening
realization that no other outcome was ever possible once we
started down this path of trying to achieve and maintain
economic dominance backed by undefeatable military might.
There is no justification whatsoever for what was done
today. It was purely evil. But if Americans claim that it
was "senseless" -- a word that is already being used by some
government officials and reporters -- and if we refuse to
understand why it happened and how our own actions in the
world have contributed to the hostility on which others have
now acted, this will be only the beginning. When our armed
forces boasted that they had "prevailed" in the airstrikes
over Yugoslavia without the loss of a single American life,
and when our governmental institutions were taken over by a
gang of corporate thugs whose overriding goal is to
guarantee the unimpeded accumulation of wealth for the
already wealthy, protected by a permanent nuclear deterrent
and a missile shield, we were, in effect, taunting the world
with arrogant claims of invincibility. Today someone in the
world proved us wrong.

I don't know what, if anything, IPPNW can or should say in
response to this horror, though I have some thoughts about
it. We will sort that out together rather soon, I expect.

My personal response is to hope against hope that this
country will not retaliate, and will instead reflect long
and hard about what it ought to mean to belong to a
community of interconnected and interdependent nations, and
that we can begin to engage more humbly and cooperatively
with those who have rights and interests and values and
loved ones other than our own. I fear I will be sadly
disappointed, once again.

For now, the only possible response is solidarity with the
thousands of families devastated by this terrible crime
against humanity.

John Loretz
Program Director
International Physicians for the
   Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW)
Executive Editor, Medicine and Global Survival
727 Massachusetts Ave., 2nd floor
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 868-5050, ext. 280
(617) 868-2560 (fax)

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