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Comments on terrorist attack on US by a former member of US armed forces

Dear CASI:

A former member of the US armed forces asked me to forward 
to the list. I am willing to receive and forward one set of

Best wishes


I cannot imagine an act that could be more hurtful for the 
cause of peace than the attacks staged on 11 September, 
2001.  By attacking directly the American people, on 
American soil and causing deaths and injuries of thousands 
of innocents, whatever support these terrorists hoped to 
achieve has just disappeared like a wisp of smoke in a 
Did these terrorists really think that attacking the 
citizens of the United States would help their cause?
Did these terrorists really think the American people and 
government will now be willing to even listen?
These attackers have over 280 million Americans enraged and
completely unwilling to listen to anyone. 
National survival is at the forefront, as we do not know if
these terrorist will attack again.
It isn't over-yet.
It can be expected the United States will respond 
forcefully-and rightfully so, as no nation can suffer an 
attack of this nature and not be expected to respond.  
Retaliation is a component of Just War, and self-defense is
morally permitted.  
The U. N. is not a sovereign power, and the United States 
will act in its own defense-regardless of U.N "approval."  
The U.N. is not the arbiter of what is and is not an attack
on the peace and security of the United States, nor will 
the people of the United States look towards the UN as 
their protector.
President Bush is not Clinton (thank God).  Clinton could 
be expected to launch a cruise missile or two, attack an 
empty building, bite his lower lip, hold a press conference
and say proudly the United States was defended.  
However, president Bush is a former fighter pilot (enough 
said for those that know what it takes to be one).   Bush 
has warrior instincts--you can see that in his words and 
actions.  It is a monumental error to underestimate his 
courage, intelligence, resolve and skills when it comes to 
acting in support of American interests.  He has the guts 
to act, and he will act. He also has people in his 
administration that are equally as tough and equally as 
willing to defend America.  
For all the partisan bickering we have seen in the US 
government, it is ignorant for anyone to presume the 
American government and people would not rally and become 
one.  The American people are, after all, "One nation, 
under God."
This attack on American soil is the worst single attack and
loss of American lives due to enemy action in the history 
of our great nation--that is not an overstatement.
Pearl Harbor resulted in a little over 2,400 dead and was 
an attack against a military target on an island that was 
not a US State---yet.  
The cowardly terrorists on the 11th of September attacked 
innocent civilians.  
There is no honor in that act.
Never before has the United States been attacked like 
this--the War of 1812 was the last time we had foreign 
invaders on US soil--and we did not lose nearly this many. 
Once the enormity of what happened on 11 September 2001 
sinks in, the American people will release the "dogs of 
war."  I do not know if those dogs will be surgical strikes
or an invasion, or both, but I do know these dogs of war 
will be relentless and cause bloody havoc.  And the blame 
rests squarely on the people that support terrorists.  
This support may be in the form of money or political 
protection, as well as support in the form of calls for 
"understanding."  (I'll get to that point in a minute.)
For the past several years I monitored CASI discussions 
regarding sanctions.  I found some of the arguments to be 
interesting and thoughtful.  I wanted to learn from all 
sides in the debate.
So, after the terrorist attacks in the United States I 
visited the CASI discussion web site to try and get a 
measure of how the people who post to the CASI discussion 
group would respond to these acts of cowardly murder.
I naively thought the caring peace-loving defenders of the 
innocent and the pacifist anti-war types of the CASI 
discussion group would in no way excuse the attacks.  After
all, they uniformly condemn the suffering of the 
innocent-no matter the provocation or aim, and especially 
if the aim is to inflict suffering upon the innocent.
Therefore, I thought they would unite behind the rest of 
the civilized world.  I was wrong.
The posters all start with some sort of terribly insincere 
"this is awful" remark, and then launch into a 
US-had-it-coming tirade.
This is not helping the CASI cause.
I observed CASI writers posting hand-wringing laments about
a few isolated attacks against Muslims living in the United
Now, I don't condone attacks against Muslims in the U.S., 
but I understand the provocation.
How does that sound.  Insincere?  Hollow?  Doesn't ring 
true?  Makes me sound like I really DO support such attacks
because I am asking people to look beyond the act and 
achieve an understanding of the cause? Well, that is what 
all those CASI posters are sounding like--but on a much 
grander scale.
"Understanding" the alleged provocation to attack thousands
and thousands of innocents can never be accepted.  Why?  
Because when these requests for understanding are taken in 
context they are nothing more than an endorsement of the 
attacks.  Understanding gives weight and legitimacy to the 
attack because to "understand" is to accept they might have
had what they considered a "reason" for the attack.  By 
asking us to seek "understanding" the CASI posters are 
asking us to look for an excuse.
By accepting ANY excuse for these terrorist attacks, 
members of the CASI discussion group have shown their true 
character and their commitment to defending the defenseless
is impeached.
Like I said, I monitor the CASI discussion group because I 
want to learn something, to become informed about all 
sides.  Heck, sometimes I found compelling arguments.
But now I find it was all a lie.  
The writers that post to CASI think themselves as defenders
of the innocent.
You see, according to CASI posters, no amount of reasoning 
is enough to justify the suffering sanctions inflict upon 
the innocent in Iraq.  The reasons for the sanctions do not
matter, the end result does.
Therefore, if these CASI writers truly cared for the 
innocent they would never excuse, defend or try to 
"understand" the attacks.  They would have condemned the 
attacks and let it go at that.  After all, according to 
CASI posters, no amount of reasoning is sufficient to cause
the innocent to suffer.  
But somehow we must understand the reason cowards murdered 
of thousands in the United States?  In the case of the 
terrorist attack on the 11th of September we are to 
overlook the evil act and accept the provocation?
This is lunacy.
What is certain is that I have serious doubts that CASI 
writers are peace-loving or care about "the children.".
What is certain is that it appears that CASI writers only 
care about attacking the United States, and civilians be 
damned (as long as the victims are American).
Bottom line:  There is no understanding regarding the 
attack on the United States. Just retaliation.

Dr. Eric Herring
Department of Politics
University of Bristol
10 Priory Road
Bristol BS8 1TU
England, UK
Tel. +44-(0)117-928-8582
Fax +44-(0)117-973-2133

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