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Dear Eric, CASI subscribers, > These attackers have over 280 million Americans enraged and > completely unwilling to listen to anyone. This point is significant, and already a bad starting place for any kind of political action. Retaliation is due, surely, but unless focussed and targetted will only exacerbate matters. Cancers are removed with careful surgery and precision instruments, not mallets. One central issue in the posting from the ex-US armed forces member is that he merges two distinct issues; that of 'retaliation' and that of 'understanding.' In both cases, a distinction is drawn between the action of the US and the actions of the World Trade Centre Terrorists... I use the word in uppercase to denote the gravity of their actions and the abhorrence I feel at the damage done on Tuesday. [I should also add that obliquely questioning people's sincerity when they decry recent events is a fruitless and singularly cruel exercise, and should best be avoided.] The term 'Understanding' is being used in the empathic sense, rather than in the rational. The act of understanding (I will denote my use of the term in lowercase, to avoid confusion) is an attempt at deteminism, and in no way implies legitimising the action. It should, perhaps, be added that the *perceived aggrievances* of the Terrorists should be analysed, whether or not they be considered legitimate. On the question of understanding, I raise the point that that the act as being treated as a moral evil WITHIN ITSELF, without the assessment of any external factors (ie the perceived aggrievances of the perpetrators.) By this logic, surely the bombardment of Afghans, or other third parties would become a moral evil in the same sense? This is without even noting that the mass bombardment of people not directly responsible for there people's aggrievances is morally the same as destroying the WTC. Presumably it was antagonism arising from US foreign policy that led to the barbarism of this act, yet the government was not targetted in any focal sense- a large, public structure was. Is this so different from attacking Afghans in order to oust bin Laden? Those guilty should be punished; targetting those outside that group is -formally - an act of terrorism, intended to terror peripheral individuals into giving up those directly responsible. The question of retaliation merges with the question of understanding, at least in the sense that analysing the mindset of the Terrorists is necessary to suggest that they were retaliating. The term 'just war' is used - > Retaliation is a component of Just War, and self-defense is morally permitted. As reprehensible as the logic behind the WTC atack is, presumably it was - in the mind of the Terrorists- a perceived retaliation? Yet, there is a cruel dualism in the way US retaliation is being treated - it is accepted that 'people will die' in the return attacks, but less significance is placed on those lives. What is to be made of this? That these deaths are somehow morally justified by the fact that the attack is retaliatory in nature? Or that the lives of non-US citizens, or Arabs, or Asians are intrinsically less important than the lives taken on Tuesday and since? > And the blame > rests squarely on the people that support terrorists. Perhaps the last sobering thought - it would appear that this is EXACTLY the logic that has driven the Terrorists; "No need to worry about individuals, treat people as a collective - all Americans must suffer for the sake of aggrievances against US policy." Do Americans actually support the damaging activities of their government? I think - I hope- not. To target collectives is, I repeat, formally a terrorist act. How far do Americans want to resemble the people who have just inflicted so much harm upon them? Oxford, UK _________________________________________________________ Do You Yahoo!? Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email firstname.lastname@example.org CASI's website - www.casi.org.uk - includes an archive of all postings.