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Wally -- I must again disagree

Posted by Steve P on 9/12/01 at 21:07 (060047)

Wally -- No disrespect intended here, but I have to wonder what history you can cite to back up your position.

Why do you think we lost 20,000+......because of our strength or our weakness?

A few facts:

1. For the past 100 years, the US Navy has had between 400 & 800 ships. We now have 300, the smallest fleet since 1917. Our Navy has been neglected for the past decade. Similar situations apply to our Army, AF, Marines, CG, Merchant Marine, etc.

2. The past administration had a project called 'Re-inventing Government' (REGO). They took credit for cutting federal jobs by about 2 million. The trouble was, ALL the cuts were active duty military. They never reduced civil service. Result: our armed forces are gutted.

3. Part of REGO involved deleting the tanker refueling fleet. This is why the USS Cole had to go to Yemen to be refueled. (Just one of many examples I could cite).

3. What little Armed Forces we have left are ill-trained, ill-equipped, & underpaid (many qualifying for food stamps). They are not a well-trained or well-prepared force. They spend most of their time attending sensitivity classes, diversity training & other social experiments instead of learning how to fight.

Bottom line? The strong are not attacked; the weak are.

Respectfully...........Steve

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/12/01 at 21:36 (060048)

Steve:

I do not know if there was anything that could have been done to prevent this tragedy. I, like you, am deeply disturbed by the neglect of our military by the previous administration.

Despite the problems we have in America, we are still the freest country on earth, probably the most prosperous country on earth. We have a lot to lose if we do not protect it. The cold war has ended but we still live in a dangerous world in which there is resentment of our values, percieved wealth and our status. Maybe we have become a bit too complacent but this tragedy will open our eyes to the fact that our freedom and security comes at a high price that is worth paying for.
Ed

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Nancy N on 9/12/01 at 21:44 (060052)

My dear Uncle Steve... with all due respect, I have to disagree with you on this one. It's not our military strength (or lack thereof) that prompted this attack, IMHO. It's the active recruiting and brainwashing of people into the terrorist movement, and because of our perceived wealth and our arrogance, we become an attractive target for those who are looking for someone to blame for their misfortunes. I think we can see that in the chosen targets, particularly the WTC--the heart of our financial operations. I also think it's unfair (and shortsighted) to ignore the fact that we do have secret government agencies that may have committed atrocities abroad in the name of American security. As civilians, we are kept unawares of any such events, but it is naive to think that they do not happen. From a foreign perspective, an attack may seem justified--hence the elated reactions in some parts of the Middle East.

It could be that our military strength at a given time is a factor, but I don't think it's anywhere near the whole story. Also, do recall that these people are willing to die for their cause--and as such, they don't much care what happens afterwards. Whether or not we may be in a good position to fight back could well be totally irrelevant to them. When a teenaged boy has been told that if he commits a suicide mission, he will go to heaven and be rewarded with 70 virgins, I don't think he is worrying about how many American planes will be unleashed on his homeland afterwards.

Terrorists deliberately attack where and when we least expect it. The element of surprise is their best weapon--they know they will not be going up against an organized military force directly because it's unexpected. That's how you leave people with no sense of safety, and they know it. Their thought processes don't tend to be as logical as ours may be on the other side of their acts. Doesn't matter if we are the weakest or strongest military force; as long as we represent affluence and arrogance to them, they will call us the 'Great Satan' and feel justified in the evil that they commit. And until we adapt our way of thinking and our responses to the reality of their actions, we will fall behind and be stuck in a reactive position. Clearly, we need to react now, but the hope is that we will do so after sufficient thought and consideration of the consequences of ALL actions--ours and theirs--for the greatest good in all countries. And the further hope is that we will work with our allies to find ways to be pro-active regarding terrorism and begin to prevent these atrocities.

Respectfully... Nancy

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

john h on 9/12/01 at 22:18 (060061)

The muslim world who's people may have a problem with us are not just brainwashed. They are commited firmly to their religion and willing to die for perceived wrongs. Their beliefs are religious in nature and from which flows strength and determination and the will to enter into a holy Jihad against our people. Certainly not all Muslims or even most feel this way but enough do that we are faced with a problem for the rest of our lives. Faith based adversaries are extremely difficult to deal with.

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/12/01 at 23:01 (060071)

Nancy:

It is true that our military strength had little to do with prompting the attack. We have little control over the motivations of such individuals.

Security measures, though, can thwart such attacks, at times. The FBI has successfully prevented approximately 14 terrorist actions (according to some news reports) in the last couple of years. An example of this was the failed attempt by an Algerian terrorist to blow up the Space Needle in Seattle during the Jan. 1, 2000 New Years celebration.

El Al Airlines of Israel has an excellent safety record; a record which is remarkable considering that Israel is surrounded by hostile entities and is a major target of terrorists. One cost estimate---if our airlines implemented a level of security equal to that of El Al, we could only handle 20% of our current flight capacity.

This type of 'war' requires strong intelligence gathering capablities. Americans have often been suspicious of the intelligence community but strong intelligence is the only way to potentially prevent terrorist attacks and is the only way to have accurate information on the culpable parties.

Security involves a coordinated effort between the intelligence community and a military capable of rapid strikes against terrorists and the capblity of taking action against countries which harbor, train and finance terrorists.

What if the unthinkable was to occur--access to nuclear weapons by terrorists? A suitcase with a nuclear device---the only hope is for the intelligence community to intercept. A rogue nuclear missle---an effect ABM system is the only hope.
Ed

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

wendyn on 9/12/01 at 23:17 (060075)

Steve - I have to back Nancy up on this. If the target were a weak country - terrorists would go after us. Canada is huge in area, but only has about 25 million people in it. We have next to no defense spending. Like I said - as weak as you can get.

In the playground of the world - Canada is the scrawny kid with the taped up glasses who couldn't take a punch to save it's life. Sad - but true. America is the tough quiet kid, who doesn't start any trouble, but doesn't take any crap either. In order to make a point - a bully has to take down the tough one, as an example to all of 'if it can happen to this one - it can sure happen to you'.

I think they went after the US, and the Icon's of power in particular - because they represent power and freedom. What a way to send a message to the rest of the world.

True, the worlds complacsent (sp?) attitude towards defense and security has surely contributed - but I still think the attack was directed at perceived power, not weakness.

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 05:50 (060086)

Ed--

Just a quick note--I am abcolutely not against security measures (the lack of which I have already held forth on at great length in other posts) or military action. If it is true that we could only have 20% of our flights if we adopt security measures such as those El Al uses, then we as a society have a big judgment to make. We cannot continue to let price and convenience rule everything in our lives, or we will continue to allow this type of tragedy to occur. I looked up Isaac Yeffet on Google last night, and among the more recent articles I found was a rather eerie 1997 Time article discussing the lack of improvements made since the first WTC bombing. It ended on the spooky note that if we did not do something soon, disaster would strike, and it would be too late to prevent it. And so it has been.

Security is the key... with the realization that even high security is no guarantee against the stealth warfare these guys practice.

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 05:52 (060087)

John--

I think we are in agreement here, just using different terminology. The hatred of America has essentially become its own religion in some parts of the world, sadly. It's time we recognize this fact and address it.

Re: Prompting the attack

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 06:41 (060088)

Ed -- You say that our military strength had little to do with prompting the attack. What makes you think so?

Would the terrorists have gone ahead with this if they thought that every one of their training complexes would face certain & total destruction within days?

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 06:54 (060090)

Niece Nan -- Well stated on your part as usual, but I don't buy it!

The Japanese had kamikaze pilots who were just as dedicated & willing to sacrifice their own lives. The Viet Cong had some suicide bombers too. This isn't new.

The leader's decision to go ahead with this level of attack is what I'm talking about. If he really thought that we would carpet-bomb all of his facilities out of existence within days he wouldn't have done this.

Steve

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

john h on 9/13/01 at 09:25 (060115)

Nancy: i agree that hatred of Americans is indeed it's own religion in some parts of the world. I want to make it clear i have no hatred of Arabs or Muslims. I have and grew up with Arab friends. There is an element in the Arab world, however, that is bent on our destruction. We have many Arabs in our country in school and who are now American citizens. Most are as good as we are and they will from this day forward be viewed with suspicion. If two Arab men board your plane how are you going to feel? You will not even know a thing about them but your heart is going to pickup speed. Islam is one of the great religions of the world. There are always extremist who will use these religions for their own purposes. Mohammed is no longer with us. He has been replaced by radical fundamentalist. We of course have our own insane extremist.Witness Oklahoma City, Jim Jones, and Waco. What is being attacked is 'Civilization' and a civilized way of doing things. In the final analysis all civilized nations must come together on this or civilization and our way of life will be in pearl.

Re: Perspective from abroad

Julie on 9/13/01 at 09:47 (060119)

I am uncomfortable with the repeated assertions from the President, our Prime Minister, and many others including some of us here, that this was an attack on freedom-loving peoples and on the democratic world. I feel that they are inaccurate, self-deluding, and dangerous. There are many things this horror might have been, but I'm not at all sure that was one of them. For a start, the World Trade Centre was not so much a symbol of freedom and democracy as the most visible symbol of global capitalism, which is hated by millions; and what the Pentagon represents is also hated by whole nations who have suffered from its might. In the worst case scenario, it could prove to be, as many seem to believe, the start of an all-out effort by Islamic fundamentalists to take over the world.

But remember, we don't know yet who or what was behind the attack, even though all the fingers seem to be pointing to Osama bin Laden and Islam, so talk of revenge, reprisal, counter-attack is still unfocused, to say the least. Conclusions have been jumped to before in the wake of terrorist attacks (and have, in several cases here in Britain, resulted in wrongly-convicted people being held in jail for up to 14 years).

It may be that one has to live elsewhere for a long while, as I have, to realize how America's power and, yes, arrogance, are viewed, and felt, by much of the rest of the world. This is not new: when I first took off on my bike for Europe in 1960. I was warned, by many friends who had made the journey before me, that I would encounter much anti-American feeling, and I did. In the almost-half-century that has passed, that has not changed.

In this morning's Guardian there is a letter which I will quote for you:

What is even sadder than America's grief is that four-fifths of the world will not be sharing it. From the flooded deltas of Bangladesh, where Kyoto represented a little hope, to the slums of Baghdad, where sanctions still kill. From the peasants of Latin America, whose forests are gone, to the far,ers of Bengal or Brazil who are told that patended seeds can only be bought from TransNat Co of New York. From Gaza to Sangatte, where the camps get more crowded and desperate, no tears will be shed. What a world cruise missiles and mammon have created. It is a world that seems to so many to be cruel, painful and unjust.

On the opposite page there is an article by one of the paper's columnists, headed 'Americans cannot ignore what their government does abroad'. He says:

From the president to passersby on the street, the message seems to be the same: this is an inexplicable assault on freedom and democracy, which must be answered with overwhelming force - just as soon as someone can construct a credible account of who was actually responsible....Shock, rage and grief there have been aplenty. But any glimmer of recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely absent. Perhaps it is too much to hope that, as rescue workers struggle to pull firefighters from the rubble, any but a small minority might make the connection between what has been visited upon them and what their government has visited upon large parts of the world. But make that connection they must, if such tragedies are not to be repeated, potentially with even more devastating consequences. US political leaders are doing their people no favours by reinforcing popular ignorance with self-referential rhetoric.

The US must now think about its foreign policy, and the effect it has on the rest of the world. It must also avoid knee-jerk rhetoric about freedom and democracy, and, even more vital, knee-jerk reprisal. As the Guardian's leader, which comments on the impressive restraint and caution the president is showing, points out: 'For the moment, America has the moral high ground. It must use it wisely. This week's horror has created a rare opportunity for united action on terrorism. But it is unlikely to last for very long.'

I sense, from reading all the posts that were posted while I slept, that many of my friends on heelspurs.com will not agree with me. I hope they will still be my friends. But I just feel that the friendliest and most useful thing I can do right now is to try to give you a little bit of the perspective from abroad. Please remember that I am American, and reeling just as hard as any of you this week.

Re: Perspective from abroad

JudyS on 9/13/01 at 10:54 (060127)

More good food for thought, Julie. And what seems, on your part, to be a point of view, because of your locale, that most in the US would not have had.
Two things; one, while I will again admit to my own ignorance in some US matters abroad, what education I do have indicates that those sanctions are in place for a reason. I do not condone the fact that their 'trickle-down' effect can be detrimental to local lives.
And, two, many folks in this country have long admonished this government for seeming to constantly interfere in the matters of foreign countries. It is difficult for us to understand why tax dollars needed here would be used to fight, defend, or sanction the affairs of countries that we seem to have no serious connection to.
But is the US motivated by arrogance alone? Perhaps I am painfully ignorant, but I just can't think so.

Re: Prompting the attack

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 12:42 (060137)

We have the capability to destroy their training complexes even with the weakened state of our military which, I again, am very concerned about.
Our military, in order to find those bases, needs good intelligence. Our intelligence community has been attenuated severely. One of the problems was the mistaken philosophy that we did not need human resources--agents on the ground, human counterintelligence efforts. Our high tech surveillance equipment is good but ultimately we need humans to infiltrate the terrorist groups in order to reveal their plans. That is not something that tech equipment can do.

The other thing to consider is our willingness to take action. Obviously, it is there now. Unfortunately, we had provided mixed signals to our enemies for years and they viewed us as a 'paper tiger.'
Ed

Re: Perspective from abroad

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 12:59 (060141)

Julie:

Countless numbers of American citizens unselfishly gave their lives to defend our European allies in WWI and WWII. After the end of WWII we spent billions of dollars in foreign aid to help rebuild Europe, Japan and other countries. We protected Europe from Soviet domination for a generation.

There has never been a country which has given so freely of its resources to help other countries as has the United States. The resentment of America that you refer to is uncalled for. My parents both came to America as immigrants from Europe after WWII. They often spoke of the jealousy that other countries had for the US, feeling that it was wrong.

The United States is powerful and prosperous because we are basically a freedom loving and peaceful nation. Economic and technologic progress is ingrained in our national character. European nations, for centuries, squandered their resources on fighting each other including petty ethnic and nationalistic infighting. It has only been since the last three decades that Europe has moved toward unity and a lasting peace. the United States has not prospered at the expense of other countries.

Some arguments can be made concerning exploitation of third world countries. Keep in mind that a lot of third would countries were colonies of European countries and that they took the lead from the US in seeking independence and freedom. Many third world countries are poor because of their political, economic and religious philosophies---the Middle East is flowing with billions of dollars in oil money but they are largely medieval, backward societies full of strife, hatred, intolerance.
Ed

Re: Good analysis

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 14:45 (060155)

Ed -- Yes, the fact that we had no operatives in place was a critical intelligence failure. Let us hope we learned a key lesson from this.

Re: Perspective from abroad

john h on 9/13/01 at 16:19 (060167)

As an American i have never felt any arrogance towards any country Julie. I have felt compassion for the conditions under which many 3rd world nations must live. I have felt the sting of anti amercianism in many countries that i have traveled in for many years. It seems to me that we as a nation have stepped in where few would go to try and bring peace to waring factions such as in Yugoslavia. Usually we end up hated by both sides. We stepped in when Iraq invaded Kuwait to stop the murder and pillage. This won us no friends only made enemies. Although ill fated, even the Vietnam War appeared to have at least some good intentions that went astray. I think we are a compassionate people. If we are hated around the world perhaps it is because of our wealth and freedom. We cannot control what people think of us. Our country was founded and built on the backs of hard working and moral people. If we have become a success we owe no apology to anyone. Our nation is as diverse a nation as there is on the face of the earth. Who is the American these days that is arrogant and hated. He/she is a Japanese,Vietnamese,Chinese,Latino,Italian or a mixture of all. We as a nation give more financial and material support to 3rd world nations than anyone. After defeating Japan and Germany in WWII we helped rebuild them to some of the most prosperous nations on earth. If the French dislike us i remind them to walk through the fields of Flanders and revisit Omaha Beach. We may be uncouth and loud at times but we do not deserve to be called arrogant or uncaring. I realize the perception of 'the ugly american' has been out there a long time and have experienced it in my travels around the world. One of our most recent enemys was Vietnam. The Vietnamese people are most cordial and like Americans very much at this time. I think by the mere fact that as a nation have achieved some success we will be viewed by many with envy and hate. We may be viewed as arrogant and many other things but when a freedom loving nation is in need we are usually there to answer the bell, with our wealth and our lives when required. i am so proud and fortunate to have been born an Amerian.

Re: Perspective from abroad

John h on 9/13/01 at 16:29 (060168)

judy: Of course our motives are not arrogance. You and i are americans. We cry when we see starving babies in the Sudan, we hurt, we help where we can. One of my former military groups who fought in Vietnam now have sponsered an orphanage in Vietnam funded solely by ex military. Some are living there to help with the work. Things like this are occuring all around us but goes unnoticed. Our religious organizations are spread around the world helping perhaps more so than any nation on earth. Should we have let Saddam take Kuwait? Did we interfere? Many say it was all about oil! I don't think so! It was about saving a nation from a ruthless despot. You and I judy or any American do not need to apologize for being Americans. I am proud of us all.

Re: Good analysis

John h on 9/13/01 at 16:48 (060180)

Most all of our high level intelligence experts agree that to penetrate an organization like Ben Laden is a near impossibility. You almost have to be a family member to be accepted. All strangers are viewed with deep suspicion. Our terriorist have the most sophisticated counter intelligence equipment available. In some cases better than our own. They use encrypted software produced in this country and europe that our National Security Agency cannot break. I am sure many of you saw for the first time the inside of the National Security Agency and the interview on TV last month. The General in charge noted we were at high risk for terriorism and that our adversaries were equipped with high tech equipment as good or better than our own. How prophetic.

Re: Sorry, Uncle Steve!

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 16:53 (060181)

Uncle Steve--

Sorry, but I'm not swayed. If that were the only reason to attack, why only choose us? There are plenty of countries out there in a weaker position than we are. As Wendy pointed out, Canada would have been a target if military strength were the only criteria? So would several other countries.

Also, if we are going by strength alone, then how do you explain all the hijackings in the 80s? How do you explain Pan Am 103? We were, by your data, a stronger nation militarily at that time, but it didn't stop anyone from getting our goat then any more than now. The only difference is that they got a lot more creative. I would be mighty surprised if something like this wouldn't have happened in, say, 1986 if the right guy had only had the idea.

We have been a sitting duck for a long time, and as I said before, it is the perception we give the rest of the world that is the problem. And that problem has become even worse in the past 8 months or so as our government has thumbed its nose at treaty after treaty because the issues at stake just 'weren't important enough' to cost us a little money. I'd bet that almost everyone in this country would have been willing to shell out a little cash to be a good global neighbor in order to keep from offending those with whom we share the planet. But, as usual, it's too late for that now, and our hubris has been our weakness.

And as for bombing facilities, do you really think it'll be that easy? These guys are largely underground, with their facilities spread out--a little here, a little there. We would have to do an awful lot of 'carpet-bombing' in order to truly wipe them out, and that's if we're lucky enough to find everything. How many civilians have to die in that process? People who were as innocent as those in NY and DC? If we retaliate on that level without considering the non-'enemy' loss of life, we really will have become the Great Satan, no better than those we fight against. The rest of the world will abandon us--and rightly so.

Just a disclaimer, lest I be misread--I do not condone the attacks, nor the attackers. I am as horrified as everyone else that someone came up with this idea, and out it into action. But I have trouble being really angry at anyone but our own culture and government, because from where I sit, we have allowed our false sense of invincibility and superiority to become a reason for entire nations to hate us--and we have remained in denial about our image in some parts of the world. I have a problem being angry with the bull for charging when the red cape is waved in its face, and that's what I feel has happened here.

Re: Perspective from abroad

john h on 9/13/01 at 16:57 (060182)

Julie: my post and my belief was this was an attack that threatened 'Civilisation'. The terriorist reasons are really unfathonable to me and probably had nothing to do with an attack on 'civilisation' Such an attack goes beyond anything i can comprehend. It compares with the gas chambers of the Nazi's. It is so loathsome, so beyond what a civilized person would do or coud do. that i really cannot wrap my brain around it. I would like to know where our arrogance exist. 'Our' is all emcompassing and should be more narrowly defined. Does this mean our foreign policy, the way we act as individuals, our lack of support to some group or nation, our leaders, our way of government,?

Re: arrogance

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 17:06 (060183)

When I (and perhaps Julie) use the word arrogance, I am not referring to peace-keeping missions such as the Gulf War. I am referring to things like the fact that our new president has taken every opportunity this year to turn our collective back on the rest of the world and thereby move us toward isolationism. Kyoto is but one good example. The message this snub sends is entirely Ameri-centric--especially when it is determined because of money. It comes across, even to many at home, as a play to the rich, and those who are likely to come out for a re-election. The sense of concern about any other part of the world is woefully absent.

The rest of the world sees only our affluence, not our poverty. Many folks in other countries think that American=Rich. Part of this image comes from our media, which we export all over the world in what has, in some places, become a cultural takeover. And part of it comes from attitudes toward things like the Kyoto treaty.

It is hard for us to see things from a global perspective, sometimes even when we have spent time abroad. It is downright shameful that 2/3 of our elected leaders have never been outside the US. How can they be able to deal with foreign cultures and perspectives when they have no experience with them? We, as a culture, need to take some time out to try to see from other eyes right now, or we will forever be living in a cloud of denial about our effect on the world. The French are not happy that they find themselves making movies in English, because the American influence has caused audiences for French-language films to dwindle. Our fashions and perspectives are shipped out to other countries along with episodes of ER and Friends and Backstreet Boys CDs. Yes, they sell well in other parts of the world. Yes, the people in those countries are free to choose not to buy them. But the richness of the US media machine allows for marketing and PR to far outstrip what local competitors can offer. How are they to survive in the face of American cultural imperialism?

These are the things I am referring to when I talk about American arrogance, along with our general sense of invincibility and immunity.

Re: Perspective from abroad

Julie on 9/13/01 at 17:18 (060185)

Hi everyone

I've just come home, watched the news, and now it's late and I've got to go to bed. I knew my post would draw strong reactions, and tomorrow I may have more to say individually about them. For now all I want only to make it clear that my point was that it's important that Americans make some effort to _understand_ why_ people in other countries feel as they do. My parents and grandparents were refugees too, from the pogroms of Czarist Russia; my husband was a refugee from the Nazis. I am as American as you all are, I love America as much as you do, I am grieving as much as you are.

And no, Judy, I certainly do not think that the US is motivated by arrogance alone. In fact, I can find very little to disagree with in anything any of you have said - but you do have to try a little harder to understand. You do, in fact, have a serious connection to every country, every soul on the planet. John quoted Donne yesterday: No man is an island. Nor is America.

I'm too tired to think any more - in fact, I'm gutted. 'Night, see you tomorrow.

Re: Your kindly old Uncle replies

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 18:04 (060188)

Nancy -- Let me try to answer....

1. I never said weakness was the only reason for the attack. I believe it was a major contributing factor. Today Admiral Thomas Moorer (retired Chairman of Joint Chiefs) agreed w/me. See interview on Newsmax.

2. Why America & not Canada? We (not Canada) are Israel's best friend & therefore enemy #1 of these people.

3. Pan Am 103? Same reason.

4. In your para. #3, I'm not sure what you're referring to. If it's the Kyoto Treaty, remember that Clinton opposed it & the US Senate defeated it 95-0. Only one country, Romania, has ratified it. Even Japan voted it down (i.e., Kyoto defeated 'Kyoto'!) Is that what you were referring to?

5. Your para. #4: The Taliban organization in Afghan. hosts these people. The facilities are extensive. Turning them into a parking lot would be a good start. (Ask Iraq if we know how to carpet bomb).

6. Nan, I've worked in the Middle East & I know many people from that part of the world. I respect their cultures & beliefs as much as you do. But I think you have an inaccurate view as to why some hate us. It is because of Israel.

7. Now don't be upset with me......I'm still your uncle, young lady!

Re: engangement overseas

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 18:12 (060192)

Interesting comment on engagement overseas. Bush has had more meaningful discussions & contacts overseas in only 8 months than Clinton did in 8 years.

Colin Powell has already achieved more than Albright ever did.

Re: engangement overseas

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 18:40 (060197)

Steve, I think it is time that you and I agree to disagree. Otherwise, we will end up in a big and ugly argument about how Bush did more than Clinton, who was the first president to visit Northern Ireland and take an active stance in reaching an agreement, who personally worked with Israel and Palestine to try come up with a solution, etc. I can see already that you and I are on extreme opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, and I think that we should just accept that and call it quits. I'm game if you are.

Re: engangement overseas

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 19:08 (060208)

Nancy -- That's cool. You're very well spoken & I do respect your opinions. We can agree that this is an emotional time for all of us & there will be some disagreements.

Can I still sit next to you at the family reunion?

Re: Good analysis

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 19:19 (060211)

John:

I think you are right that penetration of Bi Ladin's organizations inner circles is a near impossiblity. Nevertheless, such large scale operations were probably carried out with the help of terrorist harboring nations. While the inner circle may be hard to penetrate, that is not always necessary---much information can be gathered from 2nd and 3rd tier associates of such organizations. I do not even think we have come that close.

We have made an assumption that the members of such organizations are driven by some religious fervor or moral compass, albeit very perverted.
I somehow feel that individuals who have so corrupted the meaning or their own religion are indeed corrupt individuals and as such may be more vulnerable to counterintelligence tactics than we are willing to believe.
Ed

Re: engangement overseas

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 19:27 (060212)

Thanks, Steve. I respect your opinions, too, even though I'm nowhere near them. I'm glad that our beloved board, and you and I specifically, can keep our heads well enough to agree to disagree.

Of course you can sit next to me at the family reunion--but maybe we shouldn't discuss politics! :)

Re: Good analysis

Barbara TX on 9/13/01 at 21:41 (060239)

Yes, Dr. Ed - lots of folks from the Dallas Islamic community are on the news here, explaining carefully that Islam does not permit suicide for any reason. They are adamant about being a peace loving people. Bin Laden is something else entirely. I don't know what to think. Don't know Islam well enough. B.

Re: arrogance

wendyn on 9/13/01 at 21:47 (060242)

Regarding 'American Arrogance'

In general terms...as a Canadian - I do not view Americans as 'Rich'. We often see the 'dark' side of the U.S. portrayed on TV, the poverty, the ghettos, the guns...'rich' would not be something that comes to mind.

I know for a fact, having travelled there a lot - that it is in fact a beautiful country. But - if you were to ask your typical Canadian on the street for one word to some up America - it would not be 'rich'.

Things may be different elsewhere in the world. In fact I am sure they are different - I'm only giving you the take on behalf of one country.

With respect to American 'arrogance'. This is a general term - bear in mind - most of my loved ones are American - and they are by no means 'arrogant' people.

However, at the risk of ruffling some feathers...it is a world wide perception that your typical American believes that little exists outside their own borders.

Very few Americans could tell you how many provinces Canada has, what the name of our leader is, what his title is, or draw even a rough map of where some of the major cities are. This is their neighbor - and often their knowledge of other parts of the world is even worse. Many really belive that Canadians live in igloos and run around with dog sleds.

It is this that enforces the 'arrogance' that is perceived elsewhere in the world. Of course - I think that Julie is referring to a much larger 'arrogance' pertaining to governmental policies etc - but I wanted to help provide a little insight into where some of this comes from.

It's a bit of an ongoing joke on radio stations/satirical shows here- about how things are portrayed in American broadcasts of world events. Pay attention the next time you watch coverage of the Olympics or World games. You will be hard pressed to find evidence that their are other countries actually participating - let alone any information about their athletes, human interest stories etc. Everything is very 'self focused'.

I don't say this as an insult - but this is the way things look at least to most Candians. Who knows how they look to the rest of the world?

There's also a lot of things that many of us envy in Americans. Their fierce national pride being probably the one most often talked about. Many Canadians don't even know all the words to their own national anthem - let alone find themselves moved to tears by it.

Please accept this only as an insight - and by no means a justification for what happened this week..you all know how I feel about that anyway.

Re: arrogance

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 22:03 (060248)

Wendy--

Thanks for your info. I wasn't referring to Canada when I said that a lot of foreigners think we are all rich. I remember hearing that sentiment when I was in Europe in 1989, especially in France (though those attitudes may have changed somewhat since then, I am not sure). I suspect that it's the countries that know the least about us that hold that view. I also was not referring to individuals--it's the larger picture that can be arrogant.

I also agree with you about American knowledge of things outside our borders. We do tend to be rather provincial as a nation, which is a shame, considering the wonderful things that are on the other side of the oceans. For all the fuss about how our kids do on geography tests compared to their international peers, we don't seem to be too intent on educating ourselves. And you could not be more right about Olympic coverage--it is a great example of the self-focus.

Thanks for your perspective.

Re: arrogance

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 22:59 (060258)

Wendyn:
The inability of Americans to name the provinces of Canada is not because of arrogance. It is a combination of many factors: 1)Much of the entertainment industry and media is US based and thus US 'centric.' 2)plain old laziness, 3)The US is very self sufficient (except for oil and certain raw materials) so Americans have not had a compelling need to educate themselves about other countries, 4)Radio. Americans listen to AM and FM but not much SW (shortwave). Unfortunatley that gives us a local perspective only. My wife bought me a shortwave car radio as a gift a few years back--only a few on the market---can listen to BBC, Canada, Radio Moscow and a whole bunch of cool stuff (you may be figuring out that I am just a little bit eccentric by now). An individual growing up in Europe (where you can throw and baseball and it flies over the border of the next country) listen to broadcasts from neighboring countries and SW is commonplace. I worked my way through medical school selling cameras and shortwave radios, usually to Italians and other Europeans hoping to hear the soccer games from home.
Ed

Re: arrogance

wendyn on 9/13/01 at 23:13 (060259)

You are right Dr Ed - the lack of knowledge is not because of arrogance.

However, the lack of knowledge is _perceived_ by others _as_ arrogance.

I am not saying it is justified - only that it simply is.

The fact that most of what you are exposed to is only 'American' is indeed what contributes...however - the end result is still the same.

Please don't give this more credence than what it's worth - there are obviously more important things at hand...but I felt it worthwhile to help to explain a non-American perspective on what Julie may have been relating about her travels as an American when she was younger.

Re: arrogance

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 23:30 (060261)

Wendyn:
I greatly appreciate that perspective. We have just gotten through a tragic attack so we are more defensive on these issues than usual. I think that the perception you describe ranges from mild disdain from countries which are our friends to jealousy and dislike from others and finally hatred from yet others. I think we can understand the perceptions you describe but can see no legitimate reasons for the latter.
Ed

Re: arrogance

Julie on 9/14/01 at 01:31 (060266)

This is what I mean too, Nancy.

Re: Perspective from abroad

Julie on 9/14/01 at 03:38 (060270)

Well, good morning. I was hoping to feel a bit more clear-headed and articulate this morning, but I don't. I just feel gutted, tired, desperately sad, and frightened. Reading everything that has been said during the (my) night has made my head spin, and right now I feel ready to go back to bed. I don't really have anything much to add to what I said last night.

But: I wanted you to try to take a broader view of the global picture, the context in which these atrocities took place, the reasons why there have been no tears shed by some. I wanted you to try to understand the feelings people elsewhere on this (increasingly tiny) planet have about America, feelings that may be misperceptions but that are real, feelings that shock and grieve me as much as they do you - but perhaps, because I live here and not there, do not surprise me as much as they do you. To ask you to try to understand those feelings and perceptions is not to justify, condone, or even explain what happened on Tuesday. I hope that no-one thinks that I was doing that.

I know how difficult it is to 'think outside the box', but it really does need to be done. Now others, especially Nancy N, Wendyn and Mary De, have put that need far more cogently and more knowledgeably than I did, or could. I fear deeply that, as Mary said, precipitate ill-considered reprisals, of which more thousands of innocent people will be the victims, will almost certainly lead to a hardening of terrorist will, and to more and worse attacks.

Nancy: I think we do have the same conception of 'arrogance'. It isn't to do with individuals, but with politics. However, I think that many Americans are misguided about much of what is done in our name, and that this has, historically, expressed itself in a somewhat insular view of what goes on. That can lead to arrogant decisions and actions on the political level.

John: you _are_ a hero. No question. Your post (about rescuing) really moved me.
Ed: I appreciated your perspective on the Israel question.
Steve: like Nancy, I feel we must agree to disagree. But you're still Uncle Steve, and I respect your views.

This whole discussion has been amazing.

There will be three minutes of silence in Europe this morning. In England it will be at 11am. I will be thinking of you all then.


guess I'm just not in a state of mind to talk about this any more. But I do want to say that your posts, and this entire discussion, has been truly amazing.

Re: arrogance

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 06:22 (060276)

Unfortunately, in my eyes, our attitude under these circumstances is still one of arrogance, and I do not fault anyone in another country who sees us that way. No, we may not be geographically or economically positioned in a way that encourages us to look outside our borders, but our unwillingness to explore other regions is still arrogance--we just don't realize it. We can say that it's not our fault, but I feel that it is our fault for failing to make an effort.

Unfortunately, arrogance is hard to see when you're the one doing it. I've noticed some of my own arrogant behavior lately and have been stunned that I never saw it before. It's even harder when it's on a cultural scale, but I do believe we have been very self-centered and isolationist--and therefore arrogant--toward the rest of the world.

Re: arrogance

john h on 9/14/01 at 10:45 (060302)

wendy: unfortunately many americans cannot answer the same questions about our own country. We are far down the list of countries with the best educational system. i think a common misperception about our nation is our compassion. It is all around us, it is on our board, the compassion about our lost people in New York and Washington is enormous thorouhout this nation, we continue to lead the world in support of impoverished countries. I tried to give blood and their is a 5 day waiting list to give blood. We as a nation have always been out front in aid to disasters throughout the world and to defend those who need defending. The results of this compassion is frequently just the opposite of what you would expect. Arrogance is still one that bothers me very much. I really do not know anyone who is arrogant about our country. Just the opposite! Most of us are concerned about pockets of poverty, our educational system, our health system, our economy, keeping our jobs. We have more than enough problems than to consider ourselves arrogant. I really take exception to that perception although i know it exist.

Re: Perspective from abroad

Mike on 9/16/01 at 00:23 (060528)

Julie,
Just a brief response to your conversation on arrogance. Though now I am only a physician in the USA, I was once a medic in the US Army. And as such I will respond to your European point of view on our country by saying only this: as in the past, in the future, as always when you and your neighboring European countries need us, we, The USA will be there. I defer to an editorial printed by one of your UK brethren:

'This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most
generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.
Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of
the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and
forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying
even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who
propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the
streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.
When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in
to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by sme4es.
Nobody helped.
The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars! into
discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about
the decadent, warmongering Americans. I'd like to see just one of those
countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar
build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to
equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If
so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except
Russia fly American Planes?
Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the
moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk
about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American
technocracy, and you find men on the moon -! not once, but several times -
and safely home again.
You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store
window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued
and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are
breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home
to spend here.
When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through
age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad
and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both
are still broke.
I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other
people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to
the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during
the San Francisco earthquake. Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one
Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will
come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are
entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their
present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.'
Stand proud, America!

One more thing Julie, Let summarize European history, its really quite easy: 2000 years of war, rape, pillaging, torture, plundering and the more politically correct-colonialization. VS. 50 years of peace! Remember as America we were your victims at one time as well. As my final word, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some of the vigor our mutual European ancestors displayed when they were attacked by enemy powers. Forget about all the hugs and kisses for a while!
Michael

Re: Perspective from abroad -- surprise for mike?

nancy s. on 9/16/01 at 00:57 (060537)

why does valid questioning from people who love their country and humanity at least as much as you do meet with vitriolic black-and-white thinking such as this? is trying to find a balanced perspective a sin? what are you afraid of? no person, and no nation, is perfect. there is no perfection in this nonetheless beautiful world, and only when you can admit that is there hope of getting near the truth and of righting wrongs.

mike, for your info, julie is one of your _fellow american citizens_, no less pained than anyone else by the events of this past week, who just happens to live in england. enough said.

Re: Perspective from abroad

JudyS on 9/16/01 at 01:59 (060542)

Hang on a second, Mike. Let's not shoot the messenger. All Julie did was INFORM us - which she is regularly very good at and appreciated for.
She showed us the London press article, she told us about the perception of US arrogance overseas.
She never said she agreed with it. She thoroughly verbalized her loyalty to the USA and her distress over the attacks.
She was just taking the time to tell us something that she thought we may not know.
And even if she does agree, so what? Let's not shoot the messenger. Let's not use Julie as a whipping girl for our own angst about England, Europe, and the Middle East.

Re: Perspective from abroad

wendyn on 9/16/01 at 08:38 (060560)

I have to echo everyone's sentiments Mike.

I am glad Julie made that post.

Whether or not you or I agree with it, it is important to know that it is one more perspective. You don't bury your head in the sand and pretend that there aren't people who feel that way.

Just as one column by one English newspaper writer does not represent a whole country - this ne column by one Candadian writer - does not represent a country. You will find Candians here who feel the same way that that writer in England did.

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/12/01 at 21:36 (060048)

Steve:

I do not know if there was anything that could have been done to prevent this tragedy. I, like you, am deeply disturbed by the neglect of our military by the previous administration.

Despite the problems we have in America, we are still the freest country on earth, probably the most prosperous country on earth. We have a lot to lose if we do not protect it. The cold war has ended but we still live in a dangerous world in which there is resentment of our values, percieved wealth and our status. Maybe we have become a bit too complacent but this tragedy will open our eyes to the fact that our freedom and security comes at a high price that is worth paying for.
Ed

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Nancy N on 9/12/01 at 21:44 (060052)

My dear Uncle Steve... with all due respect, I have to disagree with you on this one. It's not our military strength (or lack thereof) that prompted this attack, IMHO. It's the active recruiting and brainwashing of people into the terrorist movement, and because of our perceived wealth and our arrogance, we become an attractive target for those who are looking for someone to blame for their misfortunes. I think we can see that in the chosen targets, particularly the WTC--the heart of our financial operations. I also think it's unfair (and shortsighted) to ignore the fact that we do have secret government agencies that may have committed atrocities abroad in the name of American security. As civilians, we are kept unawares of any such events, but it is naive to think that they do not happen. From a foreign perspective, an attack may seem justified--hence the elated reactions in some parts of the Middle East.

It could be that our military strength at a given time is a factor, but I don't think it's anywhere near the whole story. Also, do recall that these people are willing to die for their cause--and as such, they don't much care what happens afterwards. Whether or not we may be in a good position to fight back could well be totally irrelevant to them. When a teenaged boy has been told that if he commits a suicide mission, he will go to heaven and be rewarded with 70 virgins, I don't think he is worrying about how many American planes will be unleashed on his homeland afterwards.

Terrorists deliberately attack where and when we least expect it. The element of surprise is their best weapon--they know they will not be going up against an organized military force directly because it's unexpected. That's how you leave people with no sense of safety, and they know it. Their thought processes don't tend to be as logical as ours may be on the other side of their acts. Doesn't matter if we are the weakest or strongest military force; as long as we represent affluence and arrogance to them, they will call us the 'Great Satan' and feel justified in the evil that they commit. And until we adapt our way of thinking and our responses to the reality of their actions, we will fall behind and be stuck in a reactive position. Clearly, we need to react now, but the hope is that we will do so after sufficient thought and consideration of the consequences of ALL actions--ours and theirs--for the greatest good in all countries. And the further hope is that we will work with our allies to find ways to be pro-active regarding terrorism and begin to prevent these atrocities.

Respectfully... Nancy

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

john h on 9/12/01 at 22:18 (060061)

The muslim world who's people may have a problem with us are not just brainwashed. They are commited firmly to their religion and willing to die for perceived wrongs. Their beliefs are religious in nature and from which flows strength and determination and the will to enter into a holy Jihad against our people. Certainly not all Muslims or even most feel this way but enough do that we are faced with a problem for the rest of our lives. Faith based adversaries are extremely difficult to deal with.

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/12/01 at 23:01 (060071)

Nancy:

It is true that our military strength had little to do with prompting the attack. We have little control over the motivations of such individuals.

Security measures, though, can thwart such attacks, at times. The FBI has successfully prevented approximately 14 terrorist actions (according to some news reports) in the last couple of years. An example of this was the failed attempt by an Algerian terrorist to blow up the Space Needle in Seattle during the Jan. 1, 2000 New Years celebration.

El Al Airlines of Israel has an excellent safety record; a record which is remarkable considering that Israel is surrounded by hostile entities and is a major target of terrorists. One cost estimate---if our airlines implemented a level of security equal to that of El Al, we could only handle 20% of our current flight capacity.

This type of 'war' requires strong intelligence gathering capablities. Americans have often been suspicious of the intelligence community but strong intelligence is the only way to potentially prevent terrorist attacks and is the only way to have accurate information on the culpable parties.

Security involves a coordinated effort between the intelligence community and a military capable of rapid strikes against terrorists and the capblity of taking action against countries which harbor, train and finance terrorists.

What if the unthinkable was to occur--access to nuclear weapons by terrorists? A suitcase with a nuclear device---the only hope is for the intelligence community to intercept. A rogue nuclear missle---an effect ABM system is the only hope.
Ed

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

wendyn on 9/12/01 at 23:17 (060075)

Steve - I have to back Nancy up on this. If the target were a weak country - terrorists would go after us. Canada is huge in area, but only has about 25 million people in it. We have next to no defense spending. Like I said - as weak as you can get.

In the playground of the world - Canada is the scrawny kid with the taped up glasses who couldn't take a punch to save it's life. Sad - but true. America is the tough quiet kid, who doesn't start any trouble, but doesn't take any crap either. In order to make a point - a bully has to take down the tough one, as an example to all of 'if it can happen to this one - it can sure happen to you'.

I think they went after the US, and the Icon's of power in particular - because they represent power and freedom. What a way to send a message to the rest of the world.

True, the worlds complacsent (sp?) attitude towards defense and security has surely contributed - but I still think the attack was directed at perceived power, not weakness.

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 05:50 (060086)

Ed--

Just a quick note--I am abcolutely not against security measures (the lack of which I have already held forth on at great length in other posts) or military action. If it is true that we could only have 20% of our flights if we adopt security measures such as those El Al uses, then we as a society have a big judgment to make. We cannot continue to let price and convenience rule everything in our lives, or we will continue to allow this type of tragedy to occur. I looked up Isaac Yeffet on Google last night, and among the more recent articles I found was a rather eerie 1997 Time article discussing the lack of improvements made since the first WTC bombing. It ended on the spooky note that if we did not do something soon, disaster would strike, and it would be too late to prevent it. And so it has been.

Security is the key... with the realization that even high security is no guarantee against the stealth warfare these guys practice.

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 05:52 (060087)

John--

I think we are in agreement here, just using different terminology. The hatred of America has essentially become its own religion in some parts of the world, sadly. It's time we recognize this fact and address it.

Re: Prompting the attack

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 06:41 (060088)

Ed -- You say that our military strength had little to do with prompting the attack. What makes you think so?

Would the terrorists have gone ahead with this if they thought that every one of their training complexes would face certain & total destruction within days?

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 06:54 (060090)

Niece Nan -- Well stated on your part as usual, but I don't buy it!

The Japanese had kamikaze pilots who were just as dedicated & willing to sacrifice their own lives. The Viet Cong had some suicide bombers too. This isn't new.

The leader's decision to go ahead with this level of attack is what I'm talking about. If he really thought that we would carpet-bomb all of his facilities out of existence within days he wouldn't have done this.

Steve

Re: Wally -- I must again disagree

john h on 9/13/01 at 09:25 (060115)

Nancy: i agree that hatred of Americans is indeed it's own religion in some parts of the world. I want to make it clear i have no hatred of Arabs or Muslims. I have and grew up with Arab friends. There is an element in the Arab world, however, that is bent on our destruction. We have many Arabs in our country in school and who are now American citizens. Most are as good as we are and they will from this day forward be viewed with suspicion. If two Arab men board your plane how are you going to feel? You will not even know a thing about them but your heart is going to pickup speed. Islam is one of the great religions of the world. There are always extremist who will use these religions for their own purposes. Mohammed is no longer with us. He has been replaced by radical fundamentalist. We of course have our own insane extremist.Witness Oklahoma City, Jim Jones, and Waco. What is being attacked is 'Civilization' and a civilized way of doing things. In the final analysis all civilized nations must come together on this or civilization and our way of life will be in pearl.

Re: Perspective from abroad

Julie on 9/13/01 at 09:47 (060119)

I am uncomfortable with the repeated assertions from the President, our Prime Minister, and many others including some of us here, that this was an attack on freedom-loving peoples and on the democratic world. I feel that they are inaccurate, self-deluding, and dangerous. There are many things this horror might have been, but I'm not at all sure that was one of them. For a start, the World Trade Centre was not so much a symbol of freedom and democracy as the most visible symbol of global capitalism, which is hated by millions; and what the Pentagon represents is also hated by whole nations who have suffered from its might. In the worst case scenario, it could prove to be, as many seem to believe, the start of an all-out effort by Islamic fundamentalists to take over the world.

But remember, we don't know yet who or what was behind the attack, even though all the fingers seem to be pointing to Osama bin Laden and Islam, so talk of revenge, reprisal, counter-attack is still unfocused, to say the least. Conclusions have been jumped to before in the wake of terrorist attacks (and have, in several cases here in Britain, resulted in wrongly-convicted people being held in jail for up to 14 years).

It may be that one has to live elsewhere for a long while, as I have, to realize how America's power and, yes, arrogance, are viewed, and felt, by much of the rest of the world. This is not new: when I first took off on my bike for Europe in 1960. I was warned, by many friends who had made the journey before me, that I would encounter much anti-American feeling, and I did. In the almost-half-century that has passed, that has not changed.

In this morning's Guardian there is a letter which I will quote for you:

What is even sadder than America's grief is that four-fifths of the world will not be sharing it. From the flooded deltas of Bangladesh, where Kyoto represented a little hope, to the slums of Baghdad, where sanctions still kill. From the peasants of Latin America, whose forests are gone, to the far,ers of Bengal or Brazil who are told that patended seeds can only be bought from TransNat Co of New York. From Gaza to Sangatte, where the camps get more crowded and desperate, no tears will be shed. What a world cruise missiles and mammon have created. It is a world that seems to so many to be cruel, painful and unjust.

On the opposite page there is an article by one of the paper's columnists, headed 'Americans cannot ignore what their government does abroad'. He says:

From the president to passersby on the street, the message seems to be the same: this is an inexplicable assault on freedom and democracy, which must be answered with overwhelming force - just as soon as someone can construct a credible account of who was actually responsible....Shock, rage and grief there have been aplenty. But any glimmer of recognition of why people might have been driven to carry out such atrocities, sacrificing their own lives in the process - or why the United States is hated with such bitterness, not only in Arab and Muslim countries, but across the developing world - seems almost entirely absent. Perhaps it is too much to hope that, as rescue workers struggle to pull firefighters from the rubble, any but a small minority might make the connection between what has been visited upon them and what their government has visited upon large parts of the world. But make that connection they must, if such tragedies are not to be repeated, potentially with even more devastating consequences. US political leaders are doing their people no favours by reinforcing popular ignorance with self-referential rhetoric.

The US must now think about its foreign policy, and the effect it has on the rest of the world. It must also avoid knee-jerk rhetoric about freedom and democracy, and, even more vital, knee-jerk reprisal. As the Guardian's leader, which comments on the impressive restraint and caution the president is showing, points out: 'For the moment, America has the moral high ground. It must use it wisely. This week's horror has created a rare opportunity for united action on terrorism. But it is unlikely to last for very long.'

I sense, from reading all the posts that were posted while I slept, that many of my friends on heelspurs.com will not agree with me. I hope they will still be my friends. But I just feel that the friendliest and most useful thing I can do right now is to try to give you a little bit of the perspective from abroad. Please remember that I am American, and reeling just as hard as any of you this week.

Re: Perspective from abroad

JudyS on 9/13/01 at 10:54 (060127)

More good food for thought, Julie. And what seems, on your part, to be a point of view, because of your locale, that most in the US would not have had.
Two things; one, while I will again admit to my own ignorance in some US matters abroad, what education I do have indicates that those sanctions are in place for a reason. I do not condone the fact that their 'trickle-down' effect can be detrimental to local lives.
And, two, many folks in this country have long admonished this government for seeming to constantly interfere in the matters of foreign countries. It is difficult for us to understand why tax dollars needed here would be used to fight, defend, or sanction the affairs of countries that we seem to have no serious connection to.
But is the US motivated by arrogance alone? Perhaps I am painfully ignorant, but I just can't think so.

Re: Prompting the attack

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 12:42 (060137)

We have the capability to destroy their training complexes even with the weakened state of our military which, I again, am very concerned about.
Our military, in order to find those bases, needs good intelligence. Our intelligence community has been attenuated severely. One of the problems was the mistaken philosophy that we did not need human resources--agents on the ground, human counterintelligence efforts. Our high tech surveillance equipment is good but ultimately we need humans to infiltrate the terrorist groups in order to reveal their plans. That is not something that tech equipment can do.

The other thing to consider is our willingness to take action. Obviously, it is there now. Unfortunately, we had provided mixed signals to our enemies for years and they viewed us as a 'paper tiger.'
Ed

Re: Perspective from abroad

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 12:59 (060141)

Julie:

Countless numbers of American citizens unselfishly gave their lives to defend our European allies in WWI and WWII. After the end of WWII we spent billions of dollars in foreign aid to help rebuild Europe, Japan and other countries. We protected Europe from Soviet domination for a generation.

There has never been a country which has given so freely of its resources to help other countries as has the United States. The resentment of America that you refer to is uncalled for. My parents both came to America as immigrants from Europe after WWII. They often spoke of the jealousy that other countries had for the US, feeling that it was wrong.

The United States is powerful and prosperous because we are basically a freedom loving and peaceful nation. Economic and technologic progress is ingrained in our national character. European nations, for centuries, squandered their resources on fighting each other including petty ethnic and nationalistic infighting. It has only been since the last three decades that Europe has moved toward unity and a lasting peace. the United States has not prospered at the expense of other countries.

Some arguments can be made concerning exploitation of third world countries. Keep in mind that a lot of third would countries were colonies of European countries and that they took the lead from the US in seeking independence and freedom. Many third world countries are poor because of their political, economic and religious philosophies---the Middle East is flowing with billions of dollars in oil money but they are largely medieval, backward societies full of strife, hatred, intolerance.
Ed

Re: Good analysis

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 14:45 (060155)

Ed -- Yes, the fact that we had no operatives in place was a critical intelligence failure. Let us hope we learned a key lesson from this.

Re: Perspective from abroad

john h on 9/13/01 at 16:19 (060167)

As an American i have never felt any arrogance towards any country Julie. I have felt compassion for the conditions under which many 3rd world nations must live. I have felt the sting of anti amercianism in many countries that i have traveled in for many years. It seems to me that we as a nation have stepped in where few would go to try and bring peace to waring factions such as in Yugoslavia. Usually we end up hated by both sides. We stepped in when Iraq invaded Kuwait to stop the murder and pillage. This won us no friends only made enemies. Although ill fated, even the Vietnam War appeared to have at least some good intentions that went astray. I think we are a compassionate people. If we are hated around the world perhaps it is because of our wealth and freedom. We cannot control what people think of us. Our country was founded and built on the backs of hard working and moral people. If we have become a success we owe no apology to anyone. Our nation is as diverse a nation as there is on the face of the earth. Who is the American these days that is arrogant and hated. He/she is a Japanese,Vietnamese,Chinese,Latino,Italian or a mixture of all. We as a nation give more financial and material support to 3rd world nations than anyone. After defeating Japan and Germany in WWII we helped rebuild them to some of the most prosperous nations on earth. If the French dislike us i remind them to walk through the fields of Flanders and revisit Omaha Beach. We may be uncouth and loud at times but we do not deserve to be called arrogant or uncaring. I realize the perception of 'the ugly american' has been out there a long time and have experienced it in my travels around the world. One of our most recent enemys was Vietnam. The Vietnamese people are most cordial and like Americans very much at this time. I think by the mere fact that as a nation have achieved some success we will be viewed by many with envy and hate. We may be viewed as arrogant and many other things but when a freedom loving nation is in need we are usually there to answer the bell, with our wealth and our lives when required. i am so proud and fortunate to have been born an Amerian.

Re: Perspective from abroad

John h on 9/13/01 at 16:29 (060168)

judy: Of course our motives are not arrogance. You and i are americans. We cry when we see starving babies in the Sudan, we hurt, we help where we can. One of my former military groups who fought in Vietnam now have sponsered an orphanage in Vietnam funded solely by ex military. Some are living there to help with the work. Things like this are occuring all around us but goes unnoticed. Our religious organizations are spread around the world helping perhaps more so than any nation on earth. Should we have let Saddam take Kuwait? Did we interfere? Many say it was all about oil! I don't think so! It was about saving a nation from a ruthless despot. You and I judy or any American do not need to apologize for being Americans. I am proud of us all.

Re: Good analysis

John h on 9/13/01 at 16:48 (060180)

Most all of our high level intelligence experts agree that to penetrate an organization like Ben Laden is a near impossibility. You almost have to be a family member to be accepted. All strangers are viewed with deep suspicion. Our terriorist have the most sophisticated counter intelligence equipment available. In some cases better than our own. They use encrypted software produced in this country and europe that our National Security Agency cannot break. I am sure many of you saw for the first time the inside of the National Security Agency and the interview on TV last month. The General in charge noted we were at high risk for terriorism and that our adversaries were equipped with high tech equipment as good or better than our own. How prophetic.

Re: Sorry, Uncle Steve!

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 16:53 (060181)

Uncle Steve--

Sorry, but I'm not swayed. If that were the only reason to attack, why only choose us? There are plenty of countries out there in a weaker position than we are. As Wendy pointed out, Canada would have been a target if military strength were the only criteria? So would several other countries.

Also, if we are going by strength alone, then how do you explain all the hijackings in the 80s? How do you explain Pan Am 103? We were, by your data, a stronger nation militarily at that time, but it didn't stop anyone from getting our goat then any more than now. The only difference is that they got a lot more creative. I would be mighty surprised if something like this wouldn't have happened in, say, 1986 if the right guy had only had the idea.

We have been a sitting duck for a long time, and as I said before, it is the perception we give the rest of the world that is the problem. And that problem has become even worse in the past 8 months or so as our government has thumbed its nose at treaty after treaty because the issues at stake just 'weren't important enough' to cost us a little money. I'd bet that almost everyone in this country would have been willing to shell out a little cash to be a good global neighbor in order to keep from offending those with whom we share the planet. But, as usual, it's too late for that now, and our hubris has been our weakness.

And as for bombing facilities, do you really think it'll be that easy? These guys are largely underground, with their facilities spread out--a little here, a little there. We would have to do an awful lot of 'carpet-bombing' in order to truly wipe them out, and that's if we're lucky enough to find everything. How many civilians have to die in that process? People who were as innocent as those in NY and DC? If we retaliate on that level without considering the non-'enemy' loss of life, we really will have become the Great Satan, no better than those we fight against. The rest of the world will abandon us--and rightly so.

Just a disclaimer, lest I be misread--I do not condone the attacks, nor the attackers. I am as horrified as everyone else that someone came up with this idea, and out it into action. But I have trouble being really angry at anyone but our own culture and government, because from where I sit, we have allowed our false sense of invincibility and superiority to become a reason for entire nations to hate us--and we have remained in denial about our image in some parts of the world. I have a problem being angry with the bull for charging when the red cape is waved in its face, and that's what I feel has happened here.

Re: Perspective from abroad

john h on 9/13/01 at 16:57 (060182)

Julie: my post and my belief was this was an attack that threatened 'Civilisation'. The terriorist reasons are really unfathonable to me and probably had nothing to do with an attack on 'civilisation' Such an attack goes beyond anything i can comprehend. It compares with the gas chambers of the Nazi's. It is so loathsome, so beyond what a civilized person would do or coud do. that i really cannot wrap my brain around it. I would like to know where our arrogance exist. 'Our' is all emcompassing and should be more narrowly defined. Does this mean our foreign policy, the way we act as individuals, our lack of support to some group or nation, our leaders, our way of government,?

Re: arrogance

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 17:06 (060183)

When I (and perhaps Julie) use the word arrogance, I am not referring to peace-keeping missions such as the Gulf War. I am referring to things like the fact that our new president has taken every opportunity this year to turn our collective back on the rest of the world and thereby move us toward isolationism. Kyoto is but one good example. The message this snub sends is entirely Ameri-centric--especially when it is determined because of money. It comes across, even to many at home, as a play to the rich, and those who are likely to come out for a re-election. The sense of concern about any other part of the world is woefully absent.

The rest of the world sees only our affluence, not our poverty. Many folks in other countries think that American=Rich. Part of this image comes from our media, which we export all over the world in what has, in some places, become a cultural takeover. And part of it comes from attitudes toward things like the Kyoto treaty.

It is hard for us to see things from a global perspective, sometimes even when we have spent time abroad. It is downright shameful that 2/3 of our elected leaders have never been outside the US. How can they be able to deal with foreign cultures and perspectives when they have no experience with them? We, as a culture, need to take some time out to try to see from other eyes right now, or we will forever be living in a cloud of denial about our effect on the world. The French are not happy that they find themselves making movies in English, because the American influence has caused audiences for French-language films to dwindle. Our fashions and perspectives are shipped out to other countries along with episodes of ER and Friends and Backstreet Boys CDs. Yes, they sell well in other parts of the world. Yes, the people in those countries are free to choose not to buy them. But the richness of the US media machine allows for marketing and PR to far outstrip what local competitors can offer. How are they to survive in the face of American cultural imperialism?

These are the things I am referring to when I talk about American arrogance, along with our general sense of invincibility and immunity.

Re: Perspective from abroad

Julie on 9/13/01 at 17:18 (060185)

Hi everyone

I've just come home, watched the news, and now it's late and I've got to go to bed. I knew my post would draw strong reactions, and tomorrow I may have more to say individually about them. For now all I want only to make it clear that my point was that it's important that Americans make some effort to _understand_ why_ people in other countries feel as they do. My parents and grandparents were refugees too, from the pogroms of Czarist Russia; my husband was a refugee from the Nazis. I am as American as you all are, I love America as much as you do, I am grieving as much as you are.

And no, Judy, I certainly do not think that the US is motivated by arrogance alone. In fact, I can find very little to disagree with in anything any of you have said - but you do have to try a little harder to understand. You do, in fact, have a serious connection to every country, every soul on the planet. John quoted Donne yesterday: No man is an island. Nor is America.

I'm too tired to think any more - in fact, I'm gutted. 'Night, see you tomorrow.

Re: Your kindly old Uncle replies

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 18:04 (060188)

Nancy -- Let me try to answer....

1. I never said weakness was the only reason for the attack. I believe it was a major contributing factor. Today Admiral Thomas Moorer (retired Chairman of Joint Chiefs) agreed w/me. See interview on Newsmax.

2. Why America & not Canada? We (not Canada) are Israel's best friend & therefore enemy #1 of these people.

3. Pan Am 103? Same reason.

4. In your para. #3, I'm not sure what you're referring to. If it's the Kyoto Treaty, remember that Clinton opposed it & the US Senate defeated it 95-0. Only one country, Romania, has ratified it. Even Japan voted it down (i.e., Kyoto defeated 'Kyoto'!) Is that what you were referring to?

5. Your para. #4: The Taliban organization in Afghan. hosts these people. The facilities are extensive. Turning them into a parking lot would be a good start. (Ask Iraq if we know how to carpet bomb).

6. Nan, I've worked in the Middle East & I know many people from that part of the world. I respect their cultures & beliefs as much as you do. But I think you have an inaccurate view as to why some hate us. It is because of Israel.

7. Now don't be upset with me......I'm still your uncle, young lady!

Re: engangement overseas

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 18:12 (060192)

Interesting comment on engagement overseas. Bush has had more meaningful discussions & contacts overseas in only 8 months than Clinton did in 8 years.

Colin Powell has already achieved more than Albright ever did.

Re: engangement overseas

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 18:40 (060197)

Steve, I think it is time that you and I agree to disagree. Otherwise, we will end up in a big and ugly argument about how Bush did more than Clinton, who was the first president to visit Northern Ireland and take an active stance in reaching an agreement, who personally worked with Israel and Palestine to try come up with a solution, etc. I can see already that you and I are on extreme opposite ends of the ideological spectrum, and I think that we should just accept that and call it quits. I'm game if you are.

Re: engangement overseas

Steve P on 9/13/01 at 19:08 (060208)

Nancy -- That's cool. You're very well spoken & I do respect your opinions. We can agree that this is an emotional time for all of us & there will be some disagreements.

Can I still sit next to you at the family reunion?

Re: Good analysis

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 19:19 (060211)

John:

I think you are right that penetration of Bi Ladin's organizations inner circles is a near impossiblity. Nevertheless, such large scale operations were probably carried out with the help of terrorist harboring nations. While the inner circle may be hard to penetrate, that is not always necessary---much information can be gathered from 2nd and 3rd tier associates of such organizations. I do not even think we have come that close.

We have made an assumption that the members of such organizations are driven by some religious fervor or moral compass, albeit very perverted.
I somehow feel that individuals who have so corrupted the meaning or their own religion are indeed corrupt individuals and as such may be more vulnerable to counterintelligence tactics than we are willing to believe.
Ed

Re: engangement overseas

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 19:27 (060212)

Thanks, Steve. I respect your opinions, too, even though I'm nowhere near them. I'm glad that our beloved board, and you and I specifically, can keep our heads well enough to agree to disagree.

Of course you can sit next to me at the family reunion--but maybe we shouldn't discuss politics! :)

Re: Good analysis

Barbara TX on 9/13/01 at 21:41 (060239)

Yes, Dr. Ed - lots of folks from the Dallas Islamic community are on the news here, explaining carefully that Islam does not permit suicide for any reason. They are adamant about being a peace loving people. Bin Laden is something else entirely. I don't know what to think. Don't know Islam well enough. B.

Re: arrogance

wendyn on 9/13/01 at 21:47 (060242)

Regarding 'American Arrogance'

In general terms...as a Canadian - I do not view Americans as 'Rich'. We often see the 'dark' side of the U.S. portrayed on TV, the poverty, the ghettos, the guns...'rich' would not be something that comes to mind.

I know for a fact, having travelled there a lot - that it is in fact a beautiful country. But - if you were to ask your typical Canadian on the street for one word to some up America - it would not be 'rich'.

Things may be different elsewhere in the world. In fact I am sure they are different - I'm only giving you the take on behalf of one country.

With respect to American 'arrogance'. This is a general term - bear in mind - most of my loved ones are American - and they are by no means 'arrogant' people.

However, at the risk of ruffling some feathers...it is a world wide perception that your typical American believes that little exists outside their own borders.

Very few Americans could tell you how many provinces Canada has, what the name of our leader is, what his title is, or draw even a rough map of where some of the major cities are. This is their neighbor - and often their knowledge of other parts of the world is even worse. Many really belive that Canadians live in igloos and run around with dog sleds.

It is this that enforces the 'arrogance' that is perceived elsewhere in the world. Of course - I think that Julie is referring to a much larger 'arrogance' pertaining to governmental policies etc - but I wanted to help provide a little insight into where some of this comes from.

It's a bit of an ongoing joke on radio stations/satirical shows here- about how things are portrayed in American broadcasts of world events. Pay attention the next time you watch coverage of the Olympics or World games. You will be hard pressed to find evidence that their are other countries actually participating - let alone any information about their athletes, human interest stories etc. Everything is very 'self focused'.

I don't say this as an insult - but this is the way things look at least to most Candians. Who knows how they look to the rest of the world?

There's also a lot of things that many of us envy in Americans. Their fierce national pride being probably the one most often talked about. Many Canadians don't even know all the words to their own national anthem - let alone find themselves moved to tears by it.

Please accept this only as an insight - and by no means a justification for what happened this week..you all know how I feel about that anyway.

Re: arrogance

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 22:03 (060248)

Wendy--

Thanks for your info. I wasn't referring to Canada when I said that a lot of foreigners think we are all rich. I remember hearing that sentiment when I was in Europe in 1989, especially in France (though those attitudes may have changed somewhat since then, I am not sure). I suspect that it's the countries that know the least about us that hold that view. I also was not referring to individuals--it's the larger picture that can be arrogant.

I also agree with you about American knowledge of things outside our borders. We do tend to be rather provincial as a nation, which is a shame, considering the wonderful things that are on the other side of the oceans. For all the fuss about how our kids do on geography tests compared to their international peers, we don't seem to be too intent on educating ourselves. And you could not be more right about Olympic coverage--it is a great example of the self-focus.

Thanks for your perspective.

Re: arrogance

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 22:59 (060258)

Wendyn:
The inability of Americans to name the provinces of Canada is not because of arrogance. It is a combination of many factors: 1)Much of the entertainment industry and media is US based and thus US 'centric.' 2)plain old laziness, 3)The US is very self sufficient (except for oil and certain raw materials) so Americans have not had a compelling need to educate themselves about other countries, 4)Radio. Americans listen to AM and FM but not much SW (shortwave). Unfortunatley that gives us a local perspective only. My wife bought me a shortwave car radio as a gift a few years back--only a few on the market---can listen to BBC, Canada, Radio Moscow and a whole bunch of cool stuff (you may be figuring out that I am just a little bit eccentric by now). An individual growing up in Europe (where you can throw and baseball and it flies over the border of the next country) listen to broadcasts from neighboring countries and SW is commonplace. I worked my way through medical school selling cameras and shortwave radios, usually to Italians and other Europeans hoping to hear the soccer games from home.
Ed

Re: arrogance

wendyn on 9/13/01 at 23:13 (060259)

You are right Dr Ed - the lack of knowledge is not because of arrogance.

However, the lack of knowledge is _perceived_ by others _as_ arrogance.

I am not saying it is justified - only that it simply is.

The fact that most of what you are exposed to is only 'American' is indeed what contributes...however - the end result is still the same.

Please don't give this more credence than what it's worth - there are obviously more important things at hand...but I felt it worthwhile to help to explain a non-American perspective on what Julie may have been relating about her travels as an American when she was younger.

Re: arrogance

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 23:30 (060261)

Wendyn:
I greatly appreciate that perspective. We have just gotten through a tragic attack so we are more defensive on these issues than usual. I think that the perception you describe ranges from mild disdain from countries which are our friends to jealousy and dislike from others and finally hatred from yet others. I think we can understand the perceptions you describe but can see no legitimate reasons for the latter.
Ed

Re: arrogance

Julie on 9/14/01 at 01:31 (060266)

This is what I mean too, Nancy.

Re: Perspective from abroad

Julie on 9/14/01 at 03:38 (060270)

Well, good morning. I was hoping to feel a bit more clear-headed and articulate this morning, but I don't. I just feel gutted, tired, desperately sad, and frightened. Reading everything that has been said during the (my) night has made my head spin, and right now I feel ready to go back to bed. I don't really have anything much to add to what I said last night.

But: I wanted you to try to take a broader view of the global picture, the context in which these atrocities took place, the reasons why there have been no tears shed by some. I wanted you to try to understand the feelings people elsewhere on this (increasingly tiny) planet have about America, feelings that may be misperceptions but that are real, feelings that shock and grieve me as much as they do you - but perhaps, because I live here and not there, do not surprise me as much as they do you. To ask you to try to understand those feelings and perceptions is not to justify, condone, or even explain what happened on Tuesday. I hope that no-one thinks that I was doing that.

I know how difficult it is to 'think outside the box', but it really does need to be done. Now others, especially Nancy N, Wendyn and Mary De, have put that need far more cogently and more knowledgeably than I did, or could. I fear deeply that, as Mary said, precipitate ill-considered reprisals, of which more thousands of innocent people will be the victims, will almost certainly lead to a hardening of terrorist will, and to more and worse attacks.

Nancy: I think we do have the same conception of 'arrogance'. It isn't to do with individuals, but with politics. However, I think that many Americans are misguided about much of what is done in our name, and that this has, historically, expressed itself in a somewhat insular view of what goes on. That can lead to arrogant decisions and actions on the political level.

John: you _are_ a hero. No question. Your post (about rescuing) really moved me.
Ed: I appreciated your perspective on the Israel question.
Steve: like Nancy, I feel we must agree to disagree. But you're still Uncle Steve, and I respect your views.

This whole discussion has been amazing.

There will be three minutes of silence in Europe this morning. In England it will be at 11am. I will be thinking of you all then.


guess I'm just not in a state of mind to talk about this any more. But I do want to say that your posts, and this entire discussion, has been truly amazing.

Re: arrogance

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 06:22 (060276)

Unfortunately, in my eyes, our attitude under these circumstances is still one of arrogance, and I do not fault anyone in another country who sees us that way. No, we may not be geographically or economically positioned in a way that encourages us to look outside our borders, but our unwillingness to explore other regions is still arrogance--we just don't realize it. We can say that it's not our fault, but I feel that it is our fault for failing to make an effort.

Unfortunately, arrogance is hard to see when you're the one doing it. I've noticed some of my own arrogant behavior lately and have been stunned that I never saw it before. It's even harder when it's on a cultural scale, but I do believe we have been very self-centered and isolationist--and therefore arrogant--toward the rest of the world.

Re: arrogance

john h on 9/14/01 at 10:45 (060302)

wendy: unfortunately many americans cannot answer the same questions about our own country. We are far down the list of countries with the best educational system. i think a common misperception about our nation is our compassion. It is all around us, it is on our board, the compassion about our lost people in New York and Washington is enormous thorouhout this nation, we continue to lead the world in support of impoverished countries. I tried to give blood and their is a 5 day waiting list to give blood. We as a nation have always been out front in aid to disasters throughout the world and to defend those who need defending. The results of this compassion is frequently just the opposite of what you would expect. Arrogance is still one that bothers me very much. I really do not know anyone who is arrogant about our country. Just the opposite! Most of us are concerned about pockets of poverty, our educational system, our health system, our economy, keeping our jobs. We have more than enough problems than to consider ourselves arrogant. I really take exception to that perception although i know it exist.

Re: Perspective from abroad

Mike on 9/16/01 at 00:23 (060528)

Julie,
Just a brief response to your conversation on arrogance. Though now I am only a physician in the USA, I was once a medic in the US Army. And as such I will respond to your European point of view on our country by saying only this: as in the past, in the future, as always when you and your neighboring European countries need us, we, The USA will be there. I defer to an editorial printed by one of your UK brethren:

'This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most
generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.
Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of
the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and
forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying
even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.
When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who
propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the
streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.
When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in
to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by sme4es.
Nobody helped.
The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars! into
discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about
the decadent, warmongering Americans. I'd like to see just one of those
countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar
build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to
equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If
so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except
Russia fly American Planes?
Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the
moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk
about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American
technocracy, and you find men on the moon -! not once, but several times -
and safely home again.
You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store
window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued
and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are
breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home
to spend here.
When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through
age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad
and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both
are still broke.
I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other
people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to
the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during
the San Francisco earthquake. Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one
Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will
come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are
entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their
present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those.'
Stand proud, America!

One more thing Julie, Let summarize European history, its really quite easy: 2000 years of war, rape, pillaging, torture, plundering and the more politically correct-colonialization. VS. 50 years of peace! Remember as America we were your victims at one time as well. As my final word, I certainly wouldn't mind seeing some of the vigor our mutual European ancestors displayed when they were attacked by enemy powers. Forget about all the hugs and kisses for a while!
Michael

Re: Perspective from abroad -- surprise for mike?

nancy s. on 9/16/01 at 00:57 (060537)

why does valid questioning from people who love their country and humanity at least as much as you do meet with vitriolic black-and-white thinking such as this? is trying to find a balanced perspective a sin? what are you afraid of? no person, and no nation, is perfect. there is no perfection in this nonetheless beautiful world, and only when you can admit that is there hope of getting near the truth and of righting wrongs.

mike, for your info, julie is one of your _fellow american citizens_, no less pained than anyone else by the events of this past week, who just happens to live in england. enough said.

Re: Perspective from abroad

JudyS on 9/16/01 at 01:59 (060542)

Hang on a second, Mike. Let's not shoot the messenger. All Julie did was INFORM us - which she is regularly very good at and appreciated for.
She showed us the London press article, she told us about the perception of US arrogance overseas.
She never said she agreed with it. She thoroughly verbalized her loyalty to the USA and her distress over the attacks.
She was just taking the time to tell us something that she thought we may not know.
And even if she does agree, so what? Let's not shoot the messenger. Let's not use Julie as a whipping girl for our own angst about England, Europe, and the Middle East.

Re: Perspective from abroad

wendyn on 9/16/01 at 08:38 (060560)

I have to echo everyone's sentiments Mike.

I am glad Julie made that post.

Whether or not you or I agree with it, it is important to know that it is one more perspective. You don't bury your head in the sand and pretend that there aren't people who feel that way.

Just as one column by one English newspaper writer does not represent a whole country - this ne column by one Candadian writer - does not represent a country. You will find Candians here who feel the same way that that writer in England did.