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annon

Posted by john h on 9/13/01 at 20:12 (060222)

annon: i am still on fire about one of your post and feel to honor my dead commrades and their families i must again respond. You note we give medals to our killers and call them heroes. I have 2 Distinguished Flying Crosses, 6 Air Medals, The Bronze Star, The Purple Heart, 2 Comendation Medals, and 2 Distinguished Unit Citations. I am no hero and i am no killer and neither were my commrades. There was no one cheering for us when we looked at SAM missiles over North Vietnam or the trails of Laos. We were spit upon when returning home. We were there for duty,honor,family,god and country. I will relate just two stories which are not uncommon. I was piloting a heavily armoured helicopter and over a rice paddy, my rotor wash blew down the rice to reveal a North Vietnamese Officer with automatic weapon. He was in our sight and with a mini gun on board we could make him history. It was not in my nature or my crews to kill a man like this. We waved at him and he waved at us and we flew off. On another occasion we had once again our heavily armoured helicopter and had 5 young Viet Cong in an open field. We could have destroyed them with a 2 second blast. We lifted up and flew home. We were and are not cold blooded killers. I think scenes like this were not uncommon. This is a very different sceniero than flying into the World Trade Center with thousands of people who probably did not even understand the fuss in the mideast. I have pulled out a hundred or more pilots and other personnel out of the jungle to come home to their familes. Knowing this is my greatest reward. I think most Americans who have had to point a weapon at another human being know the horrible gut wrenching feelings that grip you. I have seen war and i have seen death up close and personal. i still cannot imagine what kind of person can deliver a flying bomb into any builiding full of foes or friends. It is beyond my comprehension and to those of you who say we do not understand their position i say to you try aiming a gun at someone and feel what goes thorugh your soul. I have many friends who's remains will forever be lost in the jungles of southeast asia.To their familes and friends they will forever be heroes but they were doing their job the best they knew how. They did not care about medals or being called heroes. They just wanted to come home to their families. No Annon! No Annon! These were not killers who we gave medals and called them heroes. They were our neighbors, our fathers, our sons, our daughters.

Re: annon

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 20:30 (060225)

John:
All of your points are on the mark. Anon is basing his comments on a very distorted view of reality. Unfortunately it is such distortions that are being fed to the populations of many Middle Eastern and third world populations in order to vilify the United States. Perhaps we need the equivalent of a Radio Free Europe or Radio Liberty to broadcast the truth to those countries.
Ed

Re: Re:JOHN H

Laurie R on 9/13/01 at 20:36 (060226)

Dear John , Thank you so much for sharing your story . Now that I have wiped the tears I can reply to your post ... You are truly an awesome man ,you have had a awesome life with all you have done ..

Yes we have a right to our own opinion ,that is what makes America so wonderful , but we don't have to agree . PLEASE don't let anyone get you upset ,especially this annon person , it is not worth it .

You are a hero ,don't sell yourself short . I know I have told you my dad ,God bless his sole , was in WW2 ,he never talked much about it ,but when he did it was so sad. He would tell me stories and it was my dad that taugh me the meaning of respect . He got shot in his leg and he had the bullet in his leg for the rest of his life. He was my HERO ....

Thank you again John for sharing your story with us ,I so appreciate it and have so much respect for you ... Much love and peace ,Laurie R

Re: annon

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 20:48 (060228)

I have read and re-read anon's original posts. I understand everyone's anger (and perhaps I am the one being naive this time), but the message I got from his posts is a reminder that there is more than one 'truth'--more than one good, more than one evil, and we need to keep in mind that our perspective is not the only one. We were taught one thing as children, and the children in the Middle East were taught something quite different. Who is to say whether it is our truth or their truth that is 'right'? I don't think any of us are equipped to make that judgment. I understand that we all feel the need to cling to our beliefs--but can we then condemn another culture for clinging to theirs in similar situations? We are talking about radically different ideologies here, and each one finds it extremely difficult to comprehend the other--hence the conflict and unrest we see in various areas of the world. I agree that anon said some things that made my eyebrows arch, but despite those unfortunate comments, I still think that his underlying message was to remind us that events vary when viewed through the lens of different ideologies. (Even if that wasn't his intent, it is excellent food for thought for all of us right now.)

As I said in another thread, I am deeply troubled by the 'us' vs 'them' stance that seems to be lying below the surface of some recent posts, especially those on the 'dissenting' threads. As soon as we start to think in these terms, we set ourselves up for disaster. I don't believe in groupthink--it terrifies me, and Tuesday's events explain why. They are an excellent example of groupthink run amok. Groupthink is the first step toward allowing someone else to tell you what to think. If we were all intended to think the same way, we would not have been given such fantastic brains.

If this tragedy reminds us of nothing else, I hope that it reminds us that we are all human, none perfect. We all have our own beliefs, right or wrong, and we are entitled to those beliefs, which is why the First Amendment includes the freedom of speech. I may not agree with what you have to say--but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Re: Re:John

Tammie on 9/13/01 at 20:50 (060229)

Thank you and you are so very right ! Thank u and may God Bless you ! Seems maybe until we are faced with something as powerful as this that we dont really ever know the feelings involved with what you and any other soldier or military person goes thru in defending our country. Because if we were faced with it or it was one of us defending our beliefs or our loved ones the feelings may be very different.I am trying to make a feeble comparrison, as it is known that military loves our country enough to die for it, and I am saying we as people with families and such could think of it as if it were our children or a loved one and you loved them so very much and someone was going to shoot them first and u had the gun to could u let them harm your loved one and stand by saying it was not that they are evil it was there boss who made them do it?Good thought for me,I know it is not the best comparrison, but that is what I thought of as I was thinking of how much love for your country you have! Thank you for allowing me to live here , I am blessed as it could be quite different and there is no perfection any where in this world that i know of. But then I dont have a large expierance as I am seeing just how sheltered I have been all of my life , I am terriably ashamed (not of my spelling or writing as I know it is awful) but for the fact that I never really cared about our world and how it works and the terrible things that many have suffered doing while protecting the freedom of choice that i have, I never was interested until the last few years as I have grown older. And when my hubby was in military I was a terrible wife, never understanding how much his love for what he was doing and how when they called for him to be there NOW I whined and threatened him with I will go home,I would not let him do what he loved I made him make a choice me or re enlist I am so very very sorry I wish I could change that as now I am just begining to understand . John Thank u for showing me and helping me understand more of the inside and the feelings that you have. Noone will always agree on everything but I agree on this fact No they were not killers and yes they were doing much more then there job they not only did a job because it was such they did it because of there love for there familiy and there beliefs and there or I should say our privilage of living in this country as we know it. I truly hope that all of thease people have been blessed and that there families are proud to be a american. I know that I am and am also so very sorry that I had to find this out so much later in life! I think we take for granted what has always been it would be different if we did not always have this life. Again alls I can say is thank u and may God always watch out for our men and woman and children and keep giving us the strenghth and knowledge to keep America alive as we know it!

Re: annon

Barbara TX on 9/13/01 at 21:58 (060245)

Just a small thought here, Nancy (ol buddy, ol pal)... you claim that there are no absolute rights and wrongs. What about the thing you said you would die for? Free speech? Even if you claim that there is no thing as an absolute truth, that claim itself is an absolute truth. Moral absolutes form the very foundation of American law. I think that human beings can be excellent arbiters of right and wrong, and deep in our hearts we all have written something called the 'natural law.' But here, I am a dinosaur these days - miles away from the current 'groupthink.' Anyway, I don't think it takes any complicated soul searching to realize that what happened at the WTC was an intrinsic moral evil - I know you probably think so too. Sad thing about moral relativism is that since there is no sin, there us no redemption or forgiveness either. I know I sin - boy, can I feel it, and thank God I get forgiveness from those I've wronged. I can imagine giving my life up totally to it. I think some people do. Do you think that some people really do this, in the deep recesses of their hearts?

I hate to disagree, but I love this line of debate. Heelpeople rule. B.

Re: annon

JudyS on 9/13/01 at 22:04 (060249)

Very poignant, John, and very well said.

Re: annon

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 22:26 (060251)

Barb--

The problem with this line of thought (aside from the fact that it's keeping me from sleep! :) ) is that it does get dicey and eventually it makes my head hurt. But I do believe that we are socialized into our views of right and wrong--we may indeed be able to sense it intrinsically, but how and why we do that is going to be colored by whatever socialization we were exposed to. The human brain is an amazing thing--very adaptable, which can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on the forces it's exposed to.

Free speech might be an absolute truth--for me. Might not be for someone else. It's all very individual. For me, I believe that the WTC is a horrible tragedy and a sign to us that it is time to wake up and take our place in the global community--and because I see that good end, I have trouble declaring it completely evil. It is only completely evil if we allow these people to have died in vain. Similarly, my anger about this tragedy comes from the fact that when 270 people died in Lockerbie in 1988 we did not learn from their deaths and make them mean something by using the knowledge from that attack to prevent this one. To me, that is simply unconscionable. To the businessman who made the decision not to spend the money to change security practices, perhaps it was not. I don't know. I can only judge by my own moral compass and recognize that other people may see things differently than me--and that the difference is not necessarily bad.

As for giving up to sin totally (which is what I think you meant in your last sentence, not entirely sure but I am really tired), absolutely I think there are people who give themselves up to it. Absolutely. But then we get into the debate over whether it's giving themselves up to evil, or insanity--or if they are the same thing. Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy--insane, or sane, cold-blooded evil incarnate? I don't know, it's a very tough call, and one that I am definitely not qualified to make.

My point in bringing up this topic is not to say that we are wrong to be upset, or that we deserved to be attacked. My point is simply to remind everyone that there are two sides to every story, and we need to keep the other side in mind before we issue blanket condemnations, especially when those condemnations involve entire ethnic groups. I just don't believe in absolutes (except maybe absolute zero). They make me uncomfortable, because there is almost always an exception--which negates the 'absolute.' (Or maybe I'm just commitment-phobic, which is probably also true!)

OK, I am exhausted and I am going to bed. I hope what I just wrote at least makes a little sense...

Re: annon

BG CPed on 9/13/01 at 22:35 (060254)

Anon it looks like more of your 'brilliant heros' were doing bin locos toilet work and got caught at NY airport. It also looks like the clock is ticking as we get ready (and 3/4 of the world)to take on your heros. Will you think it is fair turnabout when you see your heros running when they are challenged by men that fight back?

The spinless act they commited will have the exact opposite results. Most of the civilized world will/has rallied around the US. They have exposed many of their citizens to a fate they have never imagined. They are not going to convert anybody to their beliefs. So what did they achieve?

bin laden will be dead within the week. His money and organizational skills will be useless. I dont think they have cell phones in hell and you cant access bank accounts either. They will have some oil paintings of him to dance around. Will it make their life better? He is a billionaire.If he was a great man that cared for his people he would spend it on more positive things.

Have a good day and good luck watching your warrior heros on SCUD-CAM

Re: annon

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 23:33 (060262)

Anon blames the US for the effect the embargo of Iraq had on its citizens (another post). Considering the billions of dollars owned by Osama bin Laden, why is he not spending his money to feed the children of Iraq?
Ed

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 05:58 (060274)

I find myself questioning whether killing bin Laden is really the right move (before you jump on me, let me explain why). I fear that killing him will only create a new martyr, and a very powerrful one at that, for those who have supported this attack. We tend to feel here that removing the focal point of a problem is the ultimate solution (after all, if he is dead, he himself can't hurt us anymore), but when the smaller factions come together (as we ourselves are doing after this tragedy) then we could inadvertently be creating something worse.

I am torn on this one, and do not know what the right answer is. Obviously, we cannot allow him to roam free. But I do fear that if we kill him in an incendiary show of American military might, we will merely inspire someone else to take his place--and give him a moment in time to galvanize his motivation and future actions. Is imprisonment then the answer? I don't know. Killing him might turn out to be the best solution, depending on all the many variables that surround this kind of situation.

I am not sure what the right move is, and I pray that those with the evidence and information at their disposal will remain calm and rational enough to assess all the variables (which we do not and probably never will have) before making their decision.

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Steve P on 9/14/01 at 06:28 (060277)

I'm sorry I can't let this one go.

There is NOT more than one truth. There is NOT more than one evil.

20,000 of our fellow Americans have been murdered.

Re: creating a martyr

Julie on 9/14/01 at 06:50 (060279)

I read this morning that Bin Laden's network is operative in 34 countries. (That's a lot of terrorists - and presumably some of them, at least, have been trained to take control if he comes to grief.)

I doubt that killing him will serve any purpose other than to create another martyr and stiffen the resolve of those who are pledged to carry his 'work' forth.

So I join you in that prayer for calm, rational decisions, Nancy. Not very hopefully, though.

Re: annon

Hey Judy - on 9/14/01 at 10:06 (060297)

So here's what we are NOT saying to each other... are you still doing NJ at the end of the month???? Yikes. B.

Re: annon

Barbara TX on 9/14/01 at 10:23 (060298)

I actually did have someone in one of my classes try to justify what Hitler and Dahmer did, citing childhood experiences as a excuse. But what about those with equally miserable chilhoods who live lives of love? What is the difference?

You can't say 'absolute truth' and 'for me' in the same sentence. The two statements are contradictory. I am not being bossy here - if you say that there is a God and I claim that none exists, one of us is right, and one wrong. Utterances either correspond to reality or they don't. There is not some universe in which God both exists and doesn't exist. This is called the 'principle of non-contradiction' to a logician. I tell my students 'this is the biggie' upon which rational discourse depends. I think that you would agree, but I know you want to make darn sure we don't generalize/categorize/make mistakes when we sort out the WTC responsibility. That is MORE than wise. That is an absolute requirement of a moral response, you are very very right to point that out. B.

Re: annon

JudyS on 9/14/01 at 10:29 (060299)

I thought about that as well, TexBarb and my answer is.....
yes. You, John, Nancy, Dr. Z/staff, et.al. are my newest and dearest best friends and I choose to follow Pres. Bush on this one...my life will not stop. As far as safety goes.......I suspect that the next few weeks of air travel will be the safest in our history.

Re: annon

john h on 9/14/01 at 11:02 (060306)

Barb: i must agree that your statement that deep in our heart and i will add soul, there is something called the 'natural law'. No! you are not a dinosaur in this thinking. Without this there would be no civilization. We try to reduce this 'natural law' to written law but i do not think this is possible. We make choices daily on this 'natural law' without recognizing it.

Re: creating a martyr

john h on 9/14/01 at 11:57 (060318)

there will always be another Bin Laden. That being said, we must address State sponsored terriorism. Terriorist cannot exist in a vacume and need the intelligence gathering and support of nations. There must be a price to be paid for nations supporting terriorism. Iraq has attempted to build a nuclear facility and poison gas producing facilities. The Israelis took out the nuclear facility and we took out the gas facilities. Saddam has used gas on his own people and would not hesitate to use an A Bomb or gas on Israeli. What stands between him and doing that is the U.S. and the fact that he knows Israeli has an a bomb and the will to use it. It is important that we beef up our security at home but at the end of the day it will take cooperation of all nations to make any nation who supports terriorism pay a very heavy price for such activity. We cannot do it alone. We must understand that people like Sadam only understand power and force.

Re: annon

Barbara TX on 9/14/01 at 12:43 (060328)

Then I'm with you! B.

Re: annon

John h on 9/14/01 at 13:04 (060330)

Barb: I would add to that Love a double martini straight up. When i go home each day i am totally drained and exhausted. This is not from work.

Re: annon

Barbara TX on 9/14/01 at 13:13 (060332)

John - gin gimlet is my panacea of choice. National prayer service very moving today. B.

Re: flying to judy and barb

john h on 9/14/01 at 16:54 (060356)

i have my tickets and am ready to rumble.

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 17:09 (060361)

John--

I agree with you. Obviously, we do need to respond in some way. But I wonder if keeping bin Laden in prison is a better idea than blowing him away from the air, just because of the potential for martyrdom. Were it not for that aspect of the situation, I am not sure that I would have a preference one way or another. (While I prefer to move through the justice system, extraordinary circumstances such as these can sway me.)

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 17:10 (060362)

We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one, too, Steve. I am not saying that it's a good thing that thousands of people have died--but I am saying that from someone else's perspective, in another country under other circumstances, it may look that way. Part of why I don't believe in absolutes... and as I said, if some good comes out of the evil, then it has not been a complete evil in my book. Our challenge as a nation is to make these deaths mean something.

Re: annon

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 17:15 (060363)

I do believe that we may have absolute truths for ourselves--but they may not extend to others. I am just trying to point out that the people in places like Iraq and Palestine feel just as justified in committing acts such as this one as some of us do in wanting to blow away anything even remotely associated with whoever did this. Ideologically speaking, we are on opposite ends of the extremes, but we each believe that we are right. Same with liberals and conservatives, Christians/Jews/Muslims/Hindi/Buddhists... So who really is? Who knows? Maybe both, maybe neither, or maybe the truth lies somewhere in between (as it often tends to). I am not qualified to answer that question, and I doubt that any of us is.

Re: See Barb's post below

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 17:35 (060369)

As I read further down the board, I found Barb's post in the 'Sorry, but' thread, which echoed what I am trying to say beautifully. Perhaps my clumsy choice of words has been the problem--though trying to explain more abstract ideas in print can be tough. Anyway, take a look there and hopefully find a better explanation.

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Steve P on 9/14/01 at 18:09 (060371)

Nancy, dear, you know i respect your thoughtfulness & I hope I won't anger you here.......but suppose for a moment you had lost a loved one this week? What then?

What would it take for you to say, 'THAT'S evil!' pure & simple?

Re: creating a martyr

john h on 9/14/01 at 18:58 (060378)

nancy: i have no idea what our response to these attacks will be and i really do not have enough information to suggest what makes sense. I trust our governmnet and allies will weigh the evidence, make some assessments and judgements and do what makes sense to provide protection not only for us but all who could be on the receiving end of terriorism. i think we alread have an enormous amount of evidence and the administration i think will consult with our allies including the british,french,germans,italians, canadians,etc and make an intelligent decision with some consensus among them. Killing or taking Ben Laden could be just one of the things but our people in government are not idiots and know their is another Ben Laden to take his place. The big questions, I think, will be if they come to the conclusion that Iraq and Saddam are behind this and are indeed supporting terriorism as a state. If this is true then they have commited an act of war and we by law are entitled to respond as an nation under attack. We know the Talaban is protecting Ben Laden. If Ben Laden is a prime mover in this atttack then we have a real problem with the Talaban the ruling party of Afganastan. What measures might be used against them i have no idea. But be sure, the American people want some action on this including me. 93% of Americans would support a war against a nation proven to be behind this attack. We have some good people and some very smart people in our government who deserve more credit than pointing fingers at them. I would think we would have a measured well thought out response and make no mistake, their will be a response. Justice cries out for it. Turning the other cheek does not work with fanatics.

Re: For Steve

john h on 9/14/01 at 19:31 (060382)

I will follow your question with this one steve: Who among us would have the courage to go to one of the tens of thousands of the family members who have lost a loved one in this attack and ask them to understand and to view this from the terriorist point of view or the arab or the palestinen point of view or anons point of view. Anon walk up to one of these people and ask your questions.

In the late 60's i like everyone else in the country argued daily over the Vietnam war. When i arrived in Vietnam in August 1968 and saw the first tracer coming my way i completely and totally forgot about politics and who was right and who was wrong. My #1 priority for the next year was to do my job and try to live. i could care less about politics,whos right and whos wrong, democrats or republicans, liberals or conservatives. Someone shooting at you gives you a whole new perspective. I would think those people who have lost family understand that perspective. By the way there were Arabs and Palastenien, and Jews and people of every other faith and nationality in that building. Sitting in the collesum and watching is not at all like being down there in the arena with the lions. You get down their my friends and you do care much about the lions background or motives.
All you really know is he wants to eat you.

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 19:38 (060383)

Steve, please don't insult me. I work in a school an hour away from NY. I have students whose families work there, some in the WTC. One of my coworkers lost a friend from college. I know as close to first-hand as I want to know that what happened on Tuesday was a horrific and insane thing. I have no debated that point--if you look at my posts on the good/evil thread, you will see that I am speaking generally, not about this one specific event. But as it pertains to the WTC, I will say again that it is only pure evil if we allow those thousands of people to have died in vain--if we act impulsively and irrationally in our response without consideration of the repercussions, if we refuse to act pro-actively to prevent future attacks, if we keep our attitude of invincibility and superiority over the rest of the world. THEN, I will say that this attack was pure evil.

Re: For Steve

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 19:41 (060385)

I can only speak for myself, but I am not attempting to say that we are making a big fuss over nothing. Clearly, we are not. But if we do not attempt to understand the motivations of the people who did this, we will never be able to stop them in the future. I don't remember who it was who said 'Know thine enemy,' but that is really all I am saying here. If we don't learn from events like these, we are doomed to repeat them.

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 19:44 (060387)

I haven't said we should turn the other cheek--in fact, I have said the opposite several times. I do not know what the right answer is, either--if killing bin Laden is the right answer, then so be it. My only concern is that we take the most rational and prudent approach to keep from making the whole thing worse instead of better.

Re: creating a martyr

john h on 9/14/01 at 20:03 (060390)

taking a rational and prudent approach is what we have elected leader for. i must presume they will do just that and in concert with our allies. what more can you ask.

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 20:06 (060392)

That's all I'm asking for. I'm just aware that this kind of tragedy brings up such intense emotions that it can be hard for anyone to look at the situation rationally. I remain hopeful that not only will those in charge be able to maintain that stance, but that our fellow citizens will do the same.

Re: creating a martyr

BG CPed on 9/14/01 at 22:07 (060405)

My .02 is that saying it is only pure evil depending on what we do afterwards. The act itself was evil or sowardice or whatever but if evil is the term than that is a prime example. What happens as far as the US dealing with it does not change the level of evilness of the act.

It is however important to the memory of the dead to stamp out as much of this as possible. Unfortunatly when dealing with the level of hatred the animals have for the US you must 'stoop' to their level and exceed it in force. They are not trying to convert the US. They only understand force. Should we sit at the table and talk treaty? All opressive organizations need a big fat target to hate and blame. As long as the US exists we will be that target.

Yes there will be baby bin ladens in the wings. Killing him will eliminate his funding and his Leadership. Anytime you eliminate a Leader whether it be Hitler, Manson or whoever it DOES weaken a group. Take it to the next level go deeper and eliminate the 2nd and 3rd stringers.

They view US as fat lazy immoral powerful, a prime target to hate. So do we get them before they get us? Sounds bad and bloody but in our interest of self preservation yes we should.

The 2 most fundamental purpose of government is protecting rights and military defense. Our government needs to do all it can to reduce the chance of this happening again. If it requires major military action then so be it.

They underestimated the US and how much worldwide support we would gain. At this time bin laden probably feels like the drunken loud guy at the party nobody wants to be around, Of course he has supporters but in the world community 80% will join us and another 15% realize they need to choose us over bin laden for their own best interest. You know its bad when Arafat gets pics of him donating blood to the US.

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 23:04 (060413)

I don't understand why people keep thinking that I am saying we should just sit down and chat with this guy. That is not what I said. If it is determined that the best response is to go in and blow him away, so be it. If not, an alternative might be to capture him and keep him in prison, where he may be made into an example of what could happen to others, rather than a martyr. I in no way advocate sitting on our hands--that's what we've been doing for 12 years because we didn't want to believe that we could be a target. We MUST respond--the question for me is what option does the job with the least bloodshed in the end.

Re: The response

Julie on 9/15/01 at 02:06 (060421)

Nancy

You have been saying all along what I have been trying, less successfully, to say: that it is vital try to understand how others feel.

The sight of the entire continent of Europe standing in silence yesterday, deeply and rightly one with America, is one part of the picture.

The sight of celebrating people in other parts of the world is another.

To understand is not to justify or condone. It is to see the world more clearly in order that the situation is not made infinitely worse. Of course we must respond. That is not in question. What is, is How?

I have been shocked and deeply depressed by some of the responses to your posts and mine. I respect your courage, honesty, and willingness to continue this discussion more than I can possibly say. I cannot.

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Barbara TX on 9/15/01 at 11:04 (060448)

Adding to this problem is the confusing accusations against Americans: 'we should butt out of the business of other nations' and 'we should become more involved in the plights of other nations.' We are screwed either way it seems. B.

Re: annon

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 20:30 (060225)

John:
All of your points are on the mark. Anon is basing his comments on a very distorted view of reality. Unfortunately it is such distortions that are being fed to the populations of many Middle Eastern and third world populations in order to vilify the United States. Perhaps we need the equivalent of a Radio Free Europe or Radio Liberty to broadcast the truth to those countries.
Ed

Re: Re:JOHN H

Laurie R on 9/13/01 at 20:36 (060226)

Dear John , Thank you so much for sharing your story . Now that I have wiped the tears I can reply to your post ... You are truly an awesome man ,you have had a awesome life with all you have done ..

Yes we have a right to our own opinion ,that is what makes America so wonderful , but we don't have to agree . PLEASE don't let anyone get you upset ,especially this annon person , it is not worth it .

You are a hero ,don't sell yourself short . I know I have told you my dad ,God bless his sole , was in WW2 ,he never talked much about it ,but when he did it was so sad. He would tell me stories and it was my dad that taugh me the meaning of respect . He got shot in his leg and he had the bullet in his leg for the rest of his life. He was my HERO ....

Thank you again John for sharing your story with us ,I so appreciate it and have so much respect for you ... Much love and peace ,Laurie R

Re: annon

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 20:48 (060228)

I have read and re-read anon's original posts. I understand everyone's anger (and perhaps I am the one being naive this time), but the message I got from his posts is a reminder that there is more than one 'truth'--more than one good, more than one evil, and we need to keep in mind that our perspective is not the only one. We were taught one thing as children, and the children in the Middle East were taught something quite different. Who is to say whether it is our truth or their truth that is 'right'? I don't think any of us are equipped to make that judgment. I understand that we all feel the need to cling to our beliefs--but can we then condemn another culture for clinging to theirs in similar situations? We are talking about radically different ideologies here, and each one finds it extremely difficult to comprehend the other--hence the conflict and unrest we see in various areas of the world. I agree that anon said some things that made my eyebrows arch, but despite those unfortunate comments, I still think that his underlying message was to remind us that events vary when viewed through the lens of different ideologies. (Even if that wasn't his intent, it is excellent food for thought for all of us right now.)

As I said in another thread, I am deeply troubled by the 'us' vs 'them' stance that seems to be lying below the surface of some recent posts, especially those on the 'dissenting' threads. As soon as we start to think in these terms, we set ourselves up for disaster. I don't believe in groupthink--it terrifies me, and Tuesday's events explain why. They are an excellent example of groupthink run amok. Groupthink is the first step toward allowing someone else to tell you what to think. If we were all intended to think the same way, we would not have been given such fantastic brains.

If this tragedy reminds us of nothing else, I hope that it reminds us that we are all human, none perfect. We all have our own beliefs, right or wrong, and we are entitled to those beliefs, which is why the First Amendment includes the freedom of speech. I may not agree with what you have to say--but I will defend to the death your right to say it.

Re: Re:John

Tammie on 9/13/01 at 20:50 (060229)

Thank you and you are so very right ! Thank u and may God Bless you ! Seems maybe until we are faced with something as powerful as this that we dont really ever know the feelings involved with what you and any other soldier or military person goes thru in defending our country. Because if we were faced with it or it was one of us defending our beliefs or our loved ones the feelings may be very different.I am trying to make a feeble comparrison, as it is known that military loves our country enough to die for it, and I am saying we as people with families and such could think of it as if it were our children or a loved one and you loved them so very much and someone was going to shoot them first and u had the gun to could u let them harm your loved one and stand by saying it was not that they are evil it was there boss who made them do it?Good thought for me,I know it is not the best comparrison, but that is what I thought of as I was thinking of how much love for your country you have! Thank you for allowing me to live here , I am blessed as it could be quite different and there is no perfection any where in this world that i know of. But then I dont have a large expierance as I am seeing just how sheltered I have been all of my life , I am terriably ashamed (not of my spelling or writing as I know it is awful) but for the fact that I never really cared about our world and how it works and the terrible things that many have suffered doing while protecting the freedom of choice that i have, I never was interested until the last few years as I have grown older. And when my hubby was in military I was a terrible wife, never understanding how much his love for what he was doing and how when they called for him to be there NOW I whined and threatened him with I will go home,I would not let him do what he loved I made him make a choice me or re enlist I am so very very sorry I wish I could change that as now I am just begining to understand . John Thank u for showing me and helping me understand more of the inside and the feelings that you have. Noone will always agree on everything but I agree on this fact No they were not killers and yes they were doing much more then there job they not only did a job because it was such they did it because of there love for there familiy and there beliefs and there or I should say our privilage of living in this country as we know it. I truly hope that all of thease people have been blessed and that there families are proud to be a american. I know that I am and am also so very sorry that I had to find this out so much later in life! I think we take for granted what has always been it would be different if we did not always have this life. Again alls I can say is thank u and may God always watch out for our men and woman and children and keep giving us the strenghth and knowledge to keep America alive as we know it!

Re: annon

Barbara TX on 9/13/01 at 21:58 (060245)

Just a small thought here, Nancy (ol buddy, ol pal)... you claim that there are no absolute rights and wrongs. What about the thing you said you would die for? Free speech? Even if you claim that there is no thing as an absolute truth, that claim itself is an absolute truth. Moral absolutes form the very foundation of American law. I think that human beings can be excellent arbiters of right and wrong, and deep in our hearts we all have written something called the 'natural law.' But here, I am a dinosaur these days - miles away from the current 'groupthink.' Anyway, I don't think it takes any complicated soul searching to realize that what happened at the WTC was an intrinsic moral evil - I know you probably think so too. Sad thing about moral relativism is that since there is no sin, there us no redemption or forgiveness either. I know I sin - boy, can I feel it, and thank God I get forgiveness from those I've wronged. I can imagine giving my life up totally to it. I think some people do. Do you think that some people really do this, in the deep recesses of their hearts?

I hate to disagree, but I love this line of debate. Heelpeople rule. B.

Re: annon

JudyS on 9/13/01 at 22:04 (060249)

Very poignant, John, and very well said.

Re: annon

Nancy N on 9/13/01 at 22:26 (060251)

Barb--

The problem with this line of thought (aside from the fact that it's keeping me from sleep! :) ) is that it does get dicey and eventually it makes my head hurt. But I do believe that we are socialized into our views of right and wrong--we may indeed be able to sense it intrinsically, but how and why we do that is going to be colored by whatever socialization we were exposed to. The human brain is an amazing thing--very adaptable, which can be both a blessing and a curse, depending on the forces it's exposed to.

Free speech might be an absolute truth--for me. Might not be for someone else. It's all very individual. For me, I believe that the WTC is a horrible tragedy and a sign to us that it is time to wake up and take our place in the global community--and because I see that good end, I have trouble declaring it completely evil. It is only completely evil if we allow these people to have died in vain. Similarly, my anger about this tragedy comes from the fact that when 270 people died in Lockerbie in 1988 we did not learn from their deaths and make them mean something by using the knowledge from that attack to prevent this one. To me, that is simply unconscionable. To the businessman who made the decision not to spend the money to change security practices, perhaps it was not. I don't know. I can only judge by my own moral compass and recognize that other people may see things differently than me--and that the difference is not necessarily bad.

As for giving up to sin totally (which is what I think you meant in your last sentence, not entirely sure but I am really tired), absolutely I think there are people who give themselves up to it. Absolutely. But then we get into the debate over whether it's giving themselves up to evil, or insanity--or if they are the same thing. Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy--insane, or sane, cold-blooded evil incarnate? I don't know, it's a very tough call, and one that I am definitely not qualified to make.

My point in bringing up this topic is not to say that we are wrong to be upset, or that we deserved to be attacked. My point is simply to remind everyone that there are two sides to every story, and we need to keep the other side in mind before we issue blanket condemnations, especially when those condemnations involve entire ethnic groups. I just don't believe in absolutes (except maybe absolute zero). They make me uncomfortable, because there is almost always an exception--which negates the 'absolute.' (Or maybe I'm just commitment-phobic, which is probably also true!)

OK, I am exhausted and I am going to bed. I hope what I just wrote at least makes a little sense...

Re: annon

BG CPed on 9/13/01 at 22:35 (060254)

Anon it looks like more of your 'brilliant heros' were doing bin locos toilet work and got caught at NY airport. It also looks like the clock is ticking as we get ready (and 3/4 of the world)to take on your heros. Will you think it is fair turnabout when you see your heros running when they are challenged by men that fight back?

The spinless act they commited will have the exact opposite results. Most of the civilized world will/has rallied around the US. They have exposed many of their citizens to a fate they have never imagined. They are not going to convert anybody to their beliefs. So what did they achieve?

bin laden will be dead within the week. His money and organizational skills will be useless. I dont think they have cell phones in hell and you cant access bank accounts either. They will have some oil paintings of him to dance around. Will it make their life better? He is a billionaire.If he was a great man that cared for his people he would spend it on more positive things.

Have a good day and good luck watching your warrior heros on SCUD-CAM

Re: annon

Ed Davis, DPM on 9/13/01 at 23:33 (060262)

Anon blames the US for the effect the embargo of Iraq had on its citizens (another post). Considering the billions of dollars owned by Osama bin Laden, why is he not spending his money to feed the children of Iraq?
Ed

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 05:58 (060274)

I find myself questioning whether killing bin Laden is really the right move (before you jump on me, let me explain why). I fear that killing him will only create a new martyr, and a very powerrful one at that, for those who have supported this attack. We tend to feel here that removing the focal point of a problem is the ultimate solution (after all, if he is dead, he himself can't hurt us anymore), but when the smaller factions come together (as we ourselves are doing after this tragedy) then we could inadvertently be creating something worse.

I am torn on this one, and do not know what the right answer is. Obviously, we cannot allow him to roam free. But I do fear that if we kill him in an incendiary show of American military might, we will merely inspire someone else to take his place--and give him a moment in time to galvanize his motivation and future actions. Is imprisonment then the answer? I don't know. Killing him might turn out to be the best solution, depending on all the many variables that surround this kind of situation.

I am not sure what the right move is, and I pray that those with the evidence and information at their disposal will remain calm and rational enough to assess all the variables (which we do not and probably never will have) before making their decision.

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Steve P on 9/14/01 at 06:28 (060277)

I'm sorry I can't let this one go.

There is NOT more than one truth. There is NOT more than one evil.

20,000 of our fellow Americans have been murdered.

Re: creating a martyr

Julie on 9/14/01 at 06:50 (060279)

I read this morning that Bin Laden's network is operative in 34 countries. (That's a lot of terrorists - and presumably some of them, at least, have been trained to take control if he comes to grief.)

I doubt that killing him will serve any purpose other than to create another martyr and stiffen the resolve of those who are pledged to carry his 'work' forth.

So I join you in that prayer for calm, rational decisions, Nancy. Not very hopefully, though.

Re: annon

Hey Judy - on 9/14/01 at 10:06 (060297)

So here's what we are NOT saying to each other... are you still doing NJ at the end of the month???? Yikes. B.

Re: annon

Barbara TX on 9/14/01 at 10:23 (060298)

I actually did have someone in one of my classes try to justify what Hitler and Dahmer did, citing childhood experiences as a excuse. But what about those with equally miserable chilhoods who live lives of love? What is the difference?

You can't say 'absolute truth' and 'for me' in the same sentence. The two statements are contradictory. I am not being bossy here - if you say that there is a God and I claim that none exists, one of us is right, and one wrong. Utterances either correspond to reality or they don't. There is not some universe in which God both exists and doesn't exist. This is called the 'principle of non-contradiction' to a logician. I tell my students 'this is the biggie' upon which rational discourse depends. I think that you would agree, but I know you want to make darn sure we don't generalize/categorize/make mistakes when we sort out the WTC responsibility. That is MORE than wise. That is an absolute requirement of a moral response, you are very very right to point that out. B.

Re: annon

JudyS on 9/14/01 at 10:29 (060299)

I thought about that as well, TexBarb and my answer is.....
yes. You, John, Nancy, Dr. Z/staff, et.al. are my newest and dearest best friends and I choose to follow Pres. Bush on this one...my life will not stop. As far as safety goes.......I suspect that the next few weeks of air travel will be the safest in our history.

Re: annon

john h on 9/14/01 at 11:02 (060306)

Barb: i must agree that your statement that deep in our heart and i will add soul, there is something called the 'natural law'. No! you are not a dinosaur in this thinking. Without this there would be no civilization. We try to reduce this 'natural law' to written law but i do not think this is possible. We make choices daily on this 'natural law' without recognizing it.

Re: creating a martyr

john h on 9/14/01 at 11:57 (060318)

there will always be another Bin Laden. That being said, we must address State sponsored terriorism. Terriorist cannot exist in a vacume and need the intelligence gathering and support of nations. There must be a price to be paid for nations supporting terriorism. Iraq has attempted to build a nuclear facility and poison gas producing facilities. The Israelis took out the nuclear facility and we took out the gas facilities. Saddam has used gas on his own people and would not hesitate to use an A Bomb or gas on Israeli. What stands between him and doing that is the U.S. and the fact that he knows Israeli has an a bomb and the will to use it. It is important that we beef up our security at home but at the end of the day it will take cooperation of all nations to make any nation who supports terriorism pay a very heavy price for such activity. We cannot do it alone. We must understand that people like Sadam only understand power and force.

Re: annon

Barbara TX on 9/14/01 at 12:43 (060328)

Then I'm with you! B.

Re: annon

John h on 9/14/01 at 13:04 (060330)

Barb: I would add to that Love a double martini straight up. When i go home each day i am totally drained and exhausted. This is not from work.

Re: annon

Barbara TX on 9/14/01 at 13:13 (060332)

John - gin gimlet is my panacea of choice. National prayer service very moving today. B.

Re: flying to judy and barb

john h on 9/14/01 at 16:54 (060356)

i have my tickets and am ready to rumble.

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 17:09 (060361)

John--

I agree with you. Obviously, we do need to respond in some way. But I wonder if keeping bin Laden in prison is a better idea than blowing him away from the air, just because of the potential for martyrdom. Were it not for that aspect of the situation, I am not sure that I would have a preference one way or another. (While I prefer to move through the justice system, extraordinary circumstances such as these can sway me.)

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 17:10 (060362)

We're going to have to agree to disagree on this one, too, Steve. I am not saying that it's a good thing that thousands of people have died--but I am saying that from someone else's perspective, in another country under other circumstances, it may look that way. Part of why I don't believe in absolutes... and as I said, if some good comes out of the evil, then it has not been a complete evil in my book. Our challenge as a nation is to make these deaths mean something.

Re: annon

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 17:15 (060363)

I do believe that we may have absolute truths for ourselves--but they may not extend to others. I am just trying to point out that the people in places like Iraq and Palestine feel just as justified in committing acts such as this one as some of us do in wanting to blow away anything even remotely associated with whoever did this. Ideologically speaking, we are on opposite ends of the extremes, but we each believe that we are right. Same with liberals and conservatives, Christians/Jews/Muslims/Hindi/Buddhists... So who really is? Who knows? Maybe both, maybe neither, or maybe the truth lies somewhere in between (as it often tends to). I am not qualified to answer that question, and I doubt that any of us is.

Re: See Barb's post below

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 17:35 (060369)

As I read further down the board, I found Barb's post in the 'Sorry, but' thread, which echoed what I am trying to say beautifully. Perhaps my clumsy choice of words has been the problem--though trying to explain more abstract ideas in print can be tough. Anyway, take a look there and hopefully find a better explanation.

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Steve P on 9/14/01 at 18:09 (060371)

Nancy, dear, you know i respect your thoughtfulness & I hope I won't anger you here.......but suppose for a moment you had lost a loved one this week? What then?

What would it take for you to say, 'THAT'S evil!' pure & simple?

Re: creating a martyr

john h on 9/14/01 at 18:58 (060378)

nancy: i have no idea what our response to these attacks will be and i really do not have enough information to suggest what makes sense. I trust our governmnet and allies will weigh the evidence, make some assessments and judgements and do what makes sense to provide protection not only for us but all who could be on the receiving end of terriorism. i think we alread have an enormous amount of evidence and the administration i think will consult with our allies including the british,french,germans,italians, canadians,etc and make an intelligent decision with some consensus among them. Killing or taking Ben Laden could be just one of the things but our people in government are not idiots and know their is another Ben Laden to take his place. The big questions, I think, will be if they come to the conclusion that Iraq and Saddam are behind this and are indeed supporting terriorism as a state. If this is true then they have commited an act of war and we by law are entitled to respond as an nation under attack. We know the Talaban is protecting Ben Laden. If Ben Laden is a prime mover in this atttack then we have a real problem with the Talaban the ruling party of Afganastan. What measures might be used against them i have no idea. But be sure, the American people want some action on this including me. 93% of Americans would support a war against a nation proven to be behind this attack. We have some good people and some very smart people in our government who deserve more credit than pointing fingers at them. I would think we would have a measured well thought out response and make no mistake, their will be a response. Justice cries out for it. Turning the other cheek does not work with fanatics.

Re: For Steve

john h on 9/14/01 at 19:31 (060382)

I will follow your question with this one steve: Who among us would have the courage to go to one of the tens of thousands of the family members who have lost a loved one in this attack and ask them to understand and to view this from the terriorist point of view or the arab or the palestinen point of view or anons point of view. Anon walk up to one of these people and ask your questions.

In the late 60's i like everyone else in the country argued daily over the Vietnam war. When i arrived in Vietnam in August 1968 and saw the first tracer coming my way i completely and totally forgot about politics and who was right and who was wrong. My #1 priority for the next year was to do my job and try to live. i could care less about politics,whos right and whos wrong, democrats or republicans, liberals or conservatives. Someone shooting at you gives you a whole new perspective. I would think those people who have lost family understand that perspective. By the way there were Arabs and Palastenien, and Jews and people of every other faith and nationality in that building. Sitting in the collesum and watching is not at all like being down there in the arena with the lions. You get down their my friends and you do care much about the lions background or motives.
All you really know is he wants to eat you.

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 19:38 (060383)

Steve, please don't insult me. I work in a school an hour away from NY. I have students whose families work there, some in the WTC. One of my coworkers lost a friend from college. I know as close to first-hand as I want to know that what happened on Tuesday was a horrific and insane thing. I have no debated that point--if you look at my posts on the good/evil thread, you will see that I am speaking generally, not about this one specific event. But as it pertains to the WTC, I will say again that it is only pure evil if we allow those thousands of people to have died in vain--if we act impulsively and irrationally in our response without consideration of the repercussions, if we refuse to act pro-actively to prevent future attacks, if we keep our attitude of invincibility and superiority over the rest of the world. THEN, I will say that this attack was pure evil.

Re: For Steve

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 19:41 (060385)

I can only speak for myself, but I am not attempting to say that we are making a big fuss over nothing. Clearly, we are not. But if we do not attempt to understand the motivations of the people who did this, we will never be able to stop them in the future. I don't remember who it was who said 'Know thine enemy,' but that is really all I am saying here. If we don't learn from events like these, we are doomed to repeat them.

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 19:44 (060387)

I haven't said we should turn the other cheek--in fact, I have said the opposite several times. I do not know what the right answer is, either--if killing bin Laden is the right answer, then so be it. My only concern is that we take the most rational and prudent approach to keep from making the whole thing worse instead of better.

Re: creating a martyr

john h on 9/14/01 at 20:03 (060390)

taking a rational and prudent approach is what we have elected leader for. i must presume they will do just that and in concert with our allies. what more can you ask.

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 20:06 (060392)

That's all I'm asking for. I'm just aware that this kind of tragedy brings up such intense emotions that it can be hard for anyone to look at the situation rationally. I remain hopeful that not only will those in charge be able to maintain that stance, but that our fellow citizens will do the same.

Re: creating a martyr

BG CPed on 9/14/01 at 22:07 (060405)

My .02 is that saying it is only pure evil depending on what we do afterwards. The act itself was evil or sowardice or whatever but if evil is the term than that is a prime example. What happens as far as the US dealing with it does not change the level of evilness of the act.

It is however important to the memory of the dead to stamp out as much of this as possible. Unfortunatly when dealing with the level of hatred the animals have for the US you must 'stoop' to their level and exceed it in force. They are not trying to convert the US. They only understand force. Should we sit at the table and talk treaty? All opressive organizations need a big fat target to hate and blame. As long as the US exists we will be that target.

Yes there will be baby bin ladens in the wings. Killing him will eliminate his funding and his Leadership. Anytime you eliminate a Leader whether it be Hitler, Manson or whoever it DOES weaken a group. Take it to the next level go deeper and eliminate the 2nd and 3rd stringers.

They view US as fat lazy immoral powerful, a prime target to hate. So do we get them before they get us? Sounds bad and bloody but in our interest of self preservation yes we should.

The 2 most fundamental purpose of government is protecting rights and military defense. Our government needs to do all it can to reduce the chance of this happening again. If it requires major military action then so be it.

They underestimated the US and how much worldwide support we would gain. At this time bin laden probably feels like the drunken loud guy at the party nobody wants to be around, Of course he has supporters but in the world community 80% will join us and another 15% realize they need to choose us over bin laden for their own best interest. You know its bad when Arafat gets pics of him donating blood to the US.

Re: creating a martyr

Nancy N on 9/14/01 at 23:04 (060413)

I don't understand why people keep thinking that I am saying we should just sit down and chat with this guy. That is not what I said. If it is determined that the best response is to go in and blow him away, so be it. If not, an alternative might be to capture him and keep him in prison, where he may be made into an example of what could happen to others, rather than a martyr. I in no way advocate sitting on our hands--that's what we've been doing for 12 years because we didn't want to believe that we could be a target. We MUST respond--the question for me is what option does the job with the least bloodshed in the end.

Re: The response

Julie on 9/15/01 at 02:06 (060421)

Nancy

You have been saying all along what I have been trying, less successfully, to say: that it is vital try to understand how others feel.

The sight of the entire continent of Europe standing in silence yesterday, deeply and rightly one with America, is one part of the picture.

The sight of celebrating people in other parts of the world is another.

To understand is not to justify or condone. It is to see the world more clearly in order that the situation is not made infinitely worse. Of course we must respond. That is not in question. What is, is How?

I have been shocked and deeply depressed by some of the responses to your posts and mine. I respect your courage, honesty, and willingness to continue this discussion more than I can possibly say. I cannot.

Re: More than one truth? More than one evil? NO WAY

Barbara TX on 9/15/01 at 11:04 (060448)

Adding to this problem is the confusing accusations against Americans: 'we should butt out of the business of other nations' and 'we should become more involved in the plights of other nations.' We are screwed either way it seems. B.