Terrorist Attacks of 9/11/01
David Sweet, Santa Cruz Sentinel (9/16/01) [written 9/12/01]
A vicious crime against humanity was once again wrought yesterday -- the first of its magnitude on American soil. Our fear and rage are both inevitable and understandable; and it is indeed vitally important that those who prepared and executed the crime be brought to justice as soon as possible in an international court of law.
But it is incumbent on every peace-loving American citizen to stand up against the strident calls for massive retaliation, even when they come from elected officials and even after the perpetrators have been identified beyond question. Ideologically inspired terrorism cannot be suppressed by conventional military means, and in particular not by raining fire on the civilian populations of countries whose governments are thought to harbor or sponsor terrorists.
The cause of terrorist acts such as these is not a collective madness, religious fanaticism or "cowardice", but cold rational reflection by small numbers of exceptionally aggrieved and alienated people who are driven to desperation by perceived chronic injustices to which they can see no peaceable solution.
To really put an end to such acts, in addition to finding, arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating such people, we have got to tighten our belts and open our minds and hearts.
We need to pay a whole lot more attention to the terrible things that are happening day by day to people around the world than we have been in the habit of doing up to now; and we must join more wholeheartedly in the world-wide effort to eliminate human suffering and inequity, and broaden the realm of justice.
That is the work of spiritually centered thinkers, social activists and statesmen. It is not the work of soldiers.