Sunday, September 16, 2001
Pause and reflect before taking actionWhat was thought to be unthinkable, unimaginable and unbelievable happened Tuesday. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy. Now comes the challenge of making sense out of these senseless acts.
But before demanding justice, let us seek understanding. Before pointing fingers, let us join hands. To do any less would be to tarnish the ideals of our nation and to diminish the sacrifice of the victims.
Rep. Roy Takumi
We must keep cool in response to attackThe list of five suggested reactions to the World Trade Center attack outlined by William Sink (Letters, Sept. 12) is as barbarous as the very actions of the terrorists he condemns. In a contest of evil-begets-evil there are no winners, only losers.
I am confident our leaders will rise above such barbarism in their deliberation for retaliatory action. The eyes of the entire world are now obviously focused on the expected American military response to this attack on America. We will be judged accordingly, by the scope of our actions to our victimization, as well as an exemplified leader of the free world.
Cool heads must prevail to deal with the present and with an eye on the future.
Take action, but don't give in to hateWilliam Sink's letter on Sept. 12th advocates retaliating against people who did not plan, participate in, or condone these despicable terrorist attacks. In fact, the victims of these attacks almost certainly include illegal aliens, members of the ACLU and Muslims. Rather than engaging in a McCarthyist witchhunt of innocent scapegoats, rather than adding the Bill of Rights to the list of victims, we need to hunt down the perpetrators who planned this and wipe them out before they strike again.
Inane media questions followed terrorismIn general, the news media have been doing an excellent job covering the recent terrorist attack on our nation. But, oh how I wish some of these ladies and gentlemen of the TV corps would restrain themselves from asking absolutely stupid questions when interviewing people.
There are many examples, but a couple should suffice to prove the point: When a pilot being interviewed stated that no American pilot would obey an order to deliberately crash his plane into a building, even with a gun pointed at his head, the newswoman replied, "But if he didn't obey, he would be shot, wouldn't he?"
And lest I be accused of prejudice toward the fair sex, how about this from one of Honolulu's own male TV reporters. When interviewing a blood donor who had answered the call, he asked, "Mr. ___, why are you giving blood today?"
Please, folks, if you can't ask an intelligent question, can't you just shut up?
Nation will persevere by pulling togetherThe fact that the Cartoon Network is playing cartoons instead of demoralizing pictures of New York must really infuriate those terrorists. In the face of death we still play happy programs for our kids. We got stronger as a nation, they failed. They just don't understand us, so let's drive them nuts trying to figure us out.
We're a strong nation and we won't forget this, but we'll get over it and in the end we'll be stronger than ever. And those who terrorized us will die in frustration at our will to survive. We didn't become the most powerful country in the world by sitting on our asses. We did it by serving over a billion hamburgers, and having it our way, our choice, our determination to succeed.
We tell the rest of the world that our resolve to succeed will not be tarnished by those who choose to destroy us, now pass the relish, life goes on.
Pray for our brothers and sisters, let them know we will make this a better nation for them. Let's not make their deaths be in vain.
Our nation has been unravelling over the decades, now it's time to pull together and remind the whole world that we still are the most powerful nation in the world and let there be no mistake about it. Our power comes from our people -- We, the People of the United States of America.
U.S. shouldn't become international bullyThe remark that we have another Pearl Harbor is ominous. Let's hope the current paradigm is more that of the Titanic -- a wake-up call that one cannot behave with a total denial of reality. If we act as an international bully, we get what we got Tuesday: a visit by the Bureau of Airborne Urban Planning.
The founding fathers of this country never intended America to wield military power around the world. See where the Roman empire got with it, or where we got in Vietnam.
It's time for a new paradigm of international cooperation instead of domination. If the leaders in Washington realize this fact, we'll have a giant opportunity on our hands.
For the moment, I wouldn't bank on it. Especially not around the World Trade Center.
Returned ticket money could be donatedBecause of the cowardly acts perpetrated in New York and Washington, D.C, many sporting events have been canceled and refunds have been offered for some events.
I suggest we all take our refunds and donate them to such charities as the Red Cross. We can all help in little ways and every little bit helps.
Are Americans wimps and whiners?The tragedy of this week cannot be condemned strongly enough. But sadly, we appear to be giving in to the terrorists by letting them control our lives. Yes, airport security needs to be tightened, our borders secured and immigration strictly controlled. But canceling baseball games, football games, the Tonight Show, all flights, etc., is giving the terrorists what they want. These actions make Americans look like wimps and whiners.
We must continue with our lives as before. The words of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address continue to stir the soul, and apply equally well to this terrorist attack:
"It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us; that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion; that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation under God shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth."The sacrifice of so many fellow Americans should be commemorated by continuing with our American way of life. The great task before us is to maintain our liberties and our way of life. Don't let the terrorists take that away from from us.
"This conflict was begun on the time and terms of others. It will end in a way and at an hour of our choosing."
President George W. Bush
Speaking at the National Cathedral Friday during a service for the victims of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
"These people that perpetuated this act, they have no heart. Because obviously they planned for it, and not for a single second came to them the teaching of all religions: Be kind to thy neighbor."
President of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, at a prayer service Friday at the Islamic Center in Manoa.
We must reaffirm our national principlesWatching the news all day, knowing that the death toll almost certainly will be counted in the tens of thousands, is heartbreaking. And of course retribution will be sought and accomplished. I understand that the punishment of those responsible is inevitable and indeed justified, considering the non-military target.
But then what? For one person to hijack a plane and crash it into a building might indeed be an act of insanity. But four planes? And all the support they received from their various organizations? Whether Osama bin Laden planned this doesn't really matter. He will be the one deemed responsible.
I pray that after all is said and done, our country rethink, and do so seriously and sincerely, the treatment so much of the world has been subjected to at our behest. People don't resort to such drastic and suicidal acts without suffering lifetimes of abuse and mistreatment. Very few people have been subjected to such shameful abuse as have the Palestinians.
The United States is not perfect, but our virtues, by far, are greater than our faults. It is time this nation live up to its beliefs. There is a statue in New York harbor that proclaims the sanctity of freedom, and life free from oppression.
Let's start putting these ideals into practice, not just for ourselves, but as the birthright of all people, of all nations.
We need armed guards on aircraftThe FAA is under a lot of pressure to respond to what happened Tuesday and appears to be taking steps to never let this sort of thing happen again. That's well and good. But all the tightened checkpoint inspections in the world are not the answer. Taking plastic steak knives out of paying passengers' hands? Really!
The answer is for the government to for once spend our tax dollars correctly, in the pursuit of defending and protecting its citizens, as clearly stipulated in the Constitution. The government should initiate an airlines (at least a domestic airlines) in-flight security service. Each passenger cabin should have at least two armed undercover guards trained specifically to deal with in-flight threats.
There should be two posted outside the pilot's cabin, and two more in first-class, and probably eight in coach (because it carries so many more passengers). If some terrorist should attempt to take a hostage, these trained guards would give the perpetrator a warning and choice to peaceably be taken into custody and let the hostage go, or be shot dead immediately. If the hostage is killed, too bad (yes, even if I were that hostage).
Better one innocent person should die than what happened this week. Any harming of another passenger would carry an automatic life sentence -- possibly the death penalty -- and absolutely no parole.
I don't believe in violence. But I do believe that faced with such stringent measures, with no appeal ever possible for the perpetrator, incidents like Tuesday's would simply cease.
Catherine Ann Robinson
We must follow rule of law, not revengeWhat I fear more than a possible new attack on America is the violence of revenge pursued by the United States, possibly against the wrong suspects or the one accused of harboring the suspects.
We value the rule of law. Let us follow due process in the trial of those suspected of planning this attack.
I hope and pray that Americans try to understand the forces that motivated those who planned and executed the attack. Many developing nations suffer from our domination of world markets and military support for despotic rulers who once opposed communism and now are willing to protect American business interests even at the expense of their citizens.
When Third World people go to work for low wages (that seem better than what they know) they cease to raise the crops that would feed their countrymen and families.
Kapaa , Hawaii
Terror and revenge are endless cycleThis is the face of modern warfare. Not the clash of warriors according to the Geneva Convention, or even guerrilla war. It is not ideological conflict with adversaries engaged in a war of ideas paralleled by threat, counter threat and occasional proxy skirmishes as during the Cold War. This is a war of emotions, born of rage and using weapons of terror. No battle lines, no strategic objectives, no victory, not even the possibility of surrender.
How does one respond to this kind of conflict? To be horrified is exactly the response the terrorist intends. Yet, we cannot but be horrified. To send off our warriors to seek recompense is almost pointless. The Faceless Other is more than prepared for death; indeed, volunteered for it in the suicide runs that so horrify us. To argue the ostensible issues that birthed the conflict that nurtured the rage, too, is pointless. The question of who was or is right is also long past.
And this is part of the horror of such warfare: It is so impersonal, and it is so intensely personal. The victims were not the adversary. The horrified survivors are not even the adversary. In one sense, terrorism is an attempt to emotionally blackmail all of us into becoming allies of the terrorists. Yet, there is nothing we could conceivable do that would mitigate the hurt and rage. There is no win here. Only the endless cycle of suffering that perpetuates itself and keeps the rage kindled. To proclaim it as evil to be destroyed but turns the crank for another cycle.
Even if it were politically possible -- which it isn't -- our leaders cannot even capitulate and do whatever the terrorist wants; for what is wanted is our horror and suffering.
All we can do in the present is protect ourselves as best we can, and survive.
In the longer view, the horror of terrorism is a reminder that the world has, indeed, become interconnected. We are no longer, if we ever really were, immune from the suffering and conflicts around our globe. A reminder that, so far, we still lack the wisdom and the means to resolve conflicts before they have produced the fermenting hatred and rage that results in terrorism. There are enough of them already that, for the moment at least, we cannot be sure which produced Tuesday morning's horror.
Rev. Mike Young
First Unitarian Church
Don't expect details on military strategyYour Sept. 12 editorial accusing the president of lacking resolve was on a par with Peter Jennings' comment Tuesday morning lamenting that the president had not returned to Washington, D.C. immediately following the attacks on the World Trade Center.
We now know, of course, that the Secret Service would not allow his return until our country's air space was clear of all commercial airline traffic. They obviously had learned or feared that he was also a target.
None of us knows the information the president has, or how he and his administration plan to retaliate. It is premature, immature and downright idiotic for you to insist upon such details within 24 hours of those horrific attacks.
Furthermore, if you wish to know how our intelligence apparatus failed to warn us, I suggest you research how our prior president's policies corrupted our national security.
I hope America's enemies believe in your interpretation of the president's resolve. Their false sense of security will make it easier to apprehend the evildoers.
Bush displayed calm in face of hysteriaYour editorial of Sept. 12 attacking President Bush for "failing to reflect the dismay and anger seen arising everywhere in the American public" should be an embarrassment to every intelligent reader. It displayed a political bias and pre-existing prejudice against our president uncalled for in this time of national tragedy.
We did not need a finger-shaking, angry president speaking to our nation. What we needed, and got, was a president, who, although shocked and saddened, demonstrated a calm and resolute demeanor in the face of rising national hysteria, and who expressed his determination to bring the perpetrators and those who supported and harbored them to justice.
Through each of his public presentations, the president left us feeling that he and the other leaders in our nation have things under control. We need that. What we don't need is a newspaper whose sniping editorial contributes to division in our nation rather than helping to bind us together as one people who are resolute both in our desire to overcome this terrible national tragedy and in our desire to support our leaders who must figure out how to bring the terrorists and accomplices to justice.
Your editorial was not worthy of your newspaper.
Bush's initial reaction was wantingYour editorial on President Bush's first day's performance on the recent attack on the World Trade Center and Pentagon was right on. Linda Lingle was way-off in her criticism of your good editorial.
Now the president's handlers have prepared for him the needed script to change him into a leader, taking advantage of these tragic events to get his re-election campaign rolling. He has done much better, as the polls have shown. This tragedy has united the country, along and many peoples of the world, which is good, but it also enhances Bush's image.
My major concern, in addition to the tremendous grief of the loved ones of the 5,000-plus who have died, is the danger of thousands more who could face needless death. The "revenge" note sounded by President Bush even at the religious service in Washington, following many wise words by key religious leaders of the various faiths, is troubling.
Yes, terrorism must be stopped, but the "hate America" theme that has driven some terrorists must also be addressed and reduced. Unfortunately, our president has done much to fuel this hatred, like the withdrawal from the South Africa human rights conference and from successful treaties. Our president and our country have done so little to address the suffering of the majority of the peoples of the world.
Retaliation is self-destructive. It would increase the "hate America" theme and invite more terrorism. Getting terrorists and their backers is needed and justified, but let's us not kill thousands of innocent people who have the misfortune of living in the countries that may house would-be terrorists.
D. Richard Neill
Retaliation against terror must be harshTerrorists attack and kill thousands of innocent men, women and children in cowardly attacks, supported apparently by an avowed hater of Americans.
Our president responds by going into hiding and making speeches about identifying and bringing those responsible to justice and our Congress passes a resolution against "acts of terror." Our State Department advises restraint in our response. Is this the best our government can do?
Osama bin Laden and his followers have declared war against the United States of America and our leaders respond by posturing in front of television cameras.
We must declare war on those responsible and on those governments that continue to harbor these terrorists. Unfortunately, the only way to stop the killing is to do the same to those responsible for these acts.
To those responsible, may the weeds that grow on your graves be watered daily by the urine of camels. May your souls and the souls of your ancestors burn forever in the ovens of hell. May your sons and daughters be as barren as the sands of the desert. You are lower than the belly of a snake.
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