Vol. 14, No. 11, September 17, 2001


This is from a Russian school principal and member of the Duma, who stayed with the Wallace Mahoneys a couple of years ago:

    Is shaken by the occurred terrible tragedy in USA.

    The terrorist certificate(act) ??????? of life of thousand peace citizens once again Has confirmed, as are dependent all of us, living on different continents and in The different countries, before world(global) evil.

    I remember as the Americans experienced, as sounded in the sermons. The American churches of a word of a pain for the Russian brothers and sisters, When in September were blown up by the terrorists of apartment houses in Moscow - I was at this time in USA!

    Thank to you for support of our tragedy those days.

    Today all of us mourn lost people, which have received a mutilation, in yours to the country! We support taking place in fear and despair, we hope that In common we shall overcome this trouble.

    I, as well as all Russian people condemn the barbarians made this wild crime. I hope, that after yesterday's tragedy, universal horror our world became another!

    Than faster we shall learn to be united in struggle for kindness, than faster we understand our interdependence and our defenselessness - if not we shall learn to understand necessity of joint work in a name of the human world, that it is more than chances that XXI the century does not become century of tragedies of the peoples.

    Signed: The deputy of the Pskov regional Assembly of the deputies,
    The deserved teacher of Russia.

An email from Jeff Maxwell:

    With significant trepidation that I might be passing on a hoax, I pass along this message sent to me by a friend. The purported author is an Afghani-American writer with a perspective I have not heard expressed as eloquently. Whether it is genuine or not, it highlights the complexities of the choices our leaders and our Nation have to make.

      Dear Gary and whoever else is on this email thread:

      I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at  war, we have to accept collateral damage. What else can we do?"  Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done." And I thought about the issues being raised especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here [San Francisco] for 35 years I've never lost track of what's going on there. So I want to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

      I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I agree that something must be done about those monsters. But the Taliban and Bin Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a plan. When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think of "the Jews in the concentration camps."

      It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators. They would exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country. Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan-a country with no economy, no food. There are millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

      We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that. New bombs would only stir the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban-by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time.

      So what else is there? What can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that folks. Because to get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first. Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West. And guess what: that's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants. That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. He really believes Islam would beat the west. It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the west wreaks a holocaust in those lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

      Tamim Ansary