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This article makes very good points. You should read it before you read the next sentence. It helps to make sense of some things. It identifies the root problem as the relation between the US and Islamic countries, not as terrorism. I don't disagree with it, because most if it is sort of obvious. Although, when you read it, especially if you've been watching 10 hours of TV a day, for a second, you're like the problem's not terrorism? Not the crime against civilization? Dude, what the fuck?

Very little television time is spent on the motivations of The Folks Responsible for what happened Tuesday. They are really motivated. Really fucking motivated. There's no need to cite examples of this motivation. But hey! Why are they so motivated

We've been attacked for a long history of attacks, actions, and even cultural colonization. We've been bombing Iraq back a few steps down the evolutionary ladder, sending cruise missiles after Osama bin Laden . . . Arabs wear Yankees' hats instead of turbans. 

If we retaliate, we perpetuate a cycle: let's call this cycle war. We've been at war for awhile; we've been regularly bombing Iraq for a dozen years: it makes a sidebar on page 17 of the international section, sometimes. So, when we are attacked, it comes during "peacetime" - and so it's a shocker - it's called an "act of war," because that's what it is.

If we don't retaliate, it will seem as though we're conceding defeat. Wisdom will seem like weakness. (Forgive me for sounding like Jesse Jackson.)

My initial reaction (while I was on the bridge watching the second tower go down) was in favor of "weakness" -- pulling all Jews out of the West Bank. Giving it all over to Palestine. Completely cutting off the export of Hollywood films, baseball hats, Wrangler Jeans, and consumer electronics to the Middle East. Cleaning up the rubble - then saying "nevermind" in Gilda Ratner's voice.

But how far would we have to go to appease? Is appeasement even possible? And how long would it last?

But concessions won't get at the root problem either.

If The Folks Responsible were to ask for certain concessions, or present a willingness to open-up discussions, not on terrorism, but on US-Islamic relations, would we even talk? Could you imagine the New York Post headlines?

If we don't perpetuate violence, then we surrender - which means "we lose."

The perpetrators could have decided to stop the violence awhile back. Instead they escalated and hit the country harder than we've been hit since 1812, when the White House burned: but that was during "explicit" wartime.

Tuesday was a workday. If they did it on the weekend, or two hours earlier, or at night . . . Instead they timed it for the maximum number of casualties, probably also waiting for September to get rolling to ensure most had returned from vacation. Probably doing it on a Tuesday to make sure any long-weekenders were back in the office. They wanted to kill civilians and they wanted to destroy symbols: WTC and the Pentagon. And once you "clast an icon" the icon gains power and becomes stronger.

In WWII, after Pearl Harbor, we entered the war, and there was a volley of military retaliations on both sides: we upped the ante with some of the 20th C.'s "greatest" atrocities in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which ended it, killing 150,000 civilians -- three days after Pearl Harbor, no one anticipated Hiroshima.

In the minds of The Folks Responsible, they might have been thinking "this will end it, they'll concede," or they might be trying to draw us into a battle that will unite the Arab/Islamic countries against the U.S. and the rest of the world, exacerbating relations until we destroy each other?

Should we make concessions if there's a guaranteed peace? Probably. But is there any rational chance we'll give any ground, with Bush in office? Maybe if Nader won, but he only got 4% of the vote.

The majority wants Revenge. The Gore voters want Retaliation. The Bush voters want Escalation. Let there be perpetuation until it's over, even if it's never over.

U.S.-Islamic relations are at an all-time low, worse than during the Gulf War. There's no way the government's going to try to talk or play nice, especially not when "we're bigger than they are" and our Secretary of State can paraphrase Mohammed Ali, that beloved American-Moslem: "They can run but they can't hide."

We can't end it with a retaliation, but maybe we can improve US-Islamic relations by having all countries, INCLUDING ISLAMIC NATIONS, join together to find and totally fuck up The Folks Responsible.

Maybe we can cure the root problem by globally joining together to fight the symptom.

(I apologize for sounding like a politician just then, or anywhere above or below: writing about the Middle East and War and Terrorists lends itself a certain tone: plus i've watched a lot of TV.)

I'm a pretty peaceful guy. But I'd like to put blades on my knuckles - then drive my fist though the chest of The Folks Responsible. (Bush never says that kind of stuff: his popularity rating would soar if he did.)

It's the worst type of peace plan: retaliation is inevitable. This thing's just beginning. And having some well-considered thoughts or a few facts in your head thanks to a "socialist" website article ain't gonna slow the momentum.

Please escalate and perpetuate this discussion. Send us thoughts and we'll try to post them.


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