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Message no. 1
From: shadowrn@*********.com (Iridios)
Subject: [OT] We'll go forward from this moment.
Date: Fri Sep 14 20:55:01 2001

I know that we've been asked to close OT threads, and by implication
not start any new ones, but I just wanted to pass this on. It's an open
letter to those who orchestrated the attack on America.

Published Wednesday, September 12, 2001

We'll go forward from this moment.

It's my job to have something to say. They pay me to provide
words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul.
in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes,
the only thing I can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must
addressed to the unknown author of this suffering.

You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard. What
lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our World
Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn?
Whatever it was, please know that you failed.

Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your
cause. Did you want to make us fear? You just steeled our resolve.
you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together.

Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and
quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class
division, but a
family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending
tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae -- a singer's
dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too,
spoiled by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and
because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe
entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though -- peace-loving and
compassionate. We struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And
we are, the
overwhelming majority of us, people of faith, believers in a just
and loving God.

Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this
makes us weak. You're mistaken. We are not weak. Indeed, we are
strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals. IN PAIN Yes, we're
pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still
grappling with
the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make
ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some
blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel.
Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable
death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of
terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history
of the
world. You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before. But,
there's a gulf of difference between making us bloody and making us
This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time
anyone hit us this hard, the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and
monumental pain. When roused, we are righteous in our outrage, terrible
our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any
suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of
justice. I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my
people, as
you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to
tremble with dread of the future.

In the days to come, there will be recrimination and accusation,
fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and
what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be
security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go
forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined,
too. Unimaginably determined.


You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That
aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us
well. On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold. As Americans
will weep, as Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will
rise in defense of all that we cherish.

So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs
to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred.
that's the case, consider the message received.

And take this message in exchange: You don't know my
people. You don't know what we're capable of. You don't know what you

But you're about to learn.

Message no. 2
From: shadowrn@*********.com (shadowrn@*********.com)
Subject: [OT] We'll go forward from this moment.
Date: Sat Sep 15 13:05:01 2001
On 9/14/01, Iridios wrote:
> I know that we've been asked to close OT threads, and by implication
>not start any new ones, but I just wanted to pass this on. It's an open
>letter to those who orchestrated the attack on America.

I also apologize for continuing this thread, but I have run across a
different letter that I believe must be read in conjunction to letter
Iridios sent. I am posting this wherever I see the original message.

-----Begin Message Forward-----
Dear Friends,
The following was sent to me by my friend Tamim Ansary. Tamim is an
Afghani-American writer. He is also one of the most brilliant people
I know in this life. When he writes, I read. When he talks, I
listen. Here is his take on Afghanistan and the whole mess we are in.
-Gary T.

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 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 Ben 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 "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

-----End Message Forward-----
PGP KeyID#: 0xFB966670

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