A War on Terrorism
Author Steve Chapman contributes the key story to start this book. Writer Richard R. Tryon tries to make its next logical step in a progression aimed at unravelling the true causes with hopes of finding useful steps aimed at creating long-term peace.
Reproduced by Traverse City Record Eagle on Sunday September 16,2001 under headline of
“Our American way of life draws hostility of terrorists”
by Steve Chapman
Original follows with different headline.
RELEASE: THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 13, 2001
WHY THEY HATE US
Americans aren't yet sure who carried out the atrocities that shocked the nation and the world this week. What we do know is that there is no shortage of people with a motive. Plenty of our fellow human beings around the world despise us, our system of government, our economic order, and our way of life -- and some of them have so much hatred that they are ready to kill and to die.
The reasons for the animosity are not so complicated. Some of the hostility stems from geopolitical differences. But much of it comes from a divide in our basic assumptions.
America's founding document, the Declaration of Independence, is not just a historical relic concerned with grievances against George III. It's a radical manifesto whose relevance has not diminished in 225 years. What makes it so important, then and now, is its exaltation of the "unalienable rights" of every person -- including "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."
That reverence for the freedom of each individual is what distinguishes our revolution from other revolutions, and what distinguishes us from much of the rest of the world. It was a novel thing in 1776 to treat people as ends in themselves, not as the instrument of some higher purpose. In many places, it still is.
As a rule, Americans don't subordinate individuals to grand and noble causes -- we let them decide whether to subordinate themselves. We don't force them to submit to the interests of the workers, or the will of God, or the purity of the race, or the advancement of virtue. We do something that our enemies find incomprehensible: We let even the humblest men and women live their lives as they see fit, not as others command. Our deference to the pursuit of happiness exasperates critics who see it as frivolous and shallow. They think life is meaningless and even wicked unless it is devoted to some cause greater than yourself. We dare to think that there may not be a cause greater than yourself.
What drives many people crazy is that Americans don't just assert the right to seek happiness -- we take it for granted. We assume this is how life is meant to be. We may see ourselves as cheerful, confident and optimistic, but others regard us as selfish and spoiled.
Even some commentators in this country share this dim view. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, a columnist in The Washington Post almost gloated that his fellow Americans have lost the "safe and coddled life" they have enjoyed. Others noted with seeming satisfaction that we will come to understand the ordeals of Israelis. "Do you get it now?" demanded a New York Times columnist.
It is true that American history, particularly in recent decades, has been comparatively devoid of tragedy. You might think that's a good thing. But in some minds, there is nothing so healthy as suffering or so ennobling as sacrifice. So we must be sadly lacking.
Largely untouched by war, immune to political upheaval and blessed by fortune, Americans are guilty of untroubled affluence. Our detractors see us losing ourselves in the quest for material gain, personal fulfillment and mere pleasure, and they are deeply offended.
The 18th-century English writer Samuel Johnson believed "there are few ways in which a man can be more innocently employed than in getting money." More common, particularly outside the Western world, is the biblical notion that the love of money is the root of all evil -- an adage that makes America's centers of commerce, such as the World Trade Center, look like a pit of iniquity.
It isn't the love of money, though, that has spawned the great crimes of humanity's past and present: religious war, ethnic hatred, violent fanaticism, mass slaughter of innocents. The worship of power poses a much greater threat to civilized values than grubby acquisitiveness ever did.
But our achievements, being geared to the needs and wishes of ordinary people, often seem obnoxiously mundane. Europe's blood-soaked kings and popes gave us palaces and cathedrals that inspire awe across the centuries. Pharaohs built majestic pyramids with the sweat of slaves. And what does our economic system erect? Disney World, McDonald's and Hollywood. Those institutions exist for only one reason: the free choices of large numbers of people.
Freedom and openness are the most conspicuous and admirable features of our society, but they infuriate those intent on exerting control over their fellow man. To them, nothing can be more dangerous than letting people think for themselves.
It was bad enough when democratic freedom prevailed on our shores. But today, it is the aspiration of billions of people around the world. Tyrants and terrorists see our way of life as a mortal threat to everything they hold dear. To our credit, it is.
How can we come to understand why we need a war on terrorism?
by Richard R. Tryon
Writer Steve Chapman in the above article put his finger on the primary evidence to explain how terrorists can believe that they are the innocents and we of the Western World are the sinners! His words below contain the answer:
“As a rule, Americans don't subordinate individuals to grand and noble causes -- we let them decide whether to subordinate themselves. We don't force them to submit to the interests of the workers, or the will of God, or the purity of the race, or the advancement of virtue. We do something that our enemies find incomprehensible: We let even the humblest men and women live their lives as they see fit, not as others command. Our deference to the pursuit of happiness exasperates critics who see it as frivolous and shallow. They think life is meaningless and even wicked unless it is devoted to some cause greater than yourself. We dare to think that there may not be a cause greater than yourself.
What drives many people crazy is that Americans don't just assert the right to seek happiness -- we take it for granted. We assume this is how life is meant to be. We may see ourselves as cheerful, confident and optimistic, but others regard us as selfish and spoiled.”
Richard R. Tryon
We may never get to meet or discourse with Osama bin Laden and indeed most of the Western world will be happy just to see his ‘head on a platter’ like that of John the Baptist for his crimes against humanity! Chapman points out above why bin Laden and many around him believe that we are the evil ones. Their orientation has three flaws that force these awful consequences:
1. They perceive themselves as minor cogs in the wheel of life driven by their sense of God. They believe in a demanding, fearful, awesome ruler of the Universe that requires that the law abiding members of a tiny fraction of the Muslims of the world must go forth and destroy all of the Infidels!
2. Their understanding of western thinking is based upon what they perceive as a badly flawed idea of a God that is permissive, loving, caring, and ready to forgive, as indeed the New Testament of Christianity proclaims.
3. They perceive the Old Testament of the Hebrew tradition known mostly as Judaism as one that competes with that of the younger Muslim faith, with an ethnic difference of small proportion, that is nonetheless built into an enormous gulf because of the strength and tenacity of the modern day Israelis.
With these three ‘facts as perceived in their minds’, the followers of bin Laden see him as a benevolent leader, spending his capital to help the cause and to lead the world to a Holy War or Jihad aimed at destroying the biggest Infidels first- the Americans- and then all others that fail to adhere to the demands of an all powerful theocracy or rule of the chief priests, mullahs, Ayatollahs of the Holy capitals of Islam.
Because the free world understanding of the rights of individuals under the umbrella of a benevolent God makes such thinking totally unacceptable, as indeed it is, we can not accept the notions of religiously pious Muslims that wish to launch a modern day crusade, not far removed in its origins of those of ancients in the time of the Moorish sweep Westward and into the occupation of part of Spain; or in reverse of the great Christian Crusades that it spawned.
America has fought in many wars since its founding, taking great care to always want to be on the side of the ideas that support individual liberty and freedom. Besides the great tragedy of the Civil War, when we let an economic and political control difference expand into a war against the tragedy of slavery, and the strange, confused battles of Korea and Vietnam, we have always managed to look like the supporters of democracy and freedom of the individual.
Now we are girding for battle in a war that we claim was declared long ago by the enemy, but not yet by our Congress in response, and we are not yet confused as to why. Of course not, clearly the terrorists have attacked us! No more need be said to justify our response as was the case after Pearl Harbor in 1941. But we did not stop then to study the root causes and we fought with great courage, valor and loss of life to win an ‘unconditional surrender’ of the enemy.
We left those battlefields victorious, or so we thought. Thanks to General Douglas MacArthur, we had the good sense to help rebuild a different kind of Japan. With the Marshall Plan we helped rebuild Germany and all of Europe into what today is the EC and a bastion of freedom that has even been able to bring into place a pathway for eventual peace in the Balkans where it seems to have never existed. That is if you discount the appearance that was forced by Russian control in the ‘cold-war’ period.
We failed to insist upon a restructuring of Russia and the so-called Soviet Union after WWII, we ignored those that handed China over to Mao and later Cuba to Castro.
Can we now repair from these mistakes? Can we help make freedom of the individual happen in the rest of the world? How can we do it in the Middle East? Or for that matter all of Asia including China, India, Korea, Pakistan and Indonesia?
It may seem to some as a military problem in which we simply destroy things and places and people in retaliation until the would be terrorists are fearful of further attacks and then expect democracy to further the cause of individualism. Unfortunately that approach can only work insofar as limited objectives are concerned. Why? Because, the nature of the differences that cause terrorism is a function of the inability of people of good intent in both camps to understand that each side has convictions that are based upon this different understanding of the reason for life. As long as the West appears to be evil and does in fact destroy even innocents that do not want to support the terrorists and do not even believe in the kind of theocracy that the militants desire, then the East will reproduce two or more would be assassins or terrorists for every one we kill.
What then can we do to relieve the Western culture of the plague of terror?
1. We have no choice immediately but to root out the particular perpetrators and exact punishment upon them, trying to be careful to avoid taking out a thousand innocents for every real agent of terrorism and supporter of the quest for a Muslim lead Theocracy that wants to rule the world with the contention that it is God’s command that they do so.
2. We must recognize that all mankind, save for those that enjoy intellectual failure of such magnitude as to deny the existence of God, must unite to find answers that lead to a reasoned faith that is not based upon divisive ideas and incompatible notions about the nature of God. This is, of course, a very tall order.
We will have no choice about the first step, but we can pray for the kind of continued awareness as has been shown in five days following the tragic events of September 11, 2001. So far, it seems as though the President of the U.S. has a remarkably good understanding of the problem We may give credit to him and perhaps to his parents for this. Certainly his father is a world recognized expert on such matters with a life time of experience to make it so.
But, where are we going to get the means of bringing the followers of socialism, communism, and religious theocratic dictatorships into the fold of humanity that not only accepts the importance of the individual that lives on the Earth, but that understands that the God of all is NOT a dictator? Or even a ruler bent on forcing acceptance, allegiance, and performance as a group of six billion subjects under the hand of a power that will destroy any that do not conform to a set of dictates that are monitored by chosen ones that must mete out punishment in His name?
The great conundrum of our age is that we forced to study these questions through the eyes and brains of those that rely almost entirely upon ancient scripture to provide explanations that they expect or demand all to accept. Two kinds of Revelation can change this:
1. God or His Son can return to Earth, where Scripture attests that they have been before in order to set things straight! Alas, to do so would fix the problem in one way but undue the purpose of life on Earth. For it is our INDIVIDUAL task to grow our bodies and our souls to be prepared not for the coming to Earth again of any form of Deity that will judge both the ‘quick and the dead’; but do learn how to prepare ourselves and souls for the same hereafter sought by the Muslim fanatics, but without fighting each other on Earth.
This can not happen as long as six billion people are largely illiterate and unable to reason clearly and to understand what science has now given us- the tools to better understand the Universe and how God relates to us and to it. That can only happen via mortal and fallible human contributions to Revelation that do not destroy ‘free-will’.
Nobody has the answers for such revelation and there is no doubt good reason to think that God wants us to live in such ignorance so we can experience evil, pain, hate, war, and terrorism before we depart this Earth with a chance to commit our souls to accepting God, not as a demanding ruler, but as a brilliant and loving example that all souls will consciously be ready to emulate.
It remains to be seen if we can learn to offer any evidences of such an existence during the time of mortal life on Earth. That doesn’t mean that we can’t at least come to reason what such an achievement would mean.
If readers come to find bits and pieces of the puzzle that will eventually provide the mosaic needed to help others come to recognize that the search is an individual one and not ever going to yield to collective thought control administered by clerics with the support of an army of terrorists to prop up their definitions and group decisions, then the posting of this essay under the heading of “Answers to Terrorism” in the book offering section of www.gratisbooks.com may give you cause to contribute!
Its time for the Zealots of the middle to get active!
by Richard R. Tryon
Since Sept. 11, 2001 the whole world has been swept up by the call for A War against Terrorism....or has it? Within three weeks of the terrible images of the disaster created by the world’s worst evidence of what terrorism can do, we are gradually finding, even in and perhaps especially in America two kinds of zealots at work
At one end of the political-religious spectrum are those that created the horrible tragedy, with a clear purpose and plan in mind. They are convinced that six billion people on this Earth have it all wrong and it is their God ordered task to create a class war that is to be called a Holy Jihad! Its task is to murder six billion people! The reaction of the extremists at the other end are playing right into the plan of these folks. Some of these extreme fanatics live among us! They see no wrong in what they do.
But, others do! On the one extreme are the zealots of the right, or if you prefer at the action end of the battle, who want to see America launch a nuclear tipped response aimed at hapless Afghanistan, a land-locked nation of some 25 million impoverished people. The blood-thirsty call is for revenge and it doesn't seem to matter that most of the intended victims are already innocent victims of oppression under the rule of the terrorists! They simply want revenge! Included in this group are many, who seem to be normal in almost every way. Maybe they were themselves victims of terror from serving in the military in one of America’s earlier wars; or maybe they are just extremists that contend that their notion of God is such that retribution is all that matters and that we can’t wait to obtain it. We must strike out and show our mighty power to strike fear in the minds of someone else!
Strange as it may seem, another minority group of zealots lurks among us. They are not at either end of the two extremes, but they sit in the middle, or off to the side, and without any evil intention, play into the hands of the terrorists. They are the pacifists and those that are out of touch with the reality of the terrible new kind of war that has just been unleashed upon all of humanity. These people want to think that reason, law and justice will require that each ‘alleged terrorist’ be captured and subjected to a criminal trial proceeding that will determine guilt and punishment of some number of years in confinement. These zealots simply do not comprehend that those committed to terror are incapable of understanding any law except that promulgated by their religious leaders in the name of whatever faith they happen to profess. They may be extremists from the Muslim faith like the obvious culprits that brought us awake with such terrible acts; or they may be either side of the divisive battle lines that seem to be perpetuated in Ireland or Israel, with a lot of help from the U.S.; or wherever else in the world groups cloak their wars for power in some kind of religious garments.
Meanwhile, in the middle are the ‘silent majority’ that doesn’t like to get involved. There about six billion of us! We know now that we must get involved in the terrorists war against humanity. These terrorists of this age may see themselves as very, very religious folks and perceive their mission as one that is directed by those who tell the perpetrators that they are doing the work of God! The captured letter of the probable leader of the attacking forces in the field on Sept. 11, is perhaps a Godsend! For if it had made the flight with the terrorist pilot leader, it would be under the massive grave site of two huge building and over 5,000 human bodies. Since that time we have been able to study the eleven volume terrorist handbook.
We, of the ‘silent majority’ must do our part. First, we must convince the would be bombing extremists that to look for revenge without concern for the results, is to make a tragic mistake. But, that does not reduce our conviction that we too know that terrorism must be eliminated. We must give assurances that we too are going to work to see that terrorists are denied the support that they need to operate; we too, are going to struggle to eliminate the them. But we are not going to do it as a ‘Holy War’ or ‘Jihad’ that pits any religion against another. Only the terrorists want a Holy War because it is their way of claiming a legitimate position and they have to believe that some other religious group is the enemy of God. It is our task to show that our war is between all of humanity- our species- against those that would destroy us all who fail to meet their understanding of who can be allowed to survive, either by luck or by their all powerful choice.
We will also show the liberal or pacifist extreme that wants to treat the terrorists as garden variety criminals, that need to be carefully apprehended, and brought to justice via a legal system, that they will not get much chance to stop us from using whatever methods are needed to be sure that the terrorists are stopped. If many of them die in the process, we will not lose sleep over that! Those that live by the sword, often have to die by it! When in a fire-fight, we do not expect our soldiers to stop and read the ‘Miranda’ rights to those ready to kill all of us. Those that seem to surrender may get a chance to do so, but they should not count on it when the would be captors are so keenly aware of the level of duplicity for which all terrorists are capable.
Where does all of this stop? When it appears that all nations enjoy an ability to rein in the terrorists that always have to start their Holy Jihads against their own people, then we can begin to feel safe again. It may take many years to root out the terrorists in our own back yards! Yes, we have many who are just as fanatical as any in Afghanistan that live in America and elsewhere. Look at those in the U.S. that send millions each year to help foment terrorism in Ireland, Israel, and elsewhere. Do not think that the Taliban and its guru named bin Laden are the whole problem. They are only the ‘tip of the iceberg’. True, they have found the way to obtain the plan, the resources and the people to do the work of terrorism. When the Taliban is out of power and bin Laden is stripped of his power and perhaps his life, we will have made one large and positive step, but only, if we have not moved in a way that causes ten new terrorists to be ready to die for a cause for each one we take out of action!
What is needed to achieve this goal? It is going to take a lot more than money, arms, time, determination and luck. We are going to have to help all of us find a new perspective on the role of religion and God in our Earthly lives. Frankly, no religion today can offer evidence that compels all of mankind to want to believe in any one group’s definition of God! The terrorists, however, are very helpful in convincing all of us that God is needed! What we must find, however, is a way to show all of mankind that the God of mankind is not restricted to any one nation, race or historic religious persuasion. We must show that we are all brothers and sisters of a God of the Universe.
We will have to witness new Revelations that give scientific and theological reason for a universal faith that can tolerate many different forms of worship, all of which are compatible with a civilization that features cultural differences from different historic experiences; while still being able to tolerate and accept all of the others. The only form of religion that must not be allowed, is the one that utilizes terror, murder and torture to provide the avenue of fear that leads to the highest type of crimes against humanity.
Yes, if the usually silent majority speaks out and clearly shows the terrorist that such behavior can not be allowed, within a world that is otherwise tolerant of our ethnic, cultural, and even racial diversities, then we can live in peace and harmony. We can do this while we struggle together to learn more about the role of the human species in the universe. A role that is Divinely understood by God and perhaps a history of beings found elsewhere in the Universe that predate our own solar system’s formation, much less the arrival of some level of human intelligence a few million years later on one little planet of one medium sized star.
I would encourage all readers to join with me on the pages of (gratisbooks.com) to publish words that involve our collective wisdom on this subject in ways that eventually can be shared with all others. It can be one of many focal points for the role of the ‘Zealous Majority’ to use to let the would be future terrorists know that our notions of civil rights do not tolerate wholesale murder of the innocents of our ‘Zealous Majority’.