Dueling Twins


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The 'Dueling Twins'

An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.

Mahatma Gandhi


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Now Seek Justice, Not Vengeance

James Hall - From the Left

I've been unable to take my eyes off the smoking carnage that was once the World Trade Center, except to look at the similar sight of death and destruction at the Pentagon. I keep hoping that as the debris is cleared away, a basement door will open and the survivors, bruised and dust-covered but otherwise healthy will come staggering out to the arms of their families and loved ones. But that's wishful thinking, not reality--those who carefully planned and orchestrated this attack have gotten their pound of flesh, their full measure of death.

Each time I see the replay of a hijacked airliner--itself full of harmless and innocent passengers--plowing into a tower full of office workers and curious tourists, I am angry enough to echo the call of the many Americans who want to bomb the perpetrators back to the Stone Age. But the fruits of indiscriminate vengeance are displayed for all to see--the endless tit-for-tat violence that has occupied Northern Ireland for centuries, the ethnic vendettas that characterize life in the Balkans, and the exchange of blood instead of words that marks the current Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It would be viscerally satisfying to see the terrorist camps and havens bombed flat--but not at the cost of ending innocent lives on the ground.

There's another way, a path that passes between bloody vengeance and the well-motivated but unrealistic individuals urging us to make peace with those who don't want to make peace. It's the path of justice, not vengeance, and the affirmation of the rule of law that characterizes the best elements of our emerging world civilization. It's a hard path to follow because the need to act justly restrains the powerful from doing whatever they will. It gives the terrorists an opportunity to defend themselves in court and even the chance to escape punishment if the evidence of their crime is lacking. But it's the only way to ensure that terrorism is put down once and for all without destroying the values we hold dear along with it, and without perpetuating the cycle of vengeance.

Choosing vengeance instead of justice will result in violence against innocent Muslims, something that Osama bin Laden actually wants according to those who know him. Harming innocent Muslims will divide Muslims from the rest of the world and legitimize the terrorist's actions in their eyes. Harming innocent Muslims will create new sympathy for them instead of the victims of terrorism and swing world opinion away from supporting our efforts. Acting justly keeps the world's focus on the crime and on the criminals. It makes Osama bin Laden a criminal, not a martyr or hero.

So far we've taken the right steps on the path to justice--declaring this attack to be a crime, enlisting the FBI and other crime-fighting organizations in efforts to seek out leads, gathering evidence and questioning suspects and material witnesses. An organization big enough to enlist at least 18 suicide hijackers and train some of them as pilots here in the United States must have left substantial amounts of evidence behind, some of which has already been gathered.

We've also been in contact with governments around the world, including most Islamic states, who now recognize the dangers of this kind of terrorism to the world. If the World Trade Center and Pentagon can be attacked by hijacked airliners, so can the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal, Parliament, or the Kremlin. This tragedy presents us with the unique opportunity to forge international ties that will deny the terrorists the support and access to the rest of the world that they need to survive and succeed.

The way of justice is slow. It will take a while to gather evidence, to enlist the support of the world against terrorism, to bring the terrorists to justice. Vengeance can always be swift--we could have a measure of satisfaction tomorrow with the news of heavy bombing and attacks of Osama bin Laden's camps in Afghanistan. But that temporary satisfaction would quickly fade as the terrorists fade into the background and the protection of friends, only to emerge again at a time and place of their choosing.

Equally dangerous is the response at home to the emerging evidence that the hijackers were from nations in the Middle East--from Egypt and Saudi Arabia and perhaps other Arab nations. In response, threats have been made against members of the Arab-American community and windows broken in American mosques. We must not fall into the same sort of cultural phobia that inflicted America when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. Most Arab-Americans, Arab immigrants and Arab visitors no more share the feelings of these Arab terrorists than most Americans share the feelings of Timothy McVey or Terry Nichols.

Based on the blood shed at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the world has now granted us the high moral ground. It's up to us to keep this moral ground by acting justly, lawfully, and in consultation with the rest of the world. By seeking justice and not harming the innocent, and leaving vengeance to God, we can build a better world, a fitting monument to our brothers and sisters whose lives were taken on September 11, 2001.

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Certainly if Sartre can use Jesse Jackson's favorite phrase, "Keep Hope Alive," to title his missive, I can gracefully accept his pronouncement that I am, for once, Right! (I looked outside and there was no Blue Moon, either.) It seems to me, however, that this "War on Terrorism" we've embarked on is neither a liberal nor conservative issue. Rather, it is a question of how we ought to deal with the threat of violence against our society and civilization.

If we get dragged into a full-fledged war every time a group of terrorists launches an attack, we'll spend our lives and capital fighting in far-flung lands. Afghanistan in particular is a guerilla-fighter's paradise--a landlocked, mountainous region surrounded by Islamic nations like Iran and Pakistan who are hardly friends. The Afghans have lived with war for two decades and are not strangers to its threats.

The way to defeat terrorism is to call it what it really is--a crime, not a war--and treat terrorists as criminals. With the good will of the world, we have a golden opportunity to seek out and dismantle bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organization, which is thought to have spread out to at least 34 nations in Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. We can join with the rest of the world to track these terrorists as criminals and arrest them when we discover them.

Finally, we can improve our homeland security by being more vigilant as citizens, and by designing our security features to minimize terror activities--and without changing our constitution. Put air marshals in planes and give pilots secure doors. Increase security at large events like football games and parades. Make public spaces more resistant to bombs and decentralize important national requirements like finance and military defense. Spend more time and money on counter-terrorism and tracking potential terrorists. These things won't guarantee safety, but vigilance at home and abroad will make it harder for terrorists to act, and easier to catch them when they do.

James Hall, From the Left



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Keep Hope Alive

And they say that miracles no longer happen! Is it possible that temperance and sobriety resides in the recesses of the gene pool in the Hall family? Has the apologist of state servitude discovered a standard that supersedes the arrogance of power? Well, I hope so. This is real progress.

Words like high moral ground, and choosing justice over vengeance, coming from the Ron Ziegler of the 'Dueling Twins', I can't believe it . . . When credit is due, it should be acknowledged. Finally a Point worthy of the family name.

If the heretic can be 'born again', why won't the rest of the public open their mind and use rational judgment? The worse abusers of intellect are the neoconservative pundits that are rushing for the door of the nearest B-2 bomber. Let us all hope that by some phenomenon of chance, there may actually be some Statesmen in positions of authority.

Dementia has raised its ugly head. The polls reflect that immediate satisfaction for revenge is favored over solutions for the underlying causes of terrorism. Arguments that attempt to forge real consensus within the Arab world to reign in those elements that dishonor the Koran falls on deaf ears. However, the masses don't want to know. For once the signs of restraint and respectful dialogue are actually emerging from some corridors within the Bush Administration. I love surprises !!!

Before we hold a party, we must see leadership within Islam to respond to the olive branch that has been extended. This really is the time to step up or be left behind. When you interject the belligerent attitude of Ariel Sharon toward resuming talks with Yasser Arafat, you have the evidence that solutions are still very remote.

The reason that ultimate peace is impossible, is the simple reality that all parties don't want it. Every regime in the Arab world runs the risk of internal subversion from terrorists. Pakistan has a record of 'coup of the month', and the U.S. demands that they become an ally? The West is perceived as the tool of the Zionist. Israel looks upon themselves as the fifty-first state with veto power. Islam wants the West to respect their religion and not pervert their culture. The Oil Corporations need black gold to keep flowing. And the American public wants the NFL to play on Sunday.

Justice demands integrity of righteousness for all parties. Terrorists are not born 'innate killers', anymore than Jews are preordained to become Zionist oppressors. Israelis and Islamic Arabs are both prisoners to their respective traditions and hatreds. There are countless reasons why this is the historic heritage. But if the 'bad seed' can see the light, why cannot the half brothers and sons of Abraham become redeemed?

In many ways both of these peoples have a greater commitment towards religious faith than the superpower. When the Terrorist rationalizes their murder toward the Satan of the West, they abandon their own religious beliefs. When the Israelis bulldoze Arab homes on the West bank, they breed the next generation of suicide bombers. And when the U.S. attempts to force an unwanted peace, they imperil the next target for more terror.

Minister Louis Farrakhan correctly condemns those terrorists as murderers, we should agree with him. We need also to listen to his warning when he implies that U.S. foreign policy is to blame for last weeks terrorist attacks on Washington and New York. And when he calls on American officials to summon "the courage to look at the foreign policy" and asked if the policies have "produced this danger and hatred toward America", we must not close our eyes.

War is upon us, but it is a conflict of misplaced ideas, prejudices and policies. What will this combat produce? For once, you should listen to the other Hall Twin. For he is right! That has a nice ring to it; RIGHT . . . Could it be that his accuracy stems from an abandonment in the ideology of the left? We will see; but correctness can come by chance, and does not make a trend.

James Hall aka SARTRE

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Final Word:

No doubt that crimes are immoral within any religious belief. Isn't that the same common thread that unites all of mankind in their search for meaning and purpose? What can be said at this time with certainty is that Osama Bin Laden won't be a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. His involvement and culpability in terror will be exposed in detail, as the whole story unfolds. But he has now become a symbol for a much larger problem.

At the core of terrorism is the desire to destroy the economy, institutions and culture of States that are viewed as ultimate EVIL, from the diseased minds of committed fanatics. Hatred is their shared value. It is hard to envision that the world community has as their objective, the elimination of the reasons that breed people, who's purpose in life is to commit an act of genocide. These terrorists viewed their deeds as acts of war. America has concluded they are actions of madmen. I submit that for those who's solution is the elimination of all who hate the West, a tranquil environment can never exist. Why not attempt an approach that halts adding gasoline to the fire?

Yes, measures need to be adopted for domestic vigilance. If we are judicious, that can be accomplished without the loss of individual rights. Each citizen has a duty to assist in the protection of their community. But support and service can take the form of repudiating the excesses that are inflicted upon every corner of the world, whether they are real or imaginary. Peace is not a realistic objective, because that is unattainable. Diminished and moderate conflict is the best that can be accomplished. While interventionism increases hostilities, real defense at home will protect our own shores.

Our task is to build consensus among the Arab and Muslim world to bring justice to the criminals that are perverting their religion and is eating away at their own culture. When the outcry from Islam is heard that demands a stop to terror from among their own ranks, we will gain a security that will elude efforts of our own making. This approach is based on common sense and pragmatic action. Unrelenting meddling has built a realm of terrorism towards the U.S. Retribution may satisfy Caesar, but it will only breed more Assassins.

Jame Hall - 'The Right'

copyright 2000-2001 by BATR All Rights Reserved

Reconciliation should be accompanied by justice, otherwise it will not last. While we all hope for peace it shouldn't be peace at any cost but peace based on principle, on justice.
Corazon Aquino

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