Wartime Reflections

First Published Complete October 17, 2001

Our hearts go out to all the families, friends and colleagues of those who perished in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, including those who were on the planes. We pray daily that you will be comforted in your grief, and that you will find inner peace and the strength to move forward, to recover and rebuild.

To the people of the United States of America and the rest of the free world: we must continue to live our lives without fear, but with vigilance. Our faith and hope must remain strong. Better times will lie ahead, when our efforts to squash global terrorism and to build cultural understanding and peace have been successful.

To the men and women who are on the front lines, fighting the war: Have faith; be strong and confident. Unlike some other wars in our history, this one has a clear purpose and goal.

Success is not final;
Failure is not fatal;
It is the courage to continue that counts.
- Winston Churchill

I saw this quote on a T-shirt - one that didn't pertain to war or the recent attacks on the U.S. But I couldn't help thinking that this should be our motto for the war against terrorism. President Bush warned us that it would be a long, tough battle.

About words: some people don't like to hear the word "evil" used in reference to terrorism. Evil, as defined by the dictionary, can mean immoral, cruel or very unpleasant. Even a smell or the weather can be evil. Get over it.

What about the word "war"? The terrorist attacks were termed "an act of war" by a few key figures. We all know what they meant.
By definition, war consists of armed fighting between two or more countries or groups. Well, in this case, the U.S. is a country, and a terrorist group attacked us. Good enough. Now we're bombing targets in a foreign country, so we're at war, whether Congress has declared it or not.

(Definitions courtesy of Cambridge Dictionaries Online)

To those who oppose military action in Afghanistan:
You have the right to voice your opinions, and as an American, I respect that right. I wish I could agree with you. I am not a strong proponent of war in general. Often it does nothing but claim many lives (often innocent ones) and foster hatred and bitterness between warring nations or factions.

But this war is necessary. There's a growing global terrorist threat, and the enemy has proven that they are a danger by killing thousands of innocent people without cause. Actions like those taken by the hijackers on September 11, 2001, MUST BE STOPPED at any and all cost!

A few people are complaining about the Christian overtones surrounding the war on terrorism. The song, "God Bless America" has become more popular than the national anthem; it was sung by many people in New York and Washington in the first few days after the attacks on September 11. Faith is important, even vital, to most of us at times like this. If you're a Christian, a Jew, a Muslim, or something different, you still need faith in a higher power to carry you through the grief and give you the strength to move on. If you're an atheist, you're entitled to that too; just give the rest of us a break.

The cruel treatment of Arabs and Middle Easterners by some Americans is detestable. To distrust an entire race of people because of the abominable acts of a few of them, is entirely wrong and unfair.

In our war on terrorism, we are not targeting Arabs in general, nor are we targeting the religion of Islam. We are aiming at the radical groups who are continuing to perpetrate deadly crimes against humanity.

To the people of Afghanistan: you are not the target either, for you did nothing to offend us. We want to help you with food and try to assist you in this time of global crisis. The Taliban regime has not only provided safe harbor for the terrorists, but it has also been overly restrictive upon the citizens of your country. Elsewhere in the world (not only in the U.S.), people can listen to music (which soothes the soul), and women have certain freedoms which are denied in your country by the Taliban.

To the Taliban I say: Heed the words of Mr. Bush and Mr. Blair, who demanded that you surrender the terrorists or suffer their fate. - To those in the al-Qaida terrorist network: our military has done its homework, and they're coming to snuff you out. - To other terrorist groups worldwide: You're next. - To Osama bin Laden: Nothing. I refuse to waste words on him.