As tragic as the collapse of the twin towers and the crash into the pentagon is, there is further tragedy that is quickly approaching. It is a tragedy that only we can avoid, but it is highly unlikely and not many care, since the tragedy does not occur on United States soil this time.
Mr. President, you have assured the nation and the world of the imminent attack on any terrorist, any group, any individual who is deemed suspicious and any person or country harboring such people or groups (whether knowingly or unknowingly).
You have claimed to be a very loving man, but that you have a job to do. I know that you are fairly new in your role as the president of the United States and that you have promised the nation, you must show your opponents, the world and the Americans who are so upset and believe that only a strike of massive scale can fill the void in their hearts. But before you give your first order of attack, I urge you to stop, to step away from the pressures and to truly sit and think for a moment.
Just slightly over a decade ago, your father faced a very difficult decision as well. Back then I was just a young college kid; just twenty years old, as both Jenna and Barbara will be very soon. The whole concept of war fascinated me, because it was something I had often read about in history class, but had never actually experienced in my lifetime. My mind flashed to thoughts of what I had heard my grandmother talk about during World War II Germany. Bombs dropping all around her, as she tried to retrieve some husks of corn from the fields, which in those days were only used for cattle, while the children up and down the street were starving, as most of the food was given up for the soldiers, per Hitler’s decree. She was suffering, her children were suffering, because of one mad [Austrian] man who was in charge of her country at that time.
I filled my gas tank, stock piled my groceries and settled in for a long drawn out war. But this war was different, this war was almost a sort of entertainment shown nightly on the television, with bright flashes into a dark night as we hit Iraqi targets. Some believed to be chemical warfare plants (turning out to be a baby formula factory). I remember being so proud of all of our soldiers taking out all those “military installations”. I never asked any questions, and I had never been more proud to be an American. I realized why both my father and mother had worked for us in NATO and was never more patriotic.
Of course now we have had ten years of sanctions, Saddam is still alive and gaining weight with every passing day it appears, while also wining and dining as many people he chooses at his palace, complete with tennis courts and lush gardens. The babies in the hospital die of leukemia from the depleted uranium that was shelled out and dying of starvation or dysentery from the untreated water. The mortality rate for children under age five has gone up nine times higher since before the Gulf War. The previous administration [specifically Madeline Albright] stated that she thought the “price was worth it”, as apparently the sanctions were helpful to do something, and the dying children were a casualty of war. I am not quite sure of the benefits, as Saddam is still alive and kicking and seems not to notice that his country is under sanctions.
I have grown more mature since then. I now have two young children of my own. Now when I look back on this, I wonder how we could have done something so tragic and how we can continue to do so.
One year ago, the Second Intifadah started. All my life I always heard my mother stating that these people would end up killing themselves and the world. I did not know what the conflict was about, and I did not really care to know when I was younger. But now, I wanted to know. So I studied and I read. I did not just read the common newspaper for my information, I tried to dig deeper.
When I found out what the situation really was and how it had truly started, I was very upset. I was further upset when I saw what the Israelis were continuing to do, again to young and innocent children. I am sure you must have seen the footage of poor Mohammed Al-Dura being shot and killed while his father was acting as a human shield, simultaneously trying to surrender to the shooters.
No matter how deeply I felt that the Palestinians were being exploited and worse, I still felt that Israelis should not be fought at any cost, because of their massive political and monetary influence in the world. I was extremely shocked though when the butcher was elected to be Prime Minister. I am sure that those living in the areas, must have felt like previously they had been muffled, so that no one could hear their cries, but now they had also been shackled and were being shot at whenever someone needed target practice.
Now we stand here today. Brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles, aunts, mothers, fathers, sons, daughters and friends lost to us forever. Our anger builds. No one can do this to us, after all we are the United States.
I am a Muslim American, but have not always been so. I converted two years ago. My background lets me understand both Christian and Muslim thought. I know that whoever did this horrible act, whether Jewish, Christian, Muslim or otherwise, it was NOT defined by religion. God never wants violence. Christians are actually instructed to turn their other cheek. Muslims may fight in self-defense. And Jewish may take an eye for an eye.
However, I CAN understand how they could get to this point.
We do not listen to the plight of the dying Palestinians, the starving babies in Iraq, the women of Bosnia who were raped repeatedly before we got involved. We think we know what is best in world affairs, we make a decision and it is very hard to sway us from our path, whether it is a path of destruction or the right path.
America is angry and you must respond to their anger.
Nevertheless, before you do, please remember that American-Muslims did not shoot guns at churches after McVeigh blew up the federal building in Oklahoma, despite any friends or family that we lost. Please remember that the people who did this felt they had no other way to get us to listen to them. The Security Council is our playground. There is no neutral mediator in today’s world. No where were someone can turn for a second opinion. If you disagree with the United States, you may as well crawl into a cave and die.
But what can you do when you have buried the 1st child from starvation due to sanctions? What about the 10th child? The 100th? The 1000th?
What happens when your appeals to the world to protect what little land you have left from those who demolish your homes and use your children daily for target practice fall upon deaf ears?
At what point do you snap? Or can you take it forever to bury all those innocent around you?
How many more innocent children must suffer for the sake of a few men?
I would like you to remember one thing when planning our strike (s), the sentiment of Tom Frost, the father of Lisa Frost, the Boston University student who graduated first in her class and was on her way to her first job in San Francisco. Mr. Frost stated that “She [Lisa] was such a loving thing _ she was our pride and joy.” He also stated that he and his wife were in shock and did not know how they would go on, but he knew that the loss of more innocent blood would not help, he simply wants those people responsible to be punished. Now here is truly a noble man.
Mr. President, I am so afraid for the future of this world. I am so afraid when people make life and death decision for reasons of anger and pride. It makes us start to look like those Kamikaze pilots during Pearl Harbor who would rather die than to give up their honor and their integrity.
I can only hope that someone bigger not to take the route of vengeance and revenge.
I can only hope that someone is bigger, braver and takes the role of non-violence. That someone in this whole mess can realize that violence begets violence and that the cycle once started can only be stopped by a giant of great strength. Could that be you, Mr. President?