Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A Plea to the President

I've avoided politics of 9/11 the past couple of days but I thought this was interesting. A friend of mine wrote this letter to newspapers across the country shortly after September 11th. It is intersting reading this a few years later realizing how right on he was on many points.

President Bush,

September 11, 2001 will rightly go down as one of the darkest days in our country’s history. This tragedy has shocked our nation to its core. It has made us sad – sad enough to make strangers cry for the immense loss of loved ones they have never met. It has made us scared – scared to leave our homes, to travel across the nation in the way our treasured freedom allows us. It has made us angry – angry at those who committed such an unspeakable act and at all those who aid them and are like them. But, above all, it has united us – united us in a way that we have not seen in decades, and in a manner that makes the most cynical among us feel a wave of pride and patriotism to live in this country.

I think I speak for nearly every American when I say that we stand behind you in this moment of darkness. We do not question your decision to declare war on those that dared to attack us in such a devastating manner. We will wait patiently as you lead us in reaping justice and revenge on those who would commit such heinous acts. Those who are responsible must be made to suffer greatly. Our vengeance should be overwhelming, disproportionate and fearful in its decisiveness. Our retaliation should eliminate the perpetrators of this attack and send an unmistakable, fearsome message to all those that would contemplate similar attempts against us. They must understand that such actions will visit the same type of hell upon them should they dare to repeat such mistakes.

No one questions that this must be done.

But let us not allow our thirst for vengeance to spin out of control, for we run many risks in pursuing a crusade against terrorism itself. If we expand the scope of our war too far or too fast, we may find our allies, even those closest in NATO, questioning the prudence of our actions and even withdrawing their support. We may find that our actions or those of our allies, especially Israel, turn the secular governments of the Arab or broader Muslim worlds against us. The American public itself may begin to question the continued loss of our most precious blood and treasure in the pursuit of a prolonged vendetta. We may quickly lose our appetite for war once our thirst for revenge has been quenched.

But such outcomes have not yet occurred, since this war is only beginning. Nevertheless, eventualities such as these should serve as warning signs as we pursue this campaign against terror. If you see our allies questioning us, other supporters turning against us, or our own people doubting the cause, I ask that you give pause to this crusade. We cannot allow this war to turn into a one-nation vendetta and risk alienating the world for the sake of a unilateral crusade.

No one disagrees that terrorism is a tragic force in our society and the global community. Eliminating it would serve the cause of justice and peace the world over. As long as our allies, other international supporters and our own people support this cause, we should pursue it with all of the incredible energy and vigor that this nation can muster. If that allows us to wipe the scourge of terrorism from the world, let it be done. But, we should recognize that at some point, we may have to call off this crusade, perhaps before it fully succeeds in wiping out terrorism.

We may have to do this not because it is the wrong thing to do, but because the price we, and the world, may have to pay will be far higher than living in a world in which terrorism is allowed to exist.

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