Today America stands on the brink of war.
Today America stands on the brink of war. The
president, the media and the military-industrial
complex have already declared it. Our hearts are on
fire with grief for those innocents lost in a
senseless act of terrorism precipitated on our own
shores. We feel violated and we are angry. Many are
heartbroken and many want blood.
And justice must be done. Those who have perpetrated
this crime must be found, their terrorist cells
eradicated, and the conspirators prosecuted to the
fullest extent of the law. The guilty must be
The guilty, yes, but not the innocent. Not the women and children
in Afghanistan. Not the elderly and the infirm in Iran or Iraq. Not
one single, freedom-loving soul trapped in foreign country living in
poverty under an oppressive regime over which they have no control.
They have done nothing wrong. Must they pay with their lives for the
heinous acts of a few of their desperate and deranged countrymen? Must
they suffer because we are suffering? Must they die in an American jihad
because we cannot bear the pain one second longer?
America is a great country. The principles of liberty
and justice for all are not just hollow words. We
believe them in the very core of our being, and we
live by them, not just on a political level, but on a
very personal level. Our business dealings, our
neighborhood and community relations, the ways in
which we treat our friends and our enemies alike, are
all colored by our very American values of justice and
compassion. When our neighbor steals from us, we do
not kill his family. When we have been wronged, we do
not lash out at the helpless just because it is
convenient and they are easier to catch. America is
not like a pride of lions seeking out the most
vulnerable members of the herd simply because it is
Instead, we tell the world to give us its tired and
oppressed. That message has not changed in over two
centuries, and those of us who value liberty,
equality, and justice cannot condone setting these
values aside in the name of assuaging our grief.
Terrorism begets terrorism, and violence against the
innocent inevitably leads to more of the same.
Now more than ever, if America must fight for
something, let it fight for peace.
Carol Schiffler, with input from Michael Rectenwald and the Steering Committee
- Honest evaluation of current foreign policy with an
eye toward eliminating the unilateral isolationism
that characterizes the current administration's world
- a rational approach to military spending and
national defense policy which includes the
non-proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction.
- a defensive strategy, consistent with the
congressional resolution, against terrorism which
targets terrorists rather than innocent civilians.
- continued sane and open debate on the controversial
issues that face our contemporary American society,
such as missle defense, social security, the
environment, and the economy.
September 17, 2001