Friday, September 14, 2001

Asking Questions About 9/11

Television is overflowing with news about the terrorist attack. It's almost suffocating.

Over the past few days, I have read print and online newspapers, visited chat rooms, read online essays, and listened to talk radio.

Like many, I mourn for the lives lost that Tuesday. Like many, I veer between shock, anger, hatred, and exhaustion. Like many, I have only a few degrees of separation from these terrorist acts.

The overwhelming sentiment for a concerted military retaliation strikes me at once desireable, and at once deplorable. Perhaps there's no room for diplomacy anymore. Maybe the perpetrators of these heinous acts deserve the full might of our sword. I don't know.

I do know this. These terrorists acted this way because of some tremendous hatred towards us. I think one question that needs to be explored is why? Why are they compelled to act this way?

Please don't think for a moment that I'll protest a military strike; I'll probably be among those cheering. But I do believe our leaders should strive to understand their underlying hatred. Is it territory? Is it religous belief? What is their fundamental disagreement with us? What drives their hatred, and can that be assuaged somehow?

Only a small minority feel the need to ask these questions. I believe these are important questions because only a small minority of people are driven to such fanatical acts. If we are truly to prevent such an act from occurring again, the first step is to ask what gives rise to this fanaticism?

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