an excerpt from:
The real lessons of 9/11 | Salon.com
The attacks exposed grave weaknesses in our nation's defenses, our national institutions and ultimately our national character.
By Gary Kamiya
Sept. 11, 2007 | Six years ago, Islamist terrorists attacked the United States, killing almost 3,000 people. President Bush used the attacks to justify his 2003 invasion of Iraq. And he has been using 9/11 ever since to scare Americans into supporting his "war on terror." He has incessantly linked the words "al-Qaida" and "Iraq," a Pavlovian device to make us whimper with fear at the mere idea of withdrawing. In a recent speech about Iraq, he mentioned al-Qaida 95 times. No matter that jihadists in Iraq are not the same group that attacked the U.S., or that their numbers and effectiveness have been greatly exaggerated. It's no surprise that Gen. David Petraeus' "anxiously awaited" evaluation of the war is to be given on the 10th and 11th of September. The not-so-subliminal message: We must do what Bush and Petraeus say or risk another 9/11.
Petraeus' evaluation can only be "anxiously awaited" by people who are still anxiously waiting for Godot. We know what will happen next because we've been watching this movie for eight months. Gen. Petraeus, Bush's mighty-me, will insist that we're making guarded progress. Bush, whose keen grasp of military reality is reflected in his recent boast that "we're kicking ass" in Iraq, will promise that he will reassess the situation in April. The Democrats will flail their puny arms, the zombie Republicans will keep following orders, and the troops will stay.
So let's forget the absurd debate about "progress" and whether a bullet in the front of the head is better than one in the back, and how much we can trust our new friends from Saddam's Fedayeen. On the anniversary of 9/11, we need to ask more basic questions -- not just about why we can't bring ourselves to pull out of Iraq, but why we invaded it in the first place. Those questions lead directly to 9/11, and the ideas and assumptions behind our response to it.
The real reason that Congress cannot bring itself to end the war in Iraq, and incredibly, may be prepared to start another one in Iran, has little to do with benchmarks or body counts. The real reason is that even after the Iraq debacle, the American establishment -- meaning the government and the mainstream media -- has not questioned the emotions and ideology that drove Bush's crusade.
The following was originally posted to the old Coffee Converstion blog on 10/04/06:
He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love."
Religion Emphasizes Forgiveness in Small Community
Summary: NICKEL MINES, Pa., Oct. 3, 2006 --- - We arrived in this community of Nickel Mines, Pa., curious about how the Amish, who live differently than most Americans do, might react to what was an unthinkable act of violence. It didn't take long for us to learn that the Amish families most affected by this tragedy have responded in a way that might seem foreign to most of us: They talk about Monday's school shooting only in terms of forgiveness.
"We're just trying to support each other and trying to let it sink in," said 17-year-old Dorothy King. Two of her cousins were shot, and one is in critical condition, but like so many in the Amish community, she forgives the gunman, Charles Carl Roberts. "We think it's all in God's hand," King said. "If this wouldn't have happened, something still would have happened because their time was up.
Midwife Rhita Rhoads was present for the births of two of the five girls who were killed and also speaks of forgiving the gunman. "If you have Jesus in your heart and he has forgiven you [how] can you not forgive other people?"
"I'm sure it's going to be a struggle to go on without a loved one like that," said Elmer Fisher. His 7-year-old cousin, Naomi Fisher, was among those murdered. When asked if Roberts' wife would still be welcome in the community, Fisher said he believed she would, adding she would be welcome even at the funerals for the dead girls.
Passages from the New Testament are taken literally in this community, and the Amish believe they need to love their enemies, which may be beyond the ability of most people, especially so close in time to the murders.