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I am PROUD to be an American

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If tomorrow all the things were gone
I'd worked for all my life,
And I had to start again
with just my children and my wife,
I'd thank my lucky stars
to be living here today,
'Cause the flag still stands for freedom
and they can't take that away.
I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
GOD THE BLESS THE U.S.A.
From the lakes of Minnesota
to the hills of Tennessee,
Across the plains of Texas
from sea to shining sea.
From Detroit down to Houston
and New York to L.A.,
There's pride in every American heart
and it's time we stand and say:
I'm proud to be an American
where at least I know I'm free,
And I won't forget the men who died
who gave that right to me,
And I gladly stand up next to you
and defend her still today,
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land
GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.
Lee Greenwood

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On 9/11 a group of terrorist attacked the World Tower Complex, the Pentagon and had several more US targets in mind. There has been evidence that more attempts have been planned since that day. This was part of an ongoing campaign. The same group of people have bombed 2 US embassies and one of our military vessels. They have vowed to destroy us. They want to incite all Islamics to a holy war. I am not talking about the Arab race. I am talking about a very large group of extremist trained and controlled by Bin Laden.Their violence is escalating. They are not going to listen to reason. We are not going to convince them that we are their friends by helping to improve their plight in life. They have spent their whole life warring and it is what they love and do best. The email from the Afghanistanian (see below)comparing Bin Ladum and his followers to Hitler and the Nazis is probably a better analogy than he even realizes. Personally I am not ready be part of the next holocaust. I don't want war but I don't want to wonder every time I enter a large building or fly on a plane if it is safe. I do not want to wonder if a person of Arab descent is a terrorist, it's not fair to them or me. Today I was at work, and we had a little 5 yr old of arab descent as a patient. I could tell they felt uncomfortable so I made a special effort to go check on the child and laugh and talk to the parents even though it wasn't my patient. You could tell they were really appreciative.Persecution of innocent people who live in our country and are only linked to the terrorist by a common ancestry is ultimate stupidity and puts people on the same level as a terrorist.
I am scared. I hope we haven't waited until these terrorist have become too powerful.I have thought over and over of maybe some other way this could be resolved as I am sure the leaders of this country have. The house, senate, and president have elected to use "what force is necessary" with only ONE descending vote. I pray that God gives them wisdom in all decisions.

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Nine Eleven 9/11/01
**********************

A pierce to the heart of North America,
...the twin towers fell
The gap left behind the broken Pentagon,
...the fear we now know well
The pain stricken faces
and horror of this all
Leaving most speechless
the shock...the terror and it's call
No apparent rhyme or reason
so many lost their lives
Hopeless...helpless searching
for anyone who survives
Firefighters and officers
who laid down their personal being
The most atrocious act to watch
a heinous crime we're seeing
Who could be so evil?
Who would want to kill so much?
Who ever imagined the outcome?
or how many lives it would touch?
Four aircraft gone forever
passengers and crew deceased
And the pride of freedom taken
by an unknown security breech
A masked coward avenger
who stole these innocent lives
Who's people are now rejoicing
as the whole world watches and cries
The world will never recover
the magnitude of it's loss
And no amount of revenge
will ever forgive the cost
10, 000 trapped beneath us
as we scour for each new scrap
Listening for voices and cell phones
scavenging through rubble crap
The voiceless still emerging
as the DOA's are found
And two North American nations
bring flights and forces to the ground
A most certain day of mourning
nine eleven brought to still
Everyone looking for answers
to the void that no one can fill
This day will not be forgotten
this day has torn at our hearts
This day will remain in our history
as the day we stood strong,
and were not torn apart.

Sarah Greenhalgh

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Courtesy of IAFF.org the firefighters union home page.
Dennis Smith, Firehouse Magazine Founder, Describes His Worst Nightmare
The second tower has just collapsed. I am at Ladder 16, and the firefighters have commandeered a crowded 67th Street cross-town bus. We go without stopping from Lexington Avenue to the staging center on Amsterdam. We don't
talk much on the bus, and not a single passenger complains about missing his or her stop.At Amsterdam we board another bus, and here the quiet is broken by a Lieutenant who says, "We'll see things today we shouldn't have to see,
and there will be things we might think we should attend to, but listen up,we'll do it together. We'll be together, and we'll all come back together boys." He opens a box of dust masks and gives two to each of us.It is like approaching a beach as we walk down West Street, passing
hundreds of waiting emergency vehicles. First there is a little concrete dust,like powdered soft sand, and then suddenly every step kicks up a cloud. There is paper debris everywhere, strewn between window casings, air conditioner
grates, and large chunks of what had once been the tallest structures in the world.We report to the command chief who is standing ankle deep in mud between the World Trade Center and the World Financial Center. The original command chief, Peter Ganci, along with the physical command center are missing,now somewhere beneath these mountains of cracked concrete and bent steel of the second collapse.
Just before that collapse, a falling woman killed a firefighter, and Father Judge was giving him the last ites. Bill Feehan, the First Deputy Commissioner, was standing next to them. And then the building came down.Now, several hundred firefighters are milling about. There is not much
for us to do except pull hose from one location to another as a pumper and a ladder truck are repositioned. It is like the eye of a storm, eerily quiet,and so unlike the multiple alarm emergencies I am used to. No sirens.No helicopters. Just the sound of two hose lines, watering the six stories
of the hotel on West Street that are still standing. The low cackle of the department radios fade into solemn air. The danger is now presented by the burning 47-story building before us, just to the north of the World Trade
Center. The command chief has ordered the firefighters from that building,and we are now waiting for it to collapse.
I want to see the destruction from the Liberty Street side of the buildings,and I travel through the World Financial Center, the headquarters of American Express and Merrill Lynch. There has been a complete evacuation,and I am the only person in the building. It seems the building has been
abandoned for fifty years, for there are several inches of dust on the floors. The large and beautiful atrium of the building is in ruins, the east side wall completely published, and the glass canopy above broken through and hanging in large and threatening pieces Because of the pervasive gray dusting, I cannot read the street signs as I make my way to the other side. Many cars and trucks are overturned. From here I can see the gaping holes in the side of the Verizon Building. There is a lone fire company down a narrow street wetting down a smoldering pile.
The mountains of debris in every direction are fifty and sixty feet high. I am still stunned by the wreckage, and it is only now that I begin to think of the human toll, of the silent thousands that are unseen before me in this utter ruin.I am again on the West Street side, and the chiefs begin to push us back towards the Hudson. Number 7 is about to fall, and when it does, we all think to run for cover, into stores, behind ambulances, around a corner.But, it is an incredible thing to watch a 47-story building fall. The
regality of a high building is transformed in a few seconds to mere rubble.And, now I think that this building has fallen on those we seek.No one wants to say a number. We know that entire companies are unaccounted for. The department's elite squads, Rescue 1, Rescue 2, Rescue 3, and Rescue 4 are not heard from. Just last week I talked with a group of Rescue 1 firefighters about the difficult and rigid prerequisites to get into the rescue companies - the endorsements from other company commanders and the tests of mechanical and engineering skills. I remember thinking then that these were truly unusual men, smart and thoughtful, the kind of men into whose arms I would put the lives of my children.I know the captain of Rescue 1, Terry Hatten. He is married to the Mayor's assistant, Beth Patrone, and one of those universally loved and respected
men in the job. I think about Terry, and about Paddy Brown. Paddy is one of a small cadre of most decorated firefighters in the history of the department, and in the nineties he was on the front page of all the newspapers when he lowered one of his men on a rope to pick up a victim in a Times Square fire.And I think of Brian Hickey, the Captain of Rescue 4, who just last month survived the blast of the Astoria fire that killed three firefighters,
including two of his own men. I remember the sadness in his eyes at the funerals. And, now. He was working with Rescue 3 today. And then there is Ray Downey, the Battalion Chief who led the FDNY collapse specialists to Okalahoma City, a solid and giving man.I am pulling a heavy six-inch hose through the muck when I see Mike Carter,the Vice-president of the firefighters union, on the hose just before me.
He's a good friend, and we barely say hello to each other. I see Kevin Gallagher, the union president, who is looking for his son who is unaccounted for. Someone calls to me. It is Jimmy Boyle, the retired president of the union, the man who gave us such great leadership in my time in the job. "I can't find Michael," he says. Michael Boyle, his son, was
with Engine 33, and the whole company is missing. I can't say anything to Jimmy, but just throw my arms around him.
The immediate danger over, the army of construction workers, police officers, EMTs and firefighters begins to work. People who have never met begin working side by side as if they have practiced for months. Cars are lifted, hoses and fire trucks moved, and the heavy equipment is brought in.As I watch the steelworkers they progress in my mind from admirable to heroic.I don't have boots and I am wet to the knees. I will 'take up" as we say,and go home. At the end of this horrific day I think of Shakespeare's
line about evil living forever, and I realize how most of the good of everything I know about this world is interred beneath the rubble before me. It will be days before there is a final accounting, and I can only hope against hope
for the people I have mentioned.They have been friends of mine for many years. It was from their lives that New York's firefighters learned how to keep their chins up in danger,and how to get down on their knees when help is needed. It is because of them,and this terrible number of lost firefighters, whatever number that might be, that inspiration will be found to go on with our lives.<BR>
The last thing I see is Kevin Gallagher kissing another firefighter. It is his son.
Charles Cowles

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Editorial by Leonard Pitts, Jr. a columnist with the Miami Herald

It's my job to have something to say. They pay me to provide words that help make sense of that which troubles the American soul. But in this moment of airless shock when hot tears sting disbelieving eyes, the only thing I
can find to say, the only words that seem to fit, must be addressed to the unknown author of this suffering. You monster. You beast. You unspeakable bastard. What lesson did you hope to teach us by your coward's attack on our
World Trade Center, our Pentagon, us? What was it you hoped we would learn? Whatever it was, please know that you failed. Did you want us to respect your cause? You just damned your cause. Did you want to make us fear? You
just steeled our resolve. Did you want to tear us apart? You just brought us together. Let me tell you about my people. We are a vast and quarrelsome family, a family rent by racial, social, political and class division,but a
family nonetheless. We're frivolous, yes, capable of expending tremendous emotional energy on pop cultural minutiae -- a singer's revealing dress, a ball team's misfortune, a cartoon mouse. We're wealthy, too, spoiled
by the ready availability of trinkets and material goods, and maybe because of that, we walk through life with a certain sense of blithe entitlement. We are fundamentally decent, though -- peace-loving and compassionate. We
struggle to know the right thing and to do it. And we are, the overwhelming majority of us, people of faith,believers in a just and loving God. Some people -- you, perhaps -- think that any or all of this makes us weak. You're
mistaken.We are not weak. Indeed, we are strong in ways that cannot be measured by arsenals.Yes, we're in pain now. We are in mourning and we are in shock. We're still
grappling with the unreality of the awful thing you did, still working to make ourselves understand that this isn't a special effect from some Hollywood blockbuster, isn't the plot development from a Tom Clancy novel.Both in terms of the awful scope of their ambition and the probable final
death toll, your attacks are likely to go down as the worst acts of terrorism in the history of the United States and, probably, the history of the world.You've bloodied us as we have never been bloodied before. But there's a gulf
of difference between making us bloody and making us fall. This is the lesson Japan was taught to its bitter sorrow the last time anyone hit us this hard,the last time anyone brought us such abrupt and monumental pain. When roused,
we are righteous in our outrage, terrible in our force. When provoked by this level of barbarism, we will bear any suffering, pay any cost, go to any length, in the pursuit of justice.I tell you this without fear of contradiction. I know my people, as you, I think, do not. What I know reassures me. It also causes me to tremble with dread of the future. In the days to come, there will be
recrimination and accusation, fingers pointing to determine whose failure allowed this to happen and what can be done to prevent it from happening again. There will be heightened security, misguided talk of revoking basic freedoms. We'll go forward from this moment sobered, chastened, sad. But determined, too. Unimaginably
determined. You see, the steel in us is not always readily apparent. That aspect of our character is seldom understood by people who don't know us well.On this day, the family's bickering is put on hold. As Americans we will weep,as
Americans we will mourn, and as Americans, we will rise in defense of all that we cherish. So I ask again: What was it you hoped to teach us? It occurs to me that maybe you just wanted us to know the depths of your hatred.If that's the case, consider the message received. And take this message
in exchange: You don't know my people. You don't know what we're capable of.You don't know what you just started. But you're about to learn.

A simple message from a simple guy.

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Proposed skyline for NYC

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copied..
Those who desire to give up freedom in order to gain security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.
Thomas Jefferson

Now is the time for President Bush to ask Congress for a declaration of war. Agreed we are not certain who was responsible for these acts of undeclared war. But when we are certain then he will designate and conduct acts of war against the perpetrators. This is not be about retaliation nor is it about justice; it is war. The goal should not be to hit back but pursuit until surrender or complete destruction.

From a fellow American:
It has been difficult for me to concentrate on anything here today following the horrific acts which have occurred. In the Military I was part of the Army Security Agency, an electronic intelligence command. The unit was a
"super classified" arm of the military by which I received some awesome perspective of "life in general".To say, or feel,. that any one of us is not effected, seriously, by
this act of war today, would be a statement of irrationality and utter stupidity.The reality of this event, and the realization of certain future similar events,
hopefully no worse, is inevitable.I have had calls from so many people who are physically and emotionally ill due to this matter, even though they don't have directly related
relatives or friends involved. The reason for this reaction is that they know THEY and ALL of US have been attacked. You could have been in one of those 4 planes, or you could have been in or near the towers seeing that plane or debris
bearing down on you.Yes I am an idealist, and the first to advocate this incredible United States we live in.I have visited almost 20 other countries and realize how lucky
we are, despite the politics, the lobbyists and you name it.
No, I'm not one to "vent" like this in any other major event but like all of you, I am sure, I want to do SOMETHING, and this is my first attempt.Personally, I believe that not only the government needs to display a
MAJOR and prolific response to this matter, I STRONGLY believe that the American people need to display some "common sign" that will spread throughout the world as a SIGNAL to the WORLD that the AMERICAN PEOPLE, each and
every one,will not STAND TO BE PUT IN THE POSITION OF HOSTAGES OR ANY LESS THAN AWESTRUCK by these events. This event today is as bad and likely worse,depending on how you calculate it, than PEARL HARBOR. How do we EACH as American's SEND A COMMON SIGNAL to the WORLD, and particularly to ALL TERRORISTS, that we DESPISE THIS EVENT and THESE COWARDS, and that many of us will ACT ACCORDINGLY whenever we can to prevent any such coward or event from ever occurring. It is not important as to the TYPE OR SUBSTANCE OF OUR COMMON "SIGNAL". What is important is that we EVIDENCE OUR SPIRIT AND CONCERN over such HORRIFIC events.I've never hung a "Yellow Ribbon", or erected a sign, or protested except one protest in my life.But I do suggest that if we pass this message on to, ultimately, millions of people throughout the Internet, that we
WILL SHOW A UNITY AS TO THIS MATTER, that will surpass any other evidence of unity since World War II.
A SIMPLE SIGNAL of this would be to attach a BLACK or DARK ribbon at your home and/or and on your car, your clothes, on highways, or wherever you wish.
PLEASE SEND THIS ON TO EVERYBODY AND ANYBODY YOU HAVE ADDRESSES FOR.I CAN JUST ABOUT GUARANTY THAT REGARDLESS OF WHAT YOU MAY THINK, YOUR EFFORT WILL MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN MANY WAYS, INCLUDING TO THOSE DIRECTLY AFFECTED WHO MAY
NOT KNOW THAT SO MANY OF US ARE CONCERNED, AND ULTIMATELY TO THOSE WHO MAY NOT CARE BUT ARE THE TERRORISTS OF THE WORLD.A FORMER JAPANESE COMMANDER SAID THE DAY OF THE PEARL HARBOR ATTACK," I BELIEVE WE HAVE AWAKENED A SLEEPIING GIANT ".

"Inteligence???"
Intelligence Had Hints, No Red Flags .....By JOHN SOLOMON

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Amid a growing crush of intelligence on possible terrorist threats, there were hints before Tuesday of something big to come. But nothing that raised suspicion of what eventually happened. With the advantage of hindsight, U.S. officials now wonder whether there were clues, overlooked or unobvious, to the devastating attacks
that rocked New York and Washington and forever changed Americans' sense of security. The officials said there is one thing not in dispute: No intelligence directly forewarned of the sort of attack that occurred. But all
fragmentary pieces of intelligence are being looked at in a new light, according to more than a half-dozen officials who spoke to The Associated Press only on condition of anonymity.For instance, in Minnesota, FBI agents a few weeks ago detained an Arab man who tried to get training on a flight simulator for a Boeing 747 jetliner. His request was suspicious, but not illegal, officials said.FBI agents had nothing to charge him with, but they performed a
routine check of his immigration status and decided the government should start deportation.Within hours of Tuesday's attacks, when early information emerged that
the hijackers had had flight training to carry out their suicide attacks, the Minnesota man re-emerged with significance. He matched the hijackers' profile.The man has been detained, but is refusing to cooperate and has a
lawyer, law enforcement officials say."Nothing was there to lead us to believe any activity he was up to could lead to what happened on Tuesday,'' one law enforcement official
said."After Tuesday, everything looks different and we're following up.'' In late August, the CIA obtained information about a Middle Eastern who had been connected to Osama bin Laden through intelligence reports linking
him to various meetings of terrorist-linked groups. The information was specific and credible enough that the CIA contacted the Immigration and Naturalization Service and suggested the man and an accomplice be added to a terrorist watch list designed to prohibit them from
entering the United States, officials said.The INS came back and said it believed the men were already in America.
The CIA then passed the information to the FBI, officials said.Both men on the watch list ended up among the 18 suspected hijackers who took down four planes Tuesday, officials have told the AP.Also, a month ago the CIA issued a renewed warning, based on incoming intelligence, that bin Laden was pressing anew for terrorist action against
Americans.Such warnings about bin Laden have been issued from time to time.CIA Director George Tenet had made a very public warning about bin Laden earlier this year.But the August warning was based on new intelligence, fresh enough to justify a new report. The warning did not have specific information on the type of attack, a date or a location -- just that one of America's biggest nemeses was posing new threats. Now the government, including Secretary of State Collin Powell,says there is increasing evidence that bin Laden, a wealthy Saudi exile and accused global terrorist living in Afghanistan, is behind Tuesday's attacks,possibly involving other terrorist groups as well.Officials also said that in the weeks before the twin suicide attacks
on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, a foreign intelligence agency tipped a U.S. law enforcement agency that a possible bin Laden associate from the Middle East was in Boston. The agency checked into the information, but ascertained that the man was no longer in Boston, where several bin Laden supporters are known
to live, officials said.Two of the planes that were hijacked Tuesday and crashed into the World Trade Center originated in Boston. The inevitable Monday morning quarterbacking likely will rekindle the question across America and in Congress of whether the U.S. intelligence
community has lost its edge or has been deprived of the resources it needs. House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., said Thursday that debate should not focus on assessing blame for the past but on avoiding future mistakes.
"I think we need to put resources in human intelligence and I think we need to re-evaluate our whole intelligence regime,'' Hastert said.

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Nostradamus...a hoax
~~~~~~~~~~~~~Claim: A 1654 Nostradamus prediction said World War III would begin with the fall of "two brothers," a reference to the destroyed World Trade Center towers. Status: False. Example: [Collected on the Internet,
2001] "In the City of God there will be a great thunder, Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb, The third big war will begin when the big city is burning"
Nostradamus 1654 Origins: The turmoil of recent events has us all scrambling, some to look for solace and meaning, others for the terrorists responsible, and yet others for signs that what happened could have been
prevented or at least foreseen. The 11 September 2001 attack on America destroyed not only the two World Trade Center towers in New York City, a chunk of the Pentagon in Washington, and caused untold loss of life, it also
shook America's sense of invulnerability. No longer do Americans presume safety in an unsafe world. For some, that realization is an eye-opener, unsettling but necessary, in that a child's blissful unawareness has been
replaced (at great cost) with an adult's more clear-eyed view of the world and its sometimes horrifying ways. For others, it spells the beginning of the end, in that they equated an illusion of safety with its reality and thus now
feel their world is ending. It is the fears of that second group that are given voice in the Nostradamus prediction circulated on the Internet even before the dust had settled in New York. The French physician and astrologer Nostradamus (1503-1566) penned numerous quatrains populated by obscure imagery that the credulous have ever after attempted to fit to the events of their times. These predictions can often ring somewhat true in that the
images employed are so general they can be found in almost every event of import, but by the same token, the prophesies are never a dead-on fit because the wordings are far too general. Not that this stops anyone from believing
in them; our society's need for mysticism runs far too deep to ever allow for that. Those looking for the certainty of a Nostradamus prophesy come true have been known to sledge hammer the results to force a fit by inventing
fanciful translations from the original French, bend over backwards to assert one named term is really another, and (as in this case) outright fabricate part or all of the prediction. Nostradamus did not write the quatrain now
being attributed to him. (One wonders how a guy who died in 1566 could have written an item identified as being penned in 1654 anyway.) It originated with a student at Brock University in Canada in the 1990s, appearing on a web
page essay on Nostradamus. That particular quatrain was offered by the page's author, Neil Marshall, as a fabricated example to illustrate how easily an
important-sounding prophecy can be crafted through the use of abstract imagery. He pointed out how the terms he used were so deliberately vague they could be interpreted to fit any number of cataclysmic events. (A dissertation
on how a somewhat similar-sounding real prophesy of Nostradamus' has been interpreted in a variety of wildly different ways can be found here.) It appears someone mistook Marshall's illustrative example for an actual
Nostradamus prophecy and, not content to let well enough alone, added "The third big war will begin when the big city is burning." A fabrication was thus further fabricated. But that wasn't the end of it. More fakery was
piled on in later versions that now included all of the text quoted in the Example section above but now concluded with: "on the 11th day of the 9 month that...two metal birds would crash into two tall statues...in the new
city... and the world will end soon after" Similarly, another enhanced version incorporates the Example text into a more detailed prophecy: And Nostradamus predicted this (who knows how long ago): "In the year of the new century and nine months, From the sky will come a great King of Terror... The sky will burn at forty-five degrees. Fire approaches the great New ..." "In the city of york there will be a
great collapse, 2 twin brothers torn apart by chaos while the fortress falls the great leader will succumb third big war will begin when the big city is burning" Needless to say, these versions are
as fake as the first was.

This was written previously but it remains true.
America: The Good Neighbor from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator.

This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as the most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts.None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.When France was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it.
When earthquakes hit distant cities, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59
American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tri-Star, or the Douglas DC10? If so, why don't they fly them?Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American Planes?Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon?
You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios.
You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles.
You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon-not once, but several times-and safely home again.
You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at.
Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless> they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the Americans who rebuilt them.When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose.Both are still broke.I can name you 5000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble?I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked
around.They will come out of this thing with their flag high.And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present
troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those."

Stand proud, America!

Letter from someone from Afghanistan..
Dear Friends,
Yesterday I heard a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio allowed that this would mean killing innocent people, people who had nothing to do with this atrocity, but "we're at war, we have to accept collateral damage," and he asked, "What else can we do? What is your suggestion?"
Minutes later I heard a TV pundit discussing whether we "have the belly to do what must be done."
And I thought about these issues especially hard because I am from Afghanistan, and even though I've lived here for 35 years I've never lost track of what's been going on over there. So I want to share a few thoughts with anyone who will listen.I speak as one who hates the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. There is no doubt in my mind that these people were responsible for the atrocity in New York. I fervently wish to see those monsters punished.But the Taliban and Ben Laden are not Afghanistan. They're not even the government of Afghanistan. The Taliban are a cult of ignorant psychotics who captured Afghanistan in 1997 and have been holding the country in bondage ever since. Bin Laden is a political criminal with a master plan.When you think Taliban, think Nazis. When you think Bin Laden, think Hitler. And when you think "the people of Afghanistan" think "the Jews in the concentration camps." It's not only that the Afghan people had nothing to do with this atrocity. They were the first victims of the perpetrators.
They would love for someone to eliminate the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country. I guarantee it.Some say, if that's the case, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban themselves? The answer is, they're starved, exhausted, damaged, and incapacitated. A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. Millions of Afghans are widows of the approximately two million men killed during the war with the Soviets. And the Taliban has been executing these women for being women and have buried some of their opponents alive in mass graves. The soil of Afghanistan is littered with land mines and almost all the farms have been destroyed . The Afghan people have tried to overthrow the Taliban. They haven't been able to.We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age.Trouble with that scheme is, it's already been done. The Soviets took care of it . Make the Afghans suffer? They're already suffering. Level their houses? Done. Turn their schools into piles of rubble? Done. Eradicate their hospitals? Done. Destroy their infrastructure? There is no infrastructure. Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late.Someone already did all that.New bombs would only land in the rubble of earlier bombs. Would they at least get the Taliban? Not likely. In today's Afghanistan, only the Taliban eat, only they have the means to move around. They'd slip away and hide. (They have already, I hear.) Maybe the bombs would get some of those disabled orphans, they don't move too fast, they don't even have wheelchairs. But flying over Kabul and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals who did this horrific thing. Actually it would be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this time
So what else can be done, then? Let me now speak with true fear and trembling. The only way to get Bin Laden is to go in there with ground troops. I think that when people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" many of them are thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. They are thinking about overcoming moral qualms about killing innocent people. But it's the belly to die not kill that's actually on the table. Americans will die in a land war to get Bin Laden.And not just because some Americans would die fighting their way through Afghanistan to Bin Laden's hideout. It's much bigger than that, folks. To get any troops to Afghanistan, we'd have to go through Pakistan. Would they let us? Not likely. The conquest of Pakistan would have to be first.Will other Muslim nations just stand by? You see where I'm going. The invasion approach is a flirtation with global war between Islam and the West.And that is Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants and why he did this thing. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right there. At the moment, of course, "Islam" as such does not exist. There are Muslims and there are Muslim countries, but no such political entity as Islam. Bin Laden believes that if he can get a war started, he can constitute this entity and he'd be running it. He really believes Islam would beat the west.It might seem ridiculous, but he figures if he can polarize the world into Islam and the West, he's got a billion soldiers. If the West wreaks a holocaust in Muslim lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, even better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong about winning, in the end the west would probably overcome--whatever that would mean in such a war; but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden yes, but anyone else?I don't have a solution. But I do believe that suffering and poverty are the soil in which terrorism grows. Bin Laden and his cohorts want to bait us into creating more such soil, so they and their kind can flourish. We can't let him do that. That's my humble opinion.

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