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Passions in Poetry

Terrorism, War, Homeland Security, etc.

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Denise
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0 posted 02-11-2003 09:38 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

If someone would have told me even just two years ago (I was with Nan, Elizabeth Santos and Kamla in New York City in February of 2001, just seven months before the 9/11 attacks) that Islamist Terrorists and far off dictatorial regimes would turn our world upside down, I wouldn't have believed it. Everything was so normal back then, or so it seemed.  

And yet here we stand on the threshold of another war while still engaged in Afghanistan, voicing the pros and cons, what is the right thing to do, what is the moral thing to do, whose life has more value in the greater scheme of things, etc. Do we continue with the status quo and hope for the best from someone who has proven to be a murdering amoral tyrant, do we go to war, remove him from power and hope that what results will have been worth it? I think the best time to have addressed the Saddam issue would have been about 10 years ago. He has gained too much in the way of weapons in that intervening time period, posing an even greater threat to the stability of the world. Whatever we are able to do, I believe, will be too little too late.

Whether we go to war with Iraq or not I am convinced that the terrorist attacks on the Western world will continue, escalating to the point that we will be forced to live as Israel has had to do. And the Islamist terrorists are only part of the picture, albeit the greatest threat at the moment. We also have to be concerned about China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia in the future (maybe not so distant future).  

Hearing the Department of Homeland Security giving us survival tips (3 days of food and water, plastic and duct tape for doors and windows....what a joke)gave me a really bad feeling.....they can't help us at all if it hits the fan. All they can do is offer us survival tips.

I've read survival guides with advice to have about $3,000 to $10,000 in cash (some in gold and/or silver, plus a similar amount available on a Major Bank Card, a country retreat house far away from any major city, stockpiles with 6 to 8 months of drinkable water and foodstuffs, a supply of antibiotics for every member of the family, a shotgun and a handgun for personal protection from looters, rapists, and "infected" fellow law abiding citizens, etc. How many people could afford to do this?  Who would want to live like this? If we had the wherewithal to have the money and a country retreat to escape to, would we live through the journey to get there if we have been exposed to biological or radiogical elements? Would someone shoot us when we got there so as not to allow the spread any radiation or disease? Since any attacks would most likely happen during a week day during business hours for maximum destruction, loss of life and chaos, what chance would most of us have if we are not near our homes or "safe" retreats?

Hearing bin Laden tonight calling Muslims everywhere to carry out suicide bombings in America and on American interests around the world didn't help. Every time he releases a tape, a devastating terrorist attack happens.

I never realized how little it could take to destroy our economy and our way of life. It doesn't really take much at all. Even just the threat of violence or a tape from bin Laden wreaks havoc on the stock market (ya think he's buying short?), not to mention the very real threat of our government instituting martial law amidst any possible attack/attacks, threatening what's left of our liberty.

I don't see an encouraging outcome at all, whether we go to war or not. I guess I want someone to convince me that I am wrong. I want my world back.
I guess I want God to work a miracle so that my children and grandchildren can experience the kind of life we used to have here in America, before the nightmare of terrorism, but maybe it's not to be.

[This message has been edited by Denise (02-11-2003 09:39 PM).]

Local Rebel
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1 posted 02-12-2003 12:28 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Denise --

I understand where you're coming from here -- and just a little frustrated too -- that for so long.. (well still) I say things to people and get ignored outright -- I was talking to a colleage who was very much like you -- just about 6 months before 9/11 -- we were on a road trip -- I pointed out to him how easy it would be to commit a number of terrorist acts and I was bluntly pshawed "it'll never happen -- this is America".

The question of normality is what is the new normality going to be?  Compare the war on terror to the war on drugs.  If we can't keep out heroin can we keep out VX gas?  Will the war ever be over?

America was never the 'Same' after we became a military industrial complex after WWII and launched straight into the cold war... now we'll never be the 'same' as we were during that era -- but I think with due dilligence we can emerge something better -- and hopefully pull a good chunk of the world along with us.
winston
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2 posted 02-12-2003 12:47 PM       View Profile for winston   Email winston   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for winston

Don't know if you've heard or read what Scott Ritter has been saying. He was a weapons inspector in Iraq. According to him, Iraq was left with very little in the way of developing chemical/biological weapons, let alone weapons of mass destruction. Scott Ritter isn't a pacificist, he was a well-trained soldier. He is emphatic about the absurdity of a pre-emptive strike on a sovereign country, and in the case of Iraq, if our fringe politicians were to attack Iraq it will be an outright violation of International Law and it will be unjustified. It's what American (and non-American) legislators call a 'non sequitar'.

It's amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, & incumbency.
--G. "DUBYA" BUSH. June 14, 2001. Unaware of rolling TV camera.

Opeth
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3 posted 02-12-2003 01:08 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

Let's learn about these aluminum tubes...

An excerpt from Mr. Powell's speech:

"These tubes are controlled by the Nuclear Suppliers Group precisely because they can be used as centrifuges for enriching uranium. By now, just about everyone has heard of these tubes, and we all know that there are differences of opinion. There is controversy about what these tubes are for.


Most U.S. experts think they are intended to serve as rotors in centrifuges used to enrich uranium. Other experts, and the Iraqis themselves, argue that they are really to produce the rocket bodies for a conventional weapon, a multiple rocket launcher.


Let me tell you what is not controversial about these tubes. First, all the experts who have analyzed the tubes in our possession agree that they can be adapted for centrifuge use. Second, Iraq had no business buying them for any purpose. They are banned for Iraq.


I am no expert on centrifuge tubes, but just as an old Army trooper, I can tell you a couple of things: First, it strikes me as quite odd that these tubes are manufactured to a tolerance that far exceeds U.S. requirements for comparable rockets.

Maybe Iraqis just manufacture their conventional weapons to a higher standard than we do, but I don't think so. Second, we actually have examined tubes from several different batches that were seized clandestinely before they reached Baghdad. What we notice in these different batches is a progression to higher and higher levels of specification, including, in the latest batch, an anodized coating on extremely smooth inner and outer surfaces. Why would they continue refining the specifications, go to all that trouble for something that, if it was a rocket, would soon be blown into shrapnel when it went off?"


~ Logic dictates. Throw logic and reasoning out the door with the baby and the bath water if anyone does not understand the significance of just this one piece of factual evidence.

And if you don't "get it" maybe I could convince some of my buddies who are armament experts to 'splain it to yas. Nah! Blue is not blue.

[This message has been edited by Opeth (02-12-2003 01:10 PM).]

Ron
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4 posted 02-12-2003 01:16 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Opeth, feel free to continue arguing issues as you see them. Please quit suggesting others are stupid because they don't happen to agree with you.
Opeth
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5 posted 02-12-2003 01:26 PM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

I am not suggesting that anyone is "stupid" and I don't want them to agree with me. This is not a me vs. you or anyone else issue, and if you believe that to be true, you are mistaken. However, I do understand what you do not want me to do, and will try my best to oblige and not do it.


Balladeer
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6 posted 02-12-2003 08:43 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

winston, I suggest you do a little homework on Scott Ritter before using him to quote from...you may have second thoughts.
Denise
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7 posted 02-12-2003 08:51 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

LR,

Could you explain a little bit about "due diligence"? What would that entail for the average citizen?

Winston,

I've seen him on TV before. I'd like to believe him that Iraq poses no real threat to the world concerning weapons of mass destruction, but I don't. I think that there is too much evidence to the contrary. Unless of course, Scott and Saddam are telling the truth, and our President, Congress and the intelligence agencies of the U.S., Britain and other allies are lying to us. It is not "fringe politicians" only (whoever they may be) who believe that Iraq is a serious threat. The majority of the House and Senate, including a majority of Democrats in the House and Senate believe so, according to the authorization that they gave to the President to use military force against Saddam. Below is an interesting article, and if you can read through the conservative slant, I think you will find some very sobering facts.
http://www.humaneventsonline.com/articles/02-03-03/saddam.htm

Opeth,

I agree with your assessment that Saddam has and is continuing to amass weapons of mass destruction and that he certainly can't be trusted.

Balladeer
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8 posted 02-12-2003 08:55 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

I understand where you are speaking from, Denise, and I agree with your thoughts. You never really go back, though, I don't think. That's not to say it can't be good - or even as good - but it will be different. I remember all of the fall-out shelters built in the 50's and 60's during the Cold War. Everyone was convinced the USSR would attack - bomb shelters stocked with water, food and air cannisters were common, remember? Doctor Strangelove? Films in school on what to do in case of an atomic attack? There was no attack, of course, and the shelters were abandoned but our way of life was changed. These events have changed them, too, in a way there is no going back. The threat is implanted now in our minds....but that's not to say our lives can't be happy and peaceful for us and our children. Humans are wonderful at adjusting to circumstances.....and we will.
Denise
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9 posted 02-12-2003 09:57 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

I found this about Scott Ritter. It seems he really did an inexplicable flip-flop on his views of Saddam, unless of course it was the $400,000 for his film.
http://www.aim.org/publications/media_monitor/2002/09/12.html

Michael, yep, I remember those shelters. I never actually saw the inside of one though. We would have occassional drills in school where we had to take cover under our desks until the all-clear was given. Can't imagine how being under our desks would have helped us at all in an Atomic attack!

I guess there is no going back to what we always knew as "normal". I wish I could see the possibility of "good" or "as good". I think there might be a hope of that if our wishy-washy politicians could keep out the terrorists, Islamist and otherwise, whom I see as a greater threat than a country possessing nucelar weapons (I'd like to think that they really wouldn't use them on us, knowing that in sending them our way, they would be receiving the same right back...multiplied several times over). But these terrorists are like slithering snakes striking out of nowhere, completely anonymous, wreaking havoc and death everywhere they go. Their determination to annihilate us is obscene and frightening. They will not stop. They will keep coming at us until we somehow put a stop to them, once and for all. I hope that we can figure out how to do that.

I am an opitmist by nature, so maybe I am just in a funk right now. I hope so.

[This message has been edited by Denise (02-12-2003 10:01 PM).]

Balladeer
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10 posted 02-12-2003 10:12 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Yep, that's part of it, Denise. Good Scott has also been arrested twice for trying to seduce minors...seems he likes to frequent the chat rooms looking for some young entertainment. The first time he arranged to meet with a 16 year old girl, who was an undercover agent in actuality. The police let him slide (but not the way he had hoped) on that one. Second time was with a 14 year old he met on the chats. When he went to meet her, guess what? Another undercover sting operation. I don't know what's happening on that one. He gave a speech down here at the Univ. of South Florida this past week and locals were pretty incensed that he would be chosen to speak to teens...
Denise
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11 posted 02-12-2003 10:16 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Here's and article from the Washington Times regarding Scott Ritter.

Of course he an his supporters are claiming that he is being slandered by the government. I think this article asks a good question. Which time was he telling the truth, in 1998 when he resigned, or now?
http://www.washtimes.com/op-ed/20020918-239312.htm
Denise
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12 posted 02-12-2003 10:19 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Oh my goodness, I hadn't heard that. He definitely shouldn't be speaking to teens, that's for sure.
winston
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13 posted 02-13-2003 07:23 AM       View Profile for winston   Email winston   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for winston

Let's make one thing perfectly clear folks. I, in recalling what someone has said, am not (per se) endorsing what that individual is saying. It's the inquisitive nature of people like your selves (Denise, Balladeer, Opeth, Ron, etc) that makes ours a great nation. I truely admire the way you all ratiocinate. But let's not forget that we are also humanly vulnerable and gullible.
As Robert Redford has pointed out, there are other ways to be patriotic.

Our arms industry has been supplying Saddam Hussein up to his teeth from the time when the Ba'ath party took over Iraq. It's no revelation to anybody.

Big brother Ron, am glad you pointed that out about Opeth. What astonishes an average American like myself is the sheer hubris of our current administration. Take, for example, what Colin Powell said, "THE PHOTOS I AM ABOUT TO SHOW YOU ARE SOMETIMES HARD FOR AN AVERAGE PERSON TO INTERPRET." (5th Feb.) Well, try me, Mr Secretary of State. Try the millions of "average" Americans across the nation.

Looks like you've made your ad hominem point against Scott Ritter, Balladeer. Is there something else we don't know, as regards what Ritter said in relation to his protest not to pre-emptively invade Iraq?

Thanks for those insightful, for want of a better word, websites Denise. I have read them. I share your concerns Denise. Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love isn't far from New York. I don't know if you have any Muslim neighbours, but let me assure you that Muslims are after all human, and like most of us average and ordinary humans they are not so stupid as to follow the whims of lunatic politicians from any religion to become terrorists. Yes, it's sad that some people (at this juncture of human civilisation) feel that they need to resort to violence to solve conflicts. Yes, it's sad that some people feel the need to join the army or become terrorists. Yes, it's sad that Protestants in Northern Ireland bully the Catholics, and Catholics are in turn compelled to become terrorists. I understand why we don't want to be neigbourly with Muslims when we can't even be neighbourly to fellow Christians.

Thanks for letting me make use of my democratic right.


It's amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, & incumbency.
--G. "DUBYA" BUSH. June 14, 2001. Unaware of rolling TV camera.


[This message has been edited by winston (02-13-2003 07:50 AM).]

regards2you
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14 posted 02-13-2003 12:53 PM       View Profile for regards2you   Email regards2you   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for regards2you



Denise,

Thank you for this post.
  

Hugs, Pat

..without surrender, be on good terms with all persons..
        "Desiderata"

Denise
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15 posted 02-13-2003 08:18 PM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Winston,

Regarding Scott Ritter and his protestations regarding action against Iraq...I think he has some explaining to do regarding his contradictory statements from 1998 (including sworn testimony), and today, before anything he says can be seriously considered as truthful.

Yes, of course I realize that Muslims are human, and most, like us, are avearge, ordinary people who don't blindly follow hate-filled, fanatical, murderous leaders.
No, I don't have any as neighbors, but there are a few where I work. I know that not all Muslims are Islamists and that not all Islamists are Islamist terrorists, but I do know that all Islamist terrorists are Muslims. It is they, the terrorists, who bring world scrutiny upon the Muslims as a whole, due to the actions of the few. Security personnel are not on the look-out for blonde, blue-eyed Norwegians when checking for terrorists. They are looking at Muslims, and rightly so. The outcry of profiling in this regard is totally bogus, in my opinion.

If the 9/11 hijackers are any indication, the ones that we need to be most wary of are the ones who "blend in" via Westernized dress and cultural mores, not the ones who wear the traditional Muslim garb and adhere to the strict Muslim culture. This is what makes it difficult to recognize the enemy in this guerilla warfare that they have chosen to foist upon us.

I don't think it's sad that some people join the army. How can a country defend itself without a strong army? No country would last long without a strong defense.

I do think it's sad that some choose to be terrorists (their very mission and modus operandi are obscene). I also don't think anyone is compelled to become a terrorist. I think that's a cop-out. It's never right to intentionally kill innocent civilian men, women and children because of a gripe with a government, no matter the "cause". It's savage and barbaric. There's never any justification for it, no matter who is doing it.

To paraphrase Robert Redford, "There are other ways to resolve grievances".

Pat,

You're welcome.
Brad
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16 posted 02-14-2003 08:22 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I don't know Denise. I asked my wife about this, I asked other Koreans, I've tried to talk about it in a class (the conversation on Iraq was about three minutes, a resounding 'no' to invasion), but the apathy level was even more deafening.

One would think that they might be a little more worried than Americans, but they aren't. When I pointed out that North Korea might have a nuclear weapon, their reaction was, "But they don't want to destroy us, they want to reunify. Why would they use it?" The reaction might be different in Seoul, but I suspect that some of the American news reports I've seen or read are focusing on fringe elements in Seoul whereas most people leave their lives much as they have.

They do that because, for them, nothing has changed.

I think Michael is right here. The Cold War ended in 1989 (or choose your year), but the nineties wasn't exactly a peaceful decade.  The first Gulf War, the LA riots, the bombing at the Atlanta Olympics, the first attempt on the WTC, the Unabomber, Timothy McVeigh, etc.

I think we slide over these things because like the Koreans, it's always been there. If this is right, 911 was so frightening because of our own apathy and arrogance. At least I know I was arrogant, the first thought was not why they would do such a thing (that, I already knew) but how was it technically possible for them to do such a thing?

Vigilance and preparations are good things, panic and paranoia are not (Okay, Brad, say something people don't know.). But, you know, I was in the States during the Northridge quake in '93. What I can say is that America has the best emergency control system on the planet, it really was an amazing thing to see, to watch these people due their jobs with the utmost professionalism and efficiency. If you want a comparison, I spent two hours on the phone with a friend of mine in Japan after the Kobe quake. He was furious at the utter incompetence of the corresponding agencies in Japan.

Hey, Michael, did you hear that?

    
Balladeer
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17 posted 02-14-2003 09:16 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Loud and clear

The world is a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.....
Denise
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18 posted 02-15-2003 05:05 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

Brad, and also the TWA Flight 800 disaster just a day or two prior to the Atlanta Olympics, followed closely by the Democratic National Convention, if my memory serves me. Many are strongly persuaded that it also was a terroristic incident.

I've been thinking quite a bit lately about you and your family being in South Korea, wishing that you all would get the heck out of there. But then, where in the world is "safe"?

I guess this world has never been safe. Maybe perception has just finally caught up with reality, a good thing, I guess, but I was really partial to my rose-colored glasses.
Local Rebel
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19 posted 02-15-2003 08:39 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Due diligence from the average citizen requires us to recognize that there is no higher office in the land than that of average citizen.  We have to arm ourselves with information, understand the issues, watch what our representatives are doing, limit the scope of power special interests inject into the process, and make sure our security isn't being sold out to fatten someone's wallet or make political hay.

I think the first question we have to ask is why is the congress and andmistration so hell bent on making it easier for law enforcement to abuse law abiding citizens (criminals, after all, are much harder to catch and abuse) in the name of national security yet leave our borders wide open?
Denise
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20 posted 02-16-2003 07:08 AM       View Profile for Denise   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Denise

L.R.

I've never been political. Sure, I've voted, for the candidate that seemed to me to be the "lesser of two evils." That's usually what it comes down to. Newspaper articles giving the platform of each candidate seem to be slim-pickings more and more. Even when trying to resolve small neighborhood problems, it's been like hitting a brick wall trying to figure out who my council person or representative is. The only time you hear from any of them is election time. After that they disappear for 4 years. It's very frustrating. Perhaps that's the intent?

Yeah, I've been wondering why something isn't done about the borders. Bill O'Reilly started talking about that immediately following 9/11. And why the government continues to make it increasingly difficult for law abiding citizens to purchase guns, for example. Do they really think criminals will have any trouble getting hold of a gun because of purchasing restrictions?  

We've come a long way from the Founding Fathers' concept of self-government, a government "of, by and for the people", haven't we?

If you could send me any info to help me to become a more aware and involved citizen I would greatly appreciate it, L.R.

Thanks,
Denise

winston
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21 posted 02-19-2003 07:51 AM       View Profile for winston   Email winston   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for winston

Well, Denise, security guards should be on the look out for blond, blue-eyed, Norwegians because out of Norway's nearly 67,000 Muslims, hundreds (if not thousands) of them ARE blond and blue-eyed. The problem is that they haven't yet got around to fitting into our stereotype of what we preconceive to be a Muslim.
Thanks.

It's amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity, & incumbency.
--G. "DUBYA" BUSH. June 14, 2001. Unaware of rolling TV camera.

Opeth
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22 posted 02-19-2003 08:27 AM       View Profile for Opeth   Email Opeth   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Opeth

"Well, Denise, security guards should be on the look out for blond, blue-eyed, Norwegians because out of Norway's nearly 67,000 Muslims, hundreds (if not thousands) of them ARE blond and blue-eyed. The problem is that they haven't yet got around to fitting into our stereotype of what we preconceive to be a Muslim."

~ The terrorists/terrorist cells responsible for 911, among many other acts of terrorism against the United States are almost 100% if not 100% mid-eastern in descent and are all of the muslim faith.  With these facts in hand, I believe that in order to protect our country from further acts of terrorism, racial profiling of the mid-eastern muslim male may become a "necessary evil."

This has nothing to do with Norwegian muslims.
Ron
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23 posted 02-19-2003 09:58 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

As best I've been able to determine, all of the terrorists were males between 5 foot 5 and six foot 1. And every single one of them was right-handed, too. So we can pretty much assume that anyone who is female, short, tall, or right-handed is safe?
LilTai
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24 posted 02-19-2003 07:15 PM       View Profile for LilTai   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for LilTai

I agree with most everything that's been said, and all of the opinions are interesting..however, one thing bothers me.

It is NOT "Islamic" terrorists.  THey may be Iraqi, or Arab, or some other word, but not Islamic.  Though they claim what they do in the name of Allah, (the same single God of Christianity and Judaism) they are not Muslim, and therefore are NOT Islamic.

These are simply tribal warlords.  Muslims are peaceful (is that a word?, modest people, not terrorists, and in fact, these acts of violence in His name "cancels out" the Muslim part of what these horrible people claim to be.  They are not Muslim, and so are not Islamic.  They ARE, however, terrorists.  

   Tai

 
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