I had mistakenly labeled this as part 1 previously. It is part 2

January, 4, 2005
Dealing With Terrorism-9/11 In America

Like most Americans, I’ll never forget September 11, 2001. I got up early in the morning to go to work and heard about the first plane crashing into the World Trade Center. I figured it was a freak accident. As I was getting ready for work, I had on my portable radio set, listening in fascinated horror when the second plane crashed into it. Of course, by then it was obvious this was a deliberate attack. I woke my British-born wife to tell her about it, and at first she thought I was making a bad joke.

I work at a hospital, and during my lunch hour, there were some television monitors turned on in the hospital. I was sitting next to a woman who did not speak English, and as I speak Spanish, I was explaining what was happening. She had come here from a very small village in Mexico, had only been here in Washington State (far northwest of the United States) for a few weeks. She had brought her ill child to the hospital. I remember how impassive her face was, long dark black hair and Mayan facial features.

Most Americans felt violated. They felt that this was unfair, a great injustice. After all, the victims were innocent bystanders. A rage built up among the population. It became a very fearful time for the many Muslims and Sikhs (who look like Muslims to many Americans). To his credit, President Bush did say on national television that the vast majority of American Muslims were opposed to this and no reprisals should be meted out. That undoubtedly softened the backlash.

Americans just could not understand why this had happened to them. But much of the rest of the world knew why Al Quaeda had attacked. Although they did not approve of attacking civilians, much of the rest of the world sees the USA completely differently than Americans do and feel al Qaeda have some legitimate complaints while abhorring their tactics.

Americans see their role in the world as benign, but this is at great odds to the way many people in Africa, Asia, and the middle east, Latin America, and ever Europe view America.

Suddenly, Americans became aware of terrorism in a whole new way, because many Americans now felt vulnerable to such attack, being innocent victims in a dispute between their government and a mysterious organization from a different culture.

The truth of the matter is that the al Quaeda terrorists have an agenda they want to achieve. But before we look at what that agenda is, let us review what exactly terrorism is from my first essay on this topic:

Terrorism comprises
1. The use of violence or threat of violence
2. Against bystanders or civilians instead of officials responsible for policy.
3. With the goal of forcing a political or social policy.

My next essay will examine the effectiveness of terrorism in achieving political or social goals apart from the question of its morality. We will look at various instances of terrorism to see which have succeeded and which have failed and why. Later essays will examine what al Quaeda want to accomplish, the relationship of war to terrorism, and the moral dimensions of it all.

One Response to “On Terrorism, Part 2”

  • Luisflorez:

    For the great majority of the Latin American town, (Not them great politicos or financial powers, of course), the terrorist attacks towards the United States, are not but that revenge by the amount of crimenes committed by the United States in the rest of the world and mainly in paises oil.
    Here, one thinks: If this politica of crimenes of the governors of the United States, is not shared by the current population, so that protests of the citizens against their government are not heard? He will be that they agree in which his government executes these acts of criminality through world, in name of the “Democracy”?
    I have been living in a country, whipped by a cruel violence for many years and every time coal to that violence puts to him but that never will finish.

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