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Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 09:16:03 -0500
To: Sarah Tuft
Subject: [Fwd: Please read and share on…]


I would like to pass on this quote that was sent to me by a friend… it applies to all those who hate, whether they are bin Laden and the Taliban, or Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson:
"What is objectionable, what is dangerous, about extremists
is not that they are extreme, but that they are intolerant. The evil is not
what they say about their cause, but what they say about their opponents."

Robert Kennedy

In order for all of us who are mourning innocent lives not to be intolerant in our reaction to this horror, it is very important that every American read the following essay... We have so much to learn about Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Taliban, and bin Laden. I, for one, know so little… we must not commit to military action, or any action that will result in the loss of lives, without the knowledge and understanding that are available to us in our great democratic nation. Only then can we make a decision born out of wisdom and true strength…

X is a documentary & scientific children's book author.

Date: Fri, 14 Sep 2001 23:04:23 -0400

-----Original Message-----

Subject: FW: A view from Afghanistan
A sobering essay forwarded by a UC Berkeley professor:

Dear Friends,

The following was sent to me by my friend X. X is an Afghani-American writer. He is also one of the most brilliant people I know in this life. When he writes, I read. When he talks, I listen. Here is his take on Afghanistan and the whole mess we are in.
Gary T.

Dear Gary and whoever else is on this email thread:

I've been hearing a lot of talk about "bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age." Ronn Owens, on KGO Talk Radio today, 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. What else can we do?" Minutes later I heard some TV pundit discussing whether we "have the
belly to do what must be done." And I thought about the issues being raised
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 going on there. So I want
to tell anyone who will listen how it all looks from where I'm standing.

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 agree that something must be done about those monsters.

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 took over Afghanistan in 1997. Bin Laden is a political criminal
with a 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 exult if someone would come in there, take out the Taliban and clear out the rats nest of international thugs holed up in their country.

Some say, why don't the Afghans rise up and overthrow the Taliban? The
answer is, they're starved, exhausted, hurt, incapacitated, suffering.
A few years ago, the United Nations estimated that there are 500,000 disabled orphans in Afghanistan--a country with no economy, no food. There and millions of widows. And the Taliban has been burying these widows alive in mass graves. The soil is littered with land mines, the farms were all destroyed by the Soviets. These are a few of the reasons why the Afghan people have not overthrown the Taliban.

We come now to the question of bombing Afghanistan back to the Stone Age. Trouble is, that's been done. The Soviets took care of it already. 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? Cut them off from medicine and health care? Too late. Someone already did all that.

New bombs would only stir 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. 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
Kabua and dropping bombs wouldn't really be a strike against the criminals
who did this horrific thing. Actually it would only be making common cause with the Taliban--by raping once again the people they've been raping all this
time .

So what else is there? What 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. When people speak of "having the belly to do what needs to be done" they're thinking in terms of having the belly to kill as many as needed. Having the belly to overcome any moral qualms about killing innocent people. Let's pull our heads out of the sand. What's actually on the table is Americans dying. 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. Because 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. We're flirting with a world war between Islam and the West.

And guess what:. That's Bin Laden's program. That's exactly what he wants.
That's why he did this. Read his speeches and statements. It's all right
there. 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 those
lands, that's a billion people with nothing left to lose, that's even
better from Bin Laden's point of view. He's probably wrong, in the end the west would win, whatever that would mean, but the war would last for years and millions would die, not just theirs but ours. Who has the belly for that? Bin Laden does. Anyone else?

- X

Email Date:Tue, 18 Sep 2001

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