September 20, 2001
Terror in America
Tuesday morning began as the kind of sunny day that made you glad to be alive. Sadly, that day, the United States joined the majority of nations who know devastation firsthand. Am I surprised that the United States was hit by terrorism? No. But I am astonished by the complacency of a system that failed to heed more than a decade of unequivocal threats and clear declarations of intent to hurt American people -- a complacency that spurred terrorists into the action they took this week. Still, we remain a light to other nations. I pray that we abandon the dangerous rhetoric so quickly embraced and not just strike back for its own sake. Yes, the aggressors must be punished, but the real enemy -- pervasive hate -- must be strategically, and patiently, countered. On this bright morning, we are indelibly changed. Let's search our souls, take our time -- and do it.
Judith Gordon, Santa Monica
What a blatant hypocrite. How can Colin Powell condemn terrorism out of one side of his mouth and pressure Israel to negotiate with terrorist Arafat out of the other?
Eli Eisenberg , Agoura Hills
Lord, I wish I were still asleep and all this were a dream. As the Mahzor, the High Holy Day prayer book, states: "I plead, I implore God; I ask for the gift of expression; so that within the congregating nation I may sing of God's strength; So I may express song of God's works." O Lord, spread over us Your Sukkat Shalom, your shelter of wholeness. Our congregating nation could use it.
Rabbi Jason van Leeuwen , Northridge
After the smoke clears, I believe the world will clearly see that there is no moral equivalency between terrorist acts and the actions by groups or states that purportedly provide a rationale for such acts. I was heartened to hear President Bush state that the terrorists who commit these acts, as well as those that harbor the terrorists, will not be tolerated. I am hopeful that these terrible events will help world leadership and opinion understand the feelings of the individual Israeli and the actions of the Israel's government. No longer can terrorist groups be allowed to feel safe and secure while they plan and execute acts of terror and evil. Lack of internal trust and concern for personal safety must become the new priority for these groups and their sponsors.
Richard A. Entin, Pacific Palisades
Now we know what it is like to lose someone so suddenly. Now, we as Americans can understand the importance of supporting Israel while it struggles with the terror and pain that it faces. I implore everyone that possibly can to support Israel, and America, in their time of pain.
Daryn Friedman , Brentwood
In 1986 I ventured inside Afghanistan to document Soviet abuse and genocide, helping to uncover the "toy-bomb" butterfly mine used against the innocent Muslim children.
When I heard this week that the current despots of Afghanistan, the Taliban, had murdered our ally, Ahmed Shah Masoud, the charismatic and famous Afghan resistance leader whom I met, I knew that the Muslim civil war had taken a dangerous turn. It followed the very next day then that the Islamic Fundamentalist forces have now declared war on not only Israel, but indeed, America and the West.
Some of us have long urged our fellow American Jews to lead the effort to fight the last great evil. Our nation has defeated Nazism, Communism, and now must fight and defeat the forces in the Middle East which have terrorized Israel for so long. Israel now has the green light to defend itself, and the U.S. now has the horrific knowledge that the days of self deception, and pacifism, are over. I pray that Americans will know that the masses of Palestinians danced in the streets at the images of the mass murder of American men, women, and children.
Weakness has invited the aggressor, and our failure to respond to the clear and present danger and evident warnings was criminal negligence. Let us now unite to defend freedom, democracy, and, indeed, the civilized world against our foreign enemies.
Larry Greenfield, Los Angeles