Following is the initial polemic sent wednesday night sep12 2001
hey babe,
all of mine are present and accounted for. folks have been checking in and those who can get through on the phone to nyc are getting the word out.

a dark day indeed and i can't believe that america has fully processed the implications of all this, they are so vast and we are so focused on the immediate rescues (now concluding) , the "personal stories" either of tragedy or relief and the retaliation that will inevitably come.

i'm afraid that i am showing my internationalist and bleeding heart credentials to folks who just dont wanna hear it, perhaps they will in one week or so. the problem with waiting that long is that the consensus building in the mass media has begun in earnest and i sense that american think that a paroxysm of violence would be a very good thing.

voices of big-picture people are very few and far between in the late stages of national shock, and all media oxygen is being sucked into the whirlwind. i think we need to convince the US to pursue a two-pronged response after the initial rescues are over. it cannot be just violence and retaliation directed at the symptoms of the disease, because that will only breed more hatred and bring us to their level. we also need, as a nation, to understand the causes for the symptoms. the level of desperation, oppression, disenfranchisement and poverty that would cause someone to seek meaning in fundamentalism. and to then express that fundamentalism in senseless acts such as this.

some of the angles i would want us to think about are obvious, some less so. for instance:

  • is this the best thing that has ever happened to ariel sharon? (two incursions into palestinian towns in last 48 hours, completely unreported in the US).
  • do we *now* engage properly in the mid-east or is that caving to blackmail?
  • does the presence of US troops in islamic/ arabic dictatorships exacerbate anti-americanism in the muslim masses?
  • will we buy fewer SUVs?
  • can the north continue with the current policies of the IMF vis-a-vis southern debt?
  • how much more money are american politicians going to spend on security, to the detriment of other spending or retiring the debt?
  • will a more egalitarian and democratic world produce less fundamentalism and terrorism?
  • can america afford to turn its back on the world ?
  • will we ever manage to make the distinction between orthodoxy and fundamentalism?
  • will the US ever understand that if you throw your weight around, people will throw it back in any way they can?
  • does the US public have the tools to process these events into a worldview, as the europeans who experienced WWII bombing and taught their kids about it do? and finally, and possibly most importantly, do you really wanna give up your sixth (and possibly first) amendment rights to achieve some false feeling of "security"? (at least two reports of FBI showing up with carnivore units at major ISPs) i think ben franklin would have something to say about that.

platitudes perhaps, but the sort of examination which cannot be put off.