- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 19, 2001

Attack aftermath raises issues

Regardless of religion, nationality or color, Americans are outraged and shocked on this assault on our great nation, which is a symbol of freedom and liberty.
It is time to unite, to help each other and show to the world that the American spirit cannot be shaken.
While it sounds very reasonable to speculate that Osama bin Laden or some terrorist groups from the Middle East are responsible, rather than white supremacists, anti-globalists or anti-capitalists, let's not forget that believers of the Islamic faith, like the other great religions of the world, see the killing of innocent people as a crime against humanity. Some people are using this incident for political purposes and to spread hatred against Islam and Arabs in general. This is not right.
The terrorist has no faith, no heart and no soul; but America does. America believes in liberty and freedom. This great country has embraced people from every corner of the world with open arms, whether they were victims of social and economic injustices, governmental corruption, poverty or religious fanaticism.
For centuries, people have come here to practice their faith and enjoy freedom and equal opportunity. They are black, white, Asian, European, Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Hindu. Only in America is it possible to see life without the self-created boundaries of ideology, race, color, religion and gender.
These concepts of human freedom are under attack. Let us not get too carried away, fall victim to our emotions and lose our identity as a free country.

MOHAMMAD A. KHALID
Silver Spring So many innocent lives from different ethnic backgrounds vanished for no reason. New York City is one of the most diverse cities in the world: Christians, Jews and Muslims live there in peace and harmony. The terrorists did not differentiate between Americans and Arabs. They launched an attack that violates every belief system. They sent a message to the entire civilized world that they are lunatics who do not deserve to live. Muslims all over the United States including myself have mourned the death of the victims; many assisted in the rescue efforts.
I urge the media to be fair and just in how they portray these events. Islam has no room for anyone who claims to be a Muslim but is willing to take innocent lives for no reason. If some ignorant minority of Palestinians danced in the streets after hearing the horrible news, it might just be a sign that America needs to revisit its foreign polices and implement justice throughout the world.
Nevertheless, as a Palestinian, I can confidently say that the majority of Palestinians were very sympathetic to the victims, especially since they have been victims of terrorism since Palestine was occupied. I urge Americans to stop all forms of terrorism no matter who the perpetrators are.

MARWAN ABDOH
Fairfax


Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell should be mightily ashamed of themselves for attacking Americans with whom they disagree in the wake of the terrorist attacks this week ("'Evil' ways blamed for Tuesday's attack," Nation, Sept. 15).
It is clear that feminists, American Civil Liberties Union members, gay people, pagans, etc. had absolutely no role in causing this tragedy. These "religious" leaders stooped to the lowest form of demagoguery and hatemongering in fingering their domestic political foes to score cheap political points standing on the graves of those murdered on Sept. 11.

KIRK CHILDRESS
HoustonFor those in Afghanistan and other Arab nations who are celebrating the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, I wish to remind them that the citizens of the United States have given more of their hearts, money, time and resources to help starving and oppressed people around the world than any other nation in history. Hundreds of thousands of our citizens have died in defense of other countries.
From the Christian perspective, the idea that one must "love one's enemy" is sound moral advice, but allowing that enemy to terrorize the world is a violation of our God-given right to defend ourselves. "Turning the other cheek" while others are being slaughtered is the kind of moral cowardice that terrorists have, for too long, wrongly interpreted as a free pass to continue their acts of violence.
Nations that harbor terrorists are aiding and abetting the carnage those terrorists inflict on others; they must be held accountable. Citizens of those countries who allow their leaders to continue protecting terrorists must either rise up against them or face the consequences of being complicit through their inaction.
Muslim leaders must make it very clear, very fast, that these monsters do not speak for the Muslim religion. If they do not, they blaspheme Allah, in effect announcing to the world that such terrorists are the spokesmen for their religion.

ANN SHERIDAN
WashingtonIn his Sept. 18 Commentary column, "Halting the hijackers," Martin Gross suggests separating the cockpit from the passenger's cabin to avoid future hijackings.
There's an even simpler, no-cost solution readily available: Permit passengers to carry weapons for personal protection knives and guns on flights. As Mr. Gross points out, all baggage and passenger checks will ultimately fail, while massively inconveniencing all concerned. The specter of shootouts at 30,000 feet is much less daunting than suicidal fanatics commandeering aircraft with carton cutters. As the situation exists now, we guarantee that anyone who does manage to get a weapon onto an aircraft can be reasonably certain that he has the only one aboard.
As the Second Amendment crowd is fond of pointing out, "When guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns."

JACK BOGUSCH
Rio Rancho, N.M.In your Sept. 18 Metro section, a headline announces, "Gilmore says chemical, biological threats low." I believe that on Sept. 10, The Washington Times could have run a headline that read, "Threat of coordinated attack on multiple targets by terrorists using commercial aircraft hijacked in the United States said to be low."
This would have been equally true and equally irrelevant.

DAVID W. EVANS
Arlington



Your Sept. 18 front-page article, "Wartime presidential powers supersede liberties" states that "the Constitution permits a president to suspend the right to be freed from arrest by a writ of habeas corpus ."
The power to suspend the writ of habeas corpus is listed in Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution but is granted to Congress, not the president as you indicate.
Abraham Lincoln did, indeed, suspend habeas corpus during the Civil War, but he had no constitutional authority to do so. Congress restricted habeas corpus when it passed the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. The federal government ought to look at this law, which was upheld by the Supreme Court in its 1996 decision Felker vs. Turpin and Article I, Section 9, if it seeks the authority to limit habeas corpus rights at this time, when liberty may need to be sacrificed for the sake of security. We should be careful to uphold the Constitution at this time of crisis.
The 20th century has seen too many instances in which the Constitution was sacrificed for the sake of empowering government to solve some crisis that, in the end, it failed to remedy.
The Constitution gives the federal government adequate power to respond to the crisis of terrorism. Let's not repeat the mistakes of the past. Let's not allow the Constitution to become the plaything of judges and politicians frustrated by the procedures and constraints that were created to protect our nation and our liberty.

MICHAEL P. FEDERICI
Associate professor
Department of Political Science
Mercyhurst College
Erie, Pa.While "God Bless America" is a great singalong, our national anthem is more appropriate at this time. It tells the story of another attack on the United States and how we, and our flag, stood up to overwhelming power.
The British Parliament understood the relevance of the anthem last week. We should, too.

TED BRENNAN
Emmitsburg, Md.

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