First of all I want to apologize for crossposting this follow up, and
turning it into a combo, but it is the only way I can think of to answer
everybody on a current issue while it is still a current issue. On that note
I want to point out that the information we have available changes every
hour, and what I said yesterday may be inaccurate today, and the message I
posted two days ago I now hopelessly outdated. I just want an opportunity to
try and explain the reasoning behind my original post, the details that
triggered my concern, and so on.

Before going any further, allow me to reinstate the obvious: the ones that
must be kept in mind here are the victims of these attacks, and their
families who are desperately waiting to learn the fate of their loved ones.
It is an unbearable experience and they have my full support. I know my
posts may sound cold even callous amidst the passions that have been
brought to the surface by these acts, but like everyone else I'm just trying
to make sense out of a senseless situation by rationalizing the pitiful
amount of information I am being presented with. In the end the deeds are
done, and the dead are not coming back. There is no turning back time, and
the names of the assassins mean nothing to the thousands that have lost
their lives in this tragedy.

Some have asked about what was the point of my previous post, the answer is
simple: I am troubled by the way in which the media has been handling the
incident. Even if Bin Laden was the most obvious suspect, there were some
things that could have been relevant that were never mentioned and even
before the dust settled the fingers were already being pointed toward the
Middle East. Let me be clear on this one: I never said that I believed it
was a domestic organization, I never claimed to know who did it, it's just
that I couldn't help but remember the fact that after the Oklahoma bombing
the first reaction was blaming it on Muslim fundamentalists. To this day my
position is: I want to know who is responsible for these atrocities, not who
the fashionable scapegoat happens to be. If, when all is said and done, the
evidence points to the Middle East (and the evidence for that is now
mounting rapidly, but I don't want to rush into anything given the extent of
the crime), I'm willing to accept that, but I'm not convinced yet (and that
brings me to another point, when I wrote that message no leads had been made
public as to the identity of the hijackers). Now I'll tackle several things
that have come up repeatedly, even if some of them are now outdated. I'll
get back to the media later.

The question that keeps popping up is that of the relevance of the language.
The report I mentioned, when I said that things didn't add up was the one in
which a passenger reported that there had been a change of targets, from the
White House to the Pentagon, I believe. This is the one conversation that I
found a little odd. It has been pointed out to me that the hijackers must
have been fluent in English. I know this is almost certainly true, but this
would be related to strategy, and even now, in spite of the evidence, it
seems unnatural to have that conversation in a foreign language, not to
mention that in times of great stress the instinctive reaction is to revert
to one's native tongue. Some have mentioned the possibility that the
hijackers spoke different dialects or even different languages so they were
forced to use English, and that may well have been the case, but to me that
would seem like dangerous proposition simply because it adds a possible
miscommunication to the mix in a very delicate and carefully planned attack.
I'm willing to admit that the different groups of hijackers could have
spoken different languages, but I don't see it as a likely circumstance
inside any one of those sub groups.

There was another very small detail that was never mentioned by the media
and even though now it may seem irrelevant in light of the evidence that has
been presented, that was not the case at the very beginning: these attacks
took place exactly three months after Timothy McVeigh was executed. There
was a lot of emphasis placed on why a Muslim group may have chosen the month
of September for an attack, and the reasons that were mentioned are valid,
but if we are focusing on the dates lets look at all the possible
candidates, and from a logistical perspective this attack would be more
feasible for a local group that is already in place (or a foreign group with
some local support, as it now appears to have been the case), than for a
totally foreign organization, even if that thought is more comforting.

And now for the media. My problem with them is that they have been feeding
what can be described as mass hysteria, rather than trying to help people
keep the calm at least until we know what is really going on, and as a
result there have been some racist incidents that target the US muslim
population. Also, some important events have gone virtually unreported by US
networks, like the fact that both Cuba and Libya offered their support to
the US in this crisis, or the fact that apparently thousands of deaths in
the WTC could and should have been prevented (although here I must stress
that hindsight is always 20/20, so regardless of the reliability of sources
for these reports, I am not willing to say that mistakes were made in the
handling of that situation). In light of this I went looking for info from
foreign sources, all I can say is that it was an interesting and
enlightening experience.

One of the questions I keep finding is one that has hardly been mentioned in
the US: who stands to gain the most from these attacks? I believe it is a
relevant question and its omission is important, especially because Bin
Laden by himself is *not* the first answer to this question (even if he is
obviously a serious contender), however a coalition of terrorist groups is a
better possibility. As I said before I don't know who did it, and I am not
willing to speculate, I believe that is dangerous and this is particularly
true for someone in a position of power... we expect our newscasters to
double check their sources, we trust them to be certain of what they are
saying, but the fact is that under the current circumstances that is
unrealistic, and to make matters worse they have to keep talking for 24 hrs
a day because we want to be kept up to date on the latest developments
minute by minute (and I am as guilty of this as the next person).

Finally we come to the one that is at the center of the controversy: the
issue of retaliation. As I said in my previous post, I do not believe in "an
eye for an eye" (it never ends there) and much less in "an innocent for an
innocent". I do want to see justice for the thousands that were killed, but
I feel we must keep in mind that there is a difference between justice and
revenge. I'm aware that sometimes violence may be seen as the lesser of two
evils, or a necessary evil, but I believe we must keep in mind that it is
*still* an evil, and two wrongs won't make a right, they will just increase
the body count. I'm *not* saying these atrocities should be forgiven, but
widespread retaliation against an ethnic group because of their religious
beliefs is not the way to go.

I have received numerous messages both on and off the lists in which people
express their confidence that no action will be taken until those
responsible have been fully identified and that even then only those
responsible will be punished, I can only hope this will be the case, but
there are also other messages, ones that I find more troubling, in which the
very humanity of those who do not share American views and ideals is
questioned. Messages in which Muslims are described as children who are
testing the limits of what they will be allowed to get away with, and who
must be taught a hard and painful lesson, calls for patriots to take action
and avenge the innocents that were lost, and even calls for the
extermination of all Muslims. I understand the rage, but the fact is that
what is needed is justice for a crime for which there can be no justice.
There is no punishment to fit the crime and so we are left with the cries
for vengeance that can easily lead the entire world into a death trap. It is
a fact that there are fanatical groups in most religions, and none of them
should ever, IMHO, be seen as a reflection of the followers of that religion
as a whole.

A couple of you also wrote to complain about my spelling, and I appreciate
the advice. I know my spelling is a nightmare, and I'm aware of the fact
that I am dyslexic so I guess I should warn you, you will find quite a few
typos here, I'm really sorry about that, I'm trying my best.

Some wrote to complain that this message was OT (it was only labeled as such
on those lists in which there was no ongoing discussion on the subject, or
in which other messages dealing with this subject were being labeled as
such) I apologize for the inconvenience my previous message may have caused

I guess that's it, once again sorry about the huge combo/crosspost but I had
well over 50 messages to reply to.

Clea Saal
"Soulless" No sex, no aliens, just a chilling possibility...
because the end has already begun.
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