Violent retribution is now the only way to stop...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

September 16, 2001

Violent retribution is now the only way to stop terrorism

Stephen Zunes is just wrong; it's that simple ("U.S. shouldn't fight violence with violence," Opinion Commentary, Sept. 12).

The terrorists who perpetrated Tuesday's attack will not respond to "the fortitude and caring" of U.S. citizens. Unlike the majority of the Muslims in the world, they are religious fanatics. They will gladly die to bring harm to America.

Mr. Zunes may or may not be correct when he points to U.S. policy as a lightning rod for retaliation, but there is no question he is wrong about the required U.S. response to such horrific terrorism.

The task is unpleasant, but it is undeniable. It is time for the United States to invade Afghanistan, deliver Osama bin Laden to the U.S. Justice Department and neutralize the Taliban.

Sonny Church

Fallston

Stephen Zunes' essay was gratuitous. It was designed to defend an "immigrant community" (i.e., American Arabs) from criticism and to blame America for the atrocity committed against her.

The Sun might have waited a decent interval before printing such specious nonsense out of respect for the enormous suffering in the country; no one wanted to read Wednesday morning that we brought this tragedy on ourselves.

David Kross

Columbia

I suggest Stephen Zunes look at what happened in 1938 when England and France tried to appease another maniac.

Like Hitler, Osama bin Laden and his ilk respect nothing but force and need to be dealt with using the strongest measures possible.

Eugene Gronberg

Baltimore

Brutal American policies anger much of the world

Thank you for having the courage to print Stephen Zunes' timely column "U.S. shouldn't fight violence with violence" (Opinion Commentary, Sept. 12).

Far too few U.S. citizens appear to be introspective enough to ask what consequences might predictably ensue from "a United States that backs an occupying Israeli army as well as corrupt autocratic Arab dictatorships, which kill innocent civilians using weapons supplied by our government."

American missiles have smashed into Palestinian, Lebanese and Iraqi homes. U.S.-instigated sanctions have destroyed the lives of half a million children in Iraq. America's ally Israel killed thousands of civilians in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon, and it has dispossessed, crushed and humiliated the Palestinian population in 34 years of brutal occupation.

In addition, we've bombed Lebanon ourselves, along with Grenada, Libya, Central America, Panama, Sudan, Serbia and Afghanistan, and continue to wage war against Iraq 10 years after the gulf war.

As Mr. Zunes observes, "We need to re-evaluate policies that lead to such anger and resentment."

Michael Scott

Baltimore

Intelligence failures show the military needs to change

The terrorist attacks on Tuesday were a monumental intelligence failure by the U.S. government. I hope that this is a wake-up call for the Congress and military.

Obsolete military bases scattered around the country (10 percent to 25 percent of the existing bases, according to the Pentagon) need to be closed so that the military can concentrate on stopping the threat to our security.

Roger Fitzgerald

Hampstead

Criticizing spy agencies betrays sheer hypocrisy

I had to laugh out loud when I read about congressional criticism of the intelligence community for not being adequately prepared to warn us of this attack ("Lack of warning highlights spy agencies' shortcomings," Sept. 13).

As Congress has done nothing but decimate the intelligence budget for the last 15 years and tell us how antiquated a notion human intelligence is, I find such criticism not only hypocritical, but distasteful.

Greg Corrigan

Ellicott City

Attack underscores need to destroy nuclear weapons

After witnessing the destruction that can be inflicted by a jet airplane, we should be reminded that, as horrible as it was, a jet plane is not a nuclear bomb.

And there are thousands of nuclear bombs, many on hair-trigger alert.

As part of the anti-terrorism program, should we not commit ourselves to the urgent and resolute abolition of nuclear bombs and their ingredients?

Arthur Milholland

Silver Spring

Leave vengeance to the armed forces

With great justification, everyone in the United States and all our friends across the world have decried the deplorable terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington. However, we must not risk becoming terrorists ourselves.

I am sickened at the reports from Seattle, Chicago and other places around our country that people have taken it upon themselves to indiscriminately attack Arab and Muslim people who share the values every American cherishes.

Although smaller in scope, these are acts of terrorism, just like the attacks that occurred on Tuesday.

If we cannot uphold our American values of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all innocent people, then we cannot call ourselves true Americans.

Only our government can engage in war, and it will identify the necessary targets for carrying out the appropriate military responses.

Jesse Doggett

Owings Mills

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