11.03.2001

Bush Clamping Down On Presidential Papers
Incumbent Could Lock Up Predecessor's Records
_____Federal Page_____
By George Lardner Jr.

Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, November 1, 2001; Page A33



The Bush White House has drafted an executive order that would usher in a new era of secrecy for presidential records and allow an incumbent president to withhold a former president's papers even if the former president wanted to make them public.

The five-page draft would also require members of the public seeking particular documents to show "at least a 'demonstrated, specific need' " for them before they would be considered for release.

Historians and others who have seen the proposed order called it unprecedented and said it would turn the 1978 Presidential Records Act on its head by allowing such materials to be kept secret "in perpetuity."

Under the order, incumbent and former presidents "could keep their records locked up for as long as they want," said Bruce Craig, executive director of the National Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History. "It reverses the very premise of the Presidential Records Act, which provides for a systematic release of presidential records after 12 years."

Other critics voiced concern about the impact of the order "in the post-September 11 world," with its wartime atmosphere.

"The executive branch is moving heavily into the nether world of dirty tricks, very likely including directed assassinations overseas and other violations of American norms and the U.N. charter," said Vanderbilt University historian Hugh Graham. "There is going to be so much to hide."

Bush is expected to sign the order shortly. A White House aide said the Supreme Court held in 1977 that former presidents can continue to assert various privileges for their records and the order will simply establish "a procedure by which they can protect their rights." The aide said "great deference" will be paid to their wishes.

"The majority of former presidents have released virtually all of their records," the aide added. "This executive order does nothing to change that."

The proposed order, dated Oct. 29, grew out of a decision by the Bush administration early this year to block the release of 68,000 pages of confidential communications between President Ronald Reagan and his advisers that officials at the National Archives, including the Reagan library, had wanted to make public.

Relying on an obscure executive order that Reagan issued just before leaving office, White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales prescribed a series of delays so that Bush could decide whether to invoke "a constitutionally based privilege or take other appropriate action."

The papers in question, some dealing with Reagan-era officials who now have high posts in the Bush administration, were to have been disclosed last January under the 1978 law, which said that the documents could be restricted at the most for 12 years after Reagan left office.

The new executive order would replace the 1989 Reagan decree and cover not only confidential communications between a president and his advisers but, as Graham put it, "almost anything in the White House files."

For 12-year-old documents that are not covered by "constitutionally based privileges" but are subject to requests under the Freedom of Information Act, the order states that the archivist "must withhold" them if possible.

For records that might be privileged as state secrets, confidential communications, attorney-client communications, or "deliberative process" materials, a requester must establish "specific need" for them "as a threshold matter."

A former president would then review them and tell the archivist whether they should be withheld or made public. The incumbent president or a designee would then look at them to see if he or she agrees with the ex-president's decision. Unless both agree they should be made public, the records will remain secret unless "a final court order" should require disclosure.

"Absent compelling circumstances," the incumbent president will concur in the former president's privilege decision, the draft order states. But if the incumbent president does not agree on a former president's decision to grant access, "the incumbent president may independently order the archivist to withhold privileged records."

The order would work "like a one-way ratchet," said Scott Nelson, an attorney for the Public Citizen Litigation Group. "If the former president says the records are privileged, they will remain secret even if the sitting president disagrees. If the sitting president says they should be privileged, they remain secret even if the former president disagrees."



© 2001 The Washington Post Company
HEADLINE: Food Fight;
>>Sulaymaniyah Dispatch
>>
>>BYLINE: By Michael Rubin

>>
>>BODY:
>>Michael Rubin, a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute for
>>Near East Policy, recently returned from nine months in Iraq, where
>>he was a Carnegie Council fellow working at northern Iraq's
>>universities.
>>
>>The azad pharmacy in Sulaymaniyah is stocked with medicines. So is >>the
Shara pharmacy next door. In the cool early evening hours, the
>>street bustles with shoppers, some of whom drift inside. They hand
>>over prescriptions, pay the equivalent of a few cents, and walk out
>>with antibiotics for their wives or medicine for their children.
>>Down the street, shops sell watermelons, cheese, vegetables, and
>>meat. Even the liquor stores have large inventories. Mazdas and
>>Mercedeses are becoming more common on the newly paved roads; in >>the
wealthier areas, it is not uncommon to see BMWs. Sony
>>PlayStation has become the latest craze, even among housewives.
>>None of which would be particularly noteworthy, except that
>>Sulaymaniyah is in Iraq.
>>
>>For years Saddam Hussein has loudly complained that U.N.
>>prohibitions on the sale of Iraqi oil, imposed when Iraq invaded
>>Kuwait in 1990, are starving his people. To prove his point, Saddam
>>has taken foreign reporters and diplomats on tours throughout
>>greater Iraq, where the citizenry does indeed seem to be suffering
>>mass deprivation. And his public relations campaign has borne
>>fruit, eroding public support for sanctions in Europe and in the
>>United States and contributing to the Bush administration's recent
>>proposal to radically scale them back. But Sulaymaniyah, a city in
>>northern Iraq with approximately 500,000 inhabitants, tells a
>>different story. Indeed, across a crescent-shaped slice of northern
>>Iraq, the picture is the same: The shops are stocked, and the
>>people are eating. Northern Iraq lives under exactly the same
>>international sanctions as the rest of the country. The difference
>>here is that local Kurdish authorities, in conjunction with the
>>United Nations, spend the money they get from the sale of oil.
>>Everywhere else in Iraq, Saddam does. And when local authorities
>>are determined to get food and medicine to their people-instead
>>of, say, reselling these supplies to finance military spending and
>>palace construction-the current sanctions regime works just fine.
>>Or, to put it more bluntly, the United Nations isn't starving
>>Saddam's people. Saddam is.
>>
>>You can see this starkly in a place like Dohuk, about 300 miles
>>northwest of Sulaymaniyah, where a two-story supermarket has arisen >>from
the ashes of an Iraqi Revolutionary Guards base. Shoppers >>enjoy hamburgers
and ice cream in the cafe; elsewhere they buy >>frozen meat and choose among
a wide variety of canned goods from >>Iran, Turkey, and Europe. Upstairs,
shoppers can try on locally >>made, and even Italian designer, shoes and
clothes. At checkout, >>cashiers swipe each item with infrared scanners.
>>
>>Northern Iraq has been independent of Saddam (and guarded by U.S.
>>and British patrols) since the Kurdish uprising that followed the
>>Gulf war in 1991. And, under the sanctions regime in place ever
>>since, the north receives 13 percent of Baghdad's oil income and
>>can use the money to finance U.N.-approved projects. Those projects
>>are wide-ranging, and they have transformed northern Iraq. Where
>>Saddam's Baath Party headquarters and political prison were once
>>located, the University of Dohuk now sits. Other cities are
>>building schools, sewage systems, and hospitals. The din of
>>generators is a constant distraction, but it's also a sign of the
>>Kurds' effective administration: Local authorities have built the
>>generators because Baghdad has reneged on its oft-repeated promises >>to
provide the north with adequate electricity. (Indeed, Saddam has >>gone so
far as to deny visas to the U.N. contractors and
>>specialists who are supposed to be building new power plants in the
>>north.)
>>
>>Even rural areas share in the bounty. New schools and medical
>>clinics grace small villages along rebuilt roads. Westerners may
>>remember the mountainous Halabja region from photographs taken in
>>1988, during Saddam's infamous Anfal campaign, when the Iraqi
>>regime gassed hundreds of Kurds there. Now Kurdish authorities are
>>clearing the region of mines and introducing agricultural and
>>reforesting programs-programs financed by oil-for-food money. But
>>the most striking proof that the sanctions themselves don't make
>>Iraqis suffer lies in northern Iraq's public health statistics:
>>Infant mortality in the region is actually lower than it was before
>>the United Nations imposed sanctions in 1990. "When I was in
>>primary school, we had to scrounge for food," one university
>>student joked. "Now my mother complains if she can't find truffles
>>in the market."
>>
>>It could be this way in southern Iraq, too. But incredibly, even as
>>Saddam's regime milks its people's suffering for international
>>sympathy, it sells food abroad that is earmarked for Iraqi
>>citizens. According to the U.S. State Department, in October 1999
>>Allied patrols in the Persian Gulf stopped three ships that were
>>carrying food out of Iraq. Near the Iranian border, I watched
>>smugglers load sacks of rice and grain (and whiskey) for export.
>>When you throw in the fact that per capita income in Iraq
>>(approximately $1,000) remains higher than in Syria ($900) and
>>Yemen ($270), where few people go hungry, it becomes clear that
>>there's no reason why Iraqis should be suffering-particularly when
>>Saddam's regime has found $2 billion to build palaces, and even an
>>amusement park for party officials, since the sanctions began. Of
>>course, you won't see these things on the official tour: Unlike the
>>Kurds, who allowed me to travel freely on my own, Saddam's regime
>>insists on carefully managing visits.
>>
>>This is not to say the sanctions don't affect citizens in the north
>>at all. Although people have food, unemployment is high, and the
>>economy remains weak. Whereas the Iraqi dinar was once worth three
>>dollars, one dollar now buys 18 Iraqi dinars in the streets of
>>northern Iraq. Still, this is far better than in the south, where
>>undisciplined financial practices (such as printing new currency
>>whenever Saddam needs to pay workers) have driven the dinar down to
>>one-hundredth of its value in the north. In fact, in northern
>>cities, most businesses and financial institutions will only accept
>>older issues of the currency-which were minted in Britain rather
>>than Baghdad. One old man jokes that the Iraqi currency used to
>>picture three horses, but now, he says, pointing to Saddam's
>>picture, it pictures just one horse's ass. Elsewhere in Iraq, the
>>comment would get him a firing squad.
>>
>>Which brings me to the other great advantage of living in northern
>>Iraq: freedom. While the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan administers
>>Sulaymaniyah, and its rival, the Kurdistan Democratic Party,
>>controls Irbil and Dohuk, the major cities are dotted with offices
>>of other political parties-socialist, Communist, Islamist,
>>Assyrian, and Turkoman. In the run-up to the May 26 municipal
>>elections in Dohuk and Irbil, the banners and flyers of rival
>>candidates and parties made the streets look like an American city
>>in October. Many political parties print their own newspapers and
>>operate their own TV stations. Students surf the Internet at
>>northern Iraq's three universities and in the growing number of
>>Internet cafes.
>>
>>In teahouses and restaurants, patrons tell stories of how they were
>>imprisoned or tortured by Saddam's government. One man was thrown >>in
prison when his seven-year-old child repeated his criticism of >>the
government to a first-grade teacher. Others-the Kurdish and
>>Turkoman former residents of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk-tell
>>stories of how they fled north from Saddam's ethnic cleansing in
>>the oil-rich areas. This winter, hundreds huddled in a tent city
>>outside Sulaymaniyah nicknamed the "Spring of Satan" while northern
>>authorities tried to find them houses; Saddam's government had >>ejected
them, then seized their property and turned it over to
>>functionaries of his ruling Baath Party.
>>
>>All of which helps explain why, despite the inconveniences,
>>residents here don't want sanctions weakened-they want them
>>strengthened. Indeed, when the Bush administration recently
>>announced it was going to use "smart sanctions" to target the
>>military-not Iraqi civilians-one farmer in a rural village asked
>>rhetorically how the administration could talk about Saddam's war
>>crimes one day and reward him the next. Didn't the United States
>>care that Saddam started two wars and used gas against Iraq's
>>non-Arab population? Then again, whatever doubts northern Iraqis
>>have about American resolve, it's better than the sheer disdain
>>they feel for the French and the Russians, who, they say, sacrifice
>>freedom to win lucrative contracts from Saddam. "Surely they
>>understand that we hate Saddam," says one northern Iraqi deputy
>>minister. "Once he is gone, we won't forget that they wanted to
>>help him."
>>
>>That attitude applies to military operations, too. Some in the
>>north do criticize American bombing in the south, but only because
>>they think it does not go far enough: They want a sustained
>>military campaign to remove Saddam from power. People here also
>>vigorously support the American- and British-enforced no-fly zones
>>that protect the north's independence. People in Dohuk, just five
>>minutes from Iraqi government lines, visibly relax when they hear
>>Allied sorties flying overhead. They understand that the real
>>menace to their well-being-and to that of their fellow
>>Iraqis-isn't international pressure. It's the dictator to the
>>south.




11.02.2001

New York Times
November 2, 2001

Yes, This Is About Islam

By SALMAN RUSHDIE


LONDON -- "This isn't about Islam." The world's leaders have been repeating
this mantra for weeks, partly in the virtuous hope of deterring reprisal
attacks on innocent Muslims living in the West, partly because if the United
States is to maintain its coalition against terror it can't afford to
suggest that Islam and terrorism are in any way related.

The trouble with this necessary disclaimer is that it isn't true. If this
isn't about Islam, why the worldwide Muslim demonstrations in support of
Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda? Why did those 10,000 men armed with swords and
axes mass on the Pakistan-Afghanistan frontier, answering some mullah's call
to jihad? Why are the war's first British casualties three Muslim men who
died fighting on the Taliban side?

Why the routine anti-Semitism of the much-repeated Islamic slander that "the
Jews" arranged the hits on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with the
oddly self-deprecating explanation offered by the Taliban leadership, among
others, that Muslims could not have the technological know-how or
organizational sophistication to pull off such a feat? Why does Imran Khan,
the Pakistani ex-sports star turned politician, demand to be shown the
evidence of Al Qaeda's guilt while apparently turning a deaf ear to the
self-incriminating statements of Al Qaeda's own spokesmen (there will be a
rain of aircraft from the skies, Muslims in the West are warned not to live
or work in tall buildings)? Why all the talk about American military
infidels desecrating the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia if some sort of
definition of what is sacred is not at the heart of the present discontents?

Of course this is "about Islam." The question is, what exactly does that
mean? After all, most religious belief isn't very theological. Most Muslims
are not profound Koranic analysts. For a vast number of "believing" Muslim
men, "Islam" stands, in a jumbled, half-examined way, not only for the fear
of God - the fear more than the love, one suspects - but also for a cluster
of customs, opinions and prejudices that include their dietary practices;
the sequestration or near-sequestration of "their" women; the sermons
delivered by their mullahs of choice; a loathing of modern society in
general, riddled as it is with music, godlessness and sex; and a more
particularized loathing (and fear) of the prospect that their own immediate
surroundings could be taken over - "Westoxicated" - by the liberal
Western-style way of life.

Highly motivated organizations of Muslim men (oh, for the voices of Muslim
women to be heard!) have been engaged over the last 30 years or so in
growing radical political movements out of this mulch of "belief." These
Islamists - we must get used to this word, "Islamists," meaning those who
are engaged upon such political projects, and learn to distinguish it from
the more general and politically neutral "Muslim" - include the Muslim
Brotherhood in Egypt, the blood-soaked combatants of the Islamic Salvation
Front and Armed Islamic Group in Algeria, the Shiite revolutionaries of
Iran, and the Taliban. Poverty is their great helper, and the fruit of their
efforts is paranoia. This paranoid Islam, which blames outsiders,
"infidels," for all the ills of Muslim societies, and whose proposed remedy
is the closing of those societies to the rival project of modernity, is
presently the fastest growing version of Islam in the world.

This is not wholly to go along with Samuel Huntington's thesis about the
clash of civilizations, for the simple reason that the Islamists' project is
turned not only against the West and "the Jews," but also against their
fellow Islamists. Whatever the public rhetoric, there's little love lost
between the Taliban and Iranian regimes. Dissensions between Muslim nations
run at least as deep, if not deeper, than those nations' resentment of the
West.

Nevertheless, it would be absurd to deny that this self-exculpatory,
paranoiac Islam is an ideology with widespread appeal.

Twenty years ago, when I was writing a novel about power struggles in a
fictionalized Pakistan, it was already de rigueur in the Muslim world to
blame all its troubles on the West and, in particular, the United States.
Then as now, some of these criticisms were well-founded; no room here to
rehearse the geopolitics of the cold war and America's frequently damaging
foreign policy "tilts," to use the Kissinger term, toward (or away from)
this or that temporarily useful (or disapproved-of) nation-state, or
America's role in the installation and deposition of sundry unsavory leaders
and regimes. But I wanted then to ask a question that is no less important
now: Suppose we say that the ills of our societies are not primarily
America's fault, that we are to blame for our own failings? How would we
understand them then? Might we not, by accepting our own responsibility for
our problems, begin to learn to solve them for ourselves?

Many Muslims, as well as secularist analysts with roots in the Muslim world,
are beginning to ask such questions now. In recent weeks Muslim voices have
everywhere been raised against the obscurantist hijacking of their religion.
Yesterday's hotheads (among them Yusuf Islam, a k a Cat Stevens) are
improbably repackaging themselves as today's pussycats.

An Iraqi writer quotes an earlier Iraqi satirist: "The disease that is in
us, is from us." A British Muslim writes, "Islam has become its own enemy."
A Lebanese friend, returning from Beirut, tells me that in the aftermath of
the attacks on Sept. 11, public criticism of Islamism has become much more
outspoken. Many commentators have spoken of the need for a Reformation in
the Muslim world.

I'm reminded of the way noncommunist socialists used to distance themselves
from the tyrannical socialism of the Soviets; nevertheless, the first
stirrings of this counterproject are of great significance. If Islam is to
be reconciled with modernity, these voices must be encouraged until they
swell into a roar. Many of them speak of another Islam, their personal,
private faith.The restoration of religion to the sphere of the personal, its
depoliticization, is the nettle that all Muslim societies must grasp in
order to become modern. The only aspect of modernity interesting to the
terrorists is technology, which they see as a weapon that can be turned on
its makers. If terrorism is to be defeated, the world of Islam must take on
board the secularist-humanist principles on which the modern is based, and
without which Muslim countries' freedom will remain a distant dream.

Salman Rushdie is the author, most recently, of "Fury: A Novel."




Sent: Monday, October 29, 2001 8:39 PM
Subject: Message from Robert Redford on energy security


Dear Friend,

It is understandable that we Americans feel an almost reflexive need
for unanimity in trying times like these. As a nation, we are rightly
consumed with responding to the terrorist attacks on September 11th.
But, at some point -- and I think we're beginning to get there -- we
need to take a long-term view even as we are reacting to the current
crisis. Really important domestic issues facing us before all of this
happened -- education, energy and the environment, health care --
still have the same dimension and consequence. But we have to
recognize that it's much more difficult to discuss and debate them in
the aftermath of Sept. 11th. Unfortunately, disagreement is sometimes
characterized as unpatriotic during times such as these and open,
thoughtful discourse is somewhat muted. The gravity of the current
situation is not lost on any of us and we all want to do what's right
to insure our national security. It is with this in mind that I felt
compelled to write you today.

A handful of determined U.S. senators, encouraged by the White House,
are arguing that national security requires the Senate to rush a
pro-oil energy bill into law. They have vowed to hold up normal Senate
business and attach the bill to every piece of legislation that comes
to the Senate floor. So far they have failed in what The Boston Globe
is calling "oil opportunism." But with President Bush, himself, now
calling for rushed passage of this disastrous bill, intense pressure
is building on Senate leaders to succumb to the emotions of the
moment. Using our national tragedy as an opportunity to advance the
narrow interests of the oil lobby would not be in the best interest of
the public. This bill, already passed by the House, would not only
open the Arctic Refuge to oil rigs, it would also pave the way for
energy companies to exploit and destroy pristine areas of Greater
Yellowstone and other gems of our natural heritage. As important, it
would do nothing to address energy security.

I'm asking for your immediate help in stopping this legislation. After
reading my letter I hope you'll take action at
http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic/index.asp?src=ab0110a and then
forward this letter to your friends and colleagues.

Last spring, the Bush administration and some members of Congress said
we had to pass the president's oil-friendly energy bill because we
were facing the most serious energy crisis since 1973. But here we
are, a mere six months later, and the energy crisis has vanished. Due
to a slowing economy and falling demand, the prices for gasoline,
natural gas and home heating oil have plunged. Meanwhile, the
much-feared "summer of blackouts" in California never happened,
largely because consumers and businesses made dramatic cuts in energy
use by launching the most successful statewide conservation campaign
in history.

With no energy crisis to scare us with, the administration and pro-oil
senators are now promoting their "Drill the Arctic" plan under the
guise of national security and energy independence. Don't buy it. It
would take ten years to bring Arctic oil to market, and when it
arrives it would never equal more than two percent -- a mere drop in
the bucket -- of all the oil we consume each year. Our nation simply
doesn't have enough oil to drill our way to energy independence or
even to affect world oil prices.

We possess a mere 3 percent of the world's oil reserves, but we
consume fully 25 percent of the world's oil supply. We could drill the
Arctic Refuge, Greater Yellowstone, and every other wildland in
America and we'd still be importing oil, still be paying worldwide
prices for domestic oil, and still be vulnerable to wild gyrations in
price and supply. As The Atlanta Constitution put it: "Burning through
our tiny oil supply faster will not make our country more secure." I'd
go further: increasing our dependence on oil, whether that oil comes
from the Persian Gulf or the Arctic Refuge, practically guarantees
national *insecurity*. And we know that it will bring more habitat
destruction, more oil spills, more air pollution, and more global
warming. The public health implications will be devastating.

If our nation wants to declare energy independence, then we have no
choice but to reduce our appetite for oil. There's no other way. We
need to rely on smarter and cleaner ways to power our economy. We have
the technology right now to increase fuel economy standards to 40
miles per gallon. If we phased in that standard by 2012 we'd save 15
times more oil than the Arctic Refuge is likely to produce over 50
years. We could also give tax rebates for existing hybrid gas-electric
vehicles that get as much as 60 mpg. We could invest in public
transit. We could launch an "Apollo Project" to bring fuel cells and
hydrogen fuel down to earth, allowing us to begin the mass production
of vehicles that emit only water as a by-product. The list goes on and
on.

In this climate of national trauma and war, it is up to us -- the
people -- to ensure that reason prevails and our natural heritage
survives intact. The preservation of irreplaceable wildlands like the
Arctic Refuge and Greater Yellowstone is a core American value. I have
never been more appreciative of the wisdom of that value than during
these past few weeks. When we are filled with grief and unanswerable
questions it is often nature that we turn to for refuge and comfort.
In the sanctuary of a forest or the vastness of the desert or the
silence of a grassland, we can touch a timeless force larger than
ourselves and our all-too-human problems. This is where the healing
begins. Those who would sell out this natural heritage -- this
spiritual heritage -- would destroy a wellspring of American strength.
What's worse, their rush to exploit the wildness that feeds our souls
won't do a thing to solve our energy problems.

There are plenty of sensible and patriotic ways to guarantee our
nation's energy security, but destroying the Arctic Refuge is not one
of them. Please tell that to your senators. They urgently need to hear
it because the pressure is on to move this pro-oil bill to a vote in
the next few weeks. It will take you only a minute to send them an
electronic message from NRDC's SaveBioGems website.

Go to http://www.savebiogems.org/arctic/index.asp?src=ab0110a

And please forward this message to your family and friends. Millions
of Americans need to know about this cynical attempt to promote the
interests of energy companies at the expense of everyone else.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Redford
Terrorism and the Four Freedoms
Doris Haddock, September 28, 2001


The following is a speech given by 91 year-old Doris "Granny D" Haddock,
who walked across the U.S. in 1999-2000 for campaign finance reform, in
Unity, Maine on September 22, 2001.

It is hard to think clearly as we yet rock in the wake of the recent
terrorist attacks on our cities and our people. But think clearly we
must. Politics is a serious business. Not everyone cares to listen when
people argue about the policies and practices of our political leaders.
Americans would rather be painting their house or going to a good ball
game than listening to a speech, and that is not a bad thing. We
wouldn't get much done if we just argued politics all the time.

But there is a time for it, and this is that time. Our neighbors and
children are being killed in great numbers because Americans are not in
control of the American government, and haven't been for some time. And
now we are being killed by our own airplanes, just as we were killed in
our African embassies in 1998 by our own explosives, which we gave to
the Islamic fundamentalists so that they would please kill our then
enemies, the Russians.

And four months ago the current Bush administration gave $43 million to
the current Taliban Regime so that it would please kill our enemies, the
heroin dealers of Afghanistan. Or was it to protect an oil pipeline?
That's what we are now learning.

Our subcontracting of death has never done us much good, with Vietnam
still the shining example, and with many other examples still bleeding
in Central and South America, Africa, and in Southeast Asia.

The Coca-Cola company has been accused of financing the death squads in
Columbia that kill union activists among the plantation workers. This so
that our Coca-Cola is affordable to us. Wherever our large mining
companies extract the value from foreign lands, we have a CIA and a
military working to keep any leaders in power who will guarantee us a
cheap labor supply and cheap mining products, at the expense of local
people and their efforts toward democracy.

This is not who we want to be.

If you ask the common American to describe the America he or she wants
us to be, you will here this: "We are the country that represents
freedom, opportunity and fairness. We use our strength to help people
around the world. We oppose brutal regimes and work toward world health
and justice and democratic participation of all people. The Statue of
Liberty is our beacon to the world."

The common American wants the American government to be that -- to be
that every day, in every corner of the world.

The common American would never answer: "America is this: We use our
powerful military forces, intelligence forces, and our huge financial
power to extract from weaker countries what we need for our own,
affordable lifestyle in the US. We will support any brutal regime so
long as they provide us with the cheap labor and materials we need, and
so long as they keep any competing political systems out of the region.
We will finance the massacre of peasants and workers, the torture of
journalist and clerics, and the rape of nature and the sky itself so
that we may live pleasantly today in America."

The common American feels ill at such words. And yet, that is the vision
of America that many people in the world carry in their angry hearts.
They see their miserable lives and their precious children and land
being sacrificed for our luxury. They see our US-made helicopters and
jets and guns and rockets suppressing and killing them. Naturally, they
celebrate when we are made to suffer.

The disconnection between their perception and ours is profound: Our
people are stunned at the idea that we are not universally loved.

In classrooms all over America this week and last, teachers and
professors asked their students, "why do you suppose that some people
around the world are so angry at us?" Many students no doubt suggested
that differences in religion make some people intolerant and fanatically
homicidal. What other reason could they have?

In a West Virginia college classroom last week, a friend of mine had
something different to say.

"Look at it like this," he said to a classroom filled with honor
students who couldn't imagine why America was under attack, except for
reasons of religious extremism. "Imagine that West Virginia was a third
world country," he said. "We have all this valuable coal, but there is
one country, far away, that buys it all. They are the richest nation in
the world, and they stay that way by getting our resources cheaply. They
use their wealth to buy-off our government officials, and to kill or
torture any worker here who tries to organize a union or clean up the
government. How mad would we be toward that distant country, and just
how innocent would we think its citizens are, who drive around in luxury
cars and live in elegant homes and buy the best medicines for their
children, and otherwise live a life in sparkling skyscrapers -- a life
made affordable by the way they get resources from us? They admire their
own democracy, turning a blind eye to what their government and their
corporations do abroad."

The classroom was silent. "Well," he said, "that's pretty much what we
do all over the world.".

Someone at the back of the room said, "Well, we may not be perfect, but
this attack didn't come from Central America or Africa or Southeast
Asia, it came from wealthy people from the Mideast, for religious
reasons."

The class soon remembered that the US had supported the brutal regime of
the Shah of Iran so to better protect the supply of oil to the US, and
that the brutality of the Shah led to the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini
and the camp of violent Islamic fundamentalists, of which Bin Laden was
a product. The class was silent again. Then they began to discuss our
problem, and they were in a position to come up with real answers.

So must all Americans see America as the world see us, so that we can
strive for justice and the peace that comes with justice.

The politics that killed six thousand people in New York last week is
the politics of Mideast oil, the politics of the Shah of Iran and our
support for him and his torture police -- supported so that we might
secure cheap oil and an anti-Communist puppet at any price to the local
people and at any price to their democracy. The Shah did not deliver
peace or safety, but instead he delivered into the world the Ayatollah
Khomeini and the present wave of violent Islamic fundamentalists -- who
are no more Islamic in their practices than America's radical right are
Christian in their practices. Both radical fringes are beating the war
drums and accusing everyone who is not exactly like them of causing last
week's horror. George Bush, has declared war on evil. That is a holy war
as chilling as the Taliban's call for war on evil.

This is not a time for all good Americans to forget their political
differences and rally behind the man in the White House. The man in the
White House should apologize for the most serious breach of internal
security in the nation's history, not disguise his failure in calls for
war. Can he hope that the fiery explosions in New York and Washington
and Pennsylvania will be more acceptable to us if they are placed in a
larger context of explosions of our own making? I do not rally around
that idea. It is "wag the dog" taken to an extreme level, for he is not
covering up his failure with a fake war, but with a real one.

He has taken every opportunity to make the world less safe, first in
North Korea and then in the Mideast and in Russia and in China. He needs
a dangerous world to sell his military vision of the future. He is
getting it. We must not go along with him.

The international community may soon have to rescue the Afghan people
from the Taliban just as we had to rescue Europe from the Nazis, and
rebuild it and let it find its way to self-government, but that is not
the same issue and that will not resolve international terrorism at its
roots. It is a diversion of our attention from Bush's catastrophic
failure at home and abroad.

Sixty years and eight months ago Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his
"four freedoms" State of the Nation speech to Congress as he prepared
the nation for war. In it, he laid down the sensible and humane
preconditions for future world peace and democracy.

If Mr. Bush insists on preparing us for his war against evil, let him
learn from that great speech.

Let me read you the final paragraphs:

"In the future days which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a
world founded upon four essential human freedoms. The first is freedom
of speech and expression -- everywhere in the world."

Now Mr. Bush, do not tell us that we must prepare to lose our free
speech rights and our rights to privacy, so that you and your
corporate-military complex can continue to abuse the world safely. Do
not take away our first freedom. You have installed your closest
political associate as the head of FEMA, which has its own prison camps
set up across America for any coming disturbances. We are indeed
disturbed.

And now it seems we are to have an internal secret police, headed not by
a law enforcement man but by Tom Ridge, and it is to be a cabinet-level
position. This puts it far above the FBI, our non-political,
professional internal security police, which has been discredited in an
intensive campaign this year.

"The second," FDR continued, "is freedom of every person to worship God
in his own way -- everywhere in the world."

Do not, Mr. Bush, let your vision of good and evil and your friends on
the religious right overpower the religion of mainstream America, which
is the religion of peace and justice. Do not take away our second
freedom.

"The third," said FDR, "is freedom from want, which, translated into
world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every
nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants -- everywhere in the
world. Unquote.

We cannot live peacefully if we do not work every day for the people,
not the despots, of the world -- for justice, not for banking
arrangements and trade agreements to fatten our already fat banks and
corporations. Do not deprive the third world of this third freedom, for
none of us are free if some of us are yet enslaved.

"The fourth is freedom," said FDR, "from fear, which, translated into
world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point
and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to
commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor -- anywhere in
the world."

Let the US stop selling the weapons of death throughout the world. We
have fallen far, far away from the vision of a peaceful, unarmed world.
We are now the principle source of arms and high-tech weapons for all
the despots of the world. Mr. Bush, you can only give us freedom from
fear if the people of the world are free of fear. This the common
American knows in his heart.

I remember Roosevelt's speech well. My husband and I no doubt discussed
it at the dinner table. We had already been married eleven years at the
time. I hope I speak for many common Americans who cannot see our flag
without getting emotional with love for it. Our dream is that it should
always represent the best that human beings can do on this earth. This
is a time for us to rally around its best values and its highest dreams.

To the terrorists, here is my message: you are not martyrs, but cowards.
Your selfish, ego-maniacal greed for a place in heaven cannot be
purchased with the deaths of other people. Look across the Khyber Pass
toward the land of Gandhi, who taught us that violence makes justice
harder to come by, not easier. Today in America, the work of terrorists
makes the work harder for those who want reform America's policies and
practices. You do not want to change American policies, or you would be
using your millions to bring your message to us in ways that we can
understand and act upon. You want only your shortcut to heaven. We have
the same great God, the same Allah, and he shakes his head in sad
disbelief at your spiritual immaturity.

"The ultimate weakness of violence," Dr. King taught us, "is that it is
a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it... Through violence you
may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence
merely increases hate.... adding deeper darkness to a night already
devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

Terrorism makes it hard for us to do the right thing, but do it we must.

Old "Fighting Bob" LaFollette, that great reformer, said that "war is
the money-changer's opportunity, and the social reformer's doom." But we
will not accept doom. We will keep going. It is a time for all of us to
speak the truth with courage and hope. America is, despite all, still
the best hope for the world. But we are a work in progress, and we all
have some work to do right now. It is the work of peace, of frank
education, of making our lives and our communities more sustainable and
less dependent on the suffering of others, and of cleaning up a campaign
finance system that has allowed our elected leaders to represent not our
interests and values, but those of international corporations who are
set on world domination and who have the resources to buy our government
away from us if we will let them. We will not, so long as we live, and
so long as our four freedoms are our guiding lights and inspiration.
PILGER: HIDDEN AGENDA BEHIND WAR ON TERROR
>>By John Pilger, Former Mirror chief foreign correspondent

>>
>>The war against terrorism is a fraud. After three weeks' bombing,
>>not a single terrorist implicated in the attacks on America has been
>>caught or killed in Afghanistan.
>>
>>Instead, one of the poorest, most stricken nations has been
>>terrorised by the most powerful - to the point where American pilots
>>have run out of dubious "military" targets and are now destroying
>>mud houses, a hospital, Red Cross warehouses, lorries carrying
>>refugees.
>>
>>Unlike the relentless pictures from New York, we are seeing almost
>>nothing of this. Tony Blair has yet to tell us what the violent
>>death of children - seven in one family - has to do with Osama bin
>>Laden.
>>
>>And why are cluster bombs being used? The British public should know
>>about these bombs, which the RAF also uses. They spray hundreds of
>>bomblets that have only one purpose; to kill and maim people. Those
>>that do not explode lie on the ground like landmines, waiting for
>>people to step on them.
>>
>>If ever a weapon was designed specifically for acts of terrorism,
>>this is it. I have seen the victims of American cluster weapons in
>>other countries, such as the Laotian toddler who picked one up and
>>had her right leg and face blown off. Be assured this is now
>>happening in Afghanistan, in your name.
>>
>>None of those directly involved in the September 11 atrocity was
>>Afghani. Most were Saudis, who apparently did their planning and
>>training in Germany and the United States.
>>
>>The camps which the Taliban allowed bin Laden to use were emptied
>>weeks ago. Moreover, the Taliban itself is a creation of the
>>Americans and the British. In the 1980s, the tribal army that
>>produced them was funded by the CIA and trained by the SAS to fight
>>the Russians.
>>
>>The hypocrisy does not stop there. When the Taliban took Kabul in
>>1996, Washington said nothing. Why? Because Taliban leaders were
>>soon on their way to Houston, Texas, to be entertained by executives
>>of the oil company, Unocal.
>>
>>With secret US government approval, the company offered them a
>>generous cut of the profits of the oil and gas pumped through a
>>pipeline that the Americans wanted to build from Soviet central Asia
>>through Afghanistan.
>>
>>A US diplomat said: "The Taliban will probably develop like the
>>Saudis did." He explained that Afghanistan would become an American
>>oil colony, there would be huge profits for the West, no democracy
>>and the legal persecution of women. "We can live with that," he said.
>>
>>Although the deal fell through, it remains an urgent priority of the
>>administration of George W. Bush, which is steeped in the oil
>>industry. Bush's concealed agenda is to exploit the oil and gas
>>reserves in the Caspian basin, the greatest source of untapped
>>fossil fuel on earth and enough, according to one estimate, to meet
>>America's voracious energy needs for a generation. Only if the
>>pipeline runs through Afghanistan can the Americans hope to control
>>it.
>>
>>So, not surprisingly, US Secretary of State Colin Powell is now
>>referring to "moderate" Taliban, who will join an American-sponsored
>>"loose federation" to run Afghanistan. The "war on terrorism" is a
>>cover for this: a means of achieving American strategic aims that
>>lie behind the flag-waving facade of great power.
>>
>>The Royal Marines, who will do the real dirty work, will be little
>>more than mercenaries for Washington's imperial ambitions, not to
>>mention the extraordinary pretensions of Blair himself. Having made
>>Britain a target for terrorism with his bellicose "shoulder to
>>shoulder" with Bush nonsense, he is now prepared to send troops to a
>>battlefield where the goals are so uncertain that even the Chief of
>>the Defence Staff says the conflict "could last 50 years".
>>
>>The irresponsibility of this is breathtaking; the pressure on
>>Pakistan alone could ignite an unprecedented crisis across the
>>Indian sub-continent. Having reported many wars, I am always struck
>>by the absurdity of effete politicians eager to wave farewell to
>>young soldiers, but who themselves would not say boo to a Taliban
>>goose.
>>
>>In the days of gunboats, our imperial leaders covered their violence
>>in the "morality" of their actions. Blair is no different. Like
>>them, his selective moralising omits the most basic truth. Nothing
>>justified the killing of innocent people in America on September 11,
>>and nothing justifies the killing of innocent people anywhere else.
>>
>>By killing innocents in Afghanistan, Blair and Bush stoop to the
>>level of the criminal outrage in New York. Once you cluster bomb,
>>"mistakes" and "blunders" are a pretence. Murder is murder
>>regardless of whether you crash a plane into a building or order and
>>collude with it from the Oval Office and Downing Street.
>>
>>If Blair was really opposed to all forms of terrorism, he would get
>>Britain out of the arms trade. On the day of the twin towers attack,
>>an "arms fair", selling weapons of terror (like cluster bombs and
>>missiles) to assorted tyrants and human rights abusers, opened in
>>London's Docklands with the full
>>backing of the Blair government.
>>
>>Britain's biggest arms customer is the medieval Saudi regime, which
>>beheads heretics and spawned the religious fanaticism of the Taliban.
>>
>>If he really wanted to demonstrate "the moral fibre of Britain",
>>Blair would do everything in his power to lift the threat of
>>violence in those parts of the world where there is great and
>>justifiable grievance and anger.
>>
>>He would do more than make gestures; he would demand that Israel
>>ends its illegal occupation of Palestine and withdraw to its borders
>>prior to the 1967 war, as ordered by the Security Council, of which
>>Britain is a permanent member.
>>
>>He would call for an end to the genocidal blockade which the UN - in
>>reality, America and Britain - has imposed on the suffering people
>>of Iraq for more than a decade, causing the deaths of half a million
>>children under the age of five.
>>
>>That's more deaths of infants every month than the number killed in
>>the World Trade Center.
>>
>>There are signs that Washington is about to extend its current "war"
>>to Iraq; yet unknown to most of us, almost every day RAF and
>>American aircraft already bomb Iraq. There are no headlines. There
>>is nothing on the TV news. This terror is the longest-running
>>Anglo-American bombing campaign since
>>World War Two.
>>
>>The Wall Street Journal reported that the US and Britain faced a
>>"dilemma" in Iraq, because "few targets remain". "We're down to the
>>last outhouse," said a US official. That was two years ago, and
>>they're still bombing. The cost to the British taxpayer? £800
>>million so far.
>>
>>According to an internal UN report, covering a five-month period, 41
>>per cent of the casualties are civilians. In northern Iraq, I met a
>>woman whose husband and four children were among the deaths listed
>>in the report. He was a shepherd, who was tending his sheep with his
>>elderly father and his
>>children when two planes attacked them, each making a sweep. It was
>>an open valley; there were no military targets nearby.
>>
>>"I want to see the pilot who did this," said the widow at the
>>graveside of her entire family. For them, there was no service in St
>>Paul's Cathedral with the Queen in attendance; no rock concert with
>>Paul McCartney.
>>
>>The tragedy of the Iraqis, and the Palestinians, and the Afghanis is
>>a truth that is the very opposite of their caricatures in much of
>>the Western media.
>>
>>Far from being the terrorists of the world, the overwhelming
>>majority of the Islamic peoples of the Middle East and south Asia
>>have been its victims - victims largely of the West's exploitation
>>of precious natural resources in or near their countries.
>>
>>There is no war on terrorism. If there was, the Royal Marines and
>>the SAS would be storming the beaches of Florida, where more
>>CIA-funded terrorists, ex-Latin American dictators and torturers,
>>are given refuge than anywhere on earth.
>>
>>There is, however, a continuing war of the powerful against the
>>powerless, with new excuses, new hidden agendas, new lies. Before
>>another child dies violently, or quietly from starvation, before new
>>fanatics are created in both the east and the west, it is time for
>>the people of Britain to make their voices heard and to stop this
>>fraudulent war - and to demand the kind of bold, imaginative
>>non-violent initiatives that require real political courage.
>>
>>The other day, the parents of Greg Rodriguez, a young man who died
>>in the World Trade Center, said this: "We read enough of the news to
>>sense that our government is heading in the direction of violent
>>revenge, with the prospect of sons, daughters, parents, friends in
>>distant lands dying, suffering, and nursing further grievances
>>against us.
>>
>"It is not the way to go...not in our son's name."
>
>John Pilger is a senior foreign correspondent of considerable repute.
>

WASHINGTON DIARIST
Protocols
by Andrew Sullivan


The New Republic, Post date 10.26.01 | Issue date 11.05.01

One of the most vivid experiences of my time as a graduate student at
Harvard was a seminar I took with the preeminent liberal political
theorist John Rawls. The discussion centred on Rawls's later work, in
which he divorced his liberalism from the claim of absolute truth. His
argument was only cogent, he averred, if read and understood by people
who already shared some basic premises--the need for consent, the
reliance on reason, a tone of civility, a relatively open mind. With
characteristic tactlessness, I asked him what his response would be if
Hitler joined the debate and disagreed with him. Rawls answered that
there could be no discourse with Hitler. We would have to agree that he
was simply crazy, a madman at a Cambridge dinner party, a figure outside
the conversation. To Hitler, Rawls had nothing to say, except please go
away.

But what if Hitler refuses to go away? My mind has drifted back to that
conversation recently, as we try to grapple with the reality staring us
in the face: Something like Hitler is back, and it is waging war on the
United States. Part of the current crisis is that many of us simply do
not have a philosophy capable of countering him.

Is this a grotesque exaggeration? The argument ad Hitlerum is, after
all, such a high-school debating tactic that it should be employed only
with extreme caution. The reason I invoke it is not simply because we
have an irrational, lethal movement stirring many people across the
globe in a call to mass murder. But because one central element of that
movement, which we are doing our best to ignore, but which is
increasingly unignorable, is pathological anti-Semitism.

Yes, of course, the geopolitical differences between anti-Semitism in
Nazi Germany and anti-Semitism in the Arab world are vast. Germany was
the preeminent military power of its time; the Arab nations are
decidedly not. Germany had a large, and largely defenceless, Jewish
population within its borders and millions more on its doorstep; the
Arab states have only Israel, which despite its tiny size is hardly
defenceless. But ignoring a virulent ideology because we believe those
who hold it to be weak is the kind of thinking that recently enabled the
murder of 5,000 people in New York. So consider the following: According
to a recent Newsweek poll, 48 percent of Pakistanis believe Jews were
responsible for the World Trade Centre bombing. A plurality of Egyptians
agree.

This should come as no surprise. Vicious anti-Semitism is now the
official doctrine of most Arab governments and their organs of
propaganda. The official Palestinian Authority newspaper, Al-Hayat
Al-Jadeeda, for example, regularly contains references to the "Protocols
of the Elders of Zion," the loopy nineteenth-century hoax that suggests
Jews run the world. As one article put it (at the height of the Oslo
peace process, no less): "It is important to conduct the conflict
according to the foundations which both are leaning on... particularly
the Jews... such as the Torah, the Talmud and the Protocols [of the
Elders of Zion].... All signs unequivocally prove that the conflict
between the Jews and the Muslims is an eternal on-going conflict, even
if it stops for short intervals.... This conflict resembles the conflict
between man and Satan.... This is the fate of the Muslim nation, and
beyond that the fate of all the nations of the world, to be tormented by
this nation [the Jews]. The fate of the Palestinian people is to
struggle against the Jews on behalf of the Arab peoples, the Islamic
peoples and the peoples of the entire world."

Here's a summary of a gem that appeared in Egypt's Al Ahram, the largest
newspaper in that country: "A compilation of the 'investigative' work of
four reporters on Jewish control of the world states that Jews have
become the political decision-makers and control the media in most
capitals of the world (Washington, Paris, London, Berlin, Athens,
Ankara) and says that the main apparatus for the Jews to control the
world is the international Jewish lobby which works for Israel." It is
worth noting here that every word Al Ahram prints is vetted and approved
by the Egyptian government, a regime to which the United States--i.e.,
you and I--contributes $2 billion a year.

Or take Syria, a thugocracy whose leader indulged in an anti-Semitic
outburst in front of the pope, but a state that Colin Powell nonetheless
wishes to bring into his grand coalition. In 1983 Syrian Defence
Minister Mustafa Tlass wrote a book entitled The Matzah of Zion,
claiming that Jews murder Arab children to knead their blood into
matzahs for Passover. An article about the book that appeared in Al
Ahram one year ago (and was noted by the invaluable Middle East Media
Research Institute) concluded with the following sentences: "The bestial
drive to knead Passover matzahs with the blood of non-Jews is
[confirmed] in the records of the Palestinian police where there are
many recorded cases of the bodies of Arab children who had disappeared
being found, torn to pieces without a single drop of blood. The most
reasonable explanation is that the blood was taken to be kneaded into
the dough of extremist Jews to be used in matzahs to be devoured during
Passover." If this is the "most reasonable explanation," can you imagine
an unreasonable one? But it gets worse. The Matzah of Zion will soon be
turned into a movie. According to MEMRI, "the producer stated that the
primary goal of the film is 'to respond to all of the Zionist films
distributed by the American film industry, which is backed by the
Zionist propaganda apparatus. Among these films is Schindler's List,
which supports the idea of the Jews' right to the land of Palestine.'"
Schindler's List versus The Matzah of Zion: just a battle of ideas.

The sobering truth is that somewhere in my head, I knew all this
already. It is not a revelation that large segments of the Arab
world--at all levels of society--are not just anti-Israel, but
fanatically anti-Semitic. Bernard Lewis wrote in 1986: "The demonization
of Jews goes further than it had ever done in Western literature, with
the exception of Germany during the period of Nazi rule. In most Western
countries, anti-Semitic divagations on Jewish history, religion, and
literature are more than offset by a great body of genuine
scholarship... In modern Arabic writing there are few such
countervailing elements." So why did I look the other way? Why did I
discount this anti-Semitism on the grounds that these are alien cultures
and we cannot fully understand them, or because these pathologies are
allied with more legitimate (if to my mind unpersuasive) critiques of
Israeli policy? I guess I was thinking like John Rawls. We in the West
simply do not want to believe that this kind of hatred still exists; and
when it emerges, we feel uncomfortable. We do everything we can to
change the subject. Why the denial, I ask myself? What is it about this
sickness that we do not understand by now? And what possible excuse do
we have not to expose and confront it with all the might we have?

ANDREW SULLIVAN is a senior editor at TNR
Bill Moyers at the Environmental Grantmakers Association conference,
Brainerd, MN October 16, 2001

--------------------------------------------------------------------------
------ This isn't the speech I expected to give today. I intended something
else. For the last several years I've been taking every possible opportunity
to talk about the soul of democracy. Something is deeply wrong with politics
today, I told anyone who would listen. And I wasn't referring to the
partisan mudslinging, or the negative TV ads, the excessive polling, or the
empty campaigns. I was talking about something deeper, something troubling
at the core of politics. The soul of democracy the essence of the word
itself, is government of, by, and for the people. And the soul of democracy
has been dying, drowning in a rising tide of big money contributed by a
narrow, unrepresentative elite that has betrayed the faith of citizens in
self-government.
This wasn't something I came to casually, by the way. It's
the big political story of the last quarter century, and I started reporting
it as a journalist in the late '70s with the first television documentary
about political action committees. More recently, at the Florence and John
Schumann Foundation, working with my colleague and son, John Moyers, we saw
how environmental causes were being overwhelmed by the private funding of
elections that gives big donors unequal and undeserved political influence.
That's why over the past five years the Schumann brothers, Robert and Ford,
and our board, have poured both income and principle into political reform
through the Clean Money Initiative, the public funding of elections. I
intended to talk about this-about the soul of democracy, and then connect it
to my television efforts and your environmental work. That was my intention.
That's the speech I was working on six weeks ago.
But I'm not the same man I was six weeks ago. And you're
not the same audience for whom I was preparing those remarks. We've all been
changed by what happened on September 11th. My friend, Thomas Hearne, the
president of Wake Forest University, reminded me recently that while the
clock and the calendar make it seem as if our lives unfold hour by hour, day
by day, our passage is marked by events of celebration and crisis. We share
those in common. They create the memories which make of us a history, and
make of us a people, a nation. Pearl Harbor was that event for my parents'
generation. It changed their world, and it changed them. They never forgot
the moment when the news reached them. For my generation it was the
assassinations of the Kennedys and Martin Luther King, the bombing of the
16th Street Baptist Church, the dogs and fire hose in Alabama. Those events
broke our hearts. We healed, but scars remain.
For this generation, that moment will be September 11th,
2001 -- the worst act of terrorism in our nation's history. It has changed
the country. It has changed us. That's what terrorists intend. Terrorists
don't want to own our land, wealth, monuments, buildings, fields, or
streams. They're not after tangible property. Sure, they aim to annihilate
the targets they strike. But their real goal is to get inside our heads, our
psyche, and to deprive us -- the survivors-of peace of mind, of trust, of
faith; they aim to prevent us from believing again in a world of mercy,
justice, and love, or working to bring that better world to pass. This is
their real target, to turn our imaginations into Afghanistans, where they
can rule by fear. Once they possess us, they are hard to exorcise.
This summer our daughter and son-in-law adopted a baby boy.
On September 11th our son-in-law passed through the shadow of the World
Trade Center to his office up the block. He got there in time to see the
eruption of fire and smoke. He saw the falling bodies. He saw the people
jumping to their deaths. His building was evacuated and for long awful
moments he couldn't reach his wife, our daughter, to say he was okay. She
was in agony until he finally got through, and even then he couldn't get
home to his family until the next morning. It took him several days fully to
get his legs back. Now, in a matter-of-fact voice, our daughter tells us how
she often lies awake at night, wondering where and when it might happen
again, going to the computer at three in the morning, her baby asleep in the
next room, to check out what she can about bioterrorism, germ warfare,
anthrax, and the vulnerability of children. Beyond the carnage left by the
sneak attack, terrorists create another kind of havoc, invading and
despoiling a new mother's deepest space, holding her imagination hostage to
the most dreadful possibilities.
None of us is spared. The building where my wife and I
produce our television programs is in midtown Manhattan, just over a mile
from ground zero. It was evacuated immediately after the disaster although
the two of us remained with other colleagues to help keep the station on
the air. Our building was evacuated again late in the evening a day later
because of a bomb scare at the Empire State building nearby. We had just
ended a live broadcast for PBS when the security officers swept through and
ordered everyone out of the building. As we were making our way down the
stairs, I took Judith's arm and was suddenly struck by the thought: is this
the last time I'll touch her? Could our marriage of almost fifty years end
here, on this dim and bare staircase? I ejected the thought forcibly from my
mind, like a bouncer removing a rude intruder; I shoved it out of my
consciousness by sheer force of will. But in the first hours of morning, it
crept back.
Returning from Washington on the train last week, I looked
up and for the first time in days saw a plane in the sky. And then another,
and another- not nearly as many as I used to on that same journey. But so
help me, every plane I saw, and every plane I see today, invokes unwelcome
images and terrifying thoughts. Unwelcome images, terrifying thoughts: time
bombs planted in our heads by terrorists, our own private Afghanistans. I
wish I could find the wisdom in this. Then our time together this morning
might have been more profitable for you. But wisdom is a very elusive thing.
Someone told me once that we often have the experience but miss the wisdom.
Wisdom comes, if at all, slowly, painfully, and only after deep reflection.
Perhaps when we gather next year the wisdom will have arranged itself like
the beautiful colors of a stilled kaleidoscope, and we will look back on
September 11th and see it differently. But I haven't been ready for
reflection. I have wanted to stay busy, on the go, or on the run, perhaps,
from the need to cope with the reality that just a few subway stops south of
where I get off at Penn Station in midtown Manhattan, five thousand people
died in a matter of minutes. One minute they're pulling off their jackets,
shaking Sweet 'n Low into their coffee, adjusting the picture of a child or
sweetheart or spouse in a frame on their desk, booting up their computer,
and in the next, it's all over for them. I've been collecting obituaries of
the victims. Practically every day the New York Times runs compelling
little profiles of the dead and missing, and I've been keeping them. Not out
of some macabre desire to stare at death, but to see if I might recognize a
face, a name, some old acquaintance, a former colleague, even a stranger I
might have seen occasionally on the subway or street. That was my original
purpose. But as the file has grown, I realize what an amazing montage it is
of life, an unforgettable portrait of the America those terrorists wanted to
shatter. I study each little story for its contribution to the mosaic of my
country, its particular revelation about the nature of democracy, the people
with whom we share it.
Luis Bautista was one. It was his birthday, and he had the
day off from Windows on the World, the restaurant high atop the World Trade
Center. But back home in Peru his family depended on Luis for the money he
had been sending them since he arrived in New York two years ago speaking
only Spanish, and there was the tuition he would soon be paying to study at
John Jay College of Criminal Justice. So on the eleventh of September Luis
Bautista was putting in overtime. He was 24.
William Steckman was 56. For thirty five of those years he
took care of NBC's transmitter at One World Trade Center, working the night
shift because it let him spend time during the day with his five children
and to fix things up around the house. His shift ended at six a.m., but this
morning his boss asked him to stay on to help install some new equipment,
and William Steckman said sure.
Elizabeth Holmes lived in Harlem with her son and jogged
every morning around Central Park where I often go walking, and I have been
wondering if Elizabeth Holmes and I perhaps crossed paths some morning. I
figure we were kindred souls. She too, was a Baptist, and sang in the choir
at the Canaan Baptist church. She was expecting a ring from her fiancé at
Christmas.
Linda Luzzicone and Ralph Gerhardt were planning their
wedding, too. They had both sets of parents come to New York in August to
meet for the first time and talk about the plans. They had discovered each
other in nearby cubicles on the 104th floor of One World Trade Center and
fell in love. They were working there when the terrorists struck.
Mon Jahn-bul-lie came here from Albania. Because his name
was hard to pronounce his friends called him by the Cajun 'Jambalay' and he
grew to like it. He lived with his three sons in the Bronx and was supposed
to have retired when he turned 65 last year, but he was so attached to the
building and so enjoyed the company of the other janitors that he often
showed up an hour before work just to shoot the bull. In my mind's eye, I
can see him that morning, horsing around with his buddies.
Fred Scheffold liked his job, too, Chief of the12th
battalion in Harlem. He loved going into fires and he loved his men. But he
never told his daughters in the suburbs about the bad stuff in all the fires
he had fought over the years. He didn't want to worry them. This morning,
his shift had just ended and he was starting home when the alarm rang. He
jumped into the truck with the others and at One World Trade Center he
pushed through the crowds to the staircase heading for the top. The last
time anyone saw him alive he was he ading for the top. While hundreds poured
past him going down through the flames and smoke, Fred Scheffold just kept
going up.
Now you know why I can't give the speech I was working on.

Talking about my work in television would be too parochial.
And what's happened since the attacks would seem to put the lie to my fears
about the soul of democracy. Americans have rallied together in a way that I
cannot remember since World War Two. In real and instinctive ways we have
felt touched / singed-by the fires that brought down those buildings, even
those of us who did not directly lose a loved one. Great and low alike, we
have been humbled by a renewed sense of our common mortality. Those planes
the terrorists turned into suicide bombers cut through a complete
cross-section of America: stockbrokers and dishwashers, bankers and
secretaries, lawyers and janitors, Hollywood producers and new immigrants,
urbanites and suburbanites alike. One community near where I live in New
Jersey lost twenty-three residents. A single church near our home lost
eleven members of the congregation. Eighty nations are represented among
the dead. This catastrophe has reminded us of a basic truth at the heart of
our democracy: no matter our wealth or status or faith, we are all equal
before the law, in the voting booth, and when death rains down from the sky.
We have also been reminded that despite years of scandals and political
corruption, despite the stream of stories of personal greed and pirates in
Gucci's scamming the treasury, despite the retreat from the public sphere
and the turn toward private privilege, despite squalor for the poor and
gated communities for the rich, we have been reminded that the great mass of
Americans have not yet given up on the idea of "We, the People." And they
have refused to accept the notion, promoted so diligently by our friends at
the Heritage Foundation and by Grover Norquist and his right-wing ilk, that
government, the public service, should be shrunk to a size where they can
drown it in the bathtub (that's what Norquist said is their goal). These
right-wingers at Heritage and elsewhere, by the way, earlier this year
teamed up with the deep-pocket bankers who finance them, to stop the United
States from cracking down on terrorist money havens. As TIME Magazine
reports, thirty industrial nations were ready to tighten the screws on
offshore financial centers whose banks have the potential to hide and often
help launder billions of dollars for drug cartels, global crime syndicates,
and groups like Osama bin Laden's Al-Quaeda organization. Not all off-shore
money is linked to crime or terrorism; much of it comes from wealthy people
who are hiding money to avoid taxation. And right-wingers believe in
nothing if not in avoiding taxation. So they and the bankers/ lobbyists went
to work to stop the American government from participating in the crackdown
on dirty money, arguing that closing down tax havens in effect leads to
higher taxes on the poor people trying to hide their money. I am not
kidding; it's all on the record. The president of the Heritage Foundation
spent an hour, according to the New York Times, with Treasury Secretary
O'Neill, and Texas bankers pulled their strings at the White House, and
presto, the Bush administration folded and pulled out of the international
campaign against tax havens.
How about that for patriotism? Better terrorists get their
dirty money than tax cheaters be prevented from hiding their money. And that
from people who wrap themselves in the flag and sing the Star Spangled
Banner with gusto. These true believers in the god of the market would leave
us to the ruthless cruelty of unfettered monopolistic capital where even the
law of the jungle breaks down.
But listen: today's heroes are public servants. The
twenty-year-old dot.com instant millionaires and the pugnacious pundits of
tabloid television and the crafty celebrity stock pickers on the cable
channels have all been exposed for what they are barnacles on the hulk of
the great ship of state. In their stead, we have those brave firefighters
and policemen and Port Authority workers and emergency rescue personnel,
public employees all, most of them drawing a modest middle-class income for
extremely dangerous work. They have caught our imaginations not only for
their heroic deeds but because we know so many people like them, people we
took for granted. For once, our TV screens have been filled with the modest
declarations of average Americans coming to each other's aid.
I find this good, and thrilling, and sobering. It could
offer a new beginning, a renewal of civil values that could leave our
society stronger and more together than ever, working on common goals for
the public good.
The playwright Tony Kushner wrote more than a decade ago:
"There are moments in history when the fabric of everyday life unravels, and
there is this unstable dynamism that allows for incredible social change in
short periods of time. People and the world they're living in can be utterly
transformed, either for the good or the bad, or some mixture of the two."
He's right. This could go either way. Here's one sighting:
in the wake of September 11th ; there's been a heartening change in how
Americans view their government. For the first time in more than thirty
years, a majority of people say we trust the Federal Government to do the
right thing just about always or at least most of the time. It's as if the
clock has been rolled back to the early sixties, before Vietnam and
Watergate took such a toll on the gross national psychology. This newfound
hope for public collaboration is based in part on how people view what the
government has done in response to the attacks. I have to say that overall
President Bush has acted with commendable resolve and restraint. But this is
a case where yet again the people are ahead of the politicians. They're
expressing greater faith in government right now because the long-standing
gap between our ruling elites and ordinary citizens has seemingly
disappeared. To most Americans, government right now doesn't mean a faceless
bureaucrat or a politician auctioning access to the highest bidder. It means
a courageous rescuer or brave soldier. Instead of representatives spending
their evenings clinking glasses with fat cats, they are out walking among
the wounded. In Washington, it seemed momentarily possible that the
political class had been jolted out of old habits. Some old partisan
rivalries and arguments fell by the wayside as our representatives acted
decisively on a forty billion dollar fund to rebuild New York. Adversaries
like Dennis Hastert and Dick Gephardt were linking arms. There was even a
ten-day moratorium on political fundraisers. I was beginning to be
optimistic that the mercenary culture of Washington might finally be on its
knees.
But I once asked a friend on Wall Street what he thought
about the market. "I'm optimistic," he said. "Then why do you look so
worried?" And he answered, "Because I'm not sure my optimism is justified."

I'm not, either. There are, alas, other sightings to
report. It didn't take long for the war time opportunists-the mercenaries of
Washington, the lobbyists, lawyers, and political fundraisers, to crawl out
of their offices on K street determined to grab what they can for their
clients. While, in New York, we are still attending memorial services for
firemen and police, while everywhere Americans' cheeks are still stained
with tears, while the President calls for patriotism, prayers, and piety,
the predators of Washington are up to their old tricks in the pursuit of
private plunder at public expense. In the wake of this awful tragedy wrought
by terrorism, they are cashing in.
Would you like to know the memorial they would offer the
almost six thousand people who died in the attacks? Or the legacy they would
provide the ten thousand children who lost a parent in the horror? How do
they propose to fight the long and costly war on terrorism America must now
undertake? Why, restore the three-martini lunch; that will surely strike
fear in the heart of Osama bin Laden. You think I'm kidding, but bringing
back the deductible lunch is one of the proposals on the table in Washington
right now. There are members of Congress who believe you should sacrifice in
this time of crisis by paying for lobbyists' long lunches. And cut capital
gains for the wealthy, naturally, that's America's patriotic duty, too. And
while we're at it, don't forget to eliminate the Corporate Alternative
Minimum Tax, enacted fifteen years ago to prevent corporations from taking
so many credits and deductions that they owed little if any taxes. But
don't just repeal their minimum tax; give those corporations a refund for
all the minimum tax they have ever been assessed.
You look incredulous. But that's taking place in Washington
even as we meet here in Brainerd this morning. What else can America do to
strike at the terrorists? Why, slip in a special tax break for poor General
Electric, and slip inside the Environmental Protection Agency while
everyone's distracted and torpedo the recent order to clean the Hudson river
of PCBs. Don't worry about NBC, CNBC, or MSNBC reporting it; they're all in
the GE family.
It's time for Churchillian courage, we're told. So how
would this crowd assure that future generations will look back and say,
"This was their finest hour?" That's easy. Give those coal producers
freedom to pollute. And shovel generous tax breaks to those giant energy
companies; and open the Alaskan wilderness to drilling, that's something to
remember the11th of September for. And while the red, white, and blue wave
at half-mast over the land of the free and the home of the brave, why, give
the President the power to discard democratic debate and the rule-of-law
concerning controversial trade agreements, and set up secret tribunals to
run roughshod over local communities trying to protect their environment and
their health. It's happening as we meet. It's happening right now.
If I sound a little bitter about this, I am; the President
rightly appeals every day for sacrifice. But to these mercenaries, sacrifice
is for suckers. So I am bitter, yes, and sad. Our business and political
class owes us better than this. After all, it was they who declared class
war twenty years ago and it was they who won. They're on top. If ever they
were going to put patriotism over profits, if ever they were going to
practice the magnanimity of winners, this was the moment. To hide now behind
the flag while ripping off a country in crisis fatally (fatally!) separates
them from the common course of American life.
Some things just don't change. Once again the Republican
Party has lived down to Harry Truman's description of the GOP as guardians
of privilege. And as for Truman's Democratic Party, the party of the New
Deal and the fair deal, well, it breaks my heart to report that the
Democratic National Committee has used the terrorist attacks to call for
widening the soft money loophole in our election laws. How about that for a
patriotic response to terrorism?
Mencken got it right-the journalist H. L. Mencken, who said
that when you hear some men talk about their love of country, it's a sign
they expect to be paid for it. Understandably, in the hours after the
attacks many environmental organizations stepped down from aggressively
pressing their issues. Greenpeace cancelled its 30th anniversary
celebration. The Sierra Club stopped all advertising, phone banks, and
mailing. The Environmental Working Group and the PIRGs postponed a national
report on chlorination in drinking water. That was the proper way to observe
a period of mourning. Furthermore, in work like this you have to read and
respect the mood of a country in crisis, or a misspoken word, even a modest
misstep, could lose you the public's ear for years to come. But the
polluters and their political cronies accepted no such constraints. Just one
day after the attack, one day into the maelstrom of horror, loss, and grief,
Republican senators called for prompt consideration of the President's
proposal to subsidize the country's largest and richest energy companies.
While America was mourning, they were marauding. One congressman even
suggested that eco-terrorists might be behind the attacks. And with that
smear he and his kind went on the offensive in Congress, attempting to
attach to a defense bill massive subsidies for the oil, coal, gas, and
nuclear companies. To a defense bill! What a shameless insult to patriotism!
What a slander on the sacrifice of our armed forces! To pile corporate
welfare totaling billions of dollars onto a defense bill in an emergency
like this is repugnant to the nostrils and a scandal against democracy!
But this is their game. They're counting on your patriotism
to distract you from their plunder. They're counting on you to be standing
at attention with your hand over your heart, pledging allegiance to the
flag, while they pick your pocket!
Let's face it: they present citizens with no options but to
climb back in the ring. We are in what educators call "a teachable moment."
And we'll lose it if we roll over and shut up. What's at stake is democracy.
Democracy wasn't cancelled on the 11th of September, but democracy won't
survive if citizens turn into lemmings. Yes, the President is our
Commander-in-Chief, and in hunting down and destroying the terrorists who
are trying to destroy us, we are "all the President's men," as Henry
Kissinger put it after the bombing of Cambodia. But we are not the
President's minions. If, in the name of the war on terrorism, President Bush
hands the state over to the energy industry, it's every patriot's duty to
join the local opposition. Even in war, politics is about who gets what and
who doesn't. If the mercenaries in Washington try to exploit the emergency
and America's good faith to grab what they wouldn't get through open debate
in peace time, the disloyalty will not be in our dissent but in our
subservience. The greatest sedition would be our silence.
Yes, there's a fight going on against terrorists around the
globe, but just as certainly there's a fight going on here at home, to
decide the kind of country this will be during and after the war on
terrorism. To the Irishman's question, "Is this a private fight or can
anyone get in it?" the answer has to be: "Come on in. It's our economy, our
environment, our country, and our future. If we dont fight, who will?"
What should our strategy be? Here are a couple of
suggestions. During two trips to Washington in the last ten days I heard
people talking mostly about two big issues of policy: economic stimulus and
the national security. How do we renew our economy and safeguard our
nation? Guess what? Those are your issues, and you are uniquely equipped to
address them with powerful language and persuasive argument.
For example: if you want to fight for the environment,
don't hug a tree; hug an economist. Hug the economist who tells you that
fossil fuels are not only the third most heavily subsidized economic sector
after road transportation and agriculture-they also promote vast
inefficiencies. Hug the economist who tells you that the most efficient
investment of a dollar is not in fossil fuels but in renewable energy
sources that not only provide new jobs but cost less over time. Hug the
economist who tells you that the price system matters; it's potentially the
most potent tool of all for creating social change. Look what California did
this summer in responding to its recent energy crisis with a price structure
that rewards those who conserve and punishes those who don't. Californians
cut their electric consumption by up to15%.
Do we want to send the terrorists a message? Go for
conservation. Go for clean, home-grown energy. And go for public health. If
we reduce emissions from fossil fuel, we will cut the rate of asthma among
children. Healthier children and a healthier economy-how about that as a
response to terrorism? As for national security, well, it's time to expose
the energy plan before Congress for the dinosaur it is. Everyone knows
America needs to reduce our reliance on fossil fuel. But this energy plan is
more of the same: more subsidies for the rich, more pollution, more waste,
more inefficiency. Let's get the message out. Start with John Adams' wakeup
call. The head of NRDC says the terrorist attacks spell out in frightful
terms that America's unchecked consumption of oil has become our Achilles
heel. It constrains our military options in the face of terror. It leaves
our economy dangerously vulnerable to price shocks. It invites
environmental degradation, ecological disasters, and potentially
catastrophic climate change. Go to Tompaine.com and you will find the two
simple facts we need to get to the American people: first, the money we pay
at the gasoline pump helps prop up oil-rich sponsors of terrorism like
Saddam Hussein and Muammar al-Quaddifi. Second, a big reason we spend so
much money policing the Middle East -- $30 billion every year, by one
reckoning, has to do with our dependence on the oil there. So John Adams got
it right, the single most important thing environmentalists can do to ensure
America's national security is to fight to reduce our nation's dependence on
oil, whether imported or domestic.
But don't stop there.
Before the 11th of September the nuclear power industry was
salivating at the prospect of the government giving it limited liability
for the risks of the meltdown or other nuclear accident. We were told by
Vice President Cheney that nuclear power was a "safe technology" that could
help alleviate energy shortages and not contribute to greenhouse gases.
But when Dick Cheney invited the energy companies and their
lobbyists to write his energy plan, he didn't reckon on terrorism or the
advice of Harvey Wassermann. Harvey Wassermann has spent years studying
these issues and writing about America's experience with atomic radiation.
He tells us that one or both planes that crashed into the World Trade Center
could easily have obliterated the two atomic reactors now operating at
Indian Point, about 40 miles up the Hudson River. Regulations put out by the
nuclear regulatory commission regarding plant safety don't address that sort
of event, and neither plant was designed to withstand such crashes. Until
now Harvey Wassermann's scenario was unthinkable. Had one or both of those
jets hit one or both of the operating reactors at Indian Point, the ensuing
cloud of radiation would have dwarfed the ones at Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Three
Mile Island, and Chernobyl. At the very least, the massive impact and
hellish jet fuel fire would destroy the human ability to control the plants'
functions. Vital cooling systems, back-up power generators, and
communications networks would crumble. The assault would not require a large
jet. The safety systems are extremely complex and virtually indefensible.
One or more could be wiped out with a wide range of easily deployed small
aircraft, ground-based weapons, truck bombs, or even chemical/biological
assaults aimed at the operating work force. Dozens of U.S. reactors have
repeatedly failed even modest security tests over the years. And even
heightened wartime standards cannot guarantee protection of the vast,
supremely sensitive controls required for reactor safety. Without continuous
monitoring and guaranteed water flow, the thousands of tons of radioactive
roads in the cores and the thousands more stored in those fragile pools
would rapidly melt into super-hot radioactive balls of lava that would burn
into the ground and the water table and, ultimately, the Hudson. Striking
water, they would blast gigantic billows of horribly radioactive steam into
the atmosphere. The radioactive clouds would then enshroud New York, New
Jersey, New England, and carry deep into the Atlantic and up into Canada
and across to Europe and around the globe again and again. The immediate
damage would render thousands of the world's most populous and expensive
square miles permanently uninhabitable. All five boroughs of New York City
would be an apocalyptic wasteland. All real estate and economic value would
be poisonously radioactive throughout the entire region. Who knows how many
people would die? As at Three Mile Island, where thousands of farm and wild
animals died in heaps, and as at Chernobyl, where soil, water and plant life
have been hopelessly irradiated, natural ecosystems on which human and all
other life depends would be permanently and irrevocably destroyed;
spiritually, psychologically, financially, ecologically, our nation would
never recover.
This is what we missed by a mere forty miles near New York
City on September 11th. And remember, there are 103 of these potential bombs
of the apocalypse now operating in the United States. 103. I know you see
the magnitude of the challenge. I know you see what we're up against. I know
you get it, the work that we must do. It's why you mustn't lose heart. Your
adversaries will call you unpatriotic for speaking the truth when
conformity reigns. Ideologues will smear you for challenging the official
view of reality. Mainstream media will ignore you, and those gasbags on
cable TV and the radio talk shows will ridicule and vilify you. But I urge
you to hold to these words: "In the course of fighting the present fire, we
must not abandon our efforts to create fire-resistant structures of the
future." Those words were written by my friend Randy Kehler more than ten
years ago, as America geared up to fight the Gulf War. They ring as true
today. Those fire-resistant structures must include an electoral system that
is no longer dominated by big money, where the voices and problems of
average people are attended on a fair and equal basis. They must include an
energy system that is more sustainable, and less dangerous. And they must
include a media that takes its responsibility to inform us as seriously as
its interest in entertaining us.
My own personal response to Osama bin Laden is not grand,
or rousing, or dramatic. All I know to do is to keep doing as best I can the
craft that has been my calling now for most of my adult life. My colleagues
and I have rededicated ourselves to the production of several environmental
reports that were in progress before September 11th. As a result of our two
specials this year, "Trade Secrets" and "Earth on Edge," PBS is asking all
of public television's production teams to focus on the environment for two
weeks around Earth Day next April. Our documentaries will anchor that
endeavor. One will report on how an obscure provision in the North America
Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) can turn the rule of law upside down and
undermine a community's health and environment. Our four-part series on
America's First River looks at how the Hudson River shaped America's
conservation movement a century ago and, more recently, the modern
environmental movement. We're producing another documentary on the search
for alternative energy sources, another on children and the environment the
questions scientists, researchers and pediatricians are asking about
children's vulnerability to hazards in the environment, and we are also
making a stab at updating the health of the global environment that we
launched last June with Earth on Edge.
What does Osama bin Laden have to do with these? He has
given me not one but five thousand and more reasons for journalism to
signify on issues that matter. I began this talk with the names of some of
them, the victims who died on the 11th of September. I did so because I
never want to forget the humanity lost in the horror. I never want to forget
the e-mail Forrester Church told me about, sent by a doomed employee in the
World Trade Center who, just before his life was over, wrote: "Thank you for
being such a great friend." I never want to forget the man and woman holding
hands as they leap together to their death. I never want to forget those
firemen who just kept going up; they just kept going up. And I never want to
forget what Forrester said of this disaster, that the very worst of which
human beings are capable can bring out the very best. I've learned a few
things in my 67 years. One thing I've learned that the kingdom of the human
heart is large. In addition to hate, it contains courage. In response to the
sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, my parents' generation waged and won a great
war, then came home to establish a more prosperous and just America. I
inherited the benefits of their courage. So did you. The ordeal was great
but prevail they did. We will, too, if we rise to the spiritual and moral
challenge of survival. Michael Berenbaum has defined that challenge for me.
As President of the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, he
worked with people who escaped the Holocaust: Here's what he says: "The
question is what to do with the very fact of survival. Over time survivors
will be able to answer that question not by a statement about the past but
by what they do with the future. Because they have faced death, many will
have learned what is more important: Life itself, love, family, community.
The simple things we have all taken for granted will bear witness to that
reality. The survivors will not be defined by the lives they have led until
now but by the lives that they will lead from now on. For the experience of
near death to have ultimate meaning, it must take shape in how one rebuilds
from the ashes. Such for the individual; so, too, for the nation."
We're survivors, you and I. We will be defined not by the
lives we led until the 11th of September, but by the lives we will lead from
now on. So go home, make the best grants you've ever made. And the biggest
- we have too little time to pinch pennies. Back the committed and
courageous people in the field, and back them with media to spread their
message. Stick your own neck out. Let your work be charged with passion, and
your life with a sense of mission.
For when all is said and done, the most important grant
you'll ever make is the gift of yourself, to the work at hand.


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