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The World Trade Center Tragedy

by blakem (Monsignor)
on Sep 12, 2001 at 08:24 UTC ( #111848=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

During the day, many monks dropped in to offer their hearts/thoughts/prayers to anyone suffering from yesterday's tragedy. Everyone was genuinely concerned and wanted to know if any fellow monks had been directly affected. This was all happening in the (transitory) CB, and I thought we should have a more permanent node to share our personal stories.

My hope is that we can avoid hot button issues like foreign policy, religion, gun control, etc. (save that for the CB) and instead give anyone who wants to share their story a place to post it

I'll share my story, which all things considered is pretty tame...

I currently work in California, but spent most of the past decade in Philladelphia. Many of my college friends are working in NYC, and my girlfriend's parents live in upstate NY. I took the afternoon off of work and shortly after I got home, learned that my closest college friends were all ok (although some did get covered in ash/dust while evacuating the city.) My girlfriends parents were nowhere near the city, though they do have a friend who is currently unaccounted for.

My graduating class (University of Pennsylvania '97) flocked to NYC, so I am still bracing for the news that one of my classmates didn't make it....


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by davorg (Chancellor) on Sep 12, 2001 at 13:50 UTC
Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by ginseng (Pilgrim) on Sep 12, 2001 at 09:44 UTC
    I'm fortunate to know of no friends or family directly affected by the tragedies in New York. My uncle and aunt in the DC area live only ten blocks from the Pentagon, and report that all is well with them.

    However, I do want to commend this community. I turned to at first as a distraction to the events of the day. (We don't have cable, or even regular TV...I was reliant on National Public Radio and the Internet for information today.)

    What I found here was an active, thoughtful discussion about the tragedies as they became more clear. I found monks continuously helping to pass information along, with sources and often links. I found people who knew what sites were up, as alternatives to the seriously overloaded US news sites. I found people who could post an 800 number for the Red Cross off the top of their head, encouraging others to give blood.

    We also heard from monks who may have lost family and friends, and were offered kind thoughts, condolences and prayers.

    Of course this subject is off-topic, but I want to express how pleased and proud I was to see the PM community react.

One very small good thing from WTC...
by dragonchild (Archbishop) on Sep 12, 2001 at 17:33 UTC
    My father worked on the 82nd floor of Tower 2. Luckily, he was on a business trip to Burma, of all places, that left this past Saturday. When I spoke to him last night, he told me that his trip wasn't supposed to leave till this Saturday.

    That was the first time I'd spoken to him in three years. We have had a rift over my choice of religion and bedpartners that started in Nov, 1998. There have been many times I felt that his death would've been one of the best things in my life, because it would've allowed me to be with my family during large gatherings again.

    Yet, the very first thing I wanted to do the moment I found out for certain that he worked there was to ask my Mom for the number to reach him in Burma. All I wanted to say was that I love him and that I'm glad he's alive.

    When I talked to him, he was in a bit of shock. Right now, he doesn't know if he even has a job when he comes home, cause he was a consultant for a Japanese bank whose American prescence is now bits and pieces on the road. It's very likely that none of his coworkers made it out alive. I know for a fact that he wouldn't have. I've heard all the stories of people running down 87 flights of steps, but he's the kind of person that would've stayed behind to make sure someone else got out.

    This attack is the kind of thing that would make me want to join the military and take up arms just to go kill the motherfuckers that did this to us. But, in my life, there is one small thing that this disaster has given me - a second chance with my father.

    We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

    Don't go borrowing trouble. For programmers, this means Worry only about what you need to implement.

      It's been nearly six months since 9-11. That's still the only time my father and I have spoken since November, 1998. I was even in the same state as him for Thanksgiving, but my mother and sister had to travel to my grandparents' to see me and meet my fiancee. (I wasn't allowed in the house.)

      Just as the "War on Terrorism" has turned out to be not quite what it seemed*, this latest chance at a reconciliation has bombed as well.

      I don't know why I'm even saying this. I guess I didn't want people to read the above node and think that even after a near-death experience, people will always change for the better. I'm sure there's a pithy saying there, but I can't find it.

      * Read the articles on if you're curious - they're slanted, but they give more facts than the mainstream US media.

      We are the carpenters and bricklayers of the Information Age.

      Don't go borrowing trouble. For programmers, this means Worry only about what you need to implement.

Re: The personal Tragedy
by earthboundmisfit (Chaplain) on Sep 12, 2001 at 18:16 UTC
    We lost a dear friend yesterday, someone who attended our wedding, someone who held our son, only a few hours old, someone who joined in our amazement and celebration of life. Her death was swift and most likely without prolonged suffering. But that matters not a wit to a four year old who is having a difficult time accepting that the images on TV, which we've since turned off, are not 'pretend' -- that his auntie is gone, that thousands more aunts and uncles, sons and daughters, husbands and wives are gone.

    We've talked to him. We've tried our best to smooth his furrowed brow and help him cope. I wish down to the core of my soul I could return him to a state of innocence, to restore in his young brain a quiet ignorance of the ways of the world, but like all Americans this morning, he is forever changed, forever made aware of the stupidity of man.

    I've assayed my intellect. I've consulted my faith. I've read the words of men and women wiser than me. But to make sense of any of this I've had to surrender to the chaos and look for that inner darkness that is not quite loneliness nor despair (that whistle and whine among the flashes and booms of war) but something darker which erases all sense of self and unteaches all the things I thought I knew.

       These fragments I have shored against my ruins
       Why then Ile fit you.  Hieronymo's mad againe.
       Datta.  Dayadhvam.  Damyata.
              Shantih shantih shantih
                        from The Wasteland
    Peace, peace, peace.


      I wept as I read this. I have not enough words to express my sadness...

      As for us, we are all ok. So far everyone we know is safe, too. My husband had a meeting in midtown Manhattan yesterday, and was supposed to go to a client company in WTC after that - it would be just about the "right" time. Luckily meeting went on for a little longer than planned, and he did not leave the office until after both planes crashed. Few other friends that worked there or were in PATH trains ran out to safety on time.

        oops.. forgot to login as I do not post here now. This is misty.
Re (tilly) 1: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by tilly (Archbishop) on Sep 12, 2001 at 19:15 UTC
    I am OK. I watched part of it from where I work, but I was nowhere near it. You just used to see those buildings from everywhere in Manhattan. Indeed just walking around yesterday was weird. Without knowing it, I had fixated on them as a constant landmark, and learned that anew as I kept on realizing that I was used to seeing them there. Even in strange parts of town I would know where they would be visible.

    Many people in my office had many friends in those buildings. Many of our clients worked there. Some of them may effectively not exist as companies. Just to get an idea, here is a list of tenants. The North tower was first hit, according to one estimate around the 90'th floor. The main way that people in companies like Kidder Peabody & Co would survive is that they had not arrived at work yet since the markets don't open until 9:30. The South was second and was hit much harder, much lower. I don't have an estimate as to the floor, but if people didn't get out after seeing the first one hit, I doubt that companies like Dow Jones or Morgan Stanley have many people left. (They may.)

    And, of course, the data. On paper everyone has great disaster recovery plans. In practice the techs have a different view. And, of course, the plans plan for a situation where key people are left alive. Even with a set of tapes that might contain information on 500 billion dollars of investments, it doesn't do much good if nobody has equipment to read it, nobody knows the key passwords, and nobody knows how to read the undocumented data format that was used in their home-grown accounts receivable system.

    On a humerous note, I live in the hospital complex that includes Tisch and Bellevue hospitals. Do you have any idea how much fun I had convincing the nice police officers that I, a random stranger without any confirming ID, really did live in that building?

Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by zebedee (Pilgrim) on Sep 12, 2001 at 12:06 UTC
    Truly dreadful
    My UK company's parent company had something like 200 people known to work in the building, but is now saying "fewer than 20 people remaining unaccounted for".
    "We suffer with the confirmed death of one ... person on the Boston to LA American Air flight that was hijacked and flown into the WTC."
    Stayed up until 2am (GMT) watching it ... still seems like something out of a film.
    What can you say? My heart goes out to America ...
Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by xphase_work (Pilgrim) on Sep 12, 2001 at 16:14 UTC
    I would like to thank the members of the community. My only connection for news(while at work) is the internet, and as most of us know, many news sites were slow or down during the tragic events on Sept. 11. The other members of this site helped keep myself and others informed of the events, as well as allowing us to share thoughts and feelings about the events.

    I feel proud to be a part of a community that reacted in such a helpful and intelligent way. I would again like to offer my thanks to all members of this site, as well as my condolences to all who are affected by this tragedy.

    Thank You,

Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by OzzyOsbourne (Chaplain) on Sep 12, 2001 at 16:06 UTC

    The first thing that I heard today was church bells and I wept, alone, in my car. I did not react this way to Oklahoma City, although a terrible tragedy, because it was civil unrest. It sounds strange, and I can't explain it, but I, and other Americans are not only saddened, but angered by this attack.

    If it was a civil action, god help us, because our identity will be torn apart.

    If it was an external attack, god help the region that inflicted it. We are an independent and free people born of rebels, pioneers, and malcontents. Our society feeds us Darwinistic ideals from our earliest days, encouraging us to be the best. We are so absorbed with this notion of being the best and the brightest that when something like the WTC bombing occurs, we can't understand it.

    As Americans, we see ourselves as the peace keepers of the world and the largest source of humanitarian aid. When we travel, we know that people in foreign countries resent us. They make comments about us being stupid and rude. They make fun of us behind our backs (They never complain about taking our money!). They get angrier, and angrier, and finally attack our civilians on our own soil and cheer in the streets at our death toll. They say that we should keep our noses out of the world's business. A foreign-born friend actually said this to me after the attack, and I almost took her head clean off.

    We can't stay out of your business, but I now wish that there was some way that we could. If we could only shut the doors, and give the world the bird. Fend for yourselves. No more aid, no more trade: just your countrymen, fending off the Next Hitlers and Soviet expansions. Good luck to you all.

    Every person that I have seen on the street today in America is willing to lock eyes with you. No one really locks eyes here. We are all busy with our own business to notice, nevermind lock eyes. We all are thinking the same thing. We all feel the same way. We are sad and angry, and know that life has somehow changed. We all have changed, and we are all alone, yet united in our sadness. We are also barbaric in our anger. Everyone who has talked about this has mentioned turning the responsible country into a "parking lot".

    The Japanese attacked us and the death toll was far lower, and they were all service men. Nuclear weoponry was deemed an appropriate response. What is an appropriate response to this, much larger tragedy?

    A friend of mine watched the whole thing from a rooftop in midtown and walked 2 miles home through the rubbble. She is safe. Another friend of mine works in NYC, and I can't get through to him. I'm sorry about this rant, but everyone here is horrbily embroiled in this tragedy.

    This could be a turning point in the modern world.

    Update: My aforementioned friend was on the 38th floor of the 1st building. He is OK.


      First and foremost, I agree that retaliation is appropriate and necessary. I would hope for swift, but I pray for appropriate and just.

      I do not think it is appropriate to even suggest (and will not support) a nuclear response. I'm as angry, outraged, and hurt as anyone, however, much of that stems from my compassion for the victims, the survivors, and their families...and my complete inability to understand the complete disregard for innocent life that was demonstrated in these attacks. That same inability forbids me to consider a nuclear response, regardless of who instigated these attacks.

      When we dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the general pubic was much less informed about the dangers and the environmental impact of those devices. Today's devices are much, much larger and I do not think any Administration that approved such a response would survive the week, let alone the next election. Furthermore, the outrage of the rest of the world would be completely justified.

      A military response is to be expected. Justice demands does not, however, demand an eye-for-eye annhiliation of the innocent citizens and/or neighbors of the those that perpetrated this heinous act of aggression.

      Frankly, I would rather see a retaliation that does not place more Americans at risk...however, I understand that may be necessary to root out and surgically remove the cancer that spawned this.

      And, yes, you're right. We're all part of this, even those who live on the other coast or in different countries. We all know somebody who lost someone. Consider the whole six degrees of separation thing. These attacks will affect all our lives in one way or another. Because of this, the "Final Solution" is not an option.

      Respectfully meant, as always.


      If evidence beyond a reasonable doubt proves that it is Bin-Landin who is responsible and if the Talaban continue to shelter him, the military option is considerably more complicated than "turning the country into a parking lot." The Russians shared a boarder with Afghanistan and spent 10 years using everything short of nuclear weapons. They never controlled more than major roads and larger cities. The United States had a similar experience in Vietnam.

      Officially, most of the Islamic world is shocked and outraged at recent events. As a practical matter, much of the Islamic world believes that the United States and Israel have already committed crimes against them as bad or worse than the world trade canter bombing. This may not be objectively true, but it is only the perception that matters

      If we were to invade Afghanistan, Pakistan is likely to use its border to enthusiastically support and supply the Talaban. There are other nations that would enthusiastically provide the supplies. A war with Afghanistan could take 10 years and require genocide to win.

      Using enough nuclear weapons to achieve this genocide quickly is likely to kill tens of thousands of people in neighbouring countries.

      If it comes to war with Afghanistan, it would be wise to treat the Talaban as the Germans and Japanese were treated after WWII.


        There shall be little similarity with either Vietnam or Russia's previous war with Afghanistan.

        Both of those were fought under the rules of the Cold War. Both were battles by a superpower which had little public support back home, little support from allies, and with opponents that were being funded and trained by powerful enemies that nobody dared fight directly.

        This time the US will go to war with full public support, along with the militaries of most of Europe and quite likely Russia. Any country strongly suspected of aiding and abetting our opponents will themselves become targets of war. That means that more force will be applied, we will be much more willing to take casualties, and whoever is targeted will quickly become isolated from potential support and supplies.

        For these reasons and more, I rather suspect a different outcome from the abortive police action that the US undertook in Vietnam...

        If evidence beyond a reasonable doubt proves that it is Bin-Landin who is responsible and if the Talaban continue to shelter him, the military option is considerably more complicated than "turning the country into a parking lot."

        No indeed it does not have to be at all. It then simply becomes a case of me wanting to destroy the wasp's nest in your yard.

        You see, you can have that nest there & I respect your property line. Then say, my hypotheical child gets stung. Turns out he's allergic & I ask you to do something about it. You refuse, saying that they're good for your flower garden. Then a month later they're swarming for some reason & my child ends up in the hospital & I notice you in your front yard snickering while we drive away in the ambulance...

        Do you think that I'm going to ask permission to get rid of that nest now? Or do you think you'll find it in your mailbox, possibly next to your teeth?

        I think this is a fair metaphor. Yes, I could call the police & have them deal with the neighbor & then wait & wait until something gets done, meanwhile my child could be stung a few more times. Or I could go & get rid of the nest myself & not say anthing, which leaves a righteously disgruntled putz living next door, just waiting for the chance to get back at me. OR I could solve the problem once & for all.

        Let's spell it out. We're NOT going to have another Vietnam in Afganistan (if that ends up to be where we let loose the fury, as it appears now) since our objective will be different. The USSR was trying to OCCUPY Afganistan. All that we will want to do is what we did to Iraq, destroy their capacity for being a nuisance. We could accomplish most of that without ever landing on the ground.

        Wait! This isn't a Parachute, this is a Backpack!
        Out of curiosity. Pure curiosity. Do we (the US) support Israel because of industry or because a lot of our citizens are located in both Israel and the US? Akin to Puerto Rico and other close physically, but seperate countries? I'm just curious as to why Afganistan can feel like we're evil? For helping out a country that is pretty much an extension of the US itself? It sounds childish to me, but maybe I'm in a stage of shock, and I'm asking the "why" question now; it's been in my head for the past few days.

        I've been glum and just slow/down because of this, I cannot wait until this weekend to finally rest, be with my loved ones, and find out how my friends in the NYC are doing for sure.

        _14k4 - (

        And I didn't say that we should turn it into a parking lot. But it is consistently discussed

        Your replies to this node in this tragic hour speaking of the justifications for why these people attacked and how we should rethink our viewpoint sicken me. To you, battered wives bring it on themselves. Maybe we should step down and lock up, and let the world fend for itself. Let the Hitlers and The Stalins, etc to take over.

        I am disgusted. I am disgusted with the thought that killing of innocent citizens is justified. I am disgusted that without the US, the world would be a parking lot. I am disgusted that people with their hands out can justify this attack. And disgusted that you can look at it in this light. I am disgusted with your replies.

        I'm inviting the negative XP for sure, but I can't believe in a community that thinks this way.

        To not act with extreme prejudice in a situation like this only invites more actions. More loss of life. And if it can happen in the US, it can happen in any country. It won't cripple our economy (and the worlds economy), for we have numerous financial centers, but it could cripple theirs. By not responding, we jeopordize the world.

        I didn't say it before, but whoever the assailants are, they should be turned into a parking lot. The retibution should be so fierce as to discourage this action from ever happening again. I'm sure my 2 NY friends (who I hear are still in shock) would agree that this should never re occur.

        Vote this down a million XP. Vote down all of my nodes if you must. I am disgusted, and I don't care. I have never shed a tear for someone that I did not know until today

        THOUSANDS of rescue workers, firefighters, EMTs, and normal people just like you are dead. And someone got away with it.

        Not America, but the Western way of life has been attacked, viciously, on it's own soil.

        I think that is the biggest deal in the last 50 years.


Asbestos Clear & Present Danger
by gregor42 (Parson) on Sep 12, 2001 at 22:05 UTC

    I have a friend named Michael who is a rescue worker for the fire department in NYC. He also did the same job in the army, now as a reserve member. As such, yesterday he got double called to duty.

    The odds for him weren't good, but so far, word is that's he's still alive somehow after 18 hours of digging through rubble & bodies. Though you can see in his eyes that he'll never be the same again. It's a hell beyond anyone's imagination.

    One of the things that concerns me the most about him now is that awful 'soot' that's flying around all over Manhattan now.

    My wife is an architect & she explained to me that during the time that the WTC was constructed, asbestos was in heavy use. Even if they had gone through the building & removed the asbestos insulation, there still remains asbestos fibers that were mixed into the concrete.

    I have noticed a lot of reporters referring to this airbourne debris as 'soot' or 'ash'. This isn't a volcano! And the fires, though enormous, are not burning on that scale. That is pulverized construction material.

    So now you're thinking 'great, I walked around in that crap all day yesterday, now what do I do?' Well if I were you I would throw away all of the clothes I was wearing & anything they touched. (The bedspread you threw your jeans onto, etc.) Take a cold shower & scrub like mad with a loofa or pumice stone. And go to the health food store & get charcoal tablets. These are commonly used to remove many kinds of toxins, as they provide bonding sites for the chemicals to stick to, instead of inside you.

    Above all, be aware that you have been exposed & inform your doctor. Don't take it lightly.

    I found it astonishing that when I was watching the Mayor & the Governor on television, that when they were asked about asbestos directly they deflected the question rather than making people aware of the inherent danger. I doubt very much that he could have generated more panic than had already ensued.

    As for politically based commentary, I can find no forgiveness for anyone who trivializes the mass slaughter that took place here & nothing less than the poisoning of an entire city. When the death toll is complete this is going to number in the tens of thousands. This is clearly an Act of War. The only people in the history of the world who might have a claim to perpetrate this justly, might be the Japanese, in retaliation for 2 atomic bombs... Anyone else had no right whatsoever. Including Iraq. We didn't poison them, and we didn't target civillians.

    It is also clearly an act of desperation. In WWII the japanese resorted to the 'divine wind'/kamikaze attacks because they clearly were losing the war. It didn't prevent them from losing, it only made the final resolution more bitter. We resorted to the A-Bomb because projections for taking the island of Japan put the casualties at one million. In this way, using the A-Bomb saved lives. But in the pure view of morality you're looking at the difference between civilian & combatant's lives...

    I do not feel that nuclear retaliation is to be ruled out. This is not a war to be won fighting by Queenbury's rules. Think of Apolcalypse Now & the speech Brando gave about ruthlessness. The fact is this, we no longer need provocation or moral justification to attack at will.

    My only hope is that we follow up properly on choosing that target & not rush the job & botch it like they did with the Kennedy investigation, where they only wanted to provide a clear & swift image of justice to the public.

    Wait! This isn't a Parachute, this is a Backpack!
      This came over a mailing list I'm on and is relevent for anybody in NYC. Though I don't know the sender, I've verified that both senders are real accademics at their respective institutions.

      From: David A. Klatell <>
      Sent: Wednesday, September 12, 2001 8:52 PM
      Subject: Health Precautions

      From Professor Ross, who is on leave this year:

      There is a serious health risk as well -- asbestos. The NYT I got this morning in Boston did not cover this at all, but plenty of walking wounded are being shipped to NJ for decontamination (Clara Mas on the west side of Newark has the only decon unit in North Jersey, I think) and health care professionals know the risk. They are wearing protective clothing, even at the hospital. Briefly:

      The WTC was the LAST big building in the US to use blow-on asbestos insulation to protect the steel beams from fire's heat. The asbestos type specified for this purpose is chrysotile ("white" asbestos). This type is generally believed to be no more dangerous than any other fiber (the fiber in fiber glass, for instance). But crocidolite, another form of asbestos ("blue" asbestos) contaminates chrysotile in most asbestos deposits, and it has been known for 30 years that the asbestos used in the WTC has a lot of it. This stuff is now blown all over lower Manhattan. Crocidolite is a carcinogen, considered a POTENT carcinogen by many. (Mt. Sinai in Manhattan has long had a good research team on this issue.) There are plenty of documented cases of shipyard workers getting mesothelioma (a cancer of the chest lining, unique to asbestos) after only a few weeks' exposure to croc. Smoking raising the risk drastically. Almost 100% of all asbestos workers in the 60s and 70s who smoked have died of mesothelioma.

      Asbestos fibers are caught in simple medical face masks, if the masks are worn properly (no beards!). I would not send a student who smokes down into lower manhattan without such protection. After a visit, they should shower and send clothing to the laundry (to avoid spreading dust to others).

      BTW, most of the gray ash seems to be made up mainly of clay (from paper) and other construction materials, but there is asbestos there as well.

      The Port Authority ignored advice on this issue when the towers were built. Also, contrary to NYC building codes at the time, the stairwells for emergency use did not open directly to the outside -- a serious bottleneck partially overcome by above-average attention to tenant training.

      Steven S. Ross
      Co-Director, Institute for Analytic Journalism
      Boston University School of Communications

      -- David A. Klatell
      Academic Dean
      Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism
      2950 Broadway
      New York, NY 10027
      tel: (212) 854-3319
      fax: (212) 854-3939
      e-mail: ---

      ___ -DA > perl -MPOSIX -e'$ENV{TZ}="US/Eastern";print ctime(1000000000)' Sat Sep 8 21:46:40 2001

      2006-08-04 Retitled by planetscape, as per Monastery guidelines

      Original title: 'Asbestos'

      ++ for the asbestos information, but you are way off mark to suggest that the A-bomb ended WWII in Japan.

      Japan was already putting out peace feelers with a view to surrender. Truman was worried about the reaction of the American population when they found out that billions of dollars (in 1940s real dollars) researching weaponary that was never to be used! Imagine all the B-17s and B-29s they could have built with the money... The pressure was too much to resist: he had to order the bomb to be used, in order to prove that the money spent was worthwhile.

      And US and western media basically went along with this story for decades. We all heard at school that the death toll would have been horrific had there been a land-based war on Japanese soil. This was never on the cards, Japan was trying to find an honourable way to surrender and make peace.

      Alternate media channels tried to bring this issue to light a couple of years ago, and were roundly attacked for doing so. Never mind that in Hiroshima and Nagasaki 95% of the victims were civilians.

      Some more interesting links on this subject. I am sure that googling for atomic bomb hiroshima controversy will turn up many more links -- these are just old links I have bookmarked in years past.

      update: how cute, in this whole OT thread, this node managed to garner a response labelling it off-topic. I thought this forum was about Perl, but never mind.

      I freely admit to fail[ing] to offer an alternative, consequence-free path of action. The immensity of the stupefying act of terrorism boggles my mind. That said, I don't think jingoistic editorials like this particular diatribe offer any constructive advice. That's just pouring oil on the fire.

      g r i n d e r

        you are way off mark to suggest that the A-bomb ended WWII in Japan.

        I did not. You are attempting to spin doctor my comments to justify your rant. I was speaking about desperation:

        It is also clearly an act of desperation. In WWII the japanese resorted to the 'divine wind'/kamikaze attacks because they clearly were losing the war. It didn't prevent them from losing, it only made the final resolution more bitter. We resorted to the A-Bomb because projections for taking the island of Japan put the casualties at one million. In this way, using the A-Bomb saved lives. But in the pure view of morality you're looking at the difference between civilian & combatant's lives...

        I will repeat that I do not condone the killing of civilians, even in times of war, which this is clearly not, since no formal declaration war has been made by our cowardly enemies. However, a military response towards military targets is the only response anyone can realistically expect. Even if, as may very well be in this case, your "military bunker" or "munitions factory" is a basement apartment with a bunch of guys with bathtubs, gasoline, and soap - straight out of Fight Club.

        This is terribly sad, yes. But a chain of events has been put into motion that isn't going to stop. I find the very wide and unprecedented powers that are being given to the CiC at this time a little ominous... Writing a blank check always is... And this one has War - American style filled in for the amount.

        But while you may throw stones at the imperfect handling of these events, you fail to offer an alternative, consequence-free path of action.

        Wait! This isn't a Parachute, this is a Backpack!
Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by footpad (Abbot) on Sep 12, 2001 at 19:43 UTC

    I think we should also make sure our D.C. based brethern, as well as anyone located 80 miles south of Pittsburgh.


Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by stefp (Vicar) on Sep 12, 2001 at 21:59 UTC
    The death of thousands of people, be they american or not, is a tragedy. It is the result of hatred.War can eradicate the hands that armed the terrorist but hardly the causes of hatred.

    Bush speaks of Good waging war against Evil. This is very disturbing because they are the very same words as the terrorists. He speaks of saving freedom and democracy but our (*) relation with the rest of the world is of brutal force veiled in a thin veil of ideology. Most of us are not aware of this because our misdeed happens in foreign countries and are not covered by media. So who are we to judge people that are have been even more thouroughly brainwashed?

    There is no excuse to crash a plane against the WTC. But let no think in term of good and evil but in term of human people who can go astray.

    I hope that the Internet will be a direct link between people and avoid mediation thru biased third parties. Also, how many times I discuss with someone on the net. And when I meet him physically, I discover that I would not have meet him/here otherwise because stupid things like the way he dress. We are neither good or evil but both, we are just human, and must be careful of using the world of God to dictate foreign policy (if there is a such things because we are living in the same world) Read Chomsky, or the following links (1), (2)

    (*) I think that most of the so called liberalist world has the same relation with the world. For example: we know in France that some French political people are financed by back-payola from third-world countries linked to arms sales.

    -- stefp

      So what I'm reading is that you're saying is "Hey, that was a horrible thing, just don't do it again." The U.S. shouldn't defend itself? The U.S. shouldn't try to bring these people to justice? What should we do? Have a big camp fire, hold hands and sing songs?

      Beyond the obvious reprocussions of not doing anything, we have a right, by basic international law, to go after those involved.

      As far as good vs. evil, do you deny that hijacking 4 planes, slitting the throats of some on borad and then crashing the planes into civilian buildings is an evil action? How about blowing up embassies? What about the slew of other horrific things he's done or planned to do? How can you say that this is not an evil person? If an American did any of these things to Iraq, I'd be horrified. I don't use the word 'evil' loosely, but I'd define someone as evil if they have a complete disregard for human life. I think he fits the bill.

      I feel there's far too many countries that want to stick their head in the sand and hope that all the bad things are just going to go away. Look at WWII closely, The same thing happened there. "Oh.. you're going to stop with Czechoslovakia? OK then. Oh.. now you're going to stop with Yugoslavia? OK.. as long as you don't take any more."

      And I'll leave you with this thought. Though your country will not support the U.S., feel comforted by the fact that the next time your country is in financial trouble, you're threatened by an agressor or there's anything else you ask for help with, the U.S. will be there.


      ps - I'm sorry for the harsh tone, but I'm just so tired of complacincy, fearfull fence sitting and other countries who only pretend to be our friends.

        Beyond the obvious reprocussions of not doing anything, we have a right, by basic international law, to go after those involved.

        Basic international law says, IMHO to bring case in Internation Court in Hague, netherland. And I thing it is right thing to do - maybe after US commandos will bring Osama and couple other there. Even if innocent life will get lost in this action, I will applaud US restrain.

        I know american tradition was, when settlers came into new teritory, to set laws and enforce them right there. I understand how hard is to show restraint now, when it hurts. But - do we (western civilization) have another option? Do we want to prove to Osama and his evil companions that for USA killing millions of innocent does not mean a lot, because they are "just muslims", not worth as much as US own people?

        Germany is especially concerned, because they have huge muslim minority, and racist attack are more often that here (sorry if I misintepret is, felow monks from germany). I think it will be wonderful if Germany (after being involved in staring two wars) will be able to prevent the third...

        World as we knew it ended 9/11. We should hope we can still prevent "holy war" between muslim and western civilizations...

        To make errors is human. But to make million errors per second, you need a computer.

Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by dthacker (Deacon) on Sep 13, 2001 at 07:14 UTC
    Doctor my eyes! Tell me what is wrong
    Was I unwise to leave the open for so long"--Jackson Browne

    I knew no one in the buildings or on the planes. I have a former sister-in-law and husband who live Long Island. We're still close, and at 3 am this morning he sent me an email which I will excerpt here:

    It is now 3:30 a.m. and I have just returned home from Ground Zero, what was once the World Trade Center. As many of you know, in addition to being a Pastor I am a volunteer firefighter. Our department was called to standby and assist NYFD as needed. Around 5:00 p.m. 9/11/01 our unit was directed to go down to the World Trade Center....

    My impressions of the scene: This was nothing like I ever could have imagined. These was 2-4 inches of concrete dust covering everything. Vehicles were upside down and burned out. NY Fire Department vehicles were abandoned, glass was shattered everywhere and buildings looked like they were bombed like I see in history books about WWII. There was paper flying all over and dark smoke still burning in parts of the rubble. Over the past three years I have developed friends who are city fireman and police. Some I have heard are safe, others I haven't heard yet. When the news first starting coming in, the were many people in the congregation and preschool families who new of someone who worked at The World Trade Center. Some we heard were safe, others I haven't heard about yet. Pray for us all.

    I am praying. Constantly. For all of us. For the victims. For their families. For our enemies. I tell you now that I have not felt the same since I watched that second plane fly into the building. I watched a mass murder on live television. How can anyone see such a thing and remain untouched?

    I couldn't work yesterday. I couldn't focus. People were fighting for their lives and tuning a database just didn't seem like much compared to that. I hung out in the CB and passed news along. None of it was good. At times great debate raged in the CB and I ignored it. I had seen too much rage. I didn't want to add any more.

    The TV was like a drug that I couldn't stop taking. My son's soccer game was cancelled and I was happy because that meant I could go home and watch more news. Still all bad. I went to pick up my daughter from school on a brilliant Autumn evening. The sun still shone, the breeze was wonderful, the light was beautiful and golden. And the world was a dark, scary place.

    I have no words of comfort for earthboundmisfit. Only apologies. I'm sorry we were complacent. I'm sorry we thought that evil could never touch us. I'm sorry that human beings can do such things to each other.

    My 11 year old daughter sees and hears all the news, and does not understand. My 9 year old son loves policemen and firemen and army men and he is angry that anyone would hurt them. My step-daughter is at college. Unbelievably, last night we were discussing flying her home for Christmas. My wife said she would have to fly back on New Year's Eve and we simultaneously said "No, not that night." Not a night when everyone is watching. When someone could choose to make a statement. Better to be inconspicous. Travel on another day.

    And then today it hit me. Yesterday was no holiday or anniversary that I knew of. Yesterday was just another day. No day is safe anymore. It's just different now. And I think the news will be bad for a long time.


      You quote Jackson Browne:

      Doctor my eyes! Tell me what is wrong
      Was I unwise to leave them open for so long

      You might be interested in knowing that Clear Channel Communications, the largest radio conglomerate in the United States, has banned playing that song, along with "Imagine", "Peace Train", and a variety of other songs.

      I have a link to the list at home--I'll add it later if anyone cares to see it.

      Update: Here it is.


      Nothing to kill or die for

Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by greywolf (Priest) on Sep 12, 2001 at 20:26 UTC
    Words can't explain all the feelings that most people are feeling right now. I am on the west coast of Canada and I am shocked and horrified about what happened.

    Everyone refers to the act of terrorism but lets not forget what really happened here. People were murdered when all they did was go to work and get a cup of coffee.

    And those people dancing in the streets in the Middle East are sick. I wonder why they don't dance in the streets when it is their own families killed by a terrorist. People in America don't dance in the streets when civilians are killed in the Middle East.

    My thoughts and condolances go out to everyone who lost a family member or friend yesterday.

    I apologize for ranting.

    mr greywolf
Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by dsb (Chaplain) on Sep 13, 2001 at 08:27 UTC
    I haven't signed on in awhile, but I am happy to find the intelligent community at is still at work, discussing and encouraging, sharing and learning.

    I work on 25th Street in Manhattan. I have family that work in other areas of the city. All have been accounted for. I am no longer in disbelief. I had a lot of time with which to cool the anger I felt(and still feel to some degree), during my adventures in leaving the city. At this point I am mostly sad, and yet I am greatful for the solidarity which seems to have pervaded the "civilized" world.

    I will never forget the mass of people walking straight down Broadway, all eyes focused on the flaming towers of the World Trade Center. I will never forget the anguish I felt and shared with co-workers and strangers alike after the first Tower collapsed, and again when the second Tower fell. I will never forget the look of concern on the faces of volunteer workers as they helped depart from ferries and trains in our journey home.

    I've already done a bit of writing, and posted some of my thoughts on my website. They can be found here.

    Tomorrow(September 13, 2001) I return to work. My thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones, or who are still waiting for news.

    Amel - f.k.a. - kel

Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by George_Sherston (Vicar) on Sep 13, 2001 at 17:54 UTC
    It would be absurdly self-important of me to say that this dreadful business touches me personally. I wasn't there, I'm not an American, none of my friends or relations was hurt. I don't want to misappropriate the grief and outrage that is the rightful property of others.

    But I do feel strongly about this, in all kinds of different ways. I lived in NY for a year in the early 90s, and I love that town in all its flawed glory, not with a sentimental love but with a love born of hundreds of mornings on the Lexington line, and watching big-hearted loudmouths directing the traffic out of the way of an ambulance, and the nice lady who sells you bagels at Zabar's, and... just the scale of it all. New York is distilled essence of human life. Although my Manhattanite friends are long gone to the suburbs or overseas now, for New York, the people and the place, yes I do feel for New York.

    But the main thing I wanted to say was. Something about America.

    You see, the thing is, the evil men who killed all those people and destroyed those lovely buildings, to do that they had to steal airplanes. They couldn't make them. And they had to learn to fly those airplanes in America. America is and always has been and always will be a place where you make things and you do things. You put in more than you take out. You're a big country. But the people who attacked you are, as all evil things, essentially empty and derivative.

    Of course, a lot of people hate America for its strength. Shame and envy can breed a lot of misplaced anger. To somebody whose life is blighted by circumstances beyond his control, it can be a great relief to pin the blame on a country that's so obviously fruitful. If you can't make your own garden grow, sometimes it makes you feel better to go out at night and trash the biggest orchard in the village.

    In a way that's a thing that makes me so angry about this: that people who create should be hurt and killed by people who only know how to destroy. But it also makes me hopeful. They played the US national anthem on the radio here (live from Buckingham Palace, which I know some people find surreal, but you may be sure it was a very genuine gesture) and I found myself singing along. The words are so familiar that they can feel hackneyed; one sometimes wonders if they aren't just a cliché. But not after today.

    Because, when it comes right down to it, that song is a question, and it's a question with an answer, and the answer is "yes, the Star Spangled Banner does still wave over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave". Just because you've heard the words over and again, they're still true; and they're true of America, in ways they are not true of many another nation. It's scant consolation to those who are bereaved or injured at the moment, but it's important nonetheless for Americans to remember that they are a great people, and that they are loved and admired.

    § George Sherston
      As a Vietnam Veteran, I am intimately familar with that which my country has done wrong—thank you for reminding me of that which we have done right…
Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by dirthurts (Hermit) on Sep 12, 2001 at 20:31 UTC
Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by Anonymous Monk on Sep 12, 2001 at 21:33 UTC

    I got the following in e-mail this morning. I include it here without much comment as I don't usually care to argue politics on a Perl forum. I just felt it provides a reasonable counter point to some of the points I've seen expressed here and in chatter.

    Widespread, but only partial news coverage was given recently to a remarkable editorial broadcast from Toronto by Gordon Sinclair, a Canadian television commentator. What follows is the full text of his trenchant remarks as printed in the Congressional Record:

    "This Canadian thinks it is time to speak up for the Americans as most generous and possibly the least appreciated people on all the earth.

    Germany, Japan and, to a lesser extent, Britain and Italy were lifted out of the debris of war by the Americans who poured in billions of dollars and forgave other billions in debts. None of these countries is today paying even the interest on its remaining debts to the United States.

    When the franc was in danger of collapsing in 1956, it was the Americans who propped it up, and their reward was to be insulted and swindled on the streets of Paris. I was there. I saw it. When distant cities are hit by earthquakes, it is the United States that hurries in to help. This spring, 59 American communities were flattened by tornadoes. Nobody helped.

    The Marshall Plan and the Truman Policy pumped billions of dollars into discouraged countries. Now newspapers in those countries are writing about the decadent, warmongering Americans. I'd like to see just one of those countries that is gloating over the erosion of the United States Dollar build its own airplane. Does any other country in the world have a plane to equal the Boeing Jumbo Jet, the Lockheed Tristar, or the Douglas 10? If so, why don't they fly them? Why do all the International lines except Russia fly American planes?

    Why does no other land on earth even consider putting a man or woman on the moon? You talk about Japanese technocracy, and you get radios. You talk about German technocracy, and you get automobiles. You talk about American technocracy, and you find men on the moon - - not once, but several times - and safely home again.

    You talk about scandals, and the Americans put theirs right in the store window for everybody to look at. Even their draft-dodgers are not pursued and hounded. They are here on our streets, and most of them, unless they are breaking Canadian laws, are getting American dollars from ma and pa at home to spend here.

    When the railways of France, Germany and India were breaking down through age, it was the American who rebuilt them. When the Pennsylvania Railroad and the New York Central went broke, nobody loaned them an old caboose. Both are still broke.

    I can name you 5,000 times when the Americans raced to the help of other people in trouble. Can you name me even one time when someone else raced to the Americans in trouble? I don't think there was outside help even during the San Francisco earthquake.

    Our neighbors have faced it alone, and I'm one Canadian who is damned tired of hearing them get kicked around. They will come out of this thing with their flag high. And when they do, they are entitled to thumb their nose at the lands that are gloating over their present troubles. I hope Canada is not one of those." adds this:

    Origins: On June 5 1973, Canadian radio commentator Gordon Sinclair decided he'd had enough of the stream of criticism and negative press recently directed at the United States of America by foreign journalists (primarily over America's long military involvement in Vietnam, which had ended with the signing of the Paris Peace Accords six months earlier). When he arrived at radio station CFRB in Toronto that morning, he spent twenty minutes dashing off a two-page editorial defending the USA against its carping critics which he then delivered in a defiant, indignant tone during his "Let's Be Personal" spot at 11:45 AM that day.

    The unusualness of any foreign correspondent -- even one from a country with such close ties to the USA as Canada -- delivering such a caustic commentary about those who would dare to criticize the USA is best demonstrated by the fact that even thirty years later, many Americans doubt that this piece (which has been circulating on the Internet in the slightly-altered form quoted above as something "recently" printed in a Toronto newspaper) is real. It is real, and it received a great deal of attention in its day. After Sinclair's editorial was rebroadcast by a few American radio stations, it spread like wildfire all over the country. It was played again and again (often superimposed over a piece of inspirational music such as "Battle Hymn of the Republic" or "Bridge Over Troubled Waters"), read into the Congress Record multiple times, and finally released on a record (titled "The Americans"), with all royalties donated to the American Red Cross. (A Detroit radio broadcaster named Byron MacGregor recorded and released an unauthorized version of the piece that hit the record stores before Sinclair's official version; an infringement suit was avoided when MacGregor agreed to donate his profits to the Red Cross as well).

    Sinclair passed away in 1984, but he will long be remembered on both sides of the U.S.-Canadian border -- both for his contributions to journalism, and for his loudly proclaiming what no one else at the time would stand up and say.

Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by dave_aiello (Pilgrim) on Sep 13, 2001 at 16:57 UTC
    Until last week, I had a valuable long-term contract at one of the largest financial services firms in America. I worked at 75 Wall Street. I passed through the World Trade Center every business day for the last 3 years, often between 8:30 and 8:45, because the PATH station is (was) located there.

    When my manager/client told me I had to leave, I had mixed emotions. I knew this was coming. The company probably let 1,000 consultants go during August. Like me, many of them had worked at the company for longer than the employees for whom we worked. But, now I know this was a blessing.

    However, my family is not happy. My aunt's brother, no direct relation to me, is missing. He was supposed to be meeting his financial advisor at 8:30am at Windows on the World, the restaurant that used to be on the 106th floor of one of the WTC towers. My uncle told me yesterday that his brother-in-law's car is still parked at the New Jersey Transit station in Upper Montclair, NJ.

    So please, keep praying for miracles.

    Dave Aiello
    Chatham Township Data Corporation

Re: The World Trade Center Tragedy
by risacher (Beadle) on Sep 15, 2001 at 18:52 UTC

    I'm a member of the US Air Force, assigned to the Pentagon. My office isn't actually in the building; it's in some leased space two blocks away, in Crystal City. Tuesday morning I was planning to go over to the Pentagon to do some personnel paperwork. But my work hours are almost completely at my own discretion, so I often go to work late and stay late in the evenings.

    Monday night I'd stayed up late hacking some code, and I slept in a bit... When I woke up, I hacked a bit more, and spent some time shooting at squirrels with my slingshot. Eventually I couldn't procrastinate any more, and I went to work. I heard about the incidents on the car radio. If I had been the early riser that I used to be, I probably would have been in the building. Maybe dead. Strange that procrastination may have saved my life. I guess maybe laziness really is a virtue at times.

    I was dumbfounded by the column of smoke over the Pentagon. I can only imagine what the WTC must have been like first-hand. The smell was terrible.

    Most of my organization (OSD/PA&E) is just off corridor 2, which was closed all week because of fire, possible structural damage, and declaration of it being a crime scene. I spent almost every waking moment trying to re-organizize the 90-person suite that I manage to accomodate an additional 60 people who were displaced.

    Friday, the FBI let people back into the corridor 2 offices. All the displaced people went back to their own spaces. I don't think I even really had time to grieve or think about anything until yesterday.

    I know one person who died in the attack, a co-worker whose office was in the building. In a situation beyond irony, he was flying to a meeting in California, via LAX. The one person that I know who died -- a DoD civilian -- wasn't actually in the Pentagon at the time... until the moment of impact, I suppose. He will be missed.

    This really sucks.

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