[From Rick Marken (2001.09.20.1430)]
Bill Williams (20 September 2001 1:00 CST)
First: How do you know these people are "psychopathic?"
That's my perception of them. Maybe I just should have said they are
"assholes" from my point of view and avoided the clinical
Second: Since they were on the recieving end of US policy, who are you to say
that "it's not their call to make an evaluation of US foreign policy."
I'm afraid I said it incorrectly. Of course they are free to evaluate
and criticize US policy. They are not free to kill innocent people as
their means of expressing their evaluation (not if they can be caught
and jailed, anyway).
When Bruce Gregory talks about a failure of imagination, it seems to me
that part of what is involved is an unwillingness to consider in all
seriousness why some people might reach conclusions we find disturbing
with their being crazy.
I already explained why I think these people have reached their
disturbing conclusions. I think it's because America is a symbol of
principles -- freedom of thought, secularism and tolerance -- that are
inconsistent with their system concepts. They hate the fact that our
women have almost complete control of their own lives (and run around in
cute, short skirts while their running their companies), that we don't
force a particular religious view on people and that we are tolerant of
Third: Who are you thinking about when you say, "people who think that the mass
murder of innocent people is morally acceptable." I am confident that those who
carried out the strike didn't see it as an act of "mass murder of innocent
people." So, let's be explicit.
I don't care if they saw it as an ice cream sundae. What _I_ saw was
grisly mass murder carried out by people who obviously thought it was a
fine thing to do. It's the terrorist asshole scum who are the people who
I was thinking about.
If to borrow a phrase, we attempt to go up a level, the entire matter
may come down to a question of who's "innocent people" we are going
to be concerned about.
I am concerned about _all_ of them. Apparently you believe the US has
committed or is an accomplice to the murder of innocent people in the
middle east. But even if the US is guilty of this (which I very
seriously doubt) I don't see the murder of innocent US civilians as the
appropriate way to deal with whatever problem they have over there. But
even worse than the murder is the expression of glee by the perpetrators
and their sympathizers.
I can think of one time when the US resorted to terrorism as the means
of getting another country to change its foreign policy. This was
Hiroshima/Nagasaki. It was a horrible mass murder. But, for me, even
though many more people were killed, Hiroshima/Nagasaki is not as bad as
the Sept 11 nightmare. No one -- Truman especially -- took (or
evidenced) any joy in the killing of innocents. Indeed, there was
terrible anguish. There was no mystery for Japan about how to stop US
terrorism either; Japan just had to change its war policy. In the Sept
11 case, the terrorists are jumping for joy about the deaths and we have
no idea what we could do to prevent further massacres.
Hiroshima/Nagasaki was a tragedy. Sept. 11, 2001 was, from my point of
view, pure, unadulterated evil. Fortunately, the vast majority of people
living in the US see it exactly as I do. That's how I know I'm living in
a civilized society, despite the occasional Jerry Falwells and Pat Robertsons.
By the way, I for one think you ought to feel free to say anything you please.
I've come to the conclusion that as a causal matter, speach doesn't hurt anyone.
I'm glad to hear it but others don't feel the same way. I'm not going to
change their minds about it and, frankly, it's more important to me to
just avoid the abuse than continue asserting my "right" to say what I
like about certain things about which I now happily say nothing.
Richard S. Marken, Ph.D.
10459 Holman Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90024