The Mail

The Mail

October 15 2001
The Mail

The Mail

October 15 2001

The Mail

The idea that the terrorist attack on America was an attack on us as a whole should never be forgotten. If the world does not prepare for this confrontation, then it will be the beginning of the end of a world where decent people can live decent lives (“Americas ready. Are the rest of us?”

Special Report, Oct. 1). We have reached two paths, one leading to the sunlight, the other dragging us back to the primitive darkness.

Decision time

Douglas Cornish, Ottawa

Your cover story ostensibly focused on the readiness of Americas allies, but unfortunately sidestepped the key issue. Canada, as a wealthy and populous nation, has abdicated its international responsibilities and jeopardized its sovereignty by failing to maintain adequate armed forces. No, Canada is not ready, and will never be if the media do not start educating Canadians on this shameful state of affairs. GregAikins, Middletown, R.l.

Readers on readers

It was very difficult to choose which of the letters on the subject of the terrorist attacks was the silliest (“How should we feel?” The

Mail, Oct. 1). My favourite, though, had to be Fred Fords. He claims that a terrorist act apparently masterminded by a scion of a hyper-capitalist family whose wealth was generated in a despotic, U.S.-protected petro-dictatorship is a manifestation of anti-capitalism. He also calls for a prolonged military attack on the countries that harbour Islamic terrorism. Where does he think all of the cruise missiles launched in the past 10 years have been targeted, Wall Street? God bless the capitalism that drove the colonization and rape of Africa, the subjugation of the natives of North America and gave us the First World War.

John Gregory Elliott, Calgary

Fred Ford speaks of altruism, but clearly has no idea what he is talking about. Altruism is the quality of unselfish concern for the welfare of others. Altruism is the principle that so many police and firefighters demonstrated that day going into the World Trade Center to rescue those trapped. It was certainly not the principle terrorists follow, for they have no concern for the lives or well-being of others.

Wade AndrewTritschler, Nanaimo, B.C.

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I was disturbed by one of the letters in the Oct. 1 edition which suggested that we need to “put this tragedy into perspective,” claiming that since many more people die in Third World countries every year, the fact that people express more outrage over the horrific events of Sept. 11 indicates something deficient in Americans and Canadians. I would like to suggest that North Americans do feel for the plight of people in those countries. Moreover, the 5,000-plus people who died in America due to these terrorist attacks were murdered. They did not die because of famine, flood or overpopulation. They died because they were successful Americans and there’s nothing Osama bin Laden hates more than that. Other than freedom. Catherine Salmon, New Westminster, B.C.

A job well done

I don’t see the big deal in having the hotels in a big city like Vancouver with a population of close to two million people handling 34 of the planeloads of people diverted to Canadian airports on Sept. 11 (“Helping hands on Canada’s West Coast,” Special Report, Sept. 24). Look at the province of Newfoundland (population 600,000), where 78 of the 240 diverted planes landed. The town of Gander (population 10,000) had 38 planes and 6,600 passengers. People opened their homes and donated time and resources to help these travellers, and then gladly went out of their way to give personal guided tours. Smalltown Canada was where the real stories were.

Keith Windsor, St. John’s, Nfld.

Letter writer Dorothy McCabe states that the terrorist attacks were due to the United States’ “foreign policies and [to] atrocities that have been caused as a result of its actions.” Excuse me? What atrocities? If this is due to U.S. action in the Persian Gulf, that would probably be its defence of Saudi Arabia and the liberation of Kuwait from a dictatorship that had an extensive biological, chemical and nuclear warfare program. As distasteful as the regimes in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia may be, they’re far better than the one in Iraq. Or perhaps it is U.S. support for Israel that she questions. Would she be so bold as to suggest that the Holocaust occurred because of the actions of Europe’s Jews? Even though Israel’s actions are to be condemned, should it be surprising that the U.S. prefers to support the democracy in this area? The


An article titled “The price paid for divorce” in the Sept. 17, 2001, issue made reference to Mr. Douglas Pedersen. Macleans retracts any suggestion that Mr. Pedersen provides inadequate support for his children or that his children are living in poverty. Macleans apologizes to Mr. Pedersen and his children for any harm or embarrassment caused to them by the article.

The Mail

United States was attacked because many people who yearn to be free look to it for inspiration and support. The terrorists want their people to remain enslaved to their perverted fundamentalism.

Patrick Twomey, Petawawa, Ont.

Reflection, not bombing

Arthur Kent’s measured and thoughtful approach to the recent tragedies in his essay “Season of change” (Special Report, Oct. 1) is very welcome indeed. The subhead is a challenge to us all: “Shocked out of its sense of splendid isolation, America wants revenge. But is anyone thinking of how to win the battle for global hearts and minds?” It is a time for reflection, not the bombing of innocent people. Children in the schoolyard are taught that two wrongs don’t make a right. That lesson is needed on a worldwide scale.

Sheila Irwin, Cobourg, Ont.

“Season of change” by Arthur Kent was excellent. The battle for the hearts and minds of the global village has begun. President George W Bush said that, with the stroke of a pen, he mobilized the economic shutdown of the flow of funds to the terrorists. Tet us hope that he will wield the pen more than the sword, in the swirl of events that has descended upon our world. Winston Churchill, no stranger to war and peace, prophesied that the empires of the future would be the empires of the mind. The future is now.

G. James Thomson, Oakville, Ont.

Finally, we hear from a legitimate reporter who has the courage to ask the question, “Why did it happen?” Arthur Kent’s essay illustrates why history studies are so vitally important to our school curriculums. To understand the present, we must have knowledge of the past.

Henry Swierenga, Smlthville, Ont.

I believe that Canadas greatest contribution at this moment is a touch of reality. For the first time ever, American society is beginning to understand itself and reach out to celebrate its diversities. Canada has gone through this social process and still is grappling with the issues, whether economic, social, public policy or simply human interaction. Canada must celebrate its new self and help the U.S. recognize its new self and, hopefully, find a place in the world for social leadership.

Yvonne Norton Leung, Lincoln, Neb.

Kudos to Arthur Kent. It takes courage to think outside the mass emotional mindset of society. But I can’t help questioning the role of religion in all the world’s conflicts. Religion evolved from good intentions, but has been bastardized from the get-go into a mass consciousness of judgment and fear. Perhaps that fact more than any other has been made clear to me through this conflict.

Dale Sanderson, London, Ont.

Foes and friends

Two flaws marred Peter C. Newman’s otherwise excellent column “The day the war began” (Sept. 24). Newman agreed with President Bush’s stigmatizing as “cowards” the terrorists who struck the U.S. on Sept. 11. Were the Japanese kamikaze pilots of the Second World War cowards? Nobody said so at the time, or since. Call the terrorists who attacked New York City and Washington any odious name you choose, except cowardly. Indeed, their fanatical courage, plus their ability to secretly plan, co-ordinate and execute a complex operation, proves them to be an extremely formidable foe. There are more where they came from, so let’s not underestimate them. Newman also called Canada “the most dependable ally of the United States.” It’s a long time since Canada has been that, if it ever was. Certainly Canada was a wimpish ally during the long prime ministership of Pierre Trudeau. The title ol “most dependable ally” was confirmed within a few days of the attack. It belongs to Britain, which sent a modern Royal Navy task force eastward to join American naval and air forces.

Robert Nielsen, Wilmot, N.B.

Peter C. Newman’s assertion that our bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was “where Americans sought revenge” for Pearl Harbor ignores a mountain of historical evidence. There is every reason to believe a conventional invasion of Japan would have been a bloodbath, resulting in more civilian and military casualties than at Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. Furthermore, I disagree with his characterization of the new conflict with terrorism as a “Third World War”: it may be closer to the “Second Cold War.” While we will certainly see some military action against the Taliban in Afghanistan, the bulk of the grunt work will be away from the TV cameras, involving intelligence and counterintelligence operations, law-enforcement operations against terrorist cells and money-laundering, and diplomatic pressure. If victory is ever achieved, we may never know it. Does that sound like the successor to the Second World War?

Michael J. Gallagher, Cortland, N Y.