Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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I believe that we must respond to the tragic events of September 11 by informing ourselves, waking up from our apathy, learning about other cultures, in particular Islam, which has over a billion followers and is the fastest-growing religion in the world and in the United States. We must examine US policy, especially Third World foreign policy, its effects on the lives of literally billions worldwide, and the way the US and its policies are perceived abroad. We must understand the grievances of these millions, the reasons why the US is hated, what could drive someone to commit these acts"¦ I feel that right from the start, the discussion dismissed all of these questions. We should not re-examine US policy, it was said. We should not attempt to understand the reasons for this act. We should not listen to bin Laden's statements. We should immediately reject any suggestion that we are in some way responsible for this atrocity.

We should "judge"� the enemy as "evil"� (how Christian is this?) and we should struggle to eliminate these people and their way of thinking from this planet.

Any attempt to separate this tragic event from US foreign military and economic policy is an exercise in futility, certain to in fact exacerbate the existing problems. This attitude will only lead to further terrorism, further military response, and further terrorism.

Innocent civilian lives Clearly, the victims of this horrible attack are in no way deserving of their fate. Let us, briefly, examine the US attitude toward the lives of innocent civilians. When Madeleine Albright was asked on "Face the Nation"� to comment on the fact that half a million (the figure at the moment has risen to closer to a full million) Iraqi children had died as a direct result of the sanctions...