Re "Terror Attacks Were 'Very Near,' " Aug. 11
Look what we have done. Osama bin Laden is still on the loose. Terrorist training camps in Afghanistan are just deeper underground. Huge numbers of terrorists in Iraq have been unleashed to bring forth murder and destruction. Hezbollah and Hamas are more active and bolder today than they were five years ago. Iran threatens and thumbs its nose at us. Another miss just occurred involving Heathrow Airport.
The truth of the matter is the war on terrorism just is not working in spite of President Bush's crowing. More acts of terrorism are occurring, rather than fewer. At the base of these problems is Israel, which the Arab world wants gone one way or another. If we can ultimately accept this as the real issue, rather than terrorism itself, negotiations and diplomacy would be far more effective. A first step in this approach would be making a simple statement that America intends henceforth to be fair to both sides, treating Israel and the Arab nations alike. This would not be a quick fix because it would take considerable time and effort to get both sides to understand that America is making a break from its historical stand of favoring Israel regardless of the situation. Unfortunately, Bush has found that it is more expedient politically to create a "war on terrorism" to cover up his inability to effectively and creatively resolve problems.
Not as frightening as the possible attack itself, but scary in its own respect, is the us-versus-them mentality many -- including politicians -- continue to hold, along with the media that amplify it. It's natural to simplify and group things, but it pained me to listen to Bush confidently refer to the alleged terrorists as "Islamic fascists" without careful emphasis as to which was the adjective and which was the noun. Before merely arriving at sweeping conclusions, I hope the public would carefully assess the facts, and I hope The Times will continue to try to represent those facts in the most fair and accurate light possible.
I didn't notice any Iraqis in that bunch who allegedly tried to bomb the airplanes. We've caused the deaths of thousands of Iraqis. I'll bet not a single one of those folks would ever have committed a terrorist act against the U.S.
Rejoice that there are good Muslims. Pakistan's acts in preventing the explosions being planned to take out aircraft and kill thousands of innocent travelers and flight personnel must be appreciated by the entire world. Pakistan acted correctly in spite of the admonition, in a book some claim to be holy, to kill or strike off the heads of nonbelievers or infidels. Maybe ridding the world of terrorists and peace are possible.
ROY B. WOOLSEY