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The New York Terrorist Attacks Do Not Equate With Pearl Harbor
By Rosemary I Patterson
Last edited: Saturday, September 12, 2009
Posted: Thursday, September 13, 2001

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A brief discussion of how the analogy of the Twin Towers Attacks and Pearl Harbor is an inappropriate analogy.

The New York Terrorist Attacks Do Not Equate With Pearl Harbor.

The Twin Towers/Pentagon Attacks were An Act of Terrorism not An Act of War. It is very important that the citizens and governments of the world move beyond the mindset of sixty years ago. The Twin Towers/Pentagon attacks DO NOT stem from a nation or belief system such as 1939 Germany and the darkness of Fascism. The attacks stem from a strategy (Terrorism) and a mistaken belief that violence is the way to change the injustices of the present day.

What is different now from sixty years ago is an increase in social responsibility in the beliefs of many of today's citizens. Evidence of this greater sense of social responsibility is manifesting in remarkable surprises. For example - in predominently Muslim countries: In Pakistan, its government states it will support the United States in its offensive on Terrorism. Yasser Arafat gives blood to the wounded in New York. In my home town in Canada, children in my daughter's grade 3 class demand to write a card expressing their sorrow at the suffering of New York's people. All over the world altars are being set up by people in the street to pray/meditate/remember those who have so abruptly left us and the grieving souls left behind.

If only now those in power (President Bush and his Administration) follow the same examples of greater social responsibility rather than the blind revenge of sixty years ago. They should attack Terrorism not some as yet unmentioned Nation/State(s) whom they are unilaterally going to judge were behind the deplorable acts the whole world witnessed.

We can only ask them with a strong voice to confer with representatives of other countries (not just NATO) and ask for guidance from a Higher Power. We can only hope that they find a way to retaliate without causing further immense suffering to civilian populations (or any other populations for that matter) and using weapons (nuclear or conventional) of mass destruction that belong more in the darkness of sixty years ago Nazi Germany than that of today's more compassionate and socially responsible world.

There are two principles from Tibetan Buddhism that are particularly relevent to the Twin Towers/Pentagon attacks.

1)The principle that life is impermanent (as we all witnessed thousands rapidly sent to the great mystery that lies beyond our understanding).

&2) The goal that enlightened people should devote themselves to the enlightenment of every living sentient being on the planet.

The second goal certainly does not equate with a thoughtless revenge using horrendous instruments of mass destruction. One of the great lessons to be learned at this time is not to : "Rally Round The Flag, Boys," with some unthinking faith in any political leader. Instead we should empower ourselves with the will to co-create with a Higher Power and urge governing from a deep personal sense of social responsibility for all the peoples of the earth.

Rosemary I. Patterson, Ph.D.  


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Reviewed by Jeanette Cooper 5/8/2007
Taking a middle of the roach approach with regard to Peal Harbor and 9/ll, such devastation that takes the lives of innocent persons can be considered no less than war, regardless of the cause or reasoning behind it.

Reviewed by Jim Dunlap 10/16/2003
I am amazed at the comments by the Harrison woman below. That's why Bush was able to do the terrible things he has done.
When the American people are not capable of making a distinction between the an act of war by a sovereign natioin and an
act of terorism by an evil group of terrorists, it gives the world the idea that America is a loose cannon (which it apparently is),
and that all Americans are like the radical righgwing clic running the U.S. at the moment. It amazes me that Americans are
evidently that gullible. Common sense alone would tell anyone that Bush knew, and all of his advisors knew, that there were no
weapons of mass destruction" left in Iraq. The countries who had them were and still are Syria, Iran and North Korea, as well as Pakistan.
Bush did not attack those countries because their leaders had not tried to kill his father. It is too bad that Bush was able to steal the
last election, and it will be a tragedy when he steals the next one, not just for the U.S., but for the world in general.
Reviewed by susie harrison 4/9/2002
I have to respectfully disagree. I believe the attacks on the twin towers and our pentagon were an act of war. Usama Bin Laden knew what he was doing, he knew there would be retaliation on the part of the US. He admittedly wanted it to turn into not only a war but a Holy War, in hopes that the Arab nations would turn on the US and join in a world war against this nation of great and misunderstood power.
As far as Pearl Harbor went there was several months the took place between the Pearl Harbor attack which many innocent men, women, and children died and the counter attack with atomic weopons on Japan. I may not be qualified to speak on this since I was not around back then, however you are responsible for your government and when you attack a nation at war, retaliation should be excpected. All is fair in love and war, so it is said.
We have been careful in our responce to the September 11th attacks, almost too careful. We tread lightly when it comes to any civilian casualities in most cases we have avoided it.
We can not be the weak nation we have been the last 9 years. In order to maintain peace you must carry a big stick and not be afraid to use it, and those who aim to do an act of war must know this ahead of time.
Good article, I appreciate your point of view as we are all entitled. I am sure we agree on many other things.
Reviewed by susie harrison 9/18/2001
Pearl Harbor was an act of war, while terrorism is an act of belief driven vengeance. America responded inappropriately back then and now has another chance. Do you think we can win a battle with an ideal? Terrorism is anger at unfounded arrogance and equal parts self imposed idealism. Our leaders are not enlightened individuals and for this we may all suffer.
Reviewed by susie harrison 9/14/2001
Yes, it is an absurd analogy. Pearl Harbor was a military target. In an act of final revenge deemed unnecessary and inadvisable by many military and political experts at the time, Our Great Nation dropped atomic bombs on noncombatants. When I was a child, I was shown the photos and footage of the results: little children crying over their dead mothers and so on. Do you recall the death toll?

Yes, "war" is a dangerous word implying the suspension of civil liberties and justice. Doubly dangerous is giving full discretion to the executive branch. Very alarming are the statements on the floor of Congress that those who disagree with that discretion are enemies of this Great Nation of Ours. Please delete this comment after you read it. Thank you.

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