9-11-01  5pm

There is much intense dialogue going back and forth and yet on another level, a stronger level, everyone has been rendered speechless. We are still lacking in important information and we want to know but we don’t want to know. I cannot begin to express sympathy for the people who have lost friends and family in this reprehensible and needless tragedy. While I cannot possibly be as sad or as altered as they are, today marks a day that will ripple through all of our lives forever. From my own end, I can more easily deal with a fractured sense of physical security than I can deal with the horrors that some men inflict without conscience. Although I hold the perpetrators, masterminds, and enablers wholly accountable for this heinous and utterly unjustifiable violence, it’s difficult for me to escape the heaviness I suffer inside from knowing that what pivotally separates me from the most evil of human beings may be little more than my gifted fate of a richer and freer upbringing. I’m unapologetically guilty of national pride and a bias that has me mourning with greater grief for people who are literally neighbors. And while I have no desire to understand the demented emotional rationality behind premeditated barbarism I have to concede that savages are made not born. When numbers of others are driven to the brink of true madness, when their actions produce no desirable political or social effect, when the targeted victims are perceived as the least culpable among the enemy and nonetheless targeted to the end of instilling terror, it is an indictment of us all and our failure to achieve an adequate level of civilization and community across all borders. Our first responsibility is to the safety of our citizens and undoubtedly we will be elaborately engaged in flushing out terrorists even to include military action against governments and groups that support and incite terror organizations and to the best of our ability, we will also employ stringent counter-terrorism security precautions strategies and contingency planning. But ultimately I believe the extent of this threat relies on the extent of its support. Even if we could largely rid the world of the terrorist infrastructures, which seems unlikely, and even if our damage control was deemed sufficient, we’ll ultimately still be sharing the world with far too many people who are aliens to us and who we are alien to. We live in a world where a consequential portion of the global population would not disavow certain vile acts of terrorism even if they would not actively participate in them. Terrorists invite retaliation because they feed on the weakness of their designated opponents. But when they themselves are weakened and their resources depleted, the ill ideology that would champion death as a means, remains unmoved. Quite unfortunately and gravely, this ill ideology isn’t merely the infection of a handful of deranged zealots. In the rather forgettable film “War of the Roses” Danny Devito warns Michael Douglas that in divorce, there is no winning only “degrees of losing.” What we lost today is not quantifiable. What we lose tomorrow, though possibly grisly, may be tolerable and tolerated.  No one believes we can eradicate terrorism so the obvious goal is to minimize the incidence and magnitude. Tyranny, repression and poverty fuel dastardly and desperate belief systems. A small terrorist element could possibly be contained. A small terrorist element passively endorsed by substantial numbers of people cannot. This is not a degree of losing we should be living with. Our army and military intelligentsia have shifted into high gear. And I think right now the rest of us should be praying. For grace. For peace. For the best of what we are. May we never embrace endorse or relate with those who have no regard for life including their own and no respect for the most basic principle of humaneness and civilization that would prohibit men from blind murder. Luck, success, and protection to the rescue workers and deepest condolences for the victims, their friends and families. G-d bless America.

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