Philosophy with Attitude

An open letter to President GW Bush, September 15, 2001

(The first three paragraphs are from Working Asset's "Working for Change" site; the rest is mine.)

President Bush
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500

Dear President Bush:

In this time of unparalleled tribulation, I know you are doing all you can to console the survivors, provide generous assistance to the victims, and pursue the criminals who killed thousands of innocent people.

You have asked for, and Congress has provided you with, essentially unlimited power to use our military might to respond. This is an awesome responsibility, and one rarely provided to presidents except in time of actual war between countries.

I urge you to act with sober restraint, choosing justice over rapid vengeance, and setting a high standard of moral certainty before engaging in any military response. Our track record of military responses all too often leads to the deaths of innocent victims elsewhere, and the spiral of death continues.

I am the mother of a 15-month-old son. My husband and I approached his conception with great trepidation even two years ago, fearing for the kind of world into which we might be bringing our future child. Now that this week's events have begun to sink in, we are even more frightened by the possibilities that exist. I do not want to bring up my son in a nation consumed by war. Too many innocent lives have already been lost in our country, it is true, but also in the Middle East. Afghanistan in particular has suffered since the 1970's, and we would only further the suffering of their innocent population by waging a war in their land.

If there is any way that we can bring to justice those who are responsible for Tuesday's atrocities without causing further loss of innocent life, I and many others believe that would be the more rational course of action. If you are truly a "pro-life" president, I hope that you will consider the lives of those already born and those yet to be born into our world, and use your power in a compassionate, wise, and measured manner. There will be no victory if we give terrorists the response that they are looking for: a full-scale war between the West and Islam.


Jan Andrea

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