Responding to the Terrorist Attacks

We join all civilized people in condemning the brutal terrorism inflicted in New York and Washington. We don't know yet who is responsible. They may try to rationalize their crime by identifying with some worthy cause. But no cause can justify the slaughter of thousands of innocent people, most of them “ordinary” workers, some perishing in attempts to rescue victims.

We join the families and friends of the victims in their grief. We support efforts to provide needed material assistance to them.

The immediate response in Kansas City was predictable along class lines. First of all, working people demonstrated their humanitarian solidarity by forming long lines to donate blood.

But we also saw a number of cockroach capitalists running filling stations hike the price of gasoline to as much as $5.79 a gallon. That's their typical response in time of crisis.

While all decent people want to see justice carried out with the perpetrators of the terrorist outrage we must be on guard against attempts to enflame racial and religious prejudices. After the Oklahoma City bombing there was an immediate backlash against Arabs and people of the Islamic faith. Of course it turned out the terrorists in that crime were white, native-born Christians. Regardless of who is responsible for the New York and Washington atrocities we must keep in mind that the overwhelming majority of Arabs and Muslims, in this country and abroad, find terrorism as repulsive as the rest of us.

We also urge caution in any kind of military response. We want to see criminals punished. But we don't want to see more innocent people killed in retaliation, actions that could serve to turn the scum into martyrs.

Bill Onasch

September 11, 2001