Fort Hood's Nidal Hasan – or – Why Today's Soldiers Go Crazy

The tragic recent murders by Maj. Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood are part of an epidemic of suicides, violent crimes, and shooting sprees among active-duty and former soldiers which stem in great part from their understandable moral and ethical confusion about the nature of war and the uses of power and violence. Women soldiers newly serving in combat positions often struggle with their uncertainties about adopting formerly-despised “male” traditions of violence and dominance, especially since their use of such power—as male soldiers have always known—can and does often lead to a sense of separation from the human race, to feelings of isolation, aloneness, difference, wrongness, fear, inadequacy, failure, loss and rejection.


Add to these moral conundrums of conscience the fact that soldiers are expected to behave in uncivilized and dominating ways while “at work,” and then nimbly revert back to behaving civilly and helpfully at home, flexibly “getting back in touch with their feminine sides” and working in equitable partnerships, building family affection, connections and wholeness. Clearly, twenty-first century soldiers have their hands full to be all they can be.


Military trainers work very hard to try to turn selfless, idealistic, caring young recruits into good soldiers who can be both safe and effective in war zones, prepared to perform as knee-jerk killers, to instantly shoot down complete strangers—often innocents themselves who are protecting their own homes and families and comrades-in-arms—and to carry out the cold-blooded duties of snipers, bombers, interrogators and other executioners who must kill with no hesitation or trace of due process random members of any population demonized as “the enemy,” “others”—i.e., people it’s OK to treat as non-humans.


Good soldiers are offered a fuzzy kind of contextual logic to (temporarily) ethically “cover them” and their bloodiest actions, for at least as long as they can believe that their killing and dying serves a worthwhile purpose—that is, to protect their friends and families and fellow-citizens, or to serve their country in some way, or to further its noble ideals and purposes. Soldiers can often do their duty if they can cling to some hope that their “jobs” are generally positive ones, that they are necessary, valuable and moral, that their terrible personal losses and cruel sacrifices were not in vain, and that they wasted neither their own lives nor the lives of others.


Unfortunately—or perhaps, fortunately—it’s much harder nowadays in the age of media for us to continue to see complicated human instances of violence in simple black-and-white terms. The rapid pace of change, the continual clashing of conflicting old ideas and emerging new ones, our own American biggest-kid-on-the-block mentality, and our often-thoughtless, retributive, greedy habits of government policy-making with respect to war, empire and militarism—added to our too-violent and vengeful culture—together create a mentally and emotionally combustible, dangerous, crazy-making conundrum for even our best, most well-intentioned and professional soldiers.


“Schizophrenic behavior” is defined as behavior which is motivated by contradictory or conflicting principles, or which results from the co-existence of disparate or antagonistic activities. In other words, when your ideals frequently conflict with each other, and when your actions feel equally conflicted, it can drive you nuts. Fallible human attempts to live up to one’s ethics, values, standards and goals can make even the best soldiers feel schizophrenic.


Growing up on military posts, I believed, just as most citizens of most countries are taught to believe, that our military forces were always a force for good, an organization that helped people, supported peace, promoted freedom and democracy. Since then, I’ve learned that military forces everywhere—like violence of all kinds, from abuse to crime to terrorism—usually harm many more people than they help. I’ve also learned that peace, freedom and democracy cannot co-exist with war, because wherever war goes, anything resembling peace, freedom and democracy quickly disappear.


Even the best-trained soldiers—those convinced that military actions are all about duty, honor and country, taking care of one another, following orders, and serving with excellence, integrity and honor in order to further the protection and interests of loved ones and the best nation on earth—in the midst of war, wonder whether their actions are truly helping or hurting people, whether they are on the “giving” or on the “taking” “side.” Every soldier prays that he will someday look back and believe his life and work have served the best interests of humanity—and heaven forbid that they have served on the side of darkness, pain, grief, and cruelty. In the midst of actions far from their homes, all soldiers wonder at times whether their devotion to military ideals and country may not conceal larger, deeper, sadder contradictions about the nature and missions of militarism and war.


When soldiers from any nation come home from their wars, of course they have trouble rectifying all they've participated in, with their peacetime ethical, spiritual and religious beliefs about what it means to be humane, caring, good—all the many understandings parents and teachers carefully taught them about what makes relationships work, and what make life worth living. Many returning war veterans basically go insane for years. Others are unstable or crazy for the rest of their lives.


Everyone insists that training and fighting animals—cocks, dogs, bulls—is an outrage. We wouldn't, they say, we couldn’t, we shouldn’t do this to a dog! So why do we keep doing it to people?


Every soldier I have known, at one time entered the military with selfless ideals and the best intentions. Sadly, military training and war often work subtly against soldiers’ best interests, leaving them confused about what power and leadership really mean, as well as poorly-prepared for the peaceful, productive civilian relationships they spend years dreaming of forging, at war’s end.


Unfortunately, the many sad, lingering side-effects of military training and war include a heightened tendency to polarize even small conflicts into black-and-white situations requiring a quick, habitual adversarial or violent response to conflict—habits which later work insidiously against both the soldiers and their loved ones. Quickness to violence—while perhaps an asset in effective soldiering—is a terrible emotional burden in civilian life. Recent public-safety statistics indicate that too many soldiers attempting to re-enter civilian life—having spent their impressionable youth on high alert, in kill-or-be-killed situations—have become habituated to violent, lawless behavior, and continue to pay huge, never-ending psychic prices for their previous military involvements after their return to “civilization.”


The number and types of military resources America should maintain may be a matter of reasonable debate, but what is not arguable is our need to develop more thoughtful and deliberate processes for deciding when and why to send our soldiers into war.


The great writers and filmmakers who have told their stories of past wars have consistently described war as “insane.” Insanity is also the only word that most reasonably describes any future war, since humanity has the knowledge and the means now—if only we develop the will—to resolve conflicts peacefully and prevent the holocausts which the law of unintended consequences, along with our ghastly weaponry, inevitably spiral us into.


Ethical soldiers like my father relive the remembered insanity of war for the rest of their lives, alternating between waves of the deepest humane compassion, pride and camaraderie, to long periods of dark, impenetrable, self-protective anger, fear and cynicism.


The cruelly gruesome extremes of war sometimes contaminate and twist even the highest traditional military values into thuggery. Professionalism can be turned, at times, into barbarism. Selflessness can be turned into greed. Idealism can become cynicism. Courage can become savagery. Strength can become dominance. Love of country can turn to jingoism and chauvinism. Obedience, leadership and respect for authority can be warped by exigency into a numbed conscience and momentary group-think. Loyalty can become a destructive “us/them” mentality. Integrity can become a morally confusing paralysis, while duty can be pushed into rote obedience.


However admirably motivated, however morally unambiguous in the midst of a firefight, violent military actions still have the look and feel of chaotic lawlessness. No matter how patriotic or mentally-prepared soldiers may be, the act of killing complete strangers goes queasily against soldiers’ moral teachings about how to treat other people.


The ideal of freedom itself—the dream comprising healthy, productive human lives spent in peaceful pursuit of individual dreams—can feel, during war, quite unrelated to the specifics of what soldiers are often asked to do, because serving the freedom of one group often entails dominating and killing another, something which feels less noble in practice than what most soldiers hope for, particularly when their personal boots-on-the-ground experience has already offered clear evidence that many—perhaps most—of war’s victims are as innocent as the soldiers who kill them. Soldiers don’t sign up to defend moral ambiguities. And yet the first victim of war is truth, followed closely by moral clarity, and, too often, by despair.


However high-minded the justifications given during a soldier’s training, the actual waging of war—the killing, the maiming, the brutalizing—feels more “against” than “for” humans. Unless “the enemy” has successfully been completely dehumanized in the minds of soldiers by war propaganda, military fighting too often seems rather more against than for human value and worth, human liberty; love, individuality, uniqueness; against the highest religious and moral traditions, against human ideals, values, beliefs, against the teachings of history’s great moral teachers, against humanity itself.


Soldiers schooled in war fortify their emotions against moral confusion by coldly dehumanizing and demonizing their enemies, but such temporary moral adjustments don’t serve nearly as well at war’s end, when all the former “non-humans”—the Vietnamese, Germans, Irish, British, Russians, the terrorists, whomever—experience a miraculous rebirth, having been rediscovered somehow to be human beings after all. Soldiers who wisely shut down their feelings against tragically ambiguous memories unfortunately also become emotionally unavailable to their children, parents, and spouses. This happened in my family.


Soldiers who have followed orders to loose destruction and death upon “combatants” and “noncombatants” alike in someone else’s country, often become cynical later even about their own country, about the human capacity for goodness, and the worth of people in general.


“Human” values which specifically exclude certain portions of humanity—Muslims, for instance, or Christians, or certain races or ethnicities —ultimately prove uncomfortingly weak and useless. Nations claiming a constitutional and traditional embrace of “human ideals” and “human rights”—who then insist upon them only for their own citizens and at the expense of citizens of other countries—rapidly lose not only their allies, but also the loyalty and pride of their own citizens; while patriotism which rests shakily upon chauvinism and exceptionalism breaks down quickly into partisan bickering, and too-easily collapsing into division, bigotry, political hatred and violence, and even civil war.


Wars’ costs go far beyond blood and treasure.


All the war books and movies I’ve “enjoyed” shared similar conclusions about their experiences of war. Over and over, each artist expressed the point of view that their war had been insane, cruel, hard, sad, misguided and stupid, and created more problems than were resolved. The grisly killings aspects of war were consistently experienced as pointless, chaotic, numbing, unreasonable, inhumane, confusing, wrong—and sometimes thrilling, in that the pointy end of the sword went into the other guy, and not them. Soldiers throughout history have been urged by their leaders to keep such stories to themselves, or share them only with other soldiers who were there, so as to avoid bringing harm or shame to a unit, or turning the next generation against war itself. 


In nearly every war book and movie, bleak, terrified, mutilated children emphasize the meaninglessness and human tragedy of war, while fear for oneself and one’s friends drives soldiers to acts of cruelty and immorality unimaginable during peacetime.


War never turns out to be at all what anyone expects when they join up, and not much like what they train for either. When at war, every soldier longed for home, and when finally back home, they missed having friends they could talk to, buddies who understood them and their experiences.


All these artists told how their necessary training in hate and fear had carved a black chasms into their psyche, changing them (and their families) forever in ways inexpressible to anyone who hadn’t shared such experience—so mixed are war’s memories with guilt, pride, and loyalty.

More Spiritual Sharings

3/22/10 – Perfect peacefulness (comprising love, forgiveness, joy, and acceptance of all-that-is, all others, and oneself) is both cause and effect of spiritual wisdom, and vice-versa. Neither peace nor spiritual understanding is ever found apart from the other.


3/21/10 – When we ask our guiding spirit for another way to see all that is troubling us, and attentively await his answer, we can be sure we will always receive a brand-new, unexpected, surprising perception which will miraculously change everything.


3/20/10 – Power lies in all of us working peacefully together, and in none of us alone, because opposition weakens power, and weak power is a contradiction in terms. All that’s ever missing in any situation is our own willingness to share our love with all.


3/19/10 – Whatever thought, activity or task we do mindfully, joyfully, and in a spirit of love is a right choice, blessed by God, because we were created as one, to together create and extend love, learn and teach love, give and receive love, in all its forms.


3/18/10 – When we ask to know God’s will for us, we realize that what he wants for us is what we want—to lean upon his strength, grace and guidance, to be free from sacrifice, guilt, fear and weakness, and to be his own unique, powerful, loving expressions.


3/17/10 – When we’re feeling discouraged, we can give each one of our challenges over to God, remember that he celebrates, appreciates, loves, accepts and forgives us all unconditionally now, and begin again to faithfully accept, express and extend his love.


3/16/10 – We can give, receive, be and do more, when we seek and trust God’s guidance and miraculous outcomes, let go of guilt and fear, see only love or requests for it, and then surrender to God’s strength and healing as it works powerfully through us now.


3/15/10 – The term, “good,” comprises every expression of having, giving or receiving love, while the term, “evil,” comprises every expression of the fear of not having, giving or receiving love.


3/14/10- We can choose to joyfully contribute to God’s eternal process of creating, extending and expanding a loving spiritual reality, or stray temporarily into fearful, preoccupations; but we can change neither his outcomes nor his infinite patience.


3/13/10 – False humility is the illusion that we are weak and alone. True humility is the realization that we are powerful to the extent that we remember to ask for and rely upon God’s love, guidance and strength.


3/12/10 – Our purpose here is to share unconditional love in all its forms with all others. What should others’ purpose toward us be? We won’t ask that question anymore, when we learn to fulfill our own purpose perfectly, since we’ll already know the answer.


3/11/10 – We can’t solve our problems alone, because we’re feeling guilty, separate, inadequate, unlovable and unloving. But when we bring them openly to God, he solves them by freeing us to love ourselves and others unconditionally, as he loves all.


3/10/10 – Heaven is mindfulness, awareness and appreciation of the bountiful creation and eternal justice and love we all are and share; while hell is the misery of obliviousness to our one eternal, rich, abundant, innocent life and love, so generously given to all.


3/9/10 – We want to feel safe and loved, so we hurry to learn; but then we want to be right about what we’ve learned. Better to accept humbly how little we know, keep learning and loving, cherish our truths and welcome others’, and love the questions.


3/8/10 – Our bodies are useless for any purpose other than communicating love in all its forms. When we realize this, and when we have learned to use them only for loving, we’ll discover that we can communicate love just as freely and completely without them.


3/7/10 – To know what we “believe,” we can consider how we spend our lives. Beliefs which divide us from God and man mostly serve to depress, limit and harm us, while beliefs that draw us closer to love of God and all creation inspire joy, power and freedom.


3/6/10 – Our beliefs limit us to endure angry, fearful, separate lives weighted with guilt, resentment, hurry, competition, division, frustration, dread, suffering and despair, or they free us to celebrate joy, wholeness and peace, as one perfect, eternally-lovable creation.


3/5/10 – The eternal holy present is all there is, our only time to know God’s calming guidance, perspective and strength, our only time to live faithfully and fearlessly as innocent, loving, invaluable, beloved equals sharing peace, joy, purpose and oneness.


3/4/10 – Happiness is a choice about who we are. We can remind ourselves and others of our reality as joyful, peaceful, powerful, loving, beloved, eternal, innocent children of God, or suffer and die as hurried, vicious, vulnerable, sinful, guilty, punished mortals.


3/3/10 – We have no needs, changes or corrections to make, except to ask that God’s changeless, eternal peace and love might continuously see, greet, bless and give through us to that same changeless, eternal peace and love in others, in a limitless, endless cycle.


3/2/10 – Did a judgmental God create unequal, inadequate, guilty, helpless, miserable, doomed sinners, forever cast away from him? Or did a loving God create equal, innocent, lovable, beloved, loving, powerful, eternally joyous spirits, forever one with him?


3/1/10 – Meaning and peace always come from sharing our own unique, loving gifts with others—unless we use our gifts to gratify our egos, to inflate our little separate sense of self, or to build false concepts of superiority, specialness, difference or vindication.


2/28/10 – When we’re feeling afraid, defensive, confused, judgmental and alone, we can ask God to shine away the nothingness of our fears, and give us instead the loving, unifying perspectives which alone bring understanding and meaning to our relationships.


2/27/10 – Instead of seeing fearful, guilty, sorrowful bodies struggling toward death, we can ask to see now only the goodness, purity, innocence and eternal perfection in all, and thus remember with joy that we too are exactly as we were created and meant to be.


2/26/10 – We are boundlessly empowered when we use our unique talents, interests and abilities to support peace, healing and unity, to give and receive love and joy, and to encourage everyone else’s equal power to do the same.


2/25/10 – Relationships thrive when we recognize and appreciate one another as equally loved, innocent, eternal brothers and sisters, with no needs but to walk together in the holy present, joyfully learning, giving and receiving God’s boundless love.


2/24/10 – We are God’s expression, invulnerable in our eternal innocence and perfection, as we were meant to be. We witness our oneness when we entrust our problems, the instant they arise, to him who solves them, not with everyday illusions, but with truth.


2/23/10 – When I ask my guiding spirit to “decide for me,” I can then relax, confident that my priorities and energies will be directed thoughtfully and lovingly, and that I will have a busy, productive, peaceful day, keeping the highest interests of all in mind.


2/22/10 – Spiritual health, like physical health, thrives on discipline and vigilance. We can share God’s peace when we practice his presence, accept his love and grace, seek understanding and inspiration, and fully appreciate ourselves and all his beloved children.


2/21/10 – Peace, joy and love come to us when we share it. We can act out our cultural delusions of separation, lack, competition, pain, guilt, loss, death and retribution, or we can lovingly appreciate and enjoy our eternal oneness with God and his beloved creation.


2/20/10 – When we put all needs and all gifts under God’s guidance, and let go of everything but love—all guilt, fear, sacrifice, resentment, doubt, confusion—we can see and appreciate God in all his perfect, beloved children, and know all things are possible.


2/19/10 – At any moment, we can ask for and receive our guiding spirit’s help to see and accept ourselves and others with love, understanding and appreciation.


2/18/10 – God is one truth, one love, one meaning, one joy, one answer to all things. When we give, see, accept and love all things as he does, we will also understand and appreciate ourselves.


2/17/10 – When we ask our guiding spirit to help us stay lovingly in each present moment, we can let go of all our fears, and all negative thoughts about yesterdays and tomorrows.


2/16/10 – Our lives, as they unfold in all their beauty, complexity, pain, glory and tragedy, are God’s will, even when things seem to go wrong. Our job is to love and let-love. Our guilt and fear add nothing to life, but our love, acceptance and joy add a lot.


2/15/10 – God is the love in which I see everyone with full appreciation. I can let go of my fearful imaginings, and choose to see only through his loving, accepting, forgiving eyes all the beauty, purity and holiness that is his own beloved, eternal, perfect creation.


2/14/10 – I am God’s completion. His will and mine are the same—to share his joy and peace, not suffer pain. When I surrender to his guidance, and let him teach me to forgive, help, trust and appreciate every person in my life, I am choosing his peace and joy.


2/13/10 – God created us to learn about his love, communicate his love and extend his love, Nothing else matters or lasts. When we lose our way, God merely waits patiently for our return, saving all his love for us all, eternally.


2/12/10 – When we feel separated from others—attacked, unappreciated, resentful—we can remember to seek within the calm, certain reassurance of our shared spiritual reality as one eternal creation, one gift, one mind, one truth, one purpose, one love.


2/11/10 – There is never a shortage of love in any person or situation, but sometimes we let fear, guilt and judgment crowd love out. We can look at, and then surrender, all such concerns to God, who remembers that nothing except love matters, or means anything.


Metaphorical Mystical Spring

Wallowing in winter’s woes is so addictive. Sometimes it seems life will never change, things will never get better, we won’t ever improve. March lions look back at us ominously as they depart, tails lashing, mouths dripping with blood. As we grope for ways to ease past losses, our bleary eyes may see only the faded evidence of passing winter, only bare black branches crossing dirty snow, too-recent reminders that there is a time for dying, and the Lord indeed taketh away.


But babbling and burbling, surging and burgeoning, importunate idiot spring insists we wake up now to springtime’s morning, that we set about now to recycle new selves from old. Kicking us out of hibernation, spring slaps us silly, shakes off our inertia and bad habits, wakes up our slushy sap, pulls us up out of past muck by our own muddy bootstraps, and stirs our clods to go outside and just do it.


“Triumph Tulips” really do triumph over Old Man Winter, while old irritating Mister Smiley-Sun lingers longer, warming us to new energy, new meanings and purpose. Frozen sloughs of mental and emotional despond thaw in spring, clarifying into watery resolution. Spring has the audacity to demand we dive back into the cold waters of life that cleanse and replenish, and splash around.


Spring offers us a mustard-seed faith that can’t quite remember what it knows or why it knows it, that isn’t even sure it does know, but acts instinctively as if it did. Spring is that swelling, blooming seed rising, blossoming into I-can-do-it, I can learn it, achieve it, move past it, live life again.


Spring forces us to see, if only from the corners of sleepy eyes, the first fine frills of coreopsis feathering up through bare sticks; baby buds of lilacs, magnolias, forsythia, pussy willows, and dogwood; the fat impertinent baby-grapes of hyacinths, the raspberry popsicles of promised peonies poking us to wake up too. Spring’s heavy-lifting builds up our faith, stone by stone, strengthening our belief in new hope, new opportunities, and new forgiveness.


Spring flatly refuses to allow anyone to miss twitterpation’s anticipation of the first robins, bunnies, crocuses, daffodils, and witch hazel. A whisper…then a hum…then a chorus of celebration, and a great hallelujah spring-shout–Look at me! Look at me!


Spring is so profligate we can’t help finally remembering that the Lord also giveth abundantly and eternally.


We know again in spring that our loved ones will come home safely, God will bless America, we will find manna to feed the hungry. For there is a time for living too, even in war-torn Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Palestine/Israel, where Christians celebrate resurrection's promise while Muslim's spring holiday of Noruz affirms once again that neither earthquakes nor explosions nor tsunamis nor terrorism nor war nor hate nor fear can ever separate any of God’s eternal children from their bountiful Creator’s love.


Spring tells us to watch and wait, and have faith, for joy has come again, though winter has been long and it’s been dark in the long night of the garden, dark waiting beside the tomb. Watch for, wait for the faint first signs of the promised rebirth, for the return of the light, the resurrection of earth’s yearly lyrical miracle.


Watch and wait, and have faith.

Sharing Spiritual Inspiration and Insights

Every day that I can, I meditate/pray/(or whatever word you want to call it) as early as I can. Usually I have personal questions or issues that seem pressing that day, so I attempt to articulate those questions as part of my meditation. Then I do some reading from a variety of inspiring sources. Then I summarize what I learned from that day’s meditations, questions and reading in a brief Spiritual Sharing.


I hope you will feel free to substitute (for the word “God” in the following meditations) your word that best describes or names the source of your experience of spiritual power, insight and understanding—whether God, guiding spirit, intuition, the unknowable, conscience, Hashem, inner knowing, natural understanding, deity, the Universe, friend, light, the Ineffable, creator, a favorite deity, I-Am-That-I-Am, or any other word or name that works for you. The many different linguistic, cultural, religious and experiential names we assign to our various but often uniquely personal spiritual experience and understanding of our higher power cannot change whatever may be its essence and nature.


It’s possible that I may someday attempt to publish this year’s worth of mediations. Thank you for your help, and for feedback too!



Daily Spiritual Sharing:


2/10/10 – We can help others best by recognizing that we don’t know how to—but God does. We can be fully present, accepting and loving. We can ask to see clearly, allow God to work through us appreciatively, encouragingly and forgivingly, and not interfere.


2/9/10 – When we limit the number of times we turn to our guiding spirit for insight, inspiration and help, we limit the number of daily problems, large and small, that we can resolve.


2/8/10 – Our happiness and strength arise from our undivided efforts to see, accept and lift ourselves and all others as God’s one perfect, unconditionally-beloved, eternal creation, to whom he has given everything, and with whom he is well-pleased.


2/7/10 – All apparent angry attacks and defensiveness conceal fearful pleas for healing and help. When we ask for God’s grace and vision, he lifts every imagined illusion and barrier to the love that sees only goodness and unity, and sets all things right.


2/6/10 – We get angry at others because we feel guilty about what we’ve done to them, not the other way around. And so we try to make ourselves feel better by dumping our guilt feelings on them, imagining we can rid ourselves of our guilt that way. We can’t.


2/5/10 – Human culture projects its fearful interpretation upon everyone’s actions, while spiritual guidance leads us to a more peaceful, loving vision. Thus, we can reactively interpret behavior as aggressive, or we can ask to see it as offering—or requesting—love.


2/4/10 – When we notice someone who frightens us—someone apparently sick or sad or desperate or angry—we can ask our guiding spirit for another way of seeing that person, not let our fear interfere, surrender the encounter to peace and inspiration, and relax.


2/3/10 – When we ask for clarity and guidance, we find out that what we need and want the most, but may have temporarily lost sight of, is exactly what God wills for us too. We are wholly supported in accomplishing this shared will—surely, safely, serenely, joyfully.


2/2/10 – We don’t understand our own needs. Our guiding spirit does, and will supply them, when we let go of our own ideas of what they are, and stop hurrying to fulfill them. Instead, we can be willing to ask, and receive.


2/1/10 – Gifts given resentfully, guiltily and fearfully, without loving thoughts, are unwelcome sacrifices, angry attacks, tradeoffs, payments for something. We imagine someone is demanding sacrifices of us, but we’re demanding them of ourselves.


1/31/10 – We are God’s one perfect beloved eternal expression. Bodies are for communicating unity, acceptance and love, and were never meant to be permanent. God bountifully comforts, inspires and strengthens the willing. Of what shall we be afraid?


1/30/10 – We can relate to one another as to God, and he to us—one good, whole, perfect creation, one value, one mind, one love, one request and one answer. We are his loving eyes and willing hands, and through us he extends his appreciation and meets every need.


1/29/10 – All our guiding spirit asks of us is our willingness that it be our guide. We don’t need to be strong, or sure, or wise, but merely willing.


1/28/10 – Our one real choice is whether or not to invite and follow our inner guidance. When we surrender to it, we’re happy, and when we don’t, we lose our way. This one powerful choice offers us vision, release from guilt and fear, and clarity of purpose.


1/27/10 – When we dedicate each situation, interaction and perceived conflict to a peaceful outcome, and look on everyone with appreciation and acceptance now, we can be assured that all will play their parts well, and that God will meet everyone’s needs.


1/26/10 – When things go wrong, we need do nothing. We can rest quietly, calmly, patiently, fearlessly, harmlessly—accepting and trusting in God’s peaceful, healing light, hope, inspiration, vision, power, insights, strength, and unconditional love.


1/25/10 – What if spirituality reveals a powerful higher reality not contradictory to science but unexplained by it? What if we share one transcendent mind and love? What if the universe is within, nothing is without, and we dream eternally in the heart of God?


1/24/10 – How do we know what’s the right thing to do? What makes us feel good. What makes us feel peaceful, loving, loved, at one with all of life. What relaxes, heals, warms us, lets us breathe, brings smiles and laughter, what feels right, what makes us happy.


1/23/10 – We can only give love, which is who and what we are—one love, one mind with our creator and his creation. Nothing else is eternal. Our bodies are temporary, a means of loving. We can choose to give and receive love only now. Nothing else matters.


1/22/10 – We create our own little separate realities by projecting our fears about the world outward onto others, and then letting their responses reinforce our beliefs. When we express and see instead only one loving, eternal reality, love’s witnesses appear.


1/21/10 – As we give now to our brother, and thus to ourselves and everyone, the eternal gifts we’ve received of peace, acceptance, love, appreciation and forgiveness, our eyes mirror our freedom from fear, past and future, change, mistakes, guilt, hurry, and time.


1/20/10 – Each of us creates his own little harmful, hostile, confusing, insane personal and cultural world of senseless mental fantasies and meaningless projections of guilt, judgment and fear—when all we ever need and want is to be in the circle of God’s love.


1/19/10 – God’s justice comprises his peace, life abundant, and life eternal. His love is unconditional, his forgiveness and patience infinite. We can be ignorant, confused, misguided, willful, crazy, dangerous and cruel, but never irredeemably “bad” or “evil.”


1/18/10 – When we feel inadequate, we’re judging God himself to be difficult, angry, impossible to please. God loves us now and always with unconditional love and infinite appreciation for our smallest gifts, which ripple perfectly through his beloved creation.


1/17/10 – Instead of letting guilt and fear hold us back from the love we could be giving and receiving, we can use them as reminders to ask God to share with us—and through us—his comforting vision of one unified, beloved, forgiven, eternally perfect creation.


1/16/10 – We can experience the power and the memory of God anytime that we want nothing else. We can ask for it, welcome it, and then await the coming of God’s bright, beautiful, revealing, comforting, illuminating, reassuring, guiding, restful presence. 


1/15/09 – What if this life isn’t the only “chance” we get? What if somehow we go on forever in an eternal present, one with all creation and its accepting, loving creator, just as he intended? Why cling blindly to a tragic cultural vision of a brief, hurried, guilty life?


1/14/10 – When we let God work powerfully and lovingly through us, he heals our illusion that we are separate, divided, competing mortals, and shows us that we are forever one in him—free to be, do, have and share everything we need and want.


1/13/10 – When we ask God for guidance, he who sees his creation as one, equal, beloved and eternal, will move us away from all sense of isolation, guilt and fear, and toward choices that are in the best interests of everyone and everything—that is, our own.


1/12/10 – We can ask God to share with us his vision of one perfect creation all equally and forever blessed with everything we could want and need, and for the healing strength we need to free ourselves now from all guilty illusions of a past that is, after all, gone.


1/11/10 – We are most powerful when we merely accept everything and everyone as-is, without opposing, comparing or defending, letting the goals of acceptance and peace inspire all our relationships, interactions, decisions, conflicts and endeavors.


1/10/10 – God helps us drop our cultural blindfolds—the judgment, guilt and fear which fog and obscure our sight of others and ourselves as-we-are and were meant to be—his unique, beloved, beautiful, human, muddled, messy, forgiven, perfect creation.


1/9/10 – God is not at home in our separateness, but in our relationships. We know his peace when we let go of imagined “safety” barriers of guilt and fear between ourselves and others, choosing instead to rest calmly in immutable innocence and oneness.


1/8/10 – We can walk joyfully along our eternal path of now by walking together with others—neither before nor behind—seeing ourselves as God does, as his one perfect, beloved creation and will, and letting go with him our human blindness to that light.


1/7/10 – We can rest together where time begins and ends, one with another and our peaceful guiding spirit, healed, forgiven, released from past guilt and future fear, filled with the inspiration and creative possibilities inherent in a loving, innocent, eternal now.


1/6/10 – A focus upon one single healing purpose comprising acceptance, appreciation, help, forgiveness and love toward all things offers stability and meaning to life. All other perspectives—on ourselves and each other, our activities and goals—result only in guilt.


1/5/10 – When we humbly accept God’s miraculous healing of all our past errors and imagined future fears, we can once again live joyfully and appreciatively in the present moment, seeing in ourselves and everyone only reflections of his light, grace and love.


1/4/10 – When we see ourselves as temporary, threatened individuals, we compete and attack.When we remember our essence and eternal value as beloved co-creators with God and all, life is joyful, loving, purposeful, cooperative, productive, peaceful, meaningful.


1/3/10 – Giving and receiving acceptance now miraculously changes and heals the past while creating a peaceful, happy future. If we drag our own and others’ past mistakes into our present moments, when will we envision, create and share a different kind of future?


1/2/10 – All that we give is wholly shared, because God’s creation isn’t separate, but one. God’s love is given and received in an eternal creative cycle, to us and through us. Our only limit on giving and receiving is our willingness to ask, receive, give, and appreciate.


1/1/10 – When we accept and mindfully practice union—peace, kindness, acceptance, love—as our highest relationship goal, all our interactions, communications, conflicts, giving, creativity, work, play and all our other priorities feel miraculously supported.


12/31/09 – Who might be harmed if we all consistently chose to project upon one another—and ourselves—a warm, caring, positive, empathetic, optimistic vision of their/our human potential, capacity, and possibilities? Who might benefit?


12/30/09 – All guilty, sad, hard things of the past, all scary possibilities of the future, are just illusions that mess everyone up in the present moment. Everything that is joyous, loving and giving happens now, this moment, when we let all past and future fears go.


We can pass on, encourage, enkindle either fear or love. Let’s choose love. And when we or others forget, we can let it go and choose once again. Love is the most powerful force in the universe, while fear is nothingness. Choose love, and choose love, and choose love.


Fear erases whole-heartedness—all appreciation, all reasonable, loving perspectives, and everything we know to be true, replacing them with insanity, cruelty and chaos. We can always, right now, choose love over fear.


Love isn’t sacrifice. Union can’t be found in bondage. Love is freedom. As we release others from their separations-through-sacrifice, we will find ourselves released to be free, loving and as one, and available to receive their comforting love in return.


“Special” relationships are only harmful when they hold us to guilt about the past and fear of the future. “Special” relationships work only when we give freely of our appreciation and acceptance in the present, and let go of past and future illusions.


People are motivated by only two things: a wish to help, or a wish to be helped. No other interpretation of others’ motivations is ever accurate, and when we guess or assume some other motivation, our response to them will have nothing to do with anyone’s reality.


All we ever need from others is: their permission to love and give to them, or their gracious loving responses to our moments of fear, regardless of what form our fear takes—whether anger, judgment, attack, defensiveness, withdrawal or misunderstanding.


When we learn to interpret others’ every action as either loving, or a request for some kind of loving—whether help, kindness, acceptance, gentleness, appreciation—life gets simple, kind, friendly, relaxed, peaceful. And when we forget, we can begin again, now.


The whole world is as we are. If we send out messages of peace and love and giving, they will return to us. If we send out messages of fear—anger, guilt, attack—they will be returned to us. Love the world and watch it love you back.


We are love—beloved, loving, and eternally one with all and a loving God. When we momentarily forget this visionary truth, we feel alone and guilty, because we have rejected God’s unconditional, universal gift. We can accept and share it once again.


The pressure and pain of continual judgment and fear—from within and without—wears us all down. God sees us only now, as innocent, perfect and beloved. When we ask his help to see ourselves and others as he sees us, all judgment and weariness disappear.


God wants us to accept ourselves, him and one another, as a loving circle of support. He wants us to let go of all our illusions of a condemning, angry, vengeful, impatient, impossible, unforgiving God who expects us to understand and know everything already.


Instead of focusing on guilt, vengeance, resentment and anger, we can stop attaching demands, bondage or expectations to our “special” relationships, and instead seek, see and accept in ourselves only our own highest, holiest, loving and forgiven innocence.


Right now, there is no such thing as conflicting needs or confusing motivations or angry illusions. Right now, we have no need but to share God’s mysterious, incomprehensible, irrational, unexplainable, ineffable, eternal, unconditional love, acceptance, appreciation.


The cause of fear is illusion—that we are separate, defective, competing, imperfect, mortal selves, hurrying to be superior to others before we die. The cure for fear is accepting that we are eternal, equal, one, and unconditionally loved by God.


12/29/09 – I am committed to being, knowing, seeing, sharing, expressing, honoring, welcoming, embracing, accepting and appreciating only God’s one whole eternal, infinite, perfect, loving, powerful, sane, peaceful, innocent, meaningful creation.


12/28/09 – All the sad, guilty, hard things of the past, all the scary possibilities of the future, are just illusions that mess everyone up in the present moment. Everything that is joyous, loving and giving happens now, when we let past and future fears go.


12/27/09 – When we’re upset, the only way to return to peace and love is to be peaceful and loving. We’re never upset for the reasons we think—injustice, who is right, unfairness, unkindness, selfishness, anger, weariness—but because we’re afraid.


12/26/09 – All our fears are about “past” and “future”—mere verbiage, concepts, words about time which never occur. Only an eternal series of nows really happens. With God, we can handle anything now. Now is also the only time we can change past and future.


12/25/09 – The only gifts which are loving, useful, and acceptable to others and God are those offered in appreciation and love, never those given out of fear, selfishness, guilt or sacrifice.


12/24/09 – We are one creation, eternal, infinite, equal, unlimited, whole, unshakeable, miraculous, powerful, peaceful, beloved—and usually asleep in dreams of separateness, dreaming we are competing, joyless, suffering, sinful, finite mortals.


12/23/09 – We can be only goodness. We can inhale, exhale, think, ask for, receive, see, know, share, speak, hear, accept, teach, learn, express, envision, feel, choose, create—only goodness.


12/22/09 – Sacrifice isn’t love. It’s the opposite of love—an attempt to kill it, control it, and replace it with guilt. Giving freely with God’s strength and guidance of our highest self at each moment—to ourselves, to all—is love.


12/21/09 – We are free to see God in everyone—expressed as unlimited, innocent, joyous, good, beautiful, loving, gifted, abundant, wise, eternal be-ing, one, in and with all.


12/20/09 – A God of love, our source and nature, never created fear, evil and guilt, but only eternal love, which we can embrace or postpone, but never change. God’s beloved eternal creations honor him and each other by creatively extending his love in his image.


12/19/09 – When we let go of another’s wickedness, cluelessness, obtuseness, mistakes and attacks, we forgive ourselves too, and peace and truth dawn on us both. When we appreciate rather than condemn, innocence is reflected from wherever we bestowed it.


12/18/09 – Why act out human suffering, despair, anger, resentment, guilt, defensiveness, loss, limitation and death, when God offers his beloved eternal children forgiveness, joy, wisdom, strength, guidance, peace, love and endless abundance, forever?


12/17/09 – The only goals that bring satisfaction, healing, peace and love are those which offer these continually to ourselves and others. We can lean on God’s strength, live our faith, trust his loving guidance, and let all weakness, guilt, anger and fear go.


12/16/09 – We can practice willingness to see things God’s way anytime, so when we most need his perspective—in moments of conflict, panic, confusion, fear, weariness, anger—we will remember to ask for it, certain of its healing, transforming power.


12/15/09 – If we were mere mortals, we might reasonably feel doubt, guilt, weakness and defensiveness. But God is real, and well-pleased with his beloved children. We can choose to live, express and see only this strong, certain faith in ourselves and in everyone.


12/14/09 – When we have learned to always choose love over fear in every situation, we will be free to focus on creatively choosing how best and most usefully to express that love from moment to moment.


12/13/09 – As God’s willing, human, eternal creation, we put our trust in his strength, guidance and unconditional forgiveness, and devote each moment to courageously, joyously, uniquely, humbly and powerfully expressing and sharing his boundless love.


12/12/09 – We exhale panic, confusion, frustration, resentment and helplessness; inhale God’s perspective, guidance and strength; and focus confidently, trustingly, calmly, lovingly and completely upon doing the next right thing with his holy gift of now.


12/11/09 – We can heal the walls between ourselves and others when we let go with God all our present and past guilt, sins, mistakes and errors—and see others as equally free of theirs. Accepting and sharing God’s forgiveness releases us to love and be loved anew.


12/10/09 – Our everyday priorities, activities and interests are rewarding and meaningful only in context and service to our highest spiritual goals—peace, love, understanding and acceptance of God’s will (“what-is”), forgiveness, and our oneness with God and man.


12/9/09 – We are God’s will, forever loved, learning and forgiven. Our loving thoughts are infinitely transformative, creative, powerful and eternal. We ask God to express himself joyfully through us now, letting go with him distracting imaginings of past guilt.


12/8/09 – Giving and receiving love joyfully reminds us of our oneness with God and his eternally loving creation. Guilt, suffering, attack, deprivation, need, unfairness and death are all fearful, meaningless, ephemeral illusions of separation from this holy relationship.


12/7/09 – We are eternally learning, loving and forgiven spirits. Time itself, as well as suffering, aging, everyday concerns, wars, catastrophes, mistakes, and all our everyday choices are urgent only insofar as they postpone or hasten our peace, joy and oneness.


12/6/09 – We learn—and teach—best from approaching the good, not from avoiding the bad. God helps us focus on what brings joy, not pain.


12/5/09 – All relationships are reflections of our relationship with God. We are his eternal creation and expression, sharing one mind, one love, one purpose.


12/4/09 – When we feel tension building with someone, we can remember to turn the relationship over to God, dedicate it and the conflict to the goal of peace, be honest, gentle, forgiving and appreciative of both, listen calmly, and ask thoughtful questions.


12/3/09 – Strain, weariness, and confusion disappear when we share with God his undivided will to love, lift, forgive, help and comfort all his children, to recognize only our eternal goodness, and to support only our eternal greatness.


12/2/09 – When we feel fearful, confused, dispirited, hopeless, uncertain, pulled in various directions, unloved and unlovable, we can be sure we are not communing with God, nor relying upon his guidance and strength.


12/1/09 – Union is always universal and unconditional completion, extendable infinitely and lovingly to everyone. Separate, special, exclusive “unions” are counterproductive, disappointing, impossible oxymora.


11/30/09 – What few know, and even those few too often forget, is that in God’s eyes, we are all exactly the same, equally and eternally blessed with an infinite amount of love, forgiveness and appreciation to share with others.


11/29/09 – All we ever need remember to do in any situation is ask God to share with us his unique perspective on our every sorrow, trouble, challenge, pain, guilt, fury, conflict, frustration and fear, and then peacefully await his sure, clear answer.


11/28/09 – Guilt is insane and blasphemous when God has joyfully offered to each of us, his prodigal sons and daughters, immediate and unconditional love and forgiveness for all the mistakes we would leave behind us.


11/27/09 – The light and joy in others’ eyes strengthens our faith by reminding us that God works lovingly and powerfully through us.


11/26 – When we refuse to see shortcomings in others, and instead see only their eternal value as God’s beloved children, we remember our own lovability, value and oneness as an essential and indispensible part of God’s one, single, unified, eternal, perfect creation.


11/25/09 – When we learn to see only the joyous, beloved and loving eternal spirit in everyone, we will see a beautiful world where death, suffering and time are irrelevant,


11/24/09 – Instead of seeing cruelty, evil, error, ignorance, obliviousness, selfishness and foolishness, we can choose to see in others only the beloved and learning spiritual beings they are, acting only upon one of two goals: either offering others love, or asking for it.


11/23/09 – We can rest our faith, peace and love in the powerful, unconditional, universal love that God channels though us, instead of in our demands and expectations for others’ behavior.


11/22/09 – In quietness and peace, we allow God’s forgiving miracles to work through us, and do not interfere,


11/21/09 – We each made our own weird, private, personal, completely insane and incommunicable worlds of fear, so we can release them to God, and decide to share with others only our love, which is always perfectly understood by everyone.


11/20/09 – Even if we can’t understand it, we can accept and use the unshakable grace and faith we are granted, along with our desire to be holy, share God’s will, and be wholly helpful, kind and forgiving.


11/19/09 – When we start our day asking for God’s strength and guidance, we can then listen, trust, work and rest peacefully.


11/18/09 – When we feel tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, we can let go and let God’s inexhaustible and certain strength and power work through us.


11/17/09 – When we feel defensive, we can ask to see ourselves as the eternally lovable, loving, forgiven creation God sees.


11/16/09 – We can accept, forgive and love ourselves when we are willing to allow each present moment just to be what it is.


11/15/09 – All God’s children are forever safe, unconditionally loved and joyously supported. Our bodies are temporary, our spirits eternal.


11/14/09 – When we are frozen in fear and guilt from past pain, we can ask to see things differently, as God sees, who loves his whole creation unconditionally and eternally now, as-is, just as he created us to be. Then we can let go and let God, and rest in his peace.


11/13/09 – Spiritual sight is always wholly helpful, because love attracts love to itself by offering and seeing it everywhere. When we ask continually for spiritual light, all paths work. When other perspectives distract us, even our sincerest efforts come to nothing.


11/12/09 – We want only to ask for, accept, give, receive and see the eternal light, peace, love, strength, joy and forgiveness of God in all that we do, in everyone, and in everything.


11/11/09 – When we carry guilt around, we’re seeing ourselves and the world as hopelessly unteachable and unforgivably mortal. We can choose instead to accept, affirm and see all about us as unconditionally loved and loving, learning, forgiven, eternal.


11/10/09 – Whenever we consistently ask for and apply God’s guidance, we are his accepting, forgiving, loving expression, and our lives work. When we decide to go it alone for a bit, our lives fall apart. God merely waits in infinite patience and love for our return to joy.


11/9/09 – Knowing how divided our minds are, why would we choose to direct ourselves, rely upon our own strength, or be our own teachers? We can resign now, and surrender our every need and undivided attention to our constant, clear, unlimited Teacher.


11/8/09 – With God’s consistent guidance, strength and love peacefully flowing through us, we can let go of all attacks—our own attacks upon ourselves, our attacks on others, and others’ attacks on us.


11/7/09 – When we’re feeling afraid, overwhelmed, confused, weak and estranged from God and man, we can surrender our simple willingness to allow God’s strength and loving purpose to work peacefully and powerfully through us.


11/6/09 – Our decisions—to hand over our fearful thoughts to God, and to share with others only our loving ones—increase our loving thoughts and reduce our fearful ones.


11/5/09 –We can remember God’s power, light, love, and healing forgiveness whenever we use and share that power with everyone.


11/4/09 – We begin our day by turning it over to God’s guidance, and promise to ask again for that guidance at each difficult moment.


11/3/09 – Our loving, appreciative responses to others’ fears are reminders that we are all unified in God’s love, and that we need never fear loss or separation from that love.


11/2/09 – As we humbly ask for God’s love, healing and forgiveness to flow through us, we are one with him, and become his perfect answer to every problem.


11/1/09 – When we trust God enough to ask him, often, for understanding, meaning, help, love—and for the answer to every problem—he will remind us that his answer already lies in us.


10/31/09 – In an eternal, but also in a practical sense, “reality” is not “out there” but rather “in here”—in the loving thoughts we all share with each other and with God. A “realist” then, is aware only of the love that is everyone, everything, everywhere.


10/30/09 – We recognize and nurture our own limitless value when we see and nurture that same equal and limitless value in everyone.


10/29/09 – Living joyfully in the light of God’s unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness of our humanity is co-conditional and inextricably intertwined with joyfully sharing that same unconditional love, acceptance and forgiveness with all his children.


10/28/09 – We are exactly alike in our interdependence upon each other and our Source as a loving whole. We are completely unique in freely channeling that love through our lives, relationships, creations, productions, expressions.


10/27/09 – The way to God is to see everything and everyone, including yourself, with love and without blame. God and his creation comprise a perfect, eternal, loving whole. What is not love doesn’t exist, last, or matter.


10/26/09 – God answers prayers for peace and rest by removing our fearful, negative thoughts and replacing them with powerful, positive thoughts we use to encourage others.


10/25/09 – All God needs from us is one second of willingness, when things feel scary, to let him stoke our tiny sputtering spark of love into a bonfire.


A Very Good Save-the-World Software Development Idea. Please Help Yourself! :-)

Will some brilliant programmer please step up and design a google-type software program that can linguistically analyze and determine a speaker/writer’s cooperative tone and intent?


Your new program could identify and distinguish among those writers/speakers whose communications promote a sense of division, partisanship, negativity, polarization, blame, attack, incivility, rudeness, destructiveness, unfriendly competition, bickering and hate—and those promoting a sense of positivity, creativity, life-affirmation, support, harmony, acceptance, forgiveness, productivity, civility, courtesy, equality of opportunity, caring, cooperation and unity.


Your software could have endless useful and profitable applications. For immediate profitability, please consider using your product for security purposes, to helpfully ward off unfriendly attacks and attackers (of whatever kind) upon individuals and enterprises (of whatever kind.)


Imagine leaders young and old in every field vying for their communications to be screened and certified via your software. Why not simultaneously award a “Truth-bearer” (or some other such logo) “gold seal of approval” identifying individuals and organizations as positive communicators, healers, light-bearers?


Your prestigious and desirable software “accreditation” could motivate many people to investigate and understand the important distinctions between peaceful and contentious communication purposes, and to recognize and encourage humanity-unifying goals as non-threatening and potentially beneficial to all earthlings, while discouraging communications with adversarial, hostile ends. Your software would also surely stoke national dialogue, while heightening awareness about the many distinct (although often confusingly-disguised) differences between helpful and harmful human communications. Your software would take care not to exclude any gentle, friendly, cooperative practitioner of any ideology, religion, political party, nation, organization, affiliation, etc.


One important goal of your software would be to educate. Hopefully, everyone would eventually become enlightened enough to merit universal inclusivity (by acting as good, positive communicators) according to your accrediting software, which might also be developed Wikipedically, or perhaps Amazon-style—i.e., open-sourced, by inviting motivated reviewers and voters opportunities not only to build your site, but also to offer feedback opportunities and provide needed talent to shape and debug upgrades and develop next-generation software.


Recipients of your approving nods (such as Nobel prize winners and mild-mannered third-graders) could proudly display and announce their cherished new affiliation and certification on their websites, on Facebook, business cards, in TV commercials and advertising, on coffee cups, tee-shirts, shopping bags….


Additionally, your software could assist web surfers to more-judiciously select helpfully-screened websites, products and opinions as the very ones they will most benefit from investigating. Perhaps your software could also eventually include a function which would recognize and refute inappropriate co-opters of your symbol of acceptance and stamp of approval—an iterative process that would call out abusers while encouraging more awareness and discussion.


Your software will stimulate lively dialogue; increase the impact and number of creative, thought-provoking, and controversial-but-civil exchanges; reduce (by virtue of indifference and neglect) the quantity and influence of divisive communications arising anywhere in the world; universally improve facility in verbal and mental processing of complexities, innuendo and nuances; and inspire us all to pull together cooperatively to resolve our common personal, local and global problems.


While you're programming, please give extra points for humor?


And if you're not a programmer, but merely a earthlinged, godlinged promosapient like me, please pass this idea on to any similarly-inclined programming/software folk or foundations, or to whomever might be interested!


Thank you…. 🙂


Nancy Pace




















































































Take This 40-Question Quiz: “Hillary or Barack???” (My Score Was Barack 40, Hillary 0)

Hillary and Barack both have wonderful abilities and qualities.

However, pick only the one candidate whom you feel is the BEST qualified:



Whose campaign runs like the country should run?


Who believes in a transparent government?


Who will tell the truth if they do something wrong?


Who trusts the public to be able to handle the truth?


Who values advisors who disagree?


Who respects and welcomes opposing points of view?


Who won’t hurry into war?


Who will resist the pressures of special interests and big money?


Whose family will be a credit to (and a delight in) the White House?


Whose tenure will reflect most positively upon America?


Who is liked and respected by all members of Congress and the Supreme Court?


Who can explain confusing issues to the American public?


Who can we believe when we hear conflicting stories?


Who is the least partisan candidate?


Who has the most global perspectives?


Who has an audacious vision of where to go, and a detailed plan for how to get there?


Who has the leadership and executive skills to solve even our biggest problems?


Whose example inspires us all to make personal sacrifices for the common good?


Who will guide us thoughtfully through national emergencies, tragedies, and catastrophes?


Who inspires our youth to greater effort, contribution, and productivity?


Who are national and world leaders eager to work with?


Who is it impossible not to like and admire?


Who do we most want to see succeed?


Who can heal our many divisions?


Who holds to moral principles under pressure?


Who has sound judgment under pressure?


Who reaches out in friendship to all foreign leaders and ordinary citizens?


Who will bind up the nation’s wounds?


Who can be counted on to defend us wisely from those who would do us harm?


Whose leadership inspires all the world’s peoples?


Who will move citizens of all ages and backgrounds toward greater civic involvement?


Who is the most intellectually broad-banded?


Who has the best “people skills”?


Who understands minority perspectives?


Who can offer global leadership toward solutions to common problems?


Who can sell tough solutions to the American public?


Who do Republicans not mind losing to?


Who inspires the confidence of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike?


Who do I look forward to listening to, weekly or more often, for the next eight years?


Who has the potential to become America’s greatest President, in her time of greatest need?



Please send comments to











The Winning Factors that Obama and Huckabee Share

Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are unique among the Presidential candidates in relishing honest opportunities to think on their feet. They are visibly energized by being publicly asked to consider hard, original questions on-the-spot, answering them directly and freshly.

From the other candidates, we mostly get their rehashed and rehearsed campaign rhetoric, no matter the questions. Despite their varying perspectives and strengths, no other candidates have that star-quality ability to rise to the challenge of thinking and speaking and leading under pressure, on-the-fly, extemporaneously, critically, creatively, and even charmingly, which Huckabee and Obama share.

I'm unnerved at the prospect of listening for another four years to more canned nonsense, pre-masticated gobbledygook, and predictable ideology from some partisan political hack speaking on behalf of the corporate and political power elites.

Obama and Huckabee could not possibly be more different in their thinking and perspectives, and, to be honest, I have little confidence in the breadth and robustness of Huckabee's world view, while I have great confidence in Obama's inclusive, visionary one. But at least both are honest and self-consistent. A few of the other candidates are also trustworthy, but either they are unelectable, or they're too polarizing, too contentious, too partisan, too 20th-century / old-world, too boring, too opportunistic, too old, too out-of-touch, too fringey, too militaristic, or too unprincipled to earn the necessary universal respect and trust required by the mass of American citizens who are frantic to move forward on change.

If what we need is a President with the fine mind, listening skills, and good judgment necessary to consider and evaluate and act confidently upon a blurringly-fast array of hugely complex and pressing problems almost instantaneously, while offering continuous, passionate, vigorous leadership, then we would be wise not to entrust our future into the hands of someone who responds to difficult questions by nervously squeezing out yet another familiar, practiced, safe, distantly-related soundbite-of-choice.

Make no mistake, only a President embodying a combination of trustworthiness, charisma, confidence, and instantaneous brilliant articulation of principled policies can lead everyday Americans into pressing Congress for sweeping policy reforms in a multitude of urgent issue-areas. A trustworthy, kick-ass leader unafraid to lead will cut through the crap and point us toward truth and away from hucksterism, using his reputation for straight-shooting to aggressively and successfully pursue policy changes.

Consider that, if a (theoretically) beloved and trusted President Obama pushing for health care reform informed us on television that “Harry and Louise are lying,” ordinary citizens with faith in his judgment and good heart would inundate Congress with supportive phone calls. The primary reason our citizenry is currently apathetic is our universal paralysis arising from fear and confusion from too-much conflicting “information”; we're so overwhelmed we don't know who or what to believe. Only a universally-trusted President can lead us confidently toward real change.

Relatively few Americans share Mr. Huckabee's doctrinal and theological beliefs and assumptions. Nevertheless, I would (almost) rather see Huckabee become President than endure another four years of listening to yet another political hack, another timid pawn owned by today's national political and corporate power elites, mouthing appropriately soothing platitudes and selling a self-interested agenda.

We need a President committed to change, one who is brilliant, knowledgeable, a non-polarizing problem-solver who loves grappling with complex issues, who easily, persuasively, and usefully reframes and explains issues and solutions, who will use the bully pulpit to convincingly build the citizen consensus and power-base so necessary to moving forward to solve today's global pressing problems.

And only one candidate meets that description.

My Credit Card and I Just Gave Barack Obama’s Campaign a Nice Christmas Present

Barack Obama can become a truly great U.S. President–and we so sorely need one.


His hopeful youthful perspectives and his calm quiet strength can soften our imminent crash-landing into tomorrow’s unbelievable array of global and national problems.


Obama gets it that we’re all in this together on our tiny, fragile, shared blue planet. He has the values, the vision, the words and the charisma to lead all of us—ordinary citizens and world movers-and-shakers alike—away from the fear that paralyzes and divides us, toward faith and courage, caring and cooperation, towards reconciliation within and among nations. 


Whatever Obama hasn’t learned yet, he’ll learn on the job, because he knows the complexity of the questions, knows who to ask, and how to listen. He's confident, his own man, not easily frightened or manipulated. And yes, he’ll make mistakes (all the candidates will, being human) but Obama will be honest about them, correct them, and move forward.


Obama is smart and creative and determined. He’ll find inventive ways to do whatever needs to be done. He’s open, a problem-solver, unafraid to throw away what doesn’t work and try something different. He'll persist and get it done.


Obama has a good heart, a good head, and a humble gentle spirit.


Yes, I admit I'm hoping, praying, and dreaming that Barack Obama will one day be remembered as a great statesman, a great humanitarian, a great healer for all the ages. So I'm taking responsibility for creating and contributing to that lovely possibility.


Peace on Earth, Good Will to All (especially Obama) and God Bless Us, Every One (especially Obama.)

Questioning the Wisdom of Secret Biowarfare Research at Fort Detrick, MD

The Expansion of Biowarfare Research
Laboratories at USAMRIID, Fort Detrick:

A Call to attend a Public Forum before the Frederick Board of
County Commissioners (BOCC)
Monday, November 19 at 7 pm, 1st Floor Meeting Room,
Winchester Hall 12 East Church Street Frederick

This is
the time, the only public opportunity to persuade our Commissioners
that we want them to obtain a Court Review of the USAMRIID Environmental Impact
Statement. A court review will hold the Federal Government accountable for complying with
NEPA- the National Environmental Policy Act, which is designed to protect communities
from development harmful to health and safety.
The Commissioners are holding this public forum
to hear from us about the public health,
safety and environmental concerns associated with the expansion of biological research
laboratories at Fort Detrick. USAMRIID is planned to be the cornerstone of a massive
expansion of such laboratories, involving at least 6 different Federal agencies on what would
be named the National Interagency Biodefense Campus (NIBC). NIBC would occupy 200
acres at Fort Detrick. This would be by far the largest biowarfare research complex in the

What can you do?

Come to the forum, whether or not you plan to speak. We need to fill the room! You
will learn a lot about the issue, and your presence is very important.
Learn more (resources and contacts below), and consider speaking. This meeting is
about the need for a court review, because health, safety and environmental impacts are
properly addressed in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).
NEPA requires, and the
USAMRIID EIS does not:

Evaluate alternate, less densely populated locations for these labs.
Provide a comprehensive evaluation of the cumulative impacts of the entire National
Interagency Biodefense Campus.

Address the many burdens upon our community’s public health, safety, growth, taxes and

Use your own unique background to talk about your concerns in your own words. Comments
will be limited to five (5) minutes per speaker and ten (10) minutes for recognized organizations.

Persuade everyone you know to come to the forum! Pass this on, BUT– talking
to people is much more effective!

E-mail the commissioners and tell them what you think. If you can’t come, tell
them you would be there if you could…..
Jan Gardner: David Gray:
Kai Hagen: Charles Jenkins: Lenny
Thompson: Send letters to the editor:

Learn More:
Informational meeting, open to all
: Viewing of recent PBS
documentary “The Living Weapon”, followed by discussion of the current situation
. 7 pm Monday
in the Notre Dame Room, Parish Center of St. John the Evangelist Church, 118 East 2nd St
Frederick. The parish center is two buildings to the right of the church. Sponsored by St John’s Peace
and Justice Committee
August 24, 2007

“It has been pointed out to me, by those that have read it thoroughly, that the Environmental Impact
Statement (EIS) for the USAMRIID expansion does not adequately examine the following very
important question:
Why has an alternate location for the new BSL 3 and BSL 4 labs not been thoroughly examined? This
would be an ideal time to move these labs. They have been a source of concern in this county for
years. They will house the most dangerous pathogens known to man (ie Ebola, Marburg, etc).
Presently they are planned to be again located in the high population area where Fort Detrick is now
located. Public safety fears would be greatly alleviated if they were moved to a more remote and safe
I understand that the EIS is now subject to a court review if requested. I am willing to call for such a
court review before construction commences. I have also been informed that such a review by the
courts was requested when BSL 4 labs were planned to be installed at Boston University which is in a
similar high population area. In that case, in 2006, both the Massachusetts state court as well as the
U.S. District Court ordered that the labs not be operated until alternate (less populated sites) are
properly considered, and simulation of real-world disease transmission is properly analyzed. (This risk
analysis is expected to address in detail the potential threats to the community arising from the use of
several BSL 4 agents that are planned to be studied in the Boston labs. This risk analysis will examine
the effects of a laboratory-acquired infection of a laboratory worker with Ebola; the transportation of a
vector-borne agent, such as tick-borne encephalitis; an aerosol event involving a hemorrhagic fever;
and the use of rDNA in monkey pox.) Our situation in Frederick County seems very similar.
In October 2001 there was an anthrax attack on postal workers, members of congress and the media,
resulting in 5 deaths. This was the first known biological attack on US citizens. It is widely believed
that the source of that anthrax (the Ames strain) was Ft Detrick.
Last December I and four other County Commissioner were sworn into office and we took an oath to
“Preserve and protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Frederick County”. I am
committed to that oath.”

Much more information is available about this issue. Contact:
Beth Willis:
Barry Kissin: The BOCC obtaining a Court Review has been
endorsed by: Citizens for Quality of Life, Friends of Frederick County, St. John the Evangelist Peace and Justice
Committee, Sierra Club Catoctin Group, the Fort Detrick Watchdog Group, Women in Black Frederick, the Frederick
Peace Resource Center, FredPac, and many many citizens like you.

Breach of trust
Originally published November 07, 2007
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By Katherine Heerbrandt

A week before Sen. Barbara Mikulski visited Frederick County extolling the economic promise of Fort Detrick's expansion, Keith Rhodes, chief technologist for the Government Accountability Office, told members of Congress that the proliferation of high-level biolabs raises serious questions about public safety.
“The more BSL-4 labs there are, the more opportunity for mistakes and the more opportunities for release,” Rhodes told the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations on Oct. 4.
Since 9/11 the number of labs researching the most virulent pathogens — those with no cure — grew from two to 15. With no central oversight of the growing number of labs, and disincentives inherent in reporting safety breaches, the security and operations of BSL-3 and BSL-4 labs are in question.
The oversight of these labs is “fragmented and relies on self-policing. High-risk labs have health risks for individual lab workers as well as the surrounding community. The risks due to accidental exposure or release can never be completely eliminated, and even labs within sophisticated biological research programs, including those most extensively regulated, have had and will continue to have safety failures,” Rhodes said.
Burning to spend the billions unleashed for biodefense research, the feds rushed to act with little consideration of the consequences. A sadly familiar refrain.
The U.S. Army War College's 2005 “Assessing Biological Weapons and Bioterrorism Threat” concludes money was spent with no analysis of the bioterrorism threat, which it called “systematically and deliberately exaggerated” by this administration.
More probable than a bioterrorist attack is that we infect ourselves by theft, design or mishap. With every new lab opened, every square foot added, the risk increases, according to the GAO.
The Associated Press produced an interactive map that reveals biolab breaches in the U.S. (
As recently as June, anthrax bacteria was found on a freezer handle, light switch and shoes in a changing room at USAMRIID.
With stories of accidents, breaches of protocol and incompetence from biolabs emerging with disturbing regularity, Detrick's refusal to participate in a public meeting isn't surprising.
Why subject itself to more national attention when biolabs are under assault?
The request came from County Commissioner David Gray, who issued a statement in August saying that federal officials ignored policy in their Environmental Impact Statement by not seeking alternate sites for the labs.
Detrick agreed to meet, then backed out, offering a private meeting with county commissioners. Gray wanted to bring community members and the press. Detrick declined that offer, too.
Detrick has already done its duty, says spokesperson Eileen Mitchell, providing ample opportunity for public comment and complying with federal regulations.
Maybe they weren't counting on anyone actually reading the EIS, but local attorney Barry Kissin and Beth Willis have made a thorough study of it, culminating in a 17-page statement including tough questions for Detrick officials. At best, the EIS is a cursory attempt to comply with federal guidelines. At worst, it ignores documented breaches and blithely concludes that any danger is “negligible.”
The lack of serious effort in such a critical report is yet another example of the arrogance characterizing the federal government's tactics in the name of keeping America safe from terrorists.
Wave the flag and our brains shut down?
Undeterred by Detrick's refusal, Gray will have his forum at 7 p.m. on Nov. 19 at Winchester Hall. But it will take more than the usual 20 to 25 regulars to convince a majority of commissioners that the EIS is severely flawed and deserves a court review.
It's your last chance. Make it count.

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Why a Court Review on the USAMRIID Expansion?  
What would it do, and why support it?
The people and government of Frederick County need a court review of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the USAMRIID expansion, because the FEIS does not comply with The National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).   A court review would provide an independent, binding assessment and judgment about the specific ways the FEIS does not meet NEPA requirements in assessing whether Frederick is an appropriate location for these laboratories, and for adequately evaluating the health and safety issues these laboratories would bring to the community.
The purpose and spirit of NEPA requirements assume that a full and thorough environmental assessment is needed to properly make fundamental decisions about site location and risk mitigation.  A complete and thorough analysis of alternative sites is required in order to compare those alternative sites, leading to:
¨      information adequate enough for local elected officials to develop a full and informed understanding of  impacts, risks and issues
¨      information adequate enough for  citizens of the county and other affected parties to do the same
¨      a sound decision on the proper site, based on legally specified health, safety, environmental  and economic factors
The current FEIS does not provide the information needed for decision-makers to determine if these programs should be located in Frederick County.  It does not provide the information needed for officials and citizens to be adequately informed about the risks and impacts, as intended by NEPA.
A court review would, at a minimum, address the following NEPA-related FEIS defects:
¨      the failure during the FEIS process to squarely address fundamental issues raised repeatedly, verbally and in writing by residents of the community.
¨      the failure to properly identify alternatives sites, including one in a less populated area.
¨      the failure to provide credible and serious evaluations and comparisons of such alternatives.
¨      the failure to analyze the cumulative environmental impacts of the entire National Interagency Biodefense Campus (NIBC). Facilities for NIH, DHS, USDA, CDC, BRAC (Naval and Army Bio-Labs), as well as USAMRIID are planned to be located on NIBC. NEPA clearly requires a “Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement” (PEIS) with respect to the NIBC, which has never been done.  Rather, there have been only cursory references to the full program in the USAMRIID EIS.
¨      the failure to adequately analyze the environmental impact of  BSL-3 and BSL-4 pathogens escaping from containment.
¨      the failure to evaluate potential environmental impacts of genetic engineering of BSL-3 and BSL- 4 pathogens.  The Army’s own regulations specifically refer to genetic engineering as an action that demands evaluation for potential impacts.
¨      the failure to explain in specific detail how the cumulative program would satisfy its water requirements, which would at least double the current water requirements of the Fort.
¨      the failure to analyze potential scenarios related to transport of bio-agents to and from facility and failure to include a threat and vulnerability analysis for a terrorist attack or infiltration.
Tell our County Commissioners:
You want them to obtain a Court Review
of the latest Fort Detrick Biocontainment laboratory expansion Environmental Impact Statement.
Women In Black, Frederick commends Commissioner David Gray for his statement questioning the thoroughness of the Environmental Impact Statement  (EIS) on the proposed USAMRIID expansion, especially as it pertains to site location, and calling for a court review of the EIS before construction commences.
The function of the planned Biosafety Level 4 labs scheduled for construction as part of the expansion is to house experiments on infectious pathogens for which there is neither vaccine nor cure. Activities planned at some of the new Fort Detrick labs include the acquisition, growth, modification, storage and packaging of those pathogens most adaptable to being used as bioweapons.
One does not need to read voluminous documents to question the wisdom of locating such a facility in a highly populated area of robust growth such as Frederick County, especially in light of the previous record of failed safety procedures and accidents. This is a rational and logical question and one the citizens of Frederick County cannot afford to take lightly. Once built, this facility will be a permanent part of our community environment. Do we really want to risk the health and safety of our families?  Many accidents at such labs have recently been in the news.  Congress is now holding hearings investigating safety failures in the nation’s 400+ biowarfare laboratory system, for which Frederick will be Headquarters. 
We thank Commissioner Gray for his integrity and commitment to his oath of office,  “to preserve and protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Frederick County.” We urge all our elected officials to meet this same standard, and we urge all Frederick County residents to hold them to that standard.
Please contact ALL of our County Commissioners now, and tell them you want them to protect our health and safety by calling for a legally binding, impartial Court Review of the Army’s USAMRIID expansion Environmental Impact Statement.  Tell them you want them to act on our behalf, and hold the Federal Government accountable for complying with the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act, which is designed to protect communities from development that is harmful to health and safety. 

Call: : (301) 600-9000   Email:
Jan Gardner:
David Gray:
Kai Hagen:
Charles Jenkins:
Lenny Thompson:

The Best (and Only) Way to Solve Our Terrorism Problem

As a history major, I know about what western corporations and governments have done to Muslim (and other) nations—exploited resources, manipulated politics, set up friendly regimes, assassinated opponents, and armed and funded those willing to serve our interests. So when Thomas L. Friedman, in his 4/7/07 New York Times column, “At a Theater Near You…” (copied below) wonders how Americans have grown so “numb to just how crazy” scattered Muslim suicide bombing attacks are,” I wonder in turn how we in the west can be just as numbly indifferent to the horrors we’ve perpetrated upon Muslims.


One member of Congress after another argues for withdrawal from Iraq so that not one more American life will be added to the number lost, without a word about the millions of Iraqi lives already lost or maimed or ruined, and the hundreds dying daily–those same Iraqi lives President Bush so often claimed we had come to rescue.


Mr. Friedman wonders, how could a doctor ever become a terrorist? Many Muslim doctors in London and elsewhere have been dealing for five years and more with the tragic effects upon almost everyone they know of the western occupations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. These doctors are educated humanitarians, knowledgeable about the histories of western aggression and oppression in their countries of origin, histories we certainly don’t teach or discuss here at home. They are doubtless grief-stricken, paralyzed, and hopeless enough to prefer dying to doing nothing at all. I think they intended to terrify the British into feeling their heightened vulnerabilities more personally, without harming them, hoping they would urge their new Prime Minister Brown to address Islamic concerns and stop the carnage.


Consider: what if an imagined, vastly more powerful Muslim alliance had invaded and occupied the United States five years ago? We wouldn’t be “generating vigorous, sustained condemnation” about an occasional American suicide bomber way over in Iraq, consumed as we would we be already, here at home in America, with simple day-to-day survival, with burying and mourning our million dead brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, with caring for five times that million beloved wounded, with desperately fleeing the violence along with the millions of our fellow Americans abandoning childhood homes and trying to pick up the pieces of shattered lives and dreams anywhere else….


Just who is it, Mr. Friedman, who is “erasing basic norms of civilization” by terrorizing—Islamic suicide bombers, or our own invading and occupying armies?


Both, of course.


I have no doubt that many extremist Muslims are every bit as crazy as some of our very own home-grown terrified fundamentalist Christians and Jews who stand ready to nuke whole Islamic nations right now with no more questions asked. Yes, there are violent, ignorant, vengeful people everywhere, and this is a big big problem. And adding more violence, suffering, anger, and fear to all of their lives is being done to what good purpose?


Islam and Christianity, as practiced by their most devout and informed followers, are both peaceful religions. To be sure, the Koran requires believers to protect Muslim lands from those who would attack, occupy, and impose different traditions upon them, just as American Christians and Jews alike pledge to defend the Constitution even to the death from all enemies foreign and domestic. That doesn’t make either of us crazy. Yet Mr. Friedman implies that crazy-fanatic-Muslims are “the problem.”


Surely he can’t mean to compare the terrible 9/11 attacks perpetrated by misguided young mostly-Saudi Arabian radical intellectuals, with the American government’s own calculated five-year attacks and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have resulted in the deaths of a million people, the wounding of five times that many, the loss of 3,600+ of our own precious youth, the blighted hopes of millions of refugees, and the transformation of vast swaths of culturally-rich Muslim home towns and cities into bullet-ridden ghost towns?


Surely Friedman can’t be comparing the current outbreaks of desperate suicide attacks, however horrific, here and there in the west, with the deliberate, incalculable damage done to Muslim countries by western governments and corporations over the last several hundred years? Only the biggest, comfiest bully on the block could get away with making up such comparisons.


Mr. Friedman believes Islamic countries are benighted because they haven’t embraced western modernity, and it is true that the west and the east have much to learn from one another. But if only we would get out of their way, Muslims would have a better chance to embrace what they admire about western culture, as the Japanese did after WWII. Maybe when freed of western interference, Muslims, like the Vietnamese, will amaze us not only with their productivity, but with their generosity to former enemies as well.


The last thing Americans want to confess is our culpability in the Middle East, so painful is it to see our own shortcomings clearly, and so comforting to chalk disastrous policies up to Muslim backwardness….just as we’ve chalked everything bad happening in China up to Chinese backwardness, until now, when, whoops, here they come too, industriously going about doing things in their own way, and the bigger and stronger for it. In fact, they’ve succeeded so well that many in the west are working to boycott attendance at the Beijing  Olympics on various pretexts, not wanting to risk letting the west see how well the Chinese are doing.


I wish our government would stop creating enemies out of everyone “different,” and stop encouraging well-paid radio demagogues like Rush Limbaugh to keep up their steady drumbeat of xenophobia (“fear of outsiders.”) Demonizing and colonizing distant oil-rich nations does guarantee big profits for oil and for military/industrial corporations which thrive in a political atmosphere of fear. Regrettably though, capitalizing on America’s abysmal ignorance and fear of the rest of the world will never unify or save our nation, or our planet. We are young, brash, and powerful, and we want to “be right” about everything, want to “settle” conflicts “quickly” through violent means. Both goals are fantasies. Instead, we could choose to work to befriend everyone on the planet, accepting all nations and peoples as-is along with their weaknesses and mistakes (including our own), extending a welcome hand of caring and assistance to all….


But unless we voters suddenly get a lot smarter before the 2008 elections, the U.S. government will continue to be run by politicians elected by money from big corporations whose only interest is making high profits for their stockholders, and with no interest at all in changing the aggressive foreign policies which so successfully fill up their bank accounts.


And why should such corporations care if Muslim or American innocents are killed here or there? Why would corporations want to stop endless wars, when they can reinvest their gargantuan war profits into more government lobbying, a strategy which has successfully created for them a safe, lucrative niche within this nation of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations, which may yet perish from the earth. Few politicians disproportionately influenced by corporate donations will risk their powerful status to educate voters about the U.S.’s abysmal history of empire-building.


Friedman seems blissfully unaware of the two clear and oft-repeated “concrete political demands” which Bin Laden and his violent cohorts have stated time and again: in order to stop Islamic terrorism, the west must withdraw military forces from Islamic lands, and must stop arming and supporting Israeli anti-Islamic aggression.


The strategy of beating weaker nations into submission through gunboat lack-of-diplomacy and war has not proved robust. The west will be far more effective at spreading the best of our culture when we first offer generous support for popular cherished Islamic projects and problems.


No matter how far we fling our military forces in attempts to resolve east/west political conflicts, “our” dangerous and costly “terrorism problem” will only become worse until we withdraw our military forces from Islam, and offer generous support only to those Israeli leaders working for peaceful co-existence and equal rights for all ethnicities and religions. Until that time, grieving, patriotic, angry, jobless Muslim youth with no national military hope of prevailing against western oppression or against regional enemies newly armed and militarized amidst the lawlessness and chaos of life in a rapidly spreading war zone, will keep on choosing to throw in with terrorist/insurgent bands and militias.


If we continue to insist upon our American right to impose upon distant cultures our own “superior” political and economic values, multinational corporations profiting from war and terror will continue to misuse our ideals to serve their own greedy purposes:  to drive ever-deeper wedges into foreign lands, and to buy and sell (or take) whatever they want at criminal prices.


Friedman argues that it’s up to Muslim leaders to “remove this cancer” of terrorist violence. No. It is up to western leaders to remove this cancer of military-backed hegemony, this cancer of “might makes right,” this cancer of trampling the rights and traditions of smaller and weaker peoples.


Unless Mr. Friedman and I can somehow agree upon which of our children and grandchildren we’re willing to trade for a steady flow of cheap Middle Eastern oil, and which of our cities we’ll willing to exchange for bigger earnings for American stockholders, we should support leaders capable of shifting our nation and the world into to a new era of non-violent global cooperation, for the sake of all in both the east and the west.



Please send comments to Nancy Pace at .




July 4, 2007

Op-Ed Columnist

At a Theater Near You …



I knew something was up when I couldn’t get a cab. Then there were sirens and helicopters whirring overhead. I stopped a passerby to ask what was going on. He said something about a car bomb outside a disco six blocks from my hotel. A few hours later, I finally found a taxi. The driver warned me that it was nearly impossible to get across town. Another bomb had been uncovered in a car park. Next day, more news: a suicide bomber had driven his Jeep into an airport and jumped out, his body on fire, screaming “Allah! Allah!”

Where was I? Baghdad? Kabul? Tel Aviv? No, I was in England. But it could have been anywhere. The Middle East: Now playing at a theater near you.

But this movie gets more confusing every time you watch it. When you watched it on 9/11 it was about America’s presence in the heart of Arabia. And when you watched it on 7/7 it was about unemployed and alienated Muslim youth in Britain. In Jordan not long ago it was about a wedding at a Western hotel. In Morocco recently it was about an Internet cafe. And two days ago in Yemen it was about seven Spanish tourists who were killed when a suicide bomber drove into them at a local tourist site. Wasn’t Spain the country that quit Iraq to get its people out of the line of fire?

Because these incidents are scattered, we’re growing numb to just how crazy they are. In the past few years, hundreds of Muslims have committed suicide amid innocent civilians — without making any concrete political demands and without generating any vigorous, sustained condemnation in the Muslim world.

Two trends are at work here: humiliation and atomization. Islam’s self-identity is that it is the most perfect and complete expression of God’s monotheistic message, and the Koran is God’s last and most perfect word. To put it another way, young Muslims are raised on the view that Islam is God 3.0. Christianity is God 2.0. Judaism is God 1.0. And Hinduism and all others are God 0.0.

One of the factors driving Muslim males, particularly educated ones, into these acts of extreme, expressive violence is that while they were taught that they have the most perfect and complete operating system, every day they’re confronted with the reality that people living by God 2.0., God 1.0 and God 0.0 are generally living much more prosperously, powerfully and democratically than those living under Islam. This creates a real dissonance and humiliation. How could this be? Who did this to us? The Crusaders! The Jews! The West! It can never be something that they failed to learn, adapt to or build. This humiliation produces a lashing out.

In the old days, you needed a terror infrastructure with bases in Beirut or Afghanistan to lash out in a big way. Not anymore. Now all you need is the virtual Afghanistan — the Internet and a few cellphones — to recruit, indoctrinate, plan and execute. Hence, the atomization — little terror groups sprouting everywhere. Everyone now has a starter kit.

Gen. Michael Hayden, the C.I.A. director, recently noted in a speech that during the cold war “the enemy was easy to find, but hard to finish,” because the Soviet Union was so big and powerful. “Intelligence was important” back then, he added, “but it was overshadowed by the need for sheer firepower.”

In today’s war against terrorist groups, said General Hayden, “it’s just the opposite. Our enemy is easy to finish, but hard to find. Today, we are looking for individuals or small groups planning suicide bombings, running violent Jihadist Web sites, sending foreign fighters into Iraq.”

I’d go one step further. The Soviet Union was easy to find and hard to kill, but once it died, it was dead forever. It had no regenerative power because it had no popular base. The terrorists of Iraq or London are hard to find, easy to kill, but very difficult to eliminate. New recruits just keep sprouting.

Of course, not all Muslims are terrorists. But it’s been widely noted that virtually all suicide terrorists today are Muslims. Angry Norwegians aren’t doing this — nor are starving Africans or unemployed Mexicans. Muslims have got to understand that a death cult has taken root in the bosom of their religion, feeding off it like a cancerous tumor.

This cancer is erasing basic norms of civilization. In Iraq, we’ve seen suicide bombers blow up funerals and schools. In England, seven out of the eight people detained in the latest plot are Muslim doctors or medical students. Doctors plotting mass murder? Could that be? If Muslim leaders don’t remove this cancer — and only they can — it will spread, tainting innocent Muslims and poisoning their relations with each other and the world.



Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company