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MILITARY RETALIATION IS NOT THE ANSWER

The terrorist events of Sept. 11 are unspeakably evil and horrific. I join those who pray for the victims, for those who mourn them, for those rendering assistance and for our nation. Such unspeakable evil, upon wholly innocent people, reflects blindness to the dignity of human life; it manifests the darkness of hatred and suffering. Our national response should do none of these.

Our national strategy should not be a military one; it should be a spiritual one. The antidote to suffering, ignorance, hatred and disorientation is compassion and cooperation.

In addition to the hard truths of American vulnerability and the futility of isolationism, there is this one: If indeed America was attacked, then it is an "enemy." So, on what grounds, warranted or not, do others perceive America as an enemy? How can America cut through whatever obstacles, ignorance, greed and hatred are at the root of our being perceived as an enemy?

Human nature is universal. All people seek to live and to be happy. All people deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. No person should ever cause another human being to suffer unnecessarily. To attack terrorism at its root requires that America be a world leader in its determination to reconcile with all people and to work cooperatively for the benefit of all. There should be no cause for America to be regarded as an enemy.

Would not this achievement pay appropriate homage to the untold number of good people whose lives have been lost to terrorism?

RICHARD REILLY

Olean

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