On September 11th, four teams of hijackers walked past the security at three major metropolitan airports and hijacked four aircraft. Two were crashed into the World Trade Towers, one into the Pentagon, and one was apparently and thankfully downed before it could reach its target. How could anyone hate America enough to throw their own lives away in their attacks on the symbols of our nation's economic and military power? We're not talking "lone nuts", but entire teams of people willing to die in their attacks on our buildings and against our citizens. What makes these people so hate us that they would sacrifice their lives in their eagerness to strike at us?

Maybe people hate us because what we call Peacekeepers still looks and feels like an invading army to those who stop the bullets, step on the land mines, and catch the bombs. We played the same double cross with Osama Bin Laden, our ally and a CIA contract agent in Afghanistan, funded with $6 billion of YOUR tax dollars, (did you know this?), now branded a super-villain worthy of a comic book. Remember the last time our government decided to"take care of Osama?" We blew up an aspirin factory in Sudan. Big joke, that was. You, the taxpayers, not only got to pay for the million-a-shot cruise missiles, you also got to pay to rebuild the aspirin factory when the owners sued the USA, with Vernon Jordan as their attorney! Think the people who worked in that factory (the ones who survived at any rate) like us? I doubt it. Maybe people are willing to use terror attacks against us because we use terror attacks against them.

In 1985, authorized by William Casey, the CIA planted a car bomb near a mosque in Beirut to kill Sheik Mohammed Hossein Fadlallah, a Muslim cleric. The bomb missed the Sheik but killed 80 people, including children. Is it really okay for us to use tactics we condemn in others? No, it isn't. If they are morally wrong to use car bombs that kill innocent people, then so are we. It is far less than clear just who is behind the attacks in New York and Washington DC. Fingers have been pointed at Saddam Hussein, Arafat, and ex CIA agent Osama Bin Laden. It may be any one of them. It may be all three. It may be none of them. It could be the work of a third party, unknown and unseen, with the goal of triggering yet another war where the blood of innocents will be bartered for greater wealth and influence.

We do know that those who hijacked the planes went to a great deal of effort to steal identities of Middle Eastern Arabs and use them on their forged identifications. What we also know is that wars are often started with deceptions. Sun Tzu states in "The Art Of War" that all warfare is based on deception, and that rulers must cultivate the appearance of moral rightness in order to persuade their nations to fight. When Hitler needed the support of the German people to invade Poland, he got it by staging a phony attack complete with dead bodies in Polish uniforms on the German side of the border. Recently declassified documents prove that Pearl Harbor wasn't quite the total surprise it was claimed to be.

Forget, for a moment, who was hurt in these attacks, and study who benefitted. A few weeks ago the USA was fractionalized, her people justly critical of the policies of the government, questioning even if that government's taxes were legal, questioning the support of Israel, questioning the handling of the Condit case, questioning Waco, questioning a self-critical nation demanding answers to some tough questions; answers the government did not have. Now, the United States has been transformed. All criticism is gone. Criticism itself is now deemed to be, instead of the right of the people, an act of treason.

In the blink of an eye our nation has gone from being 266 million thinking citizens wanting to know if the government is right, to 266 million conscripts willing to follow the government into war even if it is wrong. In the blink of an eye the people have stopped blaming the government for the worsening economy and shifted that blame to the "terrorists". Unless he is still working for the CIA, Osama Bin Laden would not have wanted to cause any of the changes which have resulted from the horrific attacks on New York and Washington DC.

The attacks made the US government stronger. Who benefits from that? That stronger US Government is now ready to wage war against the Arabs. Who benefits from that? By the way, where is he? Who really gained from the attacks in New York and Washington DC? Whose political agendas were advanced by the attacks? That is where to look for the planners of the World Trade Towers attacks.

If, in the heat of the moment and the lust for vengeance we surrender our basic American principles such as demand for proof beyond a reasonable doubt, then we ourselves will have damaged America and what it stands for far more than those who attacked the World Trade Center could ever do themselves. What the hijackers could not knock down, we will have thrown down ourselves. If we do that, then those who planned and carried out the attacks against the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon will have won, even if we hunt them down and kill them.

"Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act" (USA PATRIOT Act),have Critics on both left and right and are saying it not only strips Americans of fundamental rights but does little or nothing to secure the nation from terrorist attacks. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, voted against this legislation, and is outraged not only by what is contained in the antiterrorism bill but also by the effort to stigmatize opponents. Paul says, "The insult is to call this a 'patriot bill' and suggest I'm not patriotic because I insisted upon finding out what is in it and voting no. I thought it was undermining the Constitution, so I didn't vote for it and therefore I'm somehow not a patriot. That's insulting".

Paul confirms rumors circulating in Washington that this sweeping new law, with serious implications for each and every American, was not made available to members of Congress for review before the vote. "It's my understanding the bill wasn't printed before the vote at least I couldn't get it. They played all kinds of games, kept the House in session all night, and it was a very complicated bill. Maybe a handful of staffers actually read it, but the bill definitely was not available to members before the vote." And why would that be? "This is a very bad bill," explains Paul, "and I think the people who voted for it knew it and that's why they said, 'Well, we know it's bad, but we need it under these conditions." Meanwhile, efforts to obtain copies of the new law were stonewalled even by the committee that wrote it.

Don't be a slave to your beliefs about what a government could or could not do. History is full of governments that perpetrated monumental frauds upon their own people to trigger a war. Governments HAVE to commit fraud to start a war because most people, especially Americans, refuse to initiate a war of conquest. They must have the illusion they have been attacked first. 3,000 lives are a lot. But to a government, ours or anyone else's, it's a tiny fraction of a percent to sacrifice to bring 100% of the nation under control, isn't it? The World Trade Towers cost a billion dollars. That's 1/10th of a percent of what the Department Of Defense misplaced last year, and a drop in the barrel compared to the worth of the oil sitting under the lands we just attacked.. Are you really so sure you have been told the truth about what is going on?

And just a little note to Lamar LeFevre, the government already has my name...

Larry Ripplinger,

Boulder

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"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."