LtE in CMO #251

From Thomas A DOBBINS

@. . . . . Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 19:21:47 -0400

From: "Tom & Karen Dobbins" <>

To: <>

Subject: Thank you


 Dear Masatsugu:

Your thoughtful expressions of sympathy in this dark hour are much appreciated. Rest assured, the American people will recover from these crimes and wreak terrible retribution on the perpetrators.

 Given the sad and bloody history of our fathers' generation, your message evoked very poignant feelings. I take great comfort that the friendship between the American and Japanese peoples is so profound and sincere. May it always be so!

 With much gratitude,


@ . . . . . . . Date: Thu, 13 Sep 2001 22:28:18 -0400

From: "Tom & Karen Dobbins" <>

To: "Masatsugu MINAMI" <>

Subject: News from America


 Dear Masatsugu:

    The profound sense of shock over the terrible events on Tuesday have subsided to the point that I can convey to you my thoughts and not just my visceral emotions. Americans have been subjected to a trauma far greater the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. The date September 11, 2001 will surely mark a watershed in our nation's history, and I am sure that we will recall to our grandchildren where we were and what were we doing when we first heard the news of the unfolding catastrophe.


 There is a sudden realization that we are dealing with an enemy like no other we have ever faced, and that we are more vulnerable than we have ever been before. One can only grudgingly admire the courage of men willing to kill themselves, even if their cause is utterly without merit.  This generation of Americans has all but forgotten Captain Colin Kelly, lionized as a hero for deliberately crashing his stricken bomber into a Japanese destroyer during the early days of the Second World War. But even the kamikaze pilots who dove their planes into American warships are at best a poor comparison. After all, these were men who sacrificed themselves in order to kill fellow warriors and to save their nation from defeat, not to slaughter innocent civilians.


 The mass murderers who flew planes into the towers World Trade Center evoke the same revulsion that wells up when one sees a rabid dog, and the conviction that such men must be dealt with in precisely the same fashion. Alas, the perpetrators of these horrific deeds are now dead at their own hands, and no doubt they went to their deaths happily. So we are deprived of the gratification of any personalized retribution.


  Americans are a rather self-restrained people. In many countries the streets would long ago have filled with mobs screaming for vengeance. But make no mistake, there is a palpable rage here, made all the more dangerous since our fury cannot be immediately vented. Sane, contemplative people are calling for bloody collective punishment, an impulse that is difficult to suppress when our televisions show scenes of gleeful celebrations in Lebanese and Palestinian towns.


 The restrained talk of "seeking justice" for those who financed, trained, and directed these men seems as ridiculous as the trials of animals that were conducted in the Middle Ages. How can one administer justice by bringing to trial and imprisoning or executing deranged fanatics whose highest aspiration is matyrdom? It is often said that the ultimate tragedy of war is that one comes to resemble one's enemy. A chilling but compelling logic begins to emerge...


 We Americans are fond of drawing analogies between the United States and Rome. Like the Romans, we are destined to be envied and hated by untold millions. But if it is our fate to be hated, it is essential that those who hate us also fear us. Now we are drawn to the spectre of Carthage -- razed to the ground, its inhabitants put to the sword, its very soil sown with salt as an example to anyone who would dare to even contemplate raising a fist to Rome.


As I write these words, television is announcing that teams of terrorists have just been arrested at two New York airports, all disguised as airline crews. Our ordeal is far from over, and the urgency for decisive action is growing. Yet I need only glance at my own children to be reminded that Kabul and Bagdad are teeming with innocents as well.

 In closing, we are deeply grateful for Japan's immediate and unwavering support at this time of crisis.



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