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Terrorist Soft Theory

Natalia J. Garland

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It seems to be a terrorist theory that Americans are too soft to resist ongoing violent attacks and the consequent psychological terrorization. Although there may be a kernel of truth in this assumption, inasmuch as we tend to be an addicted people, there is enough evidence to prove that our true nature and our most powerful longings are exemplified in sacrifice and endurance.

Soldiers in Iraq
Our military personnel in Iraq are fighting an extremely difficult war against terrorists. These young men and women are willing to give their lives for the freedom of others. Some have returned home, maimed and scarred, and they do not complain.

September 11th
The response of New York City's police officers, firefighters, and average citizens to a massive terror attack demonstrated American heroism, unity, resilience, and positive defiance. As for the psychological impact of grief, anxiety, and fear, New Yorkers continue to live and work in the city as well as to make plans for rebuilding the World Trade Center area.

Our ancestors
The early settlers of America who survived the rugged landscape and harsh weather were a hardy people. The pioneers who went westward were tough, adventurous, and hopeful. We stand on the heritage of people who were able to separate from loved ones, pare down their possessions, develop self-sufficiency, and go forward.

Many Native Americans have resisted extinction and overcome the wounds of political betrayal. Many African Americans have risen from deprivation, brutality, and exclusion, to become prominent in every field of American enterprise.

The 2004 presidential election
Americans did not do what the people of Spain did after the Madrid train bombings. The Spaniards did not re-elect their pro-American president (who had seemed the likely winner before the Madrid attack). They elected the opponent who then withdrew the Spanish troops from Iraq.

If Americans were easily intimidated, incapable of withstanding severe stressors, then George W. Bush would have lost by a landslide no matter who his opponent was. If our political system had caved in, then the Republican Party would not have chosen Bush as their 2004 candidate. They would have found someone to meet with the approval of the terrorists.

Please note that I am not saying that John Kerry would have appeased the terrorists. Kerry took a strong position against terrorism in his campaign speeches. It is the worldwide unpopularity of Bush's Iraq war policy (right or wrong) to which I refer.

Working 9 to 5
Americans have a comparatively high standard of living. We work hard for this. Many Americans work two jobs. Some homes are headed by a working father and a working mother. There are single parents who work all day and then come home to cook dinner for the kids. Americans have fewer paid vacation days than many Europeans and Scandinavians.

The fact that we own a lot of material things does not necessarily mean that we are spoiled. It means that we work long hours to obtain these things. If we had to live off rations such as was the case in World War II, most likely we would adapt.

We give our money away. We do this through a number of channels such as charities and nonprofit organizations, churches, scholarship funds, and shelters. It can be argued that our giving is not sacrificial, that we give from our surplus. Even so, such giving is unselfish.

The new normal
Americans have adjusted to increased security measures, such as airport baggage inspections. Although many people object to the Patriot Act, these objections may have decreased since the London terror bombings of July 7th. My point is this: we have accepted the inconvenience that security measures bring into our lives. Our focus is on safety and survival, not on personal ease.

Whether we look at the American character or the democratic process, we have the resources to win the war on terrorism. The task ahead is not to let partisan strife weaken us from within, and not to let obsession with political correctness weaken us from without. (Written 07/22/05)

Until we meet again..............stay sane.

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Copyright 2005 Natalia J. Garland