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Crossroads in the war on terror.

I was gratified to read Kevin Clarke's insightful August Margin Notes ("Let's declare peace on terror"). Clearly the United States stands at a crossroads regarding our response to terror threats and the exercise of leadership in a troubled world, but few seem to be willing to look beyond politics to the fundamental choices that face us.

How will we respond to the very real threats of terrorists? Will we always and everywhere choose military might (which had little trouble toppling a weakened regime, but which has proved woefully inadequate to the task of stemming the growth of terror activities and the number of terrorists), or will we engage in the difficult and humble work of building relationships, acting in justice economically around the globe, and investing in the development of peoples rather than in the creation of "markets"?

When threats come, whether in our personal lives or on the global stage, the temptation is always to arrogance, aggression, and a too-broad application of "us vs. them." Clarke sanely, realistically, and wisely puts forth an alternative set of responses that flow more authentically from our faith than "shock and awe" and throwing our military might around in ways that trample those we're intending to "rescue." I commend U.S. CATHOLIC for raising this question, which the U.S., together with the world community, ought to be debating soberly and solemnly.

Tom McGrath

Chicago, Ill.

Clarke's article gave the most clear statement of the goals of terrorism I have seen and a clear though difficult solution. We have been made to feel we are at the mercy of terrorists when actually we have the power to remain true to our ideals of liberty and freedom for all, not by living in fear but by living with the hope that we can help those whose lives are so desperate they are attracted by a philosophy of despair, though their religion is one of hope.

I was reminded by this article how much I have learned through the years from this magazine; the fair-trade coffee in my cup and the chicken not on my plate are because of information in previous U.S. CATHOLIC articles. Because of U.S. CATHOLIC I understand that the church I am part of is still open to new ideas and tolerant to all despite what appears to he an attempt to return to a time when its doors, its minds, and its arms were closed.

Please keep instructing on social issues and reminding us we are followers of Jesus who denied his grace to no one. My fervent prayer is that when a new bishop of Buffalo, New York is appointed, he will be a reader of U.S. CATHOLIC.

Ann Williams

Grand Island, N.Y.
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Title Annotation:you may be right
Author:Williams, Ann
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Sep 1, 2004
Previous Article:Parental guidance suggested.
Next Article:Father doesn't know best.

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