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Dear Mr. President: Words of Resistance, Reason, and Peace

Nonviolence as an Alternative to Missle Strikes
by Andy Harwood

Dear President Bush,

I do not support the bombing of Afghanistan.

We mistakenly think that military means will put an end to terrorism, but our violence will only beget more violence against us. Even a cursory study of the history of civilization shows this to be true. The retaliations and counter-attacks never cease, and the seeds of discord and hate are given fertile ground in which to grow. When will it all end?

Killing bin Laden would only make him a martyr and fuel the fires of anti-U.S. hate. A recent news story warns against a wave of retaliatory terrorism as we attack the Taliban. With each violent act, we are creating the future terrorists who will someday exact their revenge upon us.

A further horrible irony is that our own CIA supported and armed bin Laden's anti-Soviet terrorist organization, the Maktab al-Khidamar. Our taxpayer dollars were used to help him learn how to do this. We are truly being haunted by our own shadow.

Only nonviolence as a means of social change will ultimately result in peace. If more government leaders would understand this in their hearts, we would be much closer to addressing the root causes of terror, those being in my opinion injustice, poverty, unevenly distributed resources and power, lack of education, and the political voicelessness of billions of people, instead of just firing missles and feeling like we're actually doing something effective.

As models of leaders I would suggest Mohandas K. Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Jesus, and his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, who have all accomplished powerful and lasting social influence without ever picking up a weapon or asking anyone else to do so. We could learn from these leaders and make them our models for the future. Nonviolence is not utopia, and it is not naive. It's very real and possible.

Thank you for reading my letter. I hope and pray for peace and that you and Congress will act wisely.

Sincerely yours,

Andy Harwood
Grand Rapids, Michigan


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