This letter will probably cause me to lose some friends and make some enemies.I suspect I will anger many, but nonetheless, I am compelled to write it.From my readings of newspapers and listening to radio talk shows, I am concerned that some of our citizens cannot comprehend why some of the world’s peoples harbor a degree of hatred for our country.I will try to offer my own take on this issue.First, we are a very rich nation, albeit with pockets of significant poverty.Most of us enjoy, by world standards, an incredibly affluent life style.Naturally, through nothing other than envy, we are resented by many.If I were a poor impoverished peasant, I’m not sure how easy it would be for me to think well of the people whom I perceived as inordinately wealthy.Knowing how many hours per week that my family worked, I would have difficulty rationalizing the discrepancy. I would feel certain that wealthy Americans could not possibly identify with my predicament of how to keep my family from starving to death.Many in the world must feel this way. 
Now consider that the military of this same country, the object of my resentment, refused to prosecute an officer who apparently, at the very least, is quilty of negligent homicide when a Japanese fishing boat was rammed.Consider that this same country is now balking at abiding by the anti-ballistic missile defense accord signed previously.Consider that this same country chooses not to participate in a worldwide effort to stop the trafficking of small arms.Consider that this same country walked out of the international conference to stop racism.Probably all of these actions can be somewhat justified by circumstantial arguments, but think of the public relations image that we must be providing to much of the world.In my opinion, our foreign policy has been lacking in wisdom, judgment and compassion for many years.We swagger and swashbuckle in a western gunfighter tradition (Dead or Alive?).Whatever happened to noblesse oblige!

However, none of the above will ever serve as justification for the killing of 6000 people (of some 40-odd nationalities).This was a truly barbaric act that the world needs to rectify, one way or the other.

I am concerned that my country is about to embark on another war that we cannot win.History shows that we are not guerrilla fighters.Our opponents can live and fight all day on a handful of rice while we require a quartermaster corp with three hots a day.Please let us think very carefully about our response to the tragedy of September 11, 2001, a date that I shall never forget.

Let no one accuse me of not having patriotism.I was born in New York City.I get tears in my eyes before every baseball game.God Bless America and let’s get it right this time!Act slowly with great deliberation and the assured support of our friends.With Help, we can and will prevail!

R.E. Shaeffer

REShaeffer@aol.com
2600 Bantry bay Drive
Tallahassee, FL 32309-2202
850-893-5222