Bishop Ben Benitez and Terry Waite Discuss the War in Afghanistan

Bishop Ben Benitez and Terry Waite Discuss the War in Afghanistan

Thanks to Bishop Ben Benitez BenTex747@aol.com, Retired Bishop of Texas, and to Terry Waite terry@PINKHOUSE.DEMON.CO.UK , Peace Envoy for the late Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, and sometime hostage, for their willingness to let me share their exchange on the web. It first appeared on the informal, unofficial Bishops-Deputies Discussion List. --Louie Crew

Contents

Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 19:48:53 EDT
Subject: Re:[HoB/D] An Indictment of the HOB
To: BishopsDeputies@justus.anglican.org

A Response to Jan Nunley
from +
Ben Benitez

Jan, I wish to thank you for your fine response to the John Leo article that I circulated, and especially for your moving essay about Terry Waite. I happen to know him, as we had the privilege of entertaining Terry in Houston several years ago, soon after he had been released from captivity and after he had written his first book. He is truly one of the most Godly men I have ever met, and I declare without equivocation that he is far closer to God's Kingdom than I have ever been. You captured him well in your essay.

My favorite Terry Waite story is about an incident that took place before he was taken hostage, and during the time in which he was going back and forth to Lebanon, seeking to negotiate the release of the hostages who were then being held in Beirut, all with much publicity on British television.

The then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, invited Terry to take a few days of "holiday" with him in the North of England. As they were walking down the main road in that village, and walking past the village pub, a man standing in the doorway of the pub cried out, "Hey, I know who you are! You are Terry Waite! I have seen you on the Tely! Hey", he called out to every one inside the pub, "There is Terry Waite, in our village!" Then the man called out, "Terry, won't you come inside? It would be an honor.for us to buy you a pint of bitters (beer)!" And then looking at Terry's companion,

Robert Runcie, who was traveling incognito, wearing a tie instead of a collar, the man said to Terry, "And bring your chum with you!"

Now, Jan, to get serious, and to get to your point in telling us about Terry Waite, I wish to respond to a few of his comments, and yours, in your posting to me. First, I find differing with Terry Waite is very hard for me, as there no one whom I admire more, and he speaks with a stature and a personal knowledge of the Middle East that certainly I do not have. Nevertheless, my conscience leads me to try. He said that the remedy for the terrorism of Sept 11th "is not simple, and is not be found in military aggression, for we are engulfed in a moral mess which demands a new approach." In my opinion no one is happy over us going to war, launching bombing campaigns, and sending our young and finest in harms way. If Terry, or anyone, could devise a peaceful and effective way to address terrorism, to bring to justice those who planned and instigated and supported those hijackers, (who that day murdered and incinerated 6000 people) , there is no one who rejoice more than I would. War is a terrible thing and inevitably innocent people suffer.

However, a prime responsibility of any government, including ours in the United States, is to protect and defend its people. Since September 11th, our government has had the obligation to bring to justice Osama bin Laden, and his al Queda terrorist organization, to justice, or alternately bring justice to them. Does anyone have an alternative approach to a bombing campaign and a military action by the United States and the nations of the Coalition, aimed at bringing down the Taliban government in Afghanistan, that is supporting Osama and his fellows terrorists. After all, he already has been legally indicted for the bombing of the US embassies in Africa, killing 200 people, most of whom were Africans walking down the streets, but Osama and his cohorts do not respond to subpoenas very well. If there were mass murders being perpetrated in your City, could your City legal system avoid sending out armed policemen to try to bring in the murderer, bringing him to justice. Could your Mayor, and Police Chief, declare that in the interest of non violence, they instead would initiate negotiations with him, or could they declare they were going to start working to resolve the social problems of the world, such as poverty and economic inequities, that led the murderer to commit such atrocities, and when these social problems are cured, declare that there would then be no more such murders to worry about. Your Mayor does not have any such luxury, nor does the President of the United States.

The Archbishop Canterbury recently said, " I am a Christian leader, but I hope I speak for every one of us when I say that we are called by God to resist evil, to pursue justice for all and seek to live in peace and harmony with our neighbor." The British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, not exactly a stodgy conservative, recently said ( I lost the quote, but this is close to what he said), " If those hijackers, rather than killing 6,000 people, had been able to kill 60,000, or 600,000, they would have rejoiced." I will add that had the hijackers being able to obtain a small nuclear device, they would have joyfully detonated it in Times Square, and murdered a few million! For them, the more the merrier.

Afghanistan, under the Taliban government, has become the world center if international terrorism. The Talibans have imposed a brutal and oppressive rule over the people of Afghanistan, including Sharia, the onerous legal system, the worst features of which are ruthless. The United States, together with other nations of the Coalition, has launched the present campaign to end that Taliban rule in Afghanistan, to end that brutal tyranny, to bring to justice those behind the murderous attacks of September 11th, and to try to eradicate the evils of terrorism in this world, so that other nations in the years to come will not face the same horrors we faced last month. An additional aim of the present military action, is to try in the aftermath to provide a setting whereby the United Nations can help create a new government, that is representative of all of the factions of the people of Afghanistan, a government that is supported by the United States and the other Coalition nations, with all possible economic aid, and probably with UN peace keepers from nations around the world for a period of time.

Our friend Terry seems to feel that the motivation behind the terrorism emanating from the Middle East is the grave economic inequities in the world, the fact that we in the West are rich and they are poor, that we are well fed and they are hungry. It is as though the Islamic extremists, who are the terrorists, are really social revolutionaries, driven by the poverty around them, seeking to bring down the wealthy of the world, and spread their wealth to the poor. (If that were the case, their violence would be aimed first at the Royal family in Saudi Arabia, who consume 90% of the Nation's oil income, and who live in sheer luxury, rather than at the United States. Osama bin Laden is not exactly a poor man, but rather he is a billionaire!

Whereas, certainly world poverty and economic inequities may be some part of the motivation of the terrorists, I believe the main reason driving the Islamic extremists and the suicide bombers, is that they have been taught in their religious schools and they believe it, that the United States is the GREAT SATAN! The see our movies and TV, and read our literature, and they regard ours as a decadent culture, IMMORAL and GODLESS. They despise our Western freedoms, they hate our liberation of women, which they regard as an affront to God! They hate the influence of the West which they feel is steadily corrupting the Middle East, which they want to be a pure and holy Islamic land, They despise those American military bases in Saudi Arabia which have been there since the Gulf War, because to are too close to sacred Islamic holy sites. And, of course, they despise us, because we support Israel, whom they want driven into the Sea, with all of that land restored to the Palestinians. The prime motivation of those suicide bombers is not an economic one, but a religious one, to which they are fanatically devoted. The Israelis have been under attack by suicide bombers for years.

The very word Islam means "submission", and the faithful are to be submissive to Allah, and to his spokespersons as well, the Imams, the Mullahs, their theologians, who in those schools in Pakistan that we see on TV, fan the flames of hatred of the West, and motivate the students (all men, no women) to become holy warriors and join the Jihad, join the Talibans in Afghanistan.

Terry said our bombing would only raise up a new generation of suicide bombers, but they have been doing that for years. Long before September 11th, those schools were cranking out young men, who for the past 10 years have been going to Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan,. which have graduated an estimated 20,000 students over these years. The first targets our bombing over this past month have been those camps, trying to blow these camps to pieces, and destroy, at least substantially, his capacity to train new warriors, which along with freezing his funds around the world, should reduce Osama's and the al Queda's capacity to perpetrate more evil deeds.

Certainly, not all Muslims are extremists, but the Islamic moderates in the Middle East and through out the world, are strongly influenced by, intimidated by, and many petrified of the Islamic extremists. The moderates are often the first targets of the extremists. And the Islamic extremists are the most rapidly growing, and most fanatical Islamic group in the world. Did you notice how mild the criticism by the moderate Muslims , both in this Country and in the rest of the world, has been of the carnage on the 11th of September. I was fascinated by the TV coverage of President Bush's visit to the Islamic Cultural Center in Washington a few days after September 11th, which he made as a gesture to Muslims, that the war being launched by the United States was not against the Muslim religion, but against terrorism. he spoke eloquently of the Islamic religion being one of peace and love and compassion.

The Director of the Center, in his response, said little about the terrorist attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, no word of condemnation, nor an expression of condolences for the families of the victims. He instead simply extolled the wonders of Islamic culture in the world!

Jan, you and Terry, as well as many others are critical of the military action launched by the United States and other Coalition nations aimed at eradicating terrorism in the world, and bringing to justice those responsible for the September 11th carnage. The necessity of having to do so is certainly regrettable, but in my opinion the United States and the other civilized nations of the world have no alternative.

May God bless you, may He bless our Church, May He bless our President and this Nation, May He bless and hold in the palm of His hand the grieving families of the victims of September 11th, and May He bless all of His children in Afghanistan,

+Ben (Benitez) (I think I have already said enough for a while on this network, so after this posting, I will sit back listen to the rest of you.)

Return to the index


---------- Forwarded message ---------- Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 14:12:11 +0000
From: Terry Waite
Terry@pinkhouse.demon.co.uk
To: Louie Crew lcrew@andromeda.rutgers.edu
Subject: [HoB/D] An Indictment of the HOB (fwd)

Dear Louie,

Many thanks for your note and for sending me the very long letter from Bishop Benitez. He raised some important points and I shall attempt to reply briefly. As my main computer is down at the moment and I cannot print, I am inserting my comments at the appropriate point in the Bishop's letter.

TW

In message , Louie Crew writes

> 
> Terry,
> 
> Bishop Benitez takes you on in this post.  
> 
> I would welcome any statement you might like to make to the nearly
> 1,000 bishops, deputies, and ECUSA employees who participate in this
> list.  I have set the mailer to receive posts from
> terry@PINKHOUSE.DEMON.CO.UK, and if you like, I will send you any
> related messages that might appear.
> 
> I rejoice in your ministry of reconciliation.  
> 
> Lutibelle/Louie

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Fri, 26 Oct 2001 19:48:53
> From: BenTex747@aol.com
>To: BishopsDeputies@justus.anglican.org
>Subject: Re:[HoB/D] An Indictment of the HOB
>A Response to Jan Nunley from +Ben Benitez

> Jan, I wish to thank you for your fine response to the John Leo
> article that I circulated, and especially for your moving essay about
> Terry Waite.

I am afraid that I have not seen this essay but I am always conscious of the fact that one ought to be careful when too much 'good' is spoken about one. Replies to my points will probably shatter any illusions anyone has had!

>  I happen to know him, as we had the privilege of entertaining Terry
> in Houston several years ago, soon after he had been released from
> captivity and after he had written his first book.  He is truly one of
> the most Godly men I have ever met, and I declare without equivocation
> that he is far closer to God's Kingdom than I have ever been. You
> captured him well in your essay.
> 
> My favorite Terry Waite story is about an incident that took place
> before he was taken hostage, and during the time in which he was going
> back and forth to Lebanon, seeking to negotiate the release of the
> hostages who were then being held in Beirut, all with much publicity
> on British television.
> 
> The then Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, invited Terry to
> take a few days of "holiday" with him in the North of England.  As
> they were walking down the main road in that village, and walking past
> the village pub, a man standing in the doorway of the pub cried out,
> "Hey, I know who you are!  You are Terry Waite!  I have seen you on
> the Tely!  Hey", he called out to every one inside the pub, "There is
> Terry Waite, in our village!"  Then the man called out, "Terry, won't
> you come inside?  It would be an honor.for us to buy you a pint of
> bitters (beer)!"  And then looking at Terry's companion, Robert
> Runcie, who was traveling incognito, wearing a tie instead of a
> collar, the man said to Terry, "And bring your chum with you!"

The essence of the story is right but the details are incorrect!

> Now, Jan, to get serious, and to get to your point in telling us about
> Terry Waite, I wish to respond to a few of his comments, and yours, in
> your posting to me. First, I find differing with Terry Waite is very
> hard for me, as there no one whom I admire more, and he speaks with a
> stature and a personal knowledge of the Middle East that certainly I
> do not have.  Nevertheless, my conscience leads me to try.  He said
> that the remedy for the terrorism of Sept 11th "is not simple, and is
> not be found in military aggression, for we are engulfed in a moral
> mess which demands a new approach."  In my opinion no one is happy
> over us going to war, launching bombing campaigns, and sending our
> young and finest in harms way.  If Terry, or anyone, could devise a
> peaceful and effective way to address terrorism, to bring to justice
> those who planned and instigated and supported those hijackers, (who
> that day murdered and incinerated 6000 people) , there is no one who
> rejoice more than I would.  War is a terrible thing and inevitably
> innocent people suffer.
> 
> However, a prime responsibility of any government, including ours in
> the United States, is to protect and defend its people.

That is certainly true. The question is, has the American Government taken the most appropriate way of protecting it's people?

>  Since September 11th, our government has had the obligation to bring
> to justice Osama bin Laden, and his al Queda terrorist organization,
> to justice, or alternately bring justice to them.

No problem with that. It might be noted in passing that the President of the United States before September 11th. was reluctant to give backing to the proposed International Court of Criminal Justice. That is the place where those charged with International Criminal acts ought to appear. It is vital that we stick strictly to the rule of law. If it is true that the President has ordered that bin Laden could be killed then it is a sad lookout for us all. What will America then have to say to any Nation that in the future singles out an individual for execution without trial?

>  Does anyone have an alternative approach to a bombing campaign and a
> military action by the United States and the nations of the Coalition,
> aimed at bringing down the Taliban government in Afghanistan, that is
> supporting Osama and his fellows terrorists.

The simple answer is 'yes'. History teaches that you do not destroy ideas with bombs. Certainly we do not live in a just world and there are grave inequalities within the Muslim world and beyond. Within some of the poorer nations of the world there is a certain natural envy at the richer world. However perceptions run deeper than that. Many feel that the United States 'uses' nations when it suits and drops them afterwards. That sentiment has been expressed by many. (Pakistan is just one example.) The world of International Affairs is a moral mess. Who hailed Bin Laden as a freedom fighter and armed the Taliband when the war against communism was being fought on Afghan soil? If Bin Laden is caught or killed do you imagine for one moment that will see the end of terrorism? For every innocent person killed in Afghanistan another dozen young men will volunteer to the cause. Certainly every attempt must be made to bring the perpetrators of the crime in New York and Washington to justice but how.

Unfortunately the way forward difficult and more complicated that dropping bombs. First, there has to be a totally new relationship between the so called 'developed' world and the 'developing' world. The United States claims to support Free Trade but only when it suits. Look at the fairly recent argument in Caribbean regarding the importation of bananas. Not a comfortable story at all. I shall refrain from repeating the argument regarding the involvement of the USA as an 'impartial' broker in the Middle East. You must know what the Arab world thinks about that.

Whatever the intentions of the USA it is vital the we consider the PERCEPTIONS of many of the poor. They do feel used and they have little or no confidence in the USA. Bin Laden and his like have been successful in high jacking both Islam and many of the poor. In the long run (and we have been told that we are in for a long battle) one has to deal with the root issues and remove the justification that bin Laden falls back on. Terrorists only thrive when they are protected by communities. One has to work in such a way that communities will see that it is not in their interest to offer shelter to terrorists. Bombing will do tremendous damage and kill many innocent but it will INCREASE resistance way beyond Afghanistan not decrease it. Always remember that terrorism is symptomatic of a deeper disorder. One ought never to treat symptoms. Let them guide you to the basic problem.

Why was it, that in the early days when the Taliband said that if they were presented with evidence they would consider handing bin Laden over, were they not taken at their word? True, they may have been bluffing but where was the harm in calling their bluff. Why not, at that point, put the matter into the hands of the Secretary General of the UN with the request the he, or a high level envoy meet the Taliband and present them with evidence. The ball would then have been clearly in their court. Perhaps there are several reasons why this was not done. The evidence may have been too 'sensitive' It may have been insufficient. It may be that the President 'had to be seen to be doing something' and that bombing was the way to teach these people a lesson. In this campaign those who support military action are banking on power politics and many who have joined the coalition have done so because they are political realists. However, the mass of the poor are not defeated by military might and we shall see that as the days go by. Already there are signs that the coalition is beginning to crack.

America and Britain have in fact been drawn into the tribal conflict that constitutes Afghanistan. It must be realised that the Northern Alliance are little or no better than the Taliband and yet now they are hailed.



>   After all, he already has been legally indicted for the bombing of
> the US embassies in Africa, killing 200 people, most of whom were
> Africans walking down the streets, but Osama and his cohorts do not
> respond to subpoenas very well.  If there were mass murders being
> perpetrated in your City, could your City legal system avoid sending
> out armed policemen to try to bring in the murderer, bringing him to
> justice.  Could your Mayor, and Police Chief, declare that in the
> interest of non violence, they instead would initiate negotiations
> with him, or could they declare they were going to start working to
> resolve the social problems of the world, such as poverty and economic
> inequities, that led the murderer to commit such atrocities, and when
> these social problems are cured, declare that there would then be no
> more such murders to worry about.  Your Mayor does not have any such
> luxury, nor does the President of the United States.

So, if the USA refuses to hand over to the British courts IRA terrorists convicted of crimes in the UK do we bomb Baltimore?



> The Archbishop Canterbury recently said, " I am a Christian leader,
> but I hope I speak for every one of us when I say that we are called
> by God to resist evil, to pursue justice for all and seek to live in
> peace and harmony with our neighbor."  The British Prime Minister,
> Tony Blair, not exactly a stodgy conservative, recently said ( I lost
> the quote, but this is close to what he said), " If those hijackers,
> rather than killing 6,000 people, had been able to kill 60,000, or
> 600,000, they would have rejoiced."  I will add that had the hijackers
> being able to obtain a small nuclear device, they would have joyfully
> detonated it in Times Square, and murdered a few million!
>  For them, the more the merrier.

We all weep at the death of 6000 innocent people. Do we weep (or even remember) the thousands killed in Cambodia by bombs? That is one of the questions many people in the developing world will ask?



> Afghanistan, under the Taliban government, has become the world center
> if international terrorism.  The Talibans have imposed a brutal and
> oppressive rule over the people of Afghanistan, including Sharia, the
> onerous legal system, the worst features of which are ruthless. The
> United States, together with other nations of the Coalition, has
> launched the present campaign to end that Taliban rule in Afghanistan,
> to end that brutal tyranny, to bring to justice those behind the
> murderous attacks of September 11th, and to try to eradicate the evils
> of terrorism in this world, so that other nations in the years to come
> will not face the same horrors we faced last month.  An additional aim
> of the present military action, is to try in the aftermath to provide
> a setting whereby the United Nations can help create a new government,
> that is representative of all of the factions of the people of
> Afghanistan, a government that is supported by the United States and
> the other Coalition nations, with all possible economic aid, and
> probably with UN peace keepers from nations around the world for a
> period of time.

You could argue that Saudi Arabia is ruthless and corrupt. Who supports that country on the International stage?

> Our friend Terry seems to feel that the motivation behind the
> terrorism emanating from the Middle East is the grave economic
> inequities in the world, the fact that we in the West are rich and
> they are poor, that we are well fed and they are hungry.  It is as
> though the Islamic extremists, who are the terrorists, are really
> social revolutionaries, driven by the poverty around them, seeking to
> bring down the wealthy of the world, and spread their wealth to the
> poor. (If that were the case, their violence would be aimed first at
> the Royal family in Saudi Arabia, who consume 90% of the Nation's oil
> income, and who live in sheer luxury, rather than at the United
> States. Osama bin Laden is not exactly a poor man, but rather he is a
> billionaire!

He is also a high-jacker. (See above)

>  Whereas, certainly world poverty and economic inequities may be some
> part of the motivation of the terrorists, I believe the main reason
> driving the Islamic extremists and the suicide bombers, is that they
> have been taught in their religious schools and they believe it, that
> the United States is the GREAT SATAN!  The see our movies and TV, and
> read our literature, and they regard ours as a decadent culture,
> IMMORAL and GODLESS.  They despise our Western freedoms, they hate our
> liberation of women, which they regard as an affront to God!  They
> hate the influence of the West which they feel is steadily corrupting
> the Middle East, which they want to be a pure and holy Islamic land,
> They despise those American military bases in Saudi Arabia which have
> been there since the Gulf War, because to are too close to sacred
> Islamic holy sites.  And, of course, they despise us, because we
> support Israel, whom they want driven into the Sea, with all of that
> land restored to the Palestinians. The prime motivation of those
> suicide bombers is not an economic one, but a religious one, to which
> they are fanatically devoted.  The Israelis have been under attack by
> suicide bombers for years.

If those perceptions are true, as some in fact are, then deal with them in an appropriate manner. Bombing will not deal with them (see above)

> The very word Islam means "submission", and the faithful are to be
> submissive to Allah, and to his spokespersons as well, the Imams, the
> Mullahs, their theologians, who in those schools in Pakistan that we
> see on TV, fan the flames of hatred of the West, and motivate the
> students (all men, no women)  to become holy warriors and join the
> Jihad, join the Talibans in Afghanistan.  Terry said our bombing would
> only raise up a new generation of suicide bombers, but they have been
> doing that for years. Long before September 11th, those schools were
> cranking out young men, who for the past 10 years have been going to
> Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps in Afghanistan,. which have
> graduated an estimated 20,000 students over these years.  The first
> targets our bombing over this past month have been those camps, trying
> to blow these camps to pieces, and destroy, at least substantially,
> his capacity to train new warriors, which along with freezing his
> funds around the world, should reduce Osama's and the al Queda's
> capacity to perpetrate more evil deeds.
>
> Certainly, not all Muslims are extremists, but the Islamic moderates
> in the Middle East and through out the world, are strongly influenced
> by, intimidated by, and many petrified of the Islamic extremists. The
> moderates are often the first targets of the extremists.  And the
> Islamic extremists are the most rapidly growing, and most fanatical
> Islamic group in the world.  Did you notice how mild the criticism by
> the moderate Muslims , both in this Country and in the rest of the
> world, has been of the carnage on the 11th of September.  I was
> fascinated by the TV coverage of President Bush's visit to the Islamic
> Cultural Center in Washington a few days after September 11th, which
> he made as a gesture to Muslims, that the war being launched by the
> United States was not against the Muslim religion, but against
> terrorism. he spoke eloquently of the Islamic religion being one of
> peace and love and compassion.

> The Director of the Center, in his response, said little about the
> terrorist attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon, no word of
> condemnation, nor an expression of condolences for the families of the
> victims.  He instead simply extolled the wonders of Islamic culture in
> the world!
> 
> Jan, you and Terry, as well as many others are critical of the
> military action launched by the United States and other Coalition
> nations aimed at eradicating terrorism in the world, and bringing to
> justice those responsible for the September 11th carnage.  The
> necessity of having to do so is certainly regrettable, but in my
> opinion the United States and the other civilized nations of the world
> have no alternative.
> 
> May God bless you, may He bless our Church, May He bless our President
> and this Nation, May He bless and hold in the palm of His hand the
> grieving families of the victims of September 11th, and May He bless
> all of His children in Afghanistan,
> 
> +Ben (Benitez) (I think I have already said enough for a while on this 
> network, so after this posting, I will sit back listen to the rest of you.)

A problem of commenting, (as I have done) in a polarized situation is that one is seen by some to be anti-American (or anti-Western) and over romantic towards the poor. Let me state quite clearly that I am neither. I do however know how many of the people in the poorer nations of this world feel about the West and I know something about the way in which the mind of the fanatic works. I would like to be a pacifist. Alas I am not. I hope I am a realist and I would like to be a compassionate realist. One day we are going to have to learn to develop a new Global order and we are going to have to base our actions on what is just and fair. International relations are still in the stone age. Difference need not be divisive-it can be creative but we all have a long way to go before that is made a reality in our sad divided world.

With love and sympathy to all who have suffered terribly during the past weeks.

Terry Waite CBE

PS What next if the cannon fails to kill the sparrow

Terry Waite

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Date: Wed, 7 Nov 2001 01:01:31 EST
From:
BenTex747@aol.com
To: BishopsDeputies@justus.anglican.org
Subject: RE: [HoB/D] TerryWaite responds to Bishop Benitez

A Response to Terry Waite,

Terry, my friend, Louie Crew made a poor choice of words, when he told you that I had "taken you on"! I really am not very bright, but I do have more sense than to "take you on," if for no other reason than that you are a bigger man than I am, in more ways than just your great size!!

I did respond to the essay that Jan Nunley circulated on this network, in which you eloquently gave your opinion on the war being waged in Afghanistan by Anglo American forces, and supported by the other nations in the Coalition formed with the ambitious and worthy aim of eradicating terrorism in this world. In reading your response to my response, I can state categorically that I have never read anything you wrote, nor heard anything you said from which I did not learn much. However, since you extended me the courtesy of responding to my comments, I would like to extend you that same courtesy. I frankly would much prefer sitting down with you over a couple of pints of bitter in a good English pub for this exchange, but for now I guess this mystifying cyber network is the best we can do!

Terry, you said:

> Why, was it, that in the early days when the Taliband said that if they were  
>  presented with evidence, they would consider handing bin Laden over, were 
they 
>  not  taken at  their word?   

I do not know the answer to your question, and to have negotiated with Taliband would on one hand certainly seem to have been the astute and politically correct thing to do. From the very beginning, in the aftermath September 11th, President Bush tried to get the Taliband to turn over Osama bin Laden, and the members of his al Qaeda terrorists to the United States to face trial in the United States for their crimes. President Bush also stated that the turning over of bin Laden and his associates was not negotiable.

This may seem a hard line, but I can think of at least two possible reasons for his refusal to negotiate the matter with the Taliban government. First, the Taliban had harbored and protected bin Laden's terrorist camps n Afghanistan for a number of years. No one has ever suggested that Taliban government was ignorant of what was taking place in those camps, and that they did not know the deadly murderous work for which bin Laden's students were being prepared. They were being prepared for war, for Jihad against the West. The Taliban knew that, and they supported Osama and the al Qaeda, and they are therefore accessories before and after the fact. They are accomplices to the crimes committed on September 11th. I can readily understand not dignifying accomplices to a crime by asking them to pass judgment on it.

A second reason for not negotiating with the Taliban is that what took place on September 11th, was not simply a criminal act. It was an act of war. This is not just a police action designed to bring certain criminals to trial. This is a war against our homeland and Western civilization. Our declared enemy has said so, often enough, only I fear we wrote off Osama bin Laden and what he said as the rantings of a madman. BUT HE MEANT IT, and he, together with other Muslim extremists mean it, and they demonstrated their intention to destroy us and all we hold dear. They instigated against us total war, with no distinction between combatants and noncombatants.( Can anyone not believe that they are pulling every stop, with Osama's money, to get their hands on a nuclear device, from a source in that part of the world, Russian, Pakistani, Indian, and the kind of people who planned and pulled off Sept 11th, will for sure use it! ) For us to enter into negotiations following September 11th, would be a lot like the US joining in negotiations with Japan on December 8 of 1941. What was there to talk about?

However to speculate on what might have been, suppose the Taliban government had said to the US that they were placing bin Laden and his al Qaeda associates under arrest, and that they would be tried under their Sharia legal code, and that all of the terrorist training camps would be closed permanently. I do not know what the Sharia code prescribes for mass murder of innocent persons, but my guess is it might be hanging, after a summary trial. However, suppose Osama and his disciples were sentenced to life in prison. We might protest, on the basis that we would like to try them ourselves since the crime took place on American soil, but I sincerely believe there would have been no bombing or military action by us. And at least Afghanistan would have announced clearly to the Muslim world and to the rest of the world that they would oppose terrorism and not tolerate terrorists on their soil. Interesting?

Terry, you said:

> So if the USA refuses to hand over the British courts IRA  terrorists 
convicted of 
>  crimes in the UK do we bomb Baltimore? 

I do not comprehend this one. Many times in the past, persons convicted of crimes in the UK, or even those just indicted for committing crimes in the UK, have tried to take refuge in the US. Scotland Yard notified law enforcement authorities in this country, who took immediate action to apprehend and hold the individuals pending the legal extradition process. The UK likewise reciprocates with US, as do most of the civilized nations of the world. The difference in this case is that the government of Afghanistan has been knowingly harboring the culprits for years, they can be rightly construed as an accomplice to the crime, and this was not only a crime, but an act of war!

Terry, you said

> If it is true that the President has ordered that bin Laden could be 
killed, then it is  
>  a sad lookout for us all.  What will America then have to say to any 
Nation that in                      > future singles out an individual for 
execution without trial?

President Bush has repeatedly said that the aim of the United States is to bring Osama bin Laden to justice, or bring justice to him.. I do not know whether it was the media or the President who said our aim was "to bring him back dead or alive", which is a caricature of the old American West, where the sheriff goes out to bring in the desperado one way or the other. However, actually, although we don't often say it, it is the standard for most police work. If someone commits a crime in London, Scotland Yard goes after him. If the culprit barricades himself in a house, and if the arresting officers are met by a volley of gunfire, the unarmed London Bobbies are not sent in as a Charge of the Light Brigade. Instead British SAS Commandos are sent for, and the culprit is given another chance to surrender. If he responds with more gunfire, the SAS will likely respond in kind, and the culprit's life expectancy will drop sharply. In other words, they will try to bring him in alive, but use greater force if necessary

Terry, our legal system is far from perfect but it is better than you implied. In 1993, as you know, the World Trade Center was bombed for the first time, by terrorists affiliated with bin Laden, with ONLY about 20 people killed and 200 injured. With good police work, some of the terrorists were caught, and after lengthy trials, with competent defenses and full due process, they are now serving life imprisonment. No one was shot on sight, no one was executed without a trial. In 1998 our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by more of Osama's disciples, with this time ONLY 224 people killed, most of them African civilians who were simply walking down the street. After lengthy trials, 4 men were convicted last Spring, and on this past October 18, they were sentenced to life imprisonment. None of these men displayed the slightest bit of remorse, and they devoted much of their defense to repeating the tirades they had learned in their terrorist training camps. Unfortunately, while the four were being convicted, at least another dozen men, indicted in connection with the embassy bombings, the most prominent being bin Laden, were at large and not available for trial. They have been free to cause more death. None of them have been shot on sight or executed without trial Terry you said:

Terry, you said:

>  History teaches that you do not destroy ideas with bombs. -----

>  First, there has to be a totally new relationship between the so called 
'developed'                 
>  world and the 'developing' world. ----------

>  One day we are going to have to learn to develop a new Global order and we 
are   
>      going to have to base our actions on what is just and fair.

Terry, I agree whole heartedly with your last two comments, but I question your first statement. I happen to believe the familiar adage that you do not destroy ideas with bombs to be only a half truth. War is a horrible thing, and the only good that comes out of it, is that in the aftermath, human beings are given the opportunity to correct those conditions that caused the war.

On December 7th, 1941, the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. In the following 4 years, the intensive bombing campaigns and military actions by the Allied Forces brought on the surrender of Japan, and ended the totalitarian rule of Japan, the only type government that the people of Japan had ever known. During the occupation, the American military under MacArthur, imposed on Japan a democratic constitution, and that free and democratic rule has done well over the past 50 years.--------- Also, during WW II, the heavy bombing and military invasions launched by the Allied forces brought the end of Hitler's reign of terror in Europe, the end of Holocaust, and during the aftermath, in the military occupation of Germany, a democratic constitution was imposed on Germany, at least on West Germany, and that was 50 years ago, and prior to then that nation had known little in the way of free and democratic rule. When unification took place, then all of Germany became free of totalitarian rule. ----- More recently, the Serbian military a few years ago were conducting "ethnic cleansing" in Kosovo against the Albanian Muslim Kosovars, who were living there. Some 2-3,000 of them were killed. Under the auspices of NATO, the US launched an extensive bombing campaign in Kosovo and Serbia, which drove the Serbian forces out Kosovo, which ended the "ethnic cleansing," which made it possible for NATO to send in peacekeepers, and which enabled those Serbian leaders who instigated the "cleansing" to be arrested, charged with war crimes, and taken to the Hague, to be held pending trial. Yes, war is a horrible thing, but the one good that can come of it is to give men of good will in the aftermath the opportunity to rectify those conditions that led to the war, and sometimes it indeed does happen.

To say the least, pursuing the present war in Afghanistan is certainly somewhere between a monumental challenge and a deadly nightmare for all parties. However, we can earnestly pray that what transpires in the aftermath winds up being a blessing for the Afghan people who have suffered so much for too many years. We can pray that it will bring an end to the hijacking of the Afghan people, and the hijacking of a religion, and an end to the kind of terrorism that we saw on September 11th. We can pray that the diverse tribes and factions, who comprise Afghanistan and who have for years (some would say for centuries)! been embroiled in a tribal war, can be brought together in a broadly representative democratic form of government, and provided the full support of the world community, to make it work. And we can pray that out of this conflict, in the aftermath, emerges the new Global order of which you spoke, where all nations "base our actions on what is just and fair."

Terry, you are a good man. I do sincerely wish that the Lord God had made a lot more men like you on this earth! And may he continue to lead and bless you.

+Ben

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Date: Mon, 12 Nov 2001 15:24:08 GMT
From: "Terry Waite" terry@pinkhouse.demon.co.uk
To: BishopsDeputies@justus.anglican.org
Subject: Terry Waite replies (yet again!) to +Ben.

Dear Bishop [Benitez],

I have a spare moment this afternoon and will attempt to respond to some of the telling points you made in your last email to me for which I thank you. We need a healthy and robust debate on the present world situation and I am grateful that you are willing to discuss with me in public.

I asked the question why is was that the Taliband were not taken at their word when it was said that they were willing to hand bin Laden over should they be presented with solid evidence of his involvement in the terrorist acts committed in the USA. Since then Judy Goans presented us with an informative email in which she said that there were discussions both with the American Administration and with Islamic leaders. Whatever the case the fact is that these discussion were not prolonged and the perception (that word again) of many throughout the world was that the USA had no intention whatsoever of discussing with the Taliband. We shall have to wait for further details to be revealed but my suspicions are that the USA regarded (understandably)the acts in the USA as the last straw and were determined to finish the Taliband come what may. IF that is the case then the reaction is understandable BUT it will not, in my opinion deal with the root of the problem. I wonder if enough effort was put into finding a long term peaceful resolution to this matter.Are we still so immature as a species that our reaction to hurt and injury is to hit back and cause further heartbreak. If this is considered to be 'a soft liberal attitude' then one must ask the question how do we translate the words of Christ from the realm of interpersonal relationships to the world of International affairs?

I made a passing comment about IRA terrorists being sheltered in the USA and you responded by saying that the rule of law was always respected in these matters. Well, admittedly, things have improved in recent years but there were cases where individuals were given shelter and protection and money was openly collected for the IRA in the USA. This was at a time when bombing both in Ireland and on the UK mainland was rife. However, the main point of the comment was to point to the fact that the world of International relations is in fact a moral swamp. You must be aware of the fact that the USA has in the past trained insurgents in the USA especially so that they will cause disruption in Latin American countries which do not fall in line with the USA.How different (in moral terms) is that from the action of the Taliband in sheltering bin Laden? What about the bombing of Cambodia? Morally justified?

Since we began this exchange I have been reading mail sent to the Bishops list. I imagine 'in house' issues are of considerable interest to you all but I can't help feeling that if only you would spend as much time and energy in thinking about some of the grave moral issues that face us in the world of international affairs then your own domestic problems might find their rightful place in your agenda.

You say that you only half agree with my statement 'you do not destroy ideas with bombs'. Well, let me be rash and gaze into the future. Always a dangerous thing to do. I fear then the West has been drawn into the tribal warfare that has been a part of life in Afghanistan for far too long.When it is over there will be a terrible mess to clear up and the country will be mainly forgotten. Next week I will be in Kosovo giving aid to a programme I am supporting which assists the real victims of war-women and children. Many of the women have been raped and the children suffer dreadfully as a result of the horrors they have witnessed. Our little team of local counsellors does the best they can with what support we can scrape together from men and women of good will. Not many are interested,'the war is over lets get stuck into the next one' is the message these victims receive from the West. I have little doubt that the Taliband will be defeated in the long run and bin Laden may well be captured. If only it were so simple. One day we in the West are going to have to deal with the massive resentment that is building up in the poor communities of this world. For one bin Laden captured another dozen will arise. I do not in any way glorify the actions of the so called 'third world' leaders. They have much to answer for. All I can say is that sooner or later it would be wise for the West to begin to base it's actions on what is just and morally right. The Christian Church ought to be in the midst of this debate contributing to what is indeed a complex and difficult issue.

In conclusion I do realise that all of us are in fact 'locked' into our own cultures and find it hard to see issues from the perspective of those vastly different situations from ourselves. Difference need not be divisive. It can be creative. How do we make it so in today's complex world? Not, I suggest by bombs and warfare. We have to be a little wiser than that.

Thank you for your courtesy in allowing me to write on your list.

Sincerely,

Terry Waite CBE

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