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To peace-loving people everywhere

Tuesday, September 11, 2001 by Dave Winer.

Today the world changed Permalink to Today the world changed

As the story of the destruction of the World Trade Center unfolded, confusion reigned, now at the end of the day, it's beginning to sink in that we lost so much, an icon, a skyline, and our invicibility. Our vulnerability is revealed, and many hundreds of Americans are dead.

Who thought that a commercial airplane could be a weapon of mass destruction? And what about nuclear weapons, are they accessible to the people who would hijack airplanes and crash them into a crowded office building in the largest city in the US? It seems with the demise of the Soviet Union a decade ago that this is just a warmup for an even larger tragedy that's around the corner. Biological weapons seem inevitable too.

It's so confusing. People call it an act of terrorism, but it's an act of war. The Pentagon is the US military headquarters. It's an impossible stretch to see that as terrorism. If the targets of attack were only civillian, that's terrorism. An attack on the Pentagon is an act of war.

As Daniel Schorr said on NPR, this was different from Pearl Harbor. That attack had a return address, he said, with typical eloquence. In this act of war, we're left groping for an enemy. Who in this world has the means to arrange such a set of events? A government? A group of terrorists? It seems whoever did it must have had a lot of luck on their side.

Speaking with my mother today who survived the Nazi Holocaust, she is certain that Jews will get the blame. I asked if we can we hope for something better to come from this. Perhaps a new connection between peace-loving people everywhere?

John Robb, a former Air Force pilot, and UserLand COO, says that the airline security problem raised by the hijackings can be dealt with, but the larger issue of American prosperity is on the line. If the US isn't seen as a safe haven for wealth, our economy might not recover.

John Perry Barlow likens the attack to destruction of the Reichstag that brought the Nazis to power in Germany in 1933. I hope he's wrong about that. Instead, with the incredible communication tools we now have, I hope that the tragedy of my parents' youth does not have to be relived today. Let's look for ways to add peace to the world, not to go to war. These were heinous and cowardly acts, it's just beginning to sink in how much things have changed. Can we make things turn for the better? I wonder, I'm not sure, but I have hope.

Yesterday it would have made no sense to ask if we are at war. Yesterday was a normal day. Today started normally too. I have a feeling that the takeaway from this will be There's No Time Like Now. Yeah, there's no time like now to start forgiving, to turn the other cheek, to show the world that we're really tough, and that we're commited to making the world work better. What better way would there be to do that than to not go to war in response to a cowardly and disgusting act of war.

Dave Winer

© Copyright 1994-2004 Dave Winer. Last update: 2/5/07; 10:50:05 AM Pacific. "There's no time like now."