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Perspectives Today 


Even though people may object to what their government is doing, that can be patriotic, too.  A person can be a patriot who believes that we're doing the wrong thing, my country should be doing something else.  That should not be criticized, but should be understood as part of the democratic function.-Walter Cronkite, CBS News, October 7, 2001

After September 11, some of the men featured in the film were asked for their responses to the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. Read their thoughts below and join the discussion.

George Houser
George Houser

I have not changed my general approach. I have matured and know what the possibilities are and the limitation on non-violence. I know we're not going to create a non-violent world suddenly. The reaction in the U.S. is a good example and the reaction around the world - there is hysteria against hysteria. There is a war-like atmosphere in the U.S. without a war situation. There is bombing without opposition.

Who is the U.S. fighting? It is a ghost - eliminate Bin Laden and it won't alter the situation. The anger is still there. Look at Israel and Palestine, going on so long and continuing, responding to violence with violence. It never ends - retaliation vs. retaliation - that's what we are getting into. There is no end to it.

The pacifist position is a witness position - not something that will sweep over the world -a loving, reconciling approach but it can get you crucified. Gandhi and MLK were assassinated; Christ was crucified. Ultimately you have to be prepared for that if you stand for an ideal. Rather than non-violence taking over the world, I believe in a non-violence force. I don't believe very simply that it will take over the world. If you take that position you have to be prepared to suffer for it.

Steve Cary

Steve Cary  
We have every right to track down the culprits, but military action is only going to increase hatred. We can make our great country greater by lessening hatred in the world.

I would focus on reassessment of Mid-East policy. I would greatly increase aid to the underdeveloped world where there is so much poverty.

We need to cooperate on global issues and make far more generous use of our tremendous wealth for the benefit of the human family.

From my personal perspective, if I were draft age today, I probably wouldn't accept alternative service as I did in 1941. I didn't feel I could accept prison in 1941. At age 86, I think I could go to jail with a better spirit.

Sam Yoder
Sam Yoder

I live in a community that is predominantly Mennonite and Amish. A few weeks ago there was a letter to the local newspaper that was signed by 2100 people. It expressed horror at the events in New York and urged caution, something other than being vengeful.

It is different now than with Pearl Harbor. People were much more inclined to fight then - we were in a real war. It is awful that 6000 people died. I'm fearful that the rhetoric is a little scary. I'm afraid that one of those missiles is going to kill a lot of innocent people.

If you ask me what we should do now, I just don't know. We need to be concerned with peace and justice. In World War II, we talked about peace; we didn't use the word justice very much. Nowadays in our church we talk about justice.

David Dellinger

David Dellinger  
We mourn the victims and express our solidarity with their wives, husbands, children, friends and relatives. We have to put this destructive terrorism into a real perspective, senseless as its horrors are. Killing innocent civilians in other countries would do no justice to those killed in this country, and will not bring them back to life. Launching a war that destabilizes regions or leads to a further escalation of violence would be a grave mistake with unforeseen consequences. It would not increase our safety and might increase the likelihood of more terrorist attacks. Instead we should strengthen the efforts to strengthen non-violence throughout the world.