Dear Editor:

For centuries, the world of Islam was in the forefront of human achievement the foremost military and economic power in the world, the leader in the arts and sciences of civilization. Christian Europe was seen as an outer darkness of barbarism and unbelief from which there was nothing to learn or to fear. And then everything changed.

The carefully planned destruction and indiscriminate slaughter accomplished on Sept. 11, 2001, opened a new phase in the relations between East and West. For most westerners, these actions were a crime against humanity, and the battle with the perpetrators and those who sent them was a war against terrorism. It was a war waged in defense of human decency. There were some who perceived the ensuing struggle as one between Christiandom and Islam.

This was of course the view of Osama bin Laden, who had proclaimed a jihad in the name of the "World Islamic Front." He made it clear it was a holy war against apostates and infidels the apostates, of course, are the existing rulers of most of the Islamic countries, seen as renegades from Islam and puppets of their infidel patrons and sponsors. In this proclamation, he called on his followers "to kill Americans and their allies, both civil and military ... By God's leave, we call on every Muslim who believes in God and hopes for reward to obey God's command to kill Americans and plunder their possessions wherever he finds them and whenever he can. We call on the Muslim leaders and youth and soldiers to launch attacks against the armies of the American devils and those who are allied with them." For those who respond to this call, the conflict is clearly a war to the death between Muslims and unbelievers.

For Osama bin Laden and his circle, the prime and immediate cause of the present phase of the struggle is the American military presence in Arabia the Holy Land of Muslims, where the Prophet Muhammad was born and lived and died. The United States is occupying lands of Islam in the holiest of its territories, Arabia, plundering its riches, overwhelming its rulers, humiliating its people, threatening its neighbors, and using its bases in the peninsula as a spearhead to fight against the neighboring Islamic peoples.

For Osama bin Laden and those who share in his views and they are many the object of the struggle is the elimination of intrusive Western power and corrupting Western influence from the lands of Islam.

Former President Bush said, "He can run but he can't hide." Boy, can he hide. We can't find him with cruise missiles, satellites, or million dollar bribes oddly enough, he sends us messages by video tape.

Bush adopted the repressive creed of Christian Fundamentalism, channeling his anger "into a fanatical moral crusade to rid the world of evil." Bush was on a "Christian Crusade" when he invaded Iraq and Afghanistan; and after eight years of war, 5,000 American service men and women, and 30 to 40 thousand innocent civilian lives lost, and NO end in sight.

"Saddam Hussein has got weapons of mass destruction," claimed the president, overlooking or forgetting the fact that the United States, and the elder Bush's regime in particular had given the dictator many of those "weapons of mass destruction."

Crazy about God: before-during-and after 9/11, God's love for mankind had been totally absent. They prayed and they died for the "power of a few fanatical religious dictators."

Probably many of you read or listen to the poisonous rhetoric coming out of the mouths of the self-righteous hypocrites, racist pundits, like Ann Coulter, Glenn Beck, Cal Thomas, Donald Barnyard, Rush Limbaugh, and many others; but when it comes to the "plain truth," you remain passive, ignorant, and unintelligent.

We belong to the generation that has been called to defeat terrorism. If God is omnipotent, he should end this war, he either can't or won't.

Consider this is the God of the Jews, Muslims, and Christians. He is the most unpleasant character of all the Gods conceived by man: he is jealous; petty; unjust; unforgiving; a control-freak; a vindictive, blood-thirsty ethnic cleanser; racist; genocidal, capriciously, malevolent bully.

Finally, Guantánamo, the price we are paying for Gitmo is too high, given the meager results we got. Guantánamo is a rallying cry throughout the Aram and Muslim world. It's costing us our moral leadership in the world.

Solution: Keep Gitmo open; incarcerate the Bush-Cheney team, every last one of them, to name a few, Rove, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld, Condi Rice, and certainly Bush and Cheney. "Waterboard" them, they all have blood on their hands.

For eight dark years the Bush-Cheney team have dealt with cynicism and skepticism, they've mastered the art of division and diversion, and they have robbed us of our hope.

Joseph L. Koperna

Tamaqua Hi-Rise