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I made a simple statement on this matter of moral equivalence in a letter published long before Daniel Pearl was murdered.

Reader comment on item: Shoeless George Bush

Submitted by Jascha Kessler (United States), Jul 3, 2007 at 21:06

I cannot, I think attach, an image of the letter here, so will copy it and quote it in full, from FINANCIAL TIMES, 2002 2/05.

It was in response to early complaints against the US, after 9/11, from those who had not been hit as hard as New York and Washington were...more deaths and worse damage than Pearl Harbor, 7 December 1941. "Letters to the Editor THE FINANCIAL TIMES London

Sir: It was amusing to find, reading Amity Schlaes explaining American "belligerence" as an historical effect of Scots-Irish immigrant community mores established in the early19th Century, their quintessential figure being President Andrew Jackson ["Exhuming Old Hickory for the war on terror," March 5, 2002]. And also satisfying to me personally as the son of young Hebrew teacher born in 1900, raised on the Dniester River in Bessarabia, who came to the US in 1920, for, according to Shlaes, I must also belong to the species, Homo Jacksonius. My own formation — call it American belligerence, if you will — was derived from four words, uttered peremptorily by my father through my childhood, and he taught me well God knows how often he was provoked into saying with absolute and final severity, in Yiddish, "Nit mir? Nit dir!" Translated, he was declaring, as Jackson might have, "If I am not free [to live, to act, to be], then neither shall you be free [to live, to act, to be]. One might suggest that is the bedrock foundation of any possible society.

Decades later, the Existentialists began to write their tomes, urging upon one the recognition of "the other," if one hoped to become a proper human person. Given the brutality of our species, I think my father put it rather better and far more succinctly in the negative: "Not I? Not you!" Perhaps what evokes, as Shlaes terms it, "America's warrior side," is the anger roused in a pacific people who had fled tyranny and the oppression of poverty; hence people so much the more dangerous when attacked.

Sincerely, Jascha Kessler

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