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A Strange Self Awareness by Kim Zussman

After reading all the news reports and viewing the captured video of the Beslan school gymnasium full of terrified children before they were murdered, I was going to write a letter to president Putin asking him to unite with president Bush to eradicate Islamic terror. However it is unlikely he would read it. Perhaps as Mr Marks suggests there are issues which transcend the rules and past patterns of history.

Chair makes repeated references to population biology of trees and evolutionary survival characteristics analogous to businesses. It is not miraculous for the fastest growing to prosper in years of ideal rainfall and sun. And the test is not yet executed in minor draught or severe winter. The kill that culls the weak is the atypical unexperienced environmental shock the fast growers were not anticipating and cannot survive. A raging forest fire, hurricane, infestation, Tunguskan asteroid. Few survive, but those who do seed the future with the strength of adaptability.

The case can be made for a large measure of the millennial bull germinating from the decline of soviet communism and the pricing of a peace dividend. Fears of a generation dissipating in the 1990s as nuclear winter miraculously receded into memory while1991's Iraq-1 lightening US technovictory palliated Vietnam regrets. America number one again.

Yet in the post-911 world the peace dividend is being rescinded by a new type of war. A holy war soldiered by zealots bent on suicidal fantasies of afterlife and prosecuted in the houses of economic and personal happiness of the west. It is hard to imagine this as serious a threat as the world wars or 10,000 ICBMs yet it is a sharp dagger aimed at the heart of decency. There must be a finite cost for the changes necessitated by such a world, and it must be priced.

Prior to recent Russian attacks there had been an erosion, particularly in Europe but also the US, of support for the war on terrorism. The Iraq war grew in disrepute beginning without the weapons of mass destruction and enlarging with insurgent killings and video beheadings. Perhaps al-Qaida strategists now regret helping their Chechen brethren since it has again, and not since 911, become impossible for the decent class to see beyond terror islam's evil. Perhaps an inflection point in history occurs in this quote from three days ago:

"Our terrorist sons are an end product of our corrupted culture," Abdulrahman al-Rashed, general manager of Al-Arabiya television, wrote in his daily column published in the pan-Arab Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper. It ran under the headline, "The Painful Truth: All the World Terrorists are Muslims!"

Al Rashed ran through a list of recent attacks by Islamic extremist groups -- in Russia, Iraq, Sudan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen -- many of which are influenced by the ideology of Osama bin Laden, the Saudi born leader of the al-Qaida terror network.

"Most perpetrators of suicide operations in buses, schools and residential buildings around the world for the past 10 years have been Muslims," he wrote. Muslims will be unable to cleanse their image unless "we admit the scandalous facts," rather than offer condemnations or justifications.

"The picture is humiliating, painful and harsh for all of us."
..But not nearly so as it is for us....Kim