Leaders Increase Support for War on Terrorism
from an article iterating recent moves to up the ante on the
part of European nations in supporting the war on islamic extremist
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leaders threw their military weight behind the war on terrorism
yesterday, pledging thousands of troops and advanced military
equipment for the American-led campaign in Afghanistan.
Tony Blair prepared to travel to Washington today to help chart
the course of the war, Chancellor Schröder of Germany asked
the Bundestag for the mobilisation of nearly 4,000 servicemen.
said it had already deployed 2,000 troops. The contributions
included elite army units, chemical and biological warfare equipment,
non-combat aircraft and ships.
Presidents Chirac and Bush
at the White House, 11/06/01
has committed about 4,500 servicemen to the fight against the
Bush acknowledged the growing European contribution and signalled
that other states should do more than pay lip service to the
struggle. "It is time for action," he said. "A
coalition partner must do more than just express sympathy; a
coalition partner must perform. All nations, if they want to
fight terror, must do something."
underlined the high stakes of the battle against terrorism by
issuing a warning that Osama bin Laden was trying to obtain
weapons of mass destruction.
said that the al-Qa'eda network posed a mortal threat to civilisation.
"They are seeking chemical, biological and nuclear weapons,"
Mr Bush said in a speech relayed by satellite to 17 eastern
European leaders gathered in Warsaw.
the means, our enemies would be a threat to every nation and,
eventually, to civilisation itself. We are determined to fight
this evil - and fight until we are rid of it. We will not wait
for the authors of mass murder to gain the weapons of mass destruction.
We act now, because we must lift this dark threat from our age
and save generations to come."
Mr Bush ... raised his rhetoric against bin Laden and the Taliban
to a new level, saying that Islamic terrorists posed a threat
as serious as the Nazis and the communists who had blighted
Europe in the past. "We see the same intolerance of dissent;
the same mad, global ambitions; the same brutal determination
to control every life and all of life. ...
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US Drops the Weapon That Packs an 'Atomic'
from article with details on the US 'daisy cutter' bomb and
its use in Afghanistan:
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has stepped up the pressure on the Taliban using bombs with
the same destructive force as a small thermo-nuclear device.
It is so large that it is normally dropped from a C130 transport
aircraft. A 4ft-long detonation rod, which emerges from the
17ft-long bomb after it is dropped, releases a cloud of inflammable
ammonium nitrate, aluminium dust and polystyrene slurry.
is then ignited by a second detonator, scorching the surrounding
area, consuming oxygen and creating a shock wave and vacuum
pressure that destroys the internal organs of anyone within
range. The bomb has the ability to clear a three-mile path through
the B52 bombers dropping "long sticks" of bombs, commonly
described as carpet bombing, the Daisy Cutter was used to great
effect against Iraq's Republican Guard during the Gulf war.
(click for 'Daisy Cutter' Flash presentation)
use against the Taliban frontlines coincides with an escalation
of attacks on the caves and tunnels where Osama bin Laden and
his terrorist colleagues are thought to hide.
increased number of special forces on the ground has provided
better intelligence allowing the US aircraft to attack the caves,
Donald Rumsfeld, US defence secretary, said on his way back
from a visit to the region.
The bombing also includes the use of the 5,000lb GBU-28 "Deep
Throat" bunker-buster which burrows down through as much
as 20ft of rock before exploding inside the cave. Its "smart"
fuse can tell the difference between rock, concrete, earth and
of GBU-28 bunker-buster bombs
excerpt and link to a presentation on the way in which fuel-air
explosives are used:
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weapons exploit the devastating effects of detonating volatile
vapour in air.
The explosion caused by igniting a fuel air mixture produces
a fireball and a rapidly-expanding blast wave many times greater
than that from conventional explosives.
effects are similar to those from a small nuclear weapon, without
Americans used fuel-air bombs in Vietnam and dropped more than
200 during the Gulf War. The Russians used them in Afghanistan
and in Chechnya.
(click for Fuel-Air Explosives presentation)
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Trying to Move the Universe Online
Ultraviolet galactic ring
by the Hubble Telescope
describing an effort to consolidate an ever-expanding array
of astronomical information in a manner that makes it widely
accessible and easier to deal with:
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team of scientists are trying to move the Universe online. This
ambitious-sounding task has captured the interest of astronomers
from 17 research institutions who are working together to make
it a virtual reality.
National Virtual Observatory (NVO), headed by astronomer Alex
Szalay of Johns Hopkins University and computer scientist Paul
Messina of the California Institute of Technology, will unite
astronomical databases of many earthbound and orbital observatories,
taking advantage of the latest computer technology and data
storage and analysis techniques.
Advances in technology and technique now annually double the total
information astronomers gather each year from observatories, Szalay
says, "If we do not develop ways to distill information
and insights from these floods of data, we will end up like
shipwrecked sailors on a desert island, surrounded by an ocean
of salt water and unable to slake our thirst."
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Bless America? Wrong Song to Unite a Nation
article detailing the flaws inherent in the "God Bless
America" approach to patriotism:
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Bless America’ makes nonbelievers
you watched the World Series, you might think “God Bless
America” had become the national anthem. I admit it’s
easier to sing than “The Star-Spangled Banner.” But
it begins with the word “God,” and in a land of unprecedented
religious diversity that is exclusionary language.
is digging in for what may be a long war and people are clutching
elements of their traditional identities closer, including the
Christianity most Americans share. Most, but not all.
new City University of New York study finds that a record 14
percent of American adults have no religion.
Jewish minority holds steady at about six percent. Meanwhile
Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and other religious groups are rising
that, it’s astonishing that anyone can seriously expect
all Americans to unite around “God Bless America.”
the war against terrorism grinds on, America seems poised to
shut out the non-religious and members of non-mainstream faiths.
40 years of improving the way the nation treats religious outgroups,
now is no time to turn back the clock.
the most appropriate anthem for Americans to sing?
Land is Your Land
of the above
to see results.
as of 10:13 PM, CT, 11/6/01]
Bless America 37%
America the Beautiful 19%
Land is Your Land 6%
of the above 3%
results tallied every 60 seconds. Live Votes reflect respondents'
views and are not scientifically valid surveys.
More than 30 million Americans live without religion. We felt
no less devastated by the national tragedy than anyone else.
If anything, our sense of loss was greater, since we envision
no next-worldly existence in which the victims might be made
whole for what was torn from them.
what opportunities did we have to join with fellow Americans
to express our anguish? After Sept. 11, religious services spilled
out of the nation’s houses of worship and onto the steps
and rotunda of the Capitol, into municipal sports arenas, public
parks, and civic buildings.
were the secular memorial or remembrance events that all Americans
A Public Square For All
time of anguish, Christians, Jews, and Muslims naturally yearn
for the solace of their faiths. But when they gather in the
public square they should not remember that they are not alone
Sept. 11, Rep. David Bonior (D-Mich.), spoke of “all Americans
— Christian, Jewish, and Muslim,” excluding the nonreligious
and also millions of minority believers. Sorry, Rep. Bonior,
they’re Americans too.
October, the House of Representatives voted 404-0 to encourage
public schools to go on using “God Bless America”
in the face of religious diversity concerns. Rep. Henry Brown,
(R.-S.C.) who introduced the bill, cited lawmakers’ singing
of “God Bless America” on the Capitol steps as precedent.
Sorry, Rep. Brown, two wrongs don’t make a right.
officials insist we’re in a war against terrorism, not
a crusade of Christians against Muslims. Some Americans seem
to think it’s a crusade of Christians against everybody
hope our nation can relearn the lessons of inclusiveness. To
say “Christians, Jews, and Muslims” is not to speak
of all Americans. To say “people of every faith” still
is not enough.
America includes people of every faith, and of none. The vocabulary,
the music, and the allusions public officials choose when they
address the nation should reflect that diversity.
Americans have money and energy to contribute, blood to donate,
and emotional (if never “spiritual”) support to offer.
you insist on freezing us out of the fight against terrorism,
we’ll understand. But next time the call goes out for “all
hands on deck,” forgive us if we assume you’re talking
to somebody else.
Tom Flynn is editor of Free Inquiry, the quarterly journal
of the Council for Secular Humanism.
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