Response to Terrorists' Attacks Should Be "Marshall Plan" Aimed at "Poor and Disinherited People of the World"

Release Date: September 12, 2001 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The terrorists who Tuesday used hijacked commercial airliners to attack the World Trade Center and Pentagon "were using death and destruction to deliver a message," according to an associate professor of philosophy at the University at Buffalo.

"They deliberately chose to attack the most visible symbols of American wealth and military power," says James M. Lawler, whose expertise is in social and political philosophy, "hoping that the impoverished majority of mankind would applaud and rally behind them."

In response to the attack, Lawler says, "we need to declare a 'Marshall Plan' for the poor and disinherited people of the world, and for the Earth itself.

"It will be too late if we wait for the end of a war in which an invisible enemy has the ability to reduce our cities to rubble," he adds. "As we rebuild our symbols and centers of wealth and power, let us ensure that they are seen by the watching world as expressions of the united and prosperous family of mankind, living in harmony with the Earth."

Lawler says history offers a lesson that should be heeded by America and its leaders.

""At the end of World War II," he adds, "the United States did a great and generous thing, responding to the hard words of the Gospels: 'Love your enemies.' We instituted a Marshall Plan that included the devastated nations of our wartime enemies. Today, Germany and Japan are powerful, democratic and peaceful countries, and our friends and allies. Now we need to declare a Marshall Plan for the poor and disinherited people of the world, and for the Earth itself."

The new millennium, according to Lawler, "occurs at a real turning point in human history. The peoples of the Earth are no longer separated by great distances, oceans, deserts. Physically, we are one extended family living in the same house. Psychologically, however, we are separated by great barriers. Some members of the family are enormously rich. Most live close to poverty or below. And for all of us, the foundation of the house, which is the Earth itself, is fast losing its ability to support all of us.

"The citizens of the wealthy nations have a choice: either to build bigger walls, with more barbed wire and guns to defend them, or to reach out to their brothers and sisters living downstairs, help them build decent lives, and join with them in reversing the rapid degradation of our common home."

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