NEW YORK - The father of a man presumed killed in the September 11 attack on the World Trade Center raised his voice Sunday against the strident support for US military retaliation
"As a nation, we must not use the same means as the people who attacked us. We're better than that," Orlando Rodriguez said, as he and wife Phyllys mourned the loss of their 31-year-old son, Gregory, who perished in Tower One of the World Trade Center.
His plea runs counter to a groundswell of opinion in the United States that the US military should strike back at the "terrorist" networks blamed for the attacks -- even if it cost civilian lives in other countries.
For Orlando Rodriguez, a Cuban-American who moved to the United States in 1955, such bellicosity is misplaced.
His son was on the 103rd floor of the tower, working as the head of computer security for the firm Cantor Fitzgerald, when the hijacked plane struck. The company lost 700 of its employees.
"Look at my son, who died only because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I believe that, if there's a war, thousands of other sons in other lands are going to die, for being in a wrong place at a wrong time," he told AFP.
"Revenge is a powerful emotion. It initially seems like a reasonable reaction. But indiscriminate reprisals aren't going to help," he said, adding that he didn't want to see his son used "to justify the murder of others."
Rodriguez's sentiment has been echoed by thousands of people who have taken part in anti-war demonstrations in Britain, Greece, Italy, Washington and San Francisco in recent days.
But their protests have been drowned out, at least in the United States, by widely held feelings, shown in polls, that the violence of September 11 must be met with violence by Washington and its allies.
Ninety percent of those polled by Saturday's The Washington Post newspaper said they supported military action against those responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Half of them wanted to see a broader war against groups deemed "terrorist" and the nations supporting them.
A Newsweek magazine poll on Saturday showed that 65 percent of respondents also favored attacks, even if there were a high risk of civilian casualties.
And a CNN/Time poll on Friday showed 64 percent of Americans favored use of US ground troops in Afghanistan while 28 percent opposed.
But almost two-thirds said that US military action in Afghanistan will increase the likelihood of additional attacks in the United States in the next 12 months.
Copyright © 2001 AFP