similar principle is at work here: A reasoned,rnwell-planned, and limited militaryrnaction of some sort against whatever limitedrngroup is ultimately shown to be responsiblernfor the September 11 attacks isrnmore respectful — to the victims, to therninterests of the United States, to the worldrnat large, and even to those behind the attacksrn—than either an indiscriminate militaryrnresponse or a non-military one.rnSuch a limited response might also bernthe first step toward a reduction of anti-rnAmerican feeling—if not at home, thenrnat least abroad.rn— Chad McCrackenrnVLADIMIR PUTIN adopted his usualrnserious demeanor during an October 8rnmeeting with his “power ministers,” thernmen who head Russian defense and securityrnagencies. The ex-KGB operahverngrimly noted that the U.S. losses in thernSeptember 11 terrorist attacks were “colossal,”rnmore than twice that of (official)rnRussian casualhes in the Chechen war.rnPutin then switched gears: Looking directlyrninto the TV camera, he stated thatrnRussia would stand by her “partners” inrnthe international “anhterrorist coalihon”rnWashington was assembling—but onlyrnso far. Only “humanitarian aid” for thernsuffering Afghans would be allowed torncross Russian airspace. Moreover, Russiarnwould not directly take part in any combatrnoperations in Afghanistan. Otherwise,rnMoscow would cooperate, offeringrnthe coalihon what intelligence the Russianrn”special services” could offer on thernTaliban and the situahon in Central Asia.rnPutin thus summed up Russia’s positionrnon operation “Enduring Freedom,” including,rnby implication, what Moscowrnwants from the West in return for the usernof Russian airspace and an Americanrnpresence (temporarily, the Kremlin hopes)rnin Central Asia.rnFirst, by linking the September 11 attacksrnto Russia’s war in Chechnya, Putinrnwas emphasizing that Moscow wants arnfree hand in crushing the Chechen separatists,rnsome of whom likely have ties tornthe Taliban and “terrorist number one,”rnOsama bin Laden.rnSecond, Moscow is reluctant to takernpart in any joint U.S.-British operahons inrnAfghanistan: The Russians have theirrnhands full at home (though rumors ofrnRussian “advisors” operating tanks for thernanti-laliban Northern Alliance are circulahngrnin the Russian media).rnThird, Russia wants the West, broadlyrnspeaking (NATO, the European Union,rnthe WTO, the IMF), to consider Moscowrna “partner.” Tlius, NATO should reconsiderrnits proposed expansion to the eastrn(though Putin had stated earlier that Russiarnwould no longer oppose such moves;rnnot eoineidently, Putin has recentlyrnstopped mentioning Moscow’s oppositionrnto National Missile Defense) andrnshould henceforth make the Kremlin arn”partner” in its decisionmaking processes,rnthemes he brought up during his Septemberrntrip to Germany. Wliile the West wasrnat it, the IMF could reschedule Russianrndebt and accept Russia into the WTOrnand the European Union.rnThe fly in the ointment of rapprochement,rnhowever, could be the increasingrnpressiue on the Bush administrationrnfrom Republican neoconservafive hawks,rnwho are demanding a wider war, one thatrnwould target Iraq and, possibly, otherrn”rogue states” with whom Moscow hasrnbeen busily mending post-Cold Warrnfences. Following Washington’s hintsrnthat a campaign limited to targets inrnAfghanistan may not be enough to “defeatrnterrorism,” Defense Minister SergeyrnIvanov and Kremlin-friendly media werernquick to convey Moscow’s negahve viewrnof a widened conflict. Rumor has it thatrnPutin is already considering Plan B: Seeingrnthe British, too, balking at the prospectrnof World War III, Puhn will hone inrnon “friend Tony [Blair]” and capitalizernon his particularly friendly relafions withrnthe Germans, pushing the Kremlin’srnagenda and simultaneously taking Washingtonrndown a notch or two. The ball isrnnow in President Bush’s court.rn—Denis PetrovrnSINCE SEPTEMBER 11, ive heard itrnmore than once and will likely hear itrnagain. The argument goes like this: Yes,rnall this banal talk about Islam being a “religionrnof peace” is, of course, a lot of nonsense.rnBut the problem is not their religionrnbut all religion. “Religious” people,rnyou see, are all potentially murderous fanaticsrnsince “organized religion” is a (ifrnnot the) “root cause” of war and repression.rnPeople who are “religious” thinkrnGod speaks to them. They have a bookrn(the Bible, the Koran) and their bookrntells them they are the “chosen” or thern”elect” and that they are to sfrike down orrnforcibly convert the infidel. Ihere is littlerndifference, really, between America’srnevangelical Christians and bin Laden’srnIslamic frindamcntalists. There maybe arnGod, but He is beyond us and far removedrnfrom our everyday lives. Anyway,rn”religion” is a private matter. So goes thernstandard argument of the postmodernrnsecularist.rnThe problems with this line of argumentrnare both numerous and obvious.rnWere Stalin and Hitler, for instance,rnmembers of an “organized” religion? Ifrnwe mean a church in the traditionalrnsense, no: Both headed anti-Christianrnregimes that rejected the traditional “organizedrnreligion” of their respective societiesrnand murdered far more people thanrnany repressive “religious” regimes everrnhad. So World War II, instigated in largernpart by these two dictators, was not a “religious”rnwar in the usual sense, the onernmeant by those who claim fraditional “organizedrnreligion” is behind most of thernevil in the world. If we broaden the definitionrnof “religion” to include politicalrnideologies, then both most certainly werern”religious,” but so is everybody else, includingrnthe zealots who want to crushrn”organized religion.” Tliey are membersrnof their own very well-organized church,rnthe church of the ACLU, the WashingtonrnPost, and the Democratic Party. Fanaticsrncome in all shapes and sizes, “religions”rnand otherwise.rnOne of the chief assumptions of thern”organized religion is warlike” argumentrnis that all “organized” religions are frmdamentallyrnalike in their aggressiveness.rnYes, there have been Christian terroristsrn(those who have targeted abortionists, forrnexample) and “religious” people haverntortured, murdered, and raped throughoutrnhistory, but I can think of only two religionsrn—Islam and Shinto—whose adherentsrnhave exalted the siucide killer asrnone of the highest expressions of theirrnfaith. (How come there aren’t any Buddhistrnsuicide bombers targeting Beijing?)rnAs for Christianity and Islam, did Jesusrncall on his followers to make war on unbelievers?rnMuhammad did.rnThe real reason most of these very religiousrnsecular zealots bash “organized religion”rnhas little to do with their supposedrndistaste for slaughter (I doubt many ofrnthem would question, say, the bombingrnof Hiroshima, much less abortion) or repressionrn(many of them championedrnVietnam’s communists in the 1960’s).rnThe real reason is as old as the world andrnas common as a child’s rebellion againstrnhis parents. “Organized religion” representsrntraditional authority. Authorityrnmeans rules, commandments, duties,rnand Tliou Shalt Nots. And there are thernDECEMBER 2001/7rnrnrn