Information Security News
mailing list archives
Islands in the Clickstream. The Only Thing We Have to Fear. Sept 11, 2001
From: InfoSec News <isn () c4i org>
Date: Wed, 12 Sep 2001 01:46:43 -0500 (CDT)
Well I'm sure there is not a single person on this list that is not
affected one way or another by todays cowardly act in Washington
D.C. and at the World Trade Centers in New York, NY.
I am safe and secure, but not in Chicago, but at a nameless
U.S.A.F. base some 600 miles from home where I was there to teach a
class on information security to members of the U.S. Military,
civilian and defense contractors and DoD personal.
While I am told that some of the best security professionals in the
U.S.A.F. and the OSI are watching the area where we are staying, I am
having one helluva time trying to get some sleep and try to get back
into the swing of things.
I've turned off the TV, I'm going to *TRY* to get some sleep, teach a
class in the morning, & try to give blood on base if that is an option
for everyone here.
While the ISN bot has basically gone into overdrive, and I have been
scanning the mail from the over 30+ mailing lists I am subscribed to
on various different types of security, the only post that I sending
out tonight (and maybe for sometime...) is from Richard Thieme.
Richard as always has hit the nail right on the head, and I am in awe
of his commentary below...
wk () c4i org
Islands in the Clickstream:
The Only Thing We Have to Fear
The world just changed forever. War was declared on the whole world.
A friend from the National Security Agency told me recently how
difficult it was to convince audiences lately of the of the real
threat from asymmetrical warfare. The enemy is doing what it can to
understand our collective mind, he said, and then will use the weakest
link in our armor to strike terror into our collective hearts.
And so they have. With a simple coordinated attack the assumptions of
the American people were changed forever. We live in America, I have
been saying, as if it were America and not Israel. In Israel people
know they are in Israel. They live accordingly.
Now we know too.
War is hell. It calls forth from us the best and the worse in our
all-too-human natures. And now everyone knows what many have known for
years, that we are at war.
Which means understanding who the enemy is and what it means to fight
The first war is against fear and terror, as Franklin Roosevelt said.
Nameless, unreasoning fear that distorts our thinking and feeling and
changes the way we live our lives. Fear in the face of real threats is
appropriate. Our collective task will be to distinguish real from
illusory threats, real from imagined enemies, and stay as
clear-thinking and focused as we can as we identify what is important
in our lives and makes efforts to secure and defend what matters most.
So what, in moments like these, do we know?
We know that the first people we thought of are the most important
people in our lives. The people we wanted to be with or who we feared
were dead or injured or vulnerable to attack, those are the people
that matter most.
Then that bond must expand and include all on whom we rely, all on
whom we depend, all on whom we will call in the days and weeks and
months ahead as comrades, friends, and allies. This is a moment that
will ask everything of us as we struggle to attack and defend
ourselves from real enemies and define our circles of loyalty and
kinship with precision and care.
The enemy is fear, terror, and falsehood. Our allies are courage,
strength in the face of adversity, resilience and flexibility and our
capacity to respond to whatever life brings with genuine heroism.
These are the marks of the freedom that lives in our souls.
Freedom is our capacity to live life as it is fired at us point blank
from the barrel of a gun and never surrender that which makes us human
and that which makes us free.
The world has changed, now, forever, and the boundaries that we draw
around ourselves, who is in and who is out, will change forever too.
We will discover who we really are in the weeks ahead.
But I know from fifty-seven years on this fragile planet who we are in
our best moments and I pray that we have the courage to be who we are.
I think of how I responded to someone who was worried that when I left
the ministry, it meant that I had lost my faith in the existence of
Do you believe, she asked, in God?
Yes, I said, in my heart I know that God exists. But, I added.
Thinking of the horror. Thinking of the oppression in people's lives.
Thinking of the bloodshed.
That doesn't mean things aren't as bad as they look.
Our challenge now is to know both are true. Things are every bit as
bad as they look and people do evil things and rejoice in the
bloodshed. And in my heart I know that God exists and is manifest in
freedom, freedom from fear and terror, the freedom to respond to
whatever life brings with dignity, elasticity, and heroism.
The only thing we have to fear now is fear, the primary weapon of our
enemies. Because I know who we are, I know that we have what it takes
to do what is necessary now, how we must structure our world and our
lives, and how we must rededicate ourselves to the creation of a
global society in which freedom and not fear and terror are the
hallmarks of our humanity.
Islands in the Clickstream is an intermittent column written by
Richard Thieme exploring social and cultural dimensions
of computer technology and the ultimate concerns of our lives.
Comments are welcome.
Richard Thieme is a professional speaker, consultant, and writer
focused on the impact of computer technology on individuals and
organizations - the human dimensions of technology and work - and
"life on the edge."
Feel free to pass along columns for personal use, retaining this
signature file. If interested in publishing columns online or in print
or employing Richard as a professional speaker, retreat leader
or consultant, email for details.
To subscribe to Islands in the Clickstream, send email to
rthieme () thiemeworks com with the words "subscribe islands" in the
body or subject heading of the message. To unsubscribe, email
with "unsubscribe islands" in the message. Or subscribe at the web site
Islands in the Clickstream (c) Richard Thieme, 2001. All rights reserved.
ThiemeWorks on the Web: http://www.thiemeworks.com and
ThiemeWorks P. O. Box 170737 Milwaukee WI 53217-8061 414.351.2321
ISN is currently hosted by Attrition.org
To unsubscribe email majordomo () attrition org with 'unsubscribe isn' in the BODY
of the mail.
- Islands in the Clickstream. The Only Thing We Have to Fear. Sept 11, 2001 InfoSec News (Sep 12)