Special Issue: Perspectives on Terror Tuesday

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Prior to September 11, we of the Public i had a more mundane and diversified edition in mind. But the intervening events of that unforgettable day have of necessity caused a much different version to emerge. Although literally billions of words have already been spoken and written about those horrific incidents and their aftermath, and billions more will doubtless be uttered, we crave your indulgence as we present what we hope will be a slightly different perspective from that to which you have been exposed to the point of exhaustion.

Some of you reading this issue will agree with everything that is said in these pages. But others of you may find many of our words disturbing, dissonant, perhaps even somewhat unpatriotic or insufficiently reverent to the victims of the tragedy or their survivors.

If the latter is your reaction, we are deeply and sincerely sorry. But we feel that we must be true to our consciences and convictions, our mission, our very reason for being. While we, too, love our country deeply, what we love more are the principlesand ideals from which our country claims to draw its strength and moral imperative, but from which we feel it has in many ways strayed. In our short existence as the public i, we have tried to be, and we will continue to try to be, a voice calling America back to those fundamental and precious principles.

Some of us here at the Independent Media Center, and some of you reading this, lived through the era of the Viet Nam war. There was disagreement back then, too – often extremely vociferous disagreement – about what our nation should and should not do. There was protest – deeply impassioned protest – against the policies of our government. Now, with the hindsight of 30 years, the vast majority of Americans (including the leading Army general of the era) agree that it was an unjust and ill-advised war, fought in the wrong place at the wrong time forthe wrong reasons.

Back then the proponents of the war had their slogans. One of them was “Right or wrong, my country!” Those of us who took the trouble to research the origins of the slogan discovered, however, that it had been taken out of context. The full text of the original statement read instead: “Right or wrong, my country. If it’s right, keep it right. If it’s wrong, MAKE it right.”

We believe, as you will discover from reading the contents of this issue, that the leaders of our nation are exploiting our emotional vulnerability to lead us down a grievously wrong and treacherous path. Full-scale war for the purpose of vengeance against an entire culture or continent of people, and wholesale curtailment of our civil liberties here at home, all under the guise of “rooting out terrorists and those who harbor them”, is in no way the proper response to the tragedy of September 11, not even in contemplation or as a rhetorical device. When our President says on national television, “You’re either with us or with the terrorists,” some of us honestly feel schizophrenic. Why? Because all too often historically, and right down to the present moment, Americans have themselves been the terrorists. This is the part of the story you’re not hearing in the mainstream media.

While a criminal trial in a world tribunal of justice may be entirely appropriate for the actual direct accomplices of those who perpetrated the September 11 atrocity, should they be apprehended, we must at the same time sincerely examine the military andeconomic injustices our own country and its institutions routinely perpetrate against other nations and peoples on a daily basis. If we do not, we will remain trapped in an ever-escalating spiral of mutually destructive “terrorism” that is largely of America’s own making.

Some of you who take the trouble to read our words will find them deeply disturbing. But 30 years from now, if you are alive to remember them, you may find them chillingly prophetic.

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