There are so many people with important ideas, viewpoints and opinions about the events of September 11, 2001 that the Free Press could not print them all.

Here are some excerpts from the numerous articles, letters and writings we have received in the week following the terrorist attacks.

“Since the U.S. has become a world power, it has deviated from the path outlined by its founders. It was Thomas Jefferson who said: ‘No nation can behave without a decent respect for the opinion of mankind. (I quote from memory). When the U.S. delegation left the world conference [on racism] in Durban, in order to abort the debate about the evils of slavery and in order to court the Israeli right, Jefferson must have turned over in his grave.” – Uri Avnery, Israeli peace activist.

“People who feel hopeless fly into buildings. And now we’re going to get mad and kill them. Well, they’re already willing to die — they’re already dead. People have focused on the who, what, where and how — but we need to ask and think about the why. U.S. policies have caused enormous levels of death and destruction around the world. From Nicaragua to Chile to Iraq to Cuba to Palestine to Timor to Cambodia to any number of other places, one clearly sees the callousness with which U.S. policies treat the lives and property of especially non-white peoples. A declaration of war will — rather than reducing the threat of terrorism — eliminate basic civil liberties and strengthen the existing tendency toward a racist and classist police state.” - KEVIN GRAY, An activist and contributing editor to Black News in Columbia, S.C., Gray is working on a book entitled “The Death of Black Politics.”

“We live in a culture of violence. I was in a courtroom arguing about how to deal with violent inmates when the judge told us of the attacks. I spent hours wondering if my sister — who worked on the 50th story of the WTC — was safe. I thought about whether our bombing another country and killing people would give her possible death meaning. It was an empty feeling. When our leaders talk of a disproportionate response that would inevitably kill many civilians — what exactly distinguishes that response from this heinous act? The only hope is if this tragedy forces us to re-evaluate our role in the world.” -  JULES LOBEL, Professor of constitutional and international law at the University of Pittsburgh.

“Even the greatest oceans do not shield us; even the mightiest buildings do not shield us; even the wealthiest balance sheets and the most powerful weapons do not shield us. The lesson is that only a world where we all recognize our vulnerability can become a world where all communities feel responsible to all other communities. And only such a world can prevent such acts of rage and murder. If I treat my neighbor’s pain and grief as foreign, I will end up suffering when my neighbor’s pain and grief curdle into rage. This does not mean ignoring or forgiving whoever wrought such bloodiness. They must be found and brought to trial, without killing still more innocents. Their violence must be halted, their rage must be calmed — and the pain behind them must be heard and addressed. Human beings become terrorists in a pool of despair, we must dry up that pool of despair by replacing despair with dignity and justice in all neighborhoods on this planet.” RABBI ARTHUR WASKO, Director of The Shalom Center a nd author of “Godwrestling — Round 2.”

“The dangers presented by the September 11th terrorist acts do not restrict themselves to the external threat. We hear on television and radio calls for changing the laws and regulations in order to make it easier to conduct surveillance and to carry-out covert operations against potential opponents of the US. Rather than accomplishing anything in terms of reducing the threat of terrorism, such steps will eliminate basic civil liberties and strengthen the existing tendency toward a racist and classist police state. The police are already out of control and on the rampage in communities across the country. We cannot afford to further unleash their undemocratic and frequently murderous behavior in the name of national security. . . . Yet another danger we currently face will be xenophobia and, general anti-immigrant sentiment. This will almost inevitably be directed at immigrants of color and particularly those who “look” like they might be of Middle Eastern (North African) origin. The attacks on immigrants and the condemnation of entire communities must be stopped before they escalate out of control. We already see some of this happening with numerous reports of anonymous death threats sent to Arab and Muslim institutions, as well as the spray painting of racist slogans and direct, personal threats and attacks on individuals who are assumed to be from the Middle East (North Africa). We call on all clear-thinking people to be especially vigilant at this time in making sure that in the aftermath of this tragedy, another tragedy born of pain, anger, and hatred does not occur. True anti-racism may require us to put ourselves at risk physically in order to defend Arabs and Muslims from unwarranted attacks.” -- Black Radical Congress, Columbia University Station.

“Colin Powell said yesterday that Osama bin Laden is the prime suspect. If that accusation is right, this would be what the CIA calls ‘blowback’ — when what we’ve created blows back in our face. The Taliban’s coming to power is partly the outcome of the U.S. support of the Mujahadeen, the radical Islamic group, in the 1980s in the war against the Soviet Union. Blowback might erupt quickly, or simmer for decades. In Afghanistan, we trained the fundamentalists for covert operations — the stuff of terrorism. After they came to power, they turned on their former benefactor, the U.S., which had achieved the smooth flow of oil from the Middle East at a terrible human cost. A decade of bombing and sanctions has left Saddam Hussein in power but over 700,000 Iraqi children are dead. Palestinians live under a brutal military occupation. When the Arabic nations try and address this matter civilly in the UN, as they just tried last week at the Durban conference, they are rebuffed. Whe n blowback strikes, the consequenc es are as devastating as they are tragic.” - JEFFREY SOMMERS, Assistant professor of history at North Georgia College and State University.

”Bin Laden began his military career during the 1980s, as a fighter with Muslim groups in Afghanistan that were armed and trained by the CIA. The Taliban government of Afghanistan, which supports Bin Laden’s organization, consists of elements that also were supported by the CIA. It is ironic that some of the alleged villains in the recent terrorist attacks may well be products of past U.S. policies. A major problem with military ‘solutions’ is that they often create far more problems than they solve. The CIA’s operations in Afghanistan during the 1980s, which have helped to generate terrorism in recent years, are spectacular examples of such policy failures.” - DAVID GIBBS, Associate professor of political science at the University of Arizona and author of the recent articles “Afghanistan: The Soviet Invasion in Retrospect” and “Washington’s New Interventionism.

“Well, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said he had imposed no press restrictions. In fact, he said he hadn’t really even considered the issue of the press. But what Pentagon sources have been telling me [is] that as these secret war plans have been drawn up, they don’t include any provision for taking reporters along, allowing them to cover any of the action. They plan to fight the war and then tell the press and the public how it turned out afterwards.” – CNN Correspondent Jamie McIntyre, Sept. 18, 2001, from The Public I website.

“The terrorists – whoever they are – are currently armed with 103 atomic weapons of the highest conceivable killing capability. These weapons are now in the United States. They are at critical mass. They threaten nearly all our major cities. They are America’s 103 licensed commercial atomic power plants. By land or by air, they are indefensible. Had those four hijacked airliners hit three or four of those reactors, the death toll would not have been in the range of 5000 human beings. It would have been at least 500,000, perhaps significantly more….The most terrifying reality is this: It still could happen. It could be happening as you read this. And despite the saturation media coverage and the declarations of war and the billions voted for the military, those reactors are still operating, those fuses are still lit and those intensely radioactive cores and their adjacent waste dumps are still indefensible.” – Harvey Wasserman, Senior Nuclear Advisor, Greenpeace, from Columbus Alive.

“The last time the U.S. responded to a terrorist attack, on its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, it was innocents in Sudan and Afghanistan who were in the way. We were told that the U.S. missiles hit only military targets but the Sudan target turned out to be a pharmaceutical factory. There are calls for a ‘massive response’ but let us not forget that, if the pattern of past U.S. actions holds, such a response will kill innocent people like the ones in New York and the hijacked airplanes.” - ROBERT JENSEN, author of the forthcoming book Writing Dissent and an associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

“On Tuesday, Colin Powell condemned ‘people who feel that with the destruction of buildings, with the murder of people, they can somehow achieve a political purpose.’ Mr. Powell is correct. But in a sense, he holds up a mirror to U.S. policy of causing massive civilian suffering in Iraq. It’s a painful time to look into that reality, but we hope that along with the grief, we can use Powell’s sentiment to form deeper compassion and understanding.” - KATHY KELLY, Coordinator of Voices in the Wilderness, a group openly violating the economic sanctions against Iraq.

“The present U.S. strategy for ending the threat of terrorism through the use of military force will only exacerbate the problem. Terrorism is a phenomenon that can be defeated only by amelioration of the conditions that inspire it. These attacks have been attributed to Islamic radicals based in the Middle East and Central Asia. While only a fringe element has seized upon violence as their solution, many of the world’s 1.2 billion Muslim people are understandably aggrieved by double standards. When innocent U.S. citizens are killed or harmed the U.S. government expects expressions of outrage and grief over brutal terrorism. But when U.S. cruise missiles kill and maim innocent Iraqis, Sudanese, Afghanis, and Pakistanis, the U.S. calls it ‘collateral damage.’” - STEVE NIVA, professor of international politics at Evergreen State College in Washington and an associate with the Middle East Research and Information Project.

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