I am deeply concerned at the kind of sentiment expressed in Alissa Miller?s Editorial Observer ?Time to come together? in the Sept. 20 CT. Miller accuses Cecilia Le of having been ?insensitive and untactful? for asking us to look at how the support for Middle Eastern terrorist activity may partially stem from U.S. policy.

A news editor should be the last person trying to stifle dialogue at a time like this. It is hard enough to cut through the propaganda that has flooded our airwaves without deliberate attacks on dissenters by those whose very job is to facilitate discourse.

Certain things, whether sensitive or not, are truthful, and these need to be taken into consideration.

The United States has tacitly supported Israeli settlement and occupation activities that violate international law and result in a miserable standard of living for many Palestinians.

The United States has indirectly killed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians through an economic embargo that has blocked needed food and medicines.

The list of wrongs goes on to include the killing of Libyan President Quadafi?s infant daughter and the bombing of a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant that we incorrectly believed to be making biological weapons.

President George W. Bush would like us to think that the terrorists simply ?hate our freedom,? but that is a simplistic and deceiving view. If it was Western vice, or freedom of religion, or equality of the sexes that the terrorists hated, then why didn?t they choose to attack Denmark or the Netherlands, countries that undoubtedly are freer than the U.S.?

While absolutely nothing excuses September 11, the truth is that many aspects of U.S. policy in the Middle East have been indefensible themselves. There is no question that these policies are largely responsible for the anti-Americanism within the region.

Perhaps someday our leaders will realize that we cannot beat up on an entire region of the world forever without creating significant risks to our own security. But for now, we will kill Afghans, silence people like Le and pretend that we?re not part of the problem. That?s how we expect to have a safer world.

? John BrachClass of 2002



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