Vox Populi
A Letter to the Editor

The Peoples' Right to Publish Opinions
Friday, October 5, 2001

As an irregular visitor to TheGreenPapers.com, I was enlightened to realize that "The Green Papers" has no relationship to the Green Party.

Mr. Berg-Andersson's defense of peoples' rights to publish opinions is admirable. I hope others are aware of the problems some media commentators and op ed writers have had because they were not 100% in support of official government pronouncements.

Lee Greenawalt

'TheGreenPapers.com' responds:

We were not aware of any of the problems re: pundits putting forth opinions to which you refer, at least here in the United States- certainly we have seen many differing points of view on a potential response to the atrocities of 11 September (including the views of the Green Party's Mitchel Cohen cited by one of those who e-mailed me, as noted in Mr. Berg-Andersson's 4 October Commentary- views which clearly are not "100% in support of official government pronouncements"). All we can say on this issue is that 'TheGreenPapers.com' takes both the Freedom of Speech and the Freedom of the Press guaranteed to the American citizens who operate this website by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States most seriously: Freedom of the Press is, of course, for we at this website- while Freedom of Speech is for you, the reader, should you choose to respond to anything on our site with a "Vox Populi".

We have done our utmost to use these Freedoms responsibly rather than recklessly on this website; at the same time, one has to realize that- should we so easily give up these same Freedoms out of fear (we here write not only of a fear of terrorism itself but also of the fear that someone 'might' use these Freedoms recklessly as a response to the events of 11 September goes forward)- the terrorists will then have achieved one large part of their overall objective: in this case, to make America and its ideals of Freedom, Liberty and Equal Justice Under Law the less attractive to large portions of the Muslim World by forcing America to water down, where not outright abandon, those very ideals. We Americans cannot allow this to happen!

We are also just as aware that what the United States (in the name of all Americans) does in response to the terrorism of 11 September committed against this Nation and, perhaps even more importantly, how we Americans go about doing this will- in no small part- determine the ultimate success or failure of any real, long-term effort to reduce, where one cannot completely eradicate, international terrorism. The whole World is watching and the United States will not long have the support of most of the Globe if a response is handled the wrong way and, as a result, we Americans too much abandon the standards of international behavior we have always told the World, as well as our ourselves, we hold ourselves to (for then the terrorists also accomplish their goal of undermining the appeal our ideals might have in their part of the Globe even without necessarily engendering the fear of which we wrote earlier).

To this end, it is- in the opinion of 'TheGreenPapers.com'- incumbent upon the citizenry of the United States of America- as well as those who are citizens and/or subjects of the other Nations which will form part of an anti-terrorism coalition (for we are all too aware that many outside the USofA access this website and we don't want them to feel excluded from this debate either!)- to think long and hard about the issues that flow both from the events of 11 September as well as from any potential response to these events and to take perhaps strongly-held, yet reasonable, positions as to what the best course (or, for that matter, courses) of action might be. To exclude the opinions of those who, for example, might not strongly support what Mr. Berg-Andersson, as chief Researcher/Commentator for this website, himself writes in his Commentaries or that which, at this writing, appears to be the majority of opinion in favor of military action- at least in Afghanistan- is to unnecessarily- where not wrongly- exclude alternative ideas that might yet shed a great deal of light on future options for the USofA and its anti-terrorism allies and friends which have not yet been considered.

'TheGreenPapers.com' will not do this- for the surest defense against these terrorists- those who, in a most atrocious manner and utilizing the most dastardly of methods, killed and maimed not only innocent civilians of many nationalities on 11 September but also attacked the ideals of Freedom and Justice at the same time (a view of their actions that, from what I can see, ALL well-meaning people- regardless of their own personal views as to the necessity, efficacy and/or morality of a military response to those events- seem to have in common)- is to continue to have the audacity to remain Free yet Just. It is, in fact, this inherent audacity of free men and women to think and act free- of just men and women to treat others justly- that these terrorists most despise, for such audacity as ours here in the Free World reflects qualities of character and integrity that these terrorists most sorely lack and which their vision of governance, by its very definitions, cannot possibly include.

Free Speech and Expression, Free Exercise of Religion (which- clearly- these terrorists most disdain), Freedom from Want and- above all- Freedom from Fear were cited by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, in his Eighth Annual (State of the Union) Message to Congress on 6 January 1941, as his "Four Freedoms". The best way to free oneself from Fear is to continually reassert the other three Freedoms- for only a cowering individual (the type of individual to which the typical terrorist most hopes to reduce us) will cease to think and act as if free. A free debate, therefore, need not be feared- even in wartime; a free debate shows these terrorists and their supporters that they have not, and- indeed- cannot, win!


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