To fear or not to fear? That is the question

Since the attacks of Sept. 11 Americans have lived under an umbrella of imminent danger lurking in the shadows. Each day we are reminded that "terrorists" threaten our very existence and it is our duty to support the government's decisions to rid the world of aggression against America. If we require proof of such danger, we are reminded of Sept. 11 and the variations of security colors that warned us until they faded together into a blurry gray distant memory.

Osama was once the face of terrorism and target of those who swore vengeance against the organization we were told coordinated the collapse of three towers in New York, punched a hole in the Pentagon and disintegrated four passenger airliners. Osama's al-Qaeda existed solely to kill Americans we were told. And now we are told al-Qaeda has occupied Iraq and must be stopped at all cost.

So while Osama has become a distant memory, today we fear that we must eradicate the mythical al-Qaeda in Iraq or risk losing a stronghold to an enemy that will kill us all.

The necessity of 9/11

If one removes Sept. 11 from the equation, suddenly, there is no Office of Homeland Security, No USA PATRIOT Act, no plethora of presidential directives re-organizing the government (NSPD 51), no executive order authorizing the confiscation of property of any U.S. citizen suspected of compromising U.S. goals in Iraq, no Valerie Plame fiasco, no firing of justice department prosecutors, and no continual battle between Congress and the Bush administration over documents, testimonies and troop movements. And without Sept. 11, the American taxpayers would not be debating the issue of a trillion taxpayer dollars being used to maintain the U.S. military in a war the American people have explicitly stated we do not want.

Which came first, the U.S. aggression against Muslims or Muslim-led violence against the U.S.?

There is no question that the U.S. initiated aggressive acts against Muslim nations in the Middle East. History records such decisions against Iran in 1953, Iraq in 1974, Iran in 1980, Iraq in 1991 (initial ground invasion and continual air attacks until the 2003 invasion). Today, both Iraq and Iran remain in the crosshairs of the U.S. government. And some Americans still stand firm that Sept. 11 was the justifiable catalyst for war against al Qaeda, which the U.S. government claims it battles in both Afghanistan and Iraq.

Sept. 11 is key

On this coming anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, many scholars and experts in a variety of fields, along with veterans, ex-government agents, and a host of Americans who question the government's evolving story on the events of Sept. 11 are gathering in New York for an Internet-broadcasted conference on the issue. The questions our congressional leaders will not ask, will be asked. The data our government refuses to relinquish to this day will be addressed. The government will be asked hard questions that most Americans have never thought to ask.

The culture of fear that has been spread throughout America wouldn't exist without the events that brought this nation to a standstill on Sept. 11. Behind those events were other events that no elected leader seems determined to uncover. But in grassroots America, the whispers of conspiracy have risen over the years to a crescendo of demands from qualified, reasonable people who simply want to know the truth. The citizenry is demanding answers from its government. On this sixth anniversary of one of the most significant events of our lifetime, will you join in the chorus of voices that seek to know the truth?

is the content editor of the Ashland Daily Tidings, and the author of a book, "The WHOLE Truth about the U.S. War on Terror: Answers to every question you never knew to ask." His column, From The Right Side, has run on for more than a year and is one of the most widely read regular features on the Tidings web site. It will now run on Fridays in the newspaper. Tidings correspondent, Chris Honore' will continue his liberal-slanted column, Case in Point on Mondays. Contact at , or 541-482-3456 x 223.

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