Talking Points

As you write letters, talk to friends, call in to talk shows, here are some of the points you might want to touch on. What’s most important, though, is to let your voice and your own particular perspective be heard. When you speak up, you give others the courage to do the same.

Rather than stooping to the level of the terrorists by killing the innocent, we must stand up for protecting civilian lives in all nations of the world. No more victims!

The United States now enjoys tremendous public support and sympathy from around the world. If we kill innocent people, we will squander that support. But if we operate with respect for the law and for the rights of individuals here in the US and elsewhere, we will set a model for a lawful century marked by international cooperation and civil liberties.

We Americans believe in democracy, justice, human rights, and respect for life. We believe people are innocent until proven guilty. Therefore we must make sure that people whose religious beliefs and ethnicity resemble those of the alledged attackers are treated with the same fairness and respect as all people. We must not allow the attack of September 11 to become an excuse to crack down on legitimate political dissent, here or abroad. If we allow our rights and freedoms to be abridged, we offer victory to any who hope to undercut the sources of our strength.

Many believe the goal of the small group of fanatics suspected in the 9/11 attack was to help launch a massive holy war between Islam and the West. A military response that killed civilians would play directly into their hands, creating new martyrs, showing the US to be a nation indifferent to the survival of anyone but its own citizens, instilling fear and hatred among civilian populations. It would also undercut those in the Islamic world who work for peaceful coexistence. Terrorism can not be defeated this way.

To defeat terrorism, we must to do thorough police work and intelligence gathering, and work closely with our partners around the world. Making use of the infrastructure of the United Nations would help to build the international community’s long-term capacity to deal with terrorist threats.

We in the US must take a hard look at the source of the anger that motivated the attacks, including our own role in the world. We must face up to our history of installing repressive governments that are friendly to US interests, our bombing and killing of civilians in the Middle East and elsewhere, and our failure to broker a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. These actions do not excuse the attacks, which cannot be excused. They do suggest how we might begin to address the root causes of terrorism.

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