From the week of October 4-10, 2001

Pressing Matters

Media muzzle: I enjoyed your column ("Nine One One," Kristi Dempsey, September 20). I have to put in my two cents, though. The U.S. media as a whole have studiously avoided touching on what is perhaps the greatest issue in this whole unhappy matter, that being, what has the U.S. done to incur the enmity of so many people in the Middle East? The only time that this is addressed even tangentially, the press's answer is that Osama bin Laden is insane and those Arabs all follow a crazy religion that makes them terrorists.

Nobody in the mainstream press is addressing those grievous injustices in the Middle East which are actively supported by the U.S., including the occupation by Israel of all Palestinian land, the sanctions against Iraq which have resulted in the deaths of a half-million children in the last decade, or the genocidal activities perpetrated by Israel against those Palestinians still within its borders. Israel has, since declaring itself a state in the 1940s, waged war against its Arab neighbors on four separate occasions, yet it receives billions of dollars annually from the United States. Iraq waged war once, to retake Kuwait (which was part of Iraq until 1899), and we have waged war, both military and economic, against Iraq ever since.

We are horrified now at Osama bin Laden, the Taliban, and the Mujahedin, but the mainstream press is deafeningly silent about the fact that these were the soldiers in the most expensive covert war ever fought by our CIA -- our government provided arms, as well as more than $3 billion in financial support to these people, and they were as bloodthirsty and as extreme in their interpretation and enforcement of Islam then as they are now. And they are in power now largely because we financed them.

The American public needs to know that our own government has done these things, things which arguably set the stage for our recent tragedy. When will our media wake up and start telling the painful truth? If the media fail us now, be assured that we will once again be righteously sending our military forth to right the world's wrongs, oblivious to the fact that we have been the chief author of those wrongs.

Name withheld by request

Old news: What a waste of space! All Kristi Dempsey accomplished in this column was to blow her own horn regarding her past experiences (for the first time in 15 years she wasn't in a position to tackle the big story), as well as carp about Valley newspapers and TV coverage. Although I do agree with her regarding the San Francisco Examiner's day-after headline.

While newspapers do "play a role that goes beyond the bottom line," it's mainly in reporting on the local level. They can't compete with radio, TV or the Internet. By the time a newspaper hits the street, it's mainly a rehash of what we already have learned through more modern media.

As far as her statement: "The press, you see, had caused Americans to turn against the Vietnam War" -- get a grip! Was she even old enough at the time to know what was going on then?

The public has the right and the need to know what's going to be taking place in the months and years to come in the quest to rid the world of terrorists, but not at the expense of losing more lives or letting "our enemies" know ahead of time when and where we will retaliate. Our quest will be difficult enough without the press making asinine statements of "right to know." One of the biggest blunders so far was telling the press where the president had been during the hours immediately following the terrorist attacks.

There is a time and place for secrecy as well as knowledge -- something Ms. Dempsey has yet to learn. She'd be better off focusing on the lying, cheating and secrecy surrounding the stadium in Tempe. How she can be your editor is beyond me -- she is not ready for "Prime Time."

Kathie Clark

Tip service: It seems every day we see a news report telling us about another breach of airline security. It is either a sheriff or a random civilian looking for publicity by sneaking in yet more box cutters past checkpoints. How dangerous is it to report this?

I do believe that if there were still Holy War terrorists here waiting to strike, they just might be watching television or reading the news! Isn't it possible for the media to simply inform the FAA when somebody does this, rather than mindlessly running whatever the hell they want at any time without thought of the consequences? I just saw an interview with an airline employee who was in a shadowed room -- to protect his identity. He was very happy to be there and inform the world that his airport did not guard the planes overnight. What justice has he done the American people by telling the news whores instead of the FAA? If some terrorist hadn't noticed that weakness before, they might now. Is it too much to ask for the media and civilian traitors to ignore their taste for fame and money, for the benefit of our safety?

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