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In honor of our veterans, we call for truth

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November 11, 2006

In honor of our veterans, we call for truth

Anniversaries cause us to instinctively pause and reflect, just as our leg jolts forward after a well-positioned tap on the knee. In honor of our veterans — to whom we owe a debt we can never repay — the least we can do on this Veteran’s Day is look back at the decisions made that sent our troops into battle, and the roles we played in those decisions. Perhaps upon reflection, our reaction may change.

The fifth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 served as the reflex hammer touch to the knee of American conscience. As the country attended memorials and revisited painful memories of 9/11, the reflection also opened our collective mind once again to the many unanswered questions, legitimate concerns and conflicting evidence in the official description of those events.

For us at the Daily Tidings the event served to open discussion among us about this complex subject, about the conspiracy theories that abound in Internet chats, blogs and so-called investigative reports and most importantly, the questions regarding the media’s role in this ongoing issue.

A month later we have found very little we all agreed on. We especially disagree on the role of the media. Since the Tidings doesn’t cover New York City, Washington, D.C. or the federal government, the ambiguity is shaded with absolution.

Nevertheless we are each members of the fourth estate, an essential conglomeration of individuals who adhere to professional guidelines, and who care passionately about this demanding and often thankless opus. With that membership — we can all agree on some level — comes a responsibility to giving the public the accurate information it needs to make informed decisions. Thus, somewhere in all the banter, we stumbled on one thing we at the Tidings’ truly can agree on.

Apparently, we are not alone. Based on the results of this hallmark 2006 election, the American people are finally asking for change. They don’t like our involvement in Iraq. They voted out many members of the party that put us there. Perhaps they are also ready to question the events and decisions that put us there as well. Perhaps they are ready to ask what really happened on Sept. 11.

We think so. And we call on our colleagues to join us in asking questions.

Every single American daily newspaper must demand of our congressional leaders and those in the executive branch that an independent council be formed to completely and thoroughly investigate the deaths of nearly 3,000 American citizens in the attack of 9/11 — an attack that took place on American soil.

Forget the conspiracy theories for a minute and set aside the political gamesmanship. We are a country that spent five years and $100 million investigating President Clinton. We probed the depths of the Iran-Contra scandal — a debacle that would have never come fully into the public eye had a special investigator not been appointed.

This administration has spent far more energy and time seeking the leak of Valerie Plame’s identity and Barry Bonds’ use of steroids than it has in fully explaining how three skyscrapers crumbled in an instant and nearly 3,000 people were killed. While an independent investigation may never fully answer every question, it will help to heal the wounds of this nation and widespread distrust of our leaders this attack has caused.

This historic tragedy ranks among the worst days in American history. We owe it to every American — but especially those who do battle on our behalf at the behest of our leaders — to spare no expense and allow no party loyalty to dissuade us. The government works for us. If it failed us, either in malfeasance or incompetence, then we must know that. If our current actions around the world are shaped by misinformation, we must know that too. Finally, if what we now believe to be true is only further proven, we would do well to hear the evidence that confirms it. If the government’s version of the events of that day are absolutely true, then scrutiny will amplify that truth and lay to rest the skepticism that remains to this day.

If, however, the questions that remain serve to shed light on new information, that too serves the public. And it is the responsibility of this trusted media industry to dig, probe, investigate and uncover the truth behind government events and decisions that impact the public. On this Veterans Day, we can do no less on behalf of the brave men and women who have been sent to the Middle East based upon rationale that stems directly from the events of 9/11. While we pay homage to all veterans of the Armed Forces today, we are reminded of our duty to watch closely those leaders in the White House and Congress who make the decisions to send our troops to war.

We invite every single American daily newspaper to join us in our demand for an independent council to completely and thoroughly investigate the deaths of nearly 3,000 American citizens in the attacks of 9/11.

America will be better informed, and this is our job.

Copyright © 2006 Ashland Daily Tidings and Ottaway Newspapers. All Rights Reserved.

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