My Student Newspaper Article on 9/11 blowback

Kendall Sontag
Sep 19, 2011 at 12:54 PM

I just recently was accepted as a political opinion writer for my student newspaper.  As the only non-liberal opinion writer on staff, I cannot stress to you enough how important it is for you to do everything you can to be a part of your school's mainstream media and to give the student body a different point of view.  Even with all the stress you'll go through with the editors trying to censor or tone-down your position, it'll be worth it with the minds that you'll change, or at least open up to a new way of thinking.

For example:  In the first issue of the newspaper, another opinion writer wrote about 9/11, which is fine of course.  However, instead simply expressing his condolences or his reflections on the event, he had to go political on it.  So he decides that he's going to find a positive spin to put on it (I can see most of you squirming in your seats).  He says, "the repercussions of [al-Qaeda's] actions have benefitted our country in the long run" through the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security.

I ended up writing about 9/11 (seeing as the anniversary is just a week before publication), except with a little bit more of a critical spin.  Not towards the TSA or the DHS, which I'm sure will come later, but more towards a critique of U.S. foreign policy.  I did however, run into some snags with my editor on the first draft.  So here it is, with all the corrections for the second, and hopefully final, edition of the article.

Anything deleted will be in redAnything added will be in blue.  Editors' comments will be surrounded by *____*.

9/11 Revisited 10 Years Later

By Kendall Sontag

On this 10th anniversary of September 11, I hope you took the time to remember where you were and what you were doing at that fateful moment.  I also hope that you prayed for *What if someone isn't religious?  Pray can stay, but another word is needed.* took the time to think about all the families of those who lost their lives, for all the first responders who acted so heroically that day, and to that day, and to thank all the troops who have fought and given their lives for our freedom.

But I also hope that you took the time to understand and reflect on why such a horrible event happened.  Since most of us were twelve years old or younger in 2001, I think that our generation as a whole has a lack of knowledge of the motive behind *lack of knowledge about what?* this event.

We all know that terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and flew them into both of the towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the other crashed into an empty field in Pennsylvania, on a likely route to somewhere in D.C, killing about 3,000 people.  *Though this is factual, it is presented in a harsh manner.*  I’m sure most people also know that Al-Qaeda, along with Osama bin Laden as its leader, formulated this plan many years ago, to have nineteen Muslim-Americans learn how to be a pilot from American schools, and integrate into American culture.  *I didn't know that.  Could you give a reference?*

Most of us know that nineteen terrorists, led by al-Qaeda, hijacked four commercial airliners and executed the most ruthless attack on American soil.  But why us?  Why America?  Is it because they’re crazy Muslims *This generalizing all Muslims.  It was a group of Muslim extremists.  Make a distinction.  I told her that I was using these as arguments others have made and that I was clearly against them.* who want to destroy the world?  Maybe it’s because they *specify they* Muslims want to kill all infidels or destroy the West.  Or could it be that they really don’t like the way that we treat our women or that fact that we have freedom.  Or maybe, just maybe, it’s the fact that we’ve supported ruthless, evil dictators for decades and have our military all throughout the Middle East.  *Example*

What I seek is right for any living being.  We demand that our lands be liberated from enemies…from the Americans. – Osama bin Laden

So, according to their *Whose words?* al-Qaeda's own words, they see us as oppressors.  That’s probably because of the dictators we’ve supported in the Middle East including, Hosni Mubarak the ex-dictator of Egypt and Muammar Qaddafi ex-dictator of Libya.  And, what’s really interesting, is how enormous our aid is to Saudi Arabia. From 1950 – 2006, Saudi Arabia received nearly $80 billion in U.S. arms sales and from 1950 – 1975 received $275 million in other aid.  The U.S. military also currently has over 200 troops in Saudi Arabia to help train their military, but at one point had over 10,000 and a 1,000 square mile air base with four other bases in the country.  Could this be why 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi nationals?

Now let’s take a second to clarify; I am not saying that America deserved this.  This was a horrible event and no nation deserved to be put through such a tragedy, but we have to understand why this happened; especially when it comes from their own *It makes it seem as though all Muslims feel this way* words.  Osama bin Laden once asked why they weren’t targeting other countries such as Sweden; that’s honestly a good question.  Over the past decade, and even earlier, many Western countries have been attacked by Islamic terrorists.  However, the most hated are the U.S., Britain, and France,*Reference?  Yes, even in an opinion article, an editor may require refrences, especially if they disagree.  I gave her the Daily Mail, and TIME magazine, so that should suffice.* the countries who have had the largest presence in the Middle East.

So why are we still there?  We know they *who* don’t want us there, and we’re only causing blowback (a term coined by the CIA to describe aggravating a group of people who then retaliate).  We’re also stuck in endless wars which have now cost us more lives than 9/11 itself did and we’ve spent trillions of dollars supporting dictators, paying for our military to be abroad, fighting these wars, and bombing bridges and buildings just to rebuild them.  This is exactly what he *who?* bin Laden wanted, to make us easy targets in their own land, and to destroy our economy.  They did the same thing to the Soviet Union, and as we know, they eventually collapsed.

We had patience in our fighting with the Soviet Union with simple weapons for 10 years. We exhausted their economy, so they disappeared.  We will not abandon our fight until the weapons run out. – Osama bin Laden

It is definitely working.

So after all the changes I made up above, they still didn't like my article as-is.  If you go to the SNC Times official page, you can see my final article http://www.snctimes.com/opinion/9-11-revisited-10-years-later-1.2596849#... That is not at all the way I wanted the article to be, but it is what it is.  I can't go and change it now, and nothing good will come of fighting about it.  It's still better than no view regarding blowback and our horrible foreign policy, so hopefully I'll still be able to change a few minds.

*At the time I posted this, the website didn't post my article correctly.  Hopefully it'll be fixed soon, but if not, you'll still be able to see the changes in the tone and content of the article*

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