From Paul D. Boin at rabble:
It has been said that the first casualty in war is the truth. This usually pertains to the propensity for about-to-be warring nations to conjure up a pretext for war that can be justified in the public mind. Often this means that the truth is compromised prior to the shedding of blood. When terrorists strike, however, blood is drawn first, and the victim’s pretext for retaliation is determined second. In the midst of both war or terror truth can be compromised by the selective exclusion of important information, the elevation of hearsay or opinion to the status of fact, or by the outright fabrication of misinformation. In this regard, our governments and our mainstream news media have much to answer for.
While it could be argued that the terrorist act already constitutes the pretext for a retaliatory response, any response is an exercise in decision-making. Even our basest and seemingly automatic human responses still inextricably involve a series of choices. Do we, in the case of the United States and its allies, respond immediately? Do we confirm, beyond a reasonable doubt, who the terrorists were? Do we retaliate (punish) in a manner that is equal to the initial terrorist act (crime)? Are we also going to sacrifice the lives of innocent civilians in our chosen response? Who is to participate in this retaliatory action? And what range of repercussions may follow from our chosen response?
Written September 18, 2001
Read Boin’s article, What Would Obama Do? Revisiting 9/11 here