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September 7, 2006
How I Will Spend 9/11

As we approach the fifth anniversary of 9/11, many people wonder how best to spend the day in remembrance of the attacks that killed almost 3,000 of our fellow Americans, almost all of them civilians. Some will spend the day in prayer, while others will watch the several retrospectives on the attacks that will be featured on television. Others may prefer to ignore the event and avoid the controversy and hype.

I'll be doing something different. I have been invited to a panel discussion at Macalester College in Saint Paul on Monday evening on the Iraq war. The debate is sponsored by Democracy for America, which has invited three other speakers to debate the war. The speakers include Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, Univ. of St. Thomas Peace and Justice Studies professor; Phil Steger, Friends for a Nonviolent World director; and Lou Ellingson. Swift Boat retired Navy captain and small business owner. Lou supported John Kerry in the last presidential election and spoke about his own experiences as a Swift Boat commander. In other words, I'm going to be very much on my own in defending the war policy, which I knew when I accepted the invitation.

So why did I agree to this appearance? Actually, I ask myself that more and more as the date approaches, but I felt that I owed some effort to defend the positions I've taken publicly in a forum, even one that has the potential to be as hostile as this might be. The people at DFA have been great, very encouraging and very polite, and I'm working from the assumption that the evening will feature sharp but polite disagreement on policy and refrain from personal attacks; I know I won't indulge them, and I think CQ readers know that from my writings here. If we're going to change minds, we have to talk to people who disagree with us, even if it seems unlikely to have the effect we want.

In a larger sense, this seems the perfect way to honor our loss on 9/11. America is the home of honest and free political debate, and if we want to prevail against fascism secular or religious, we have to retain the courage to speak out even in potentially hostile climates.

If any CQ readers want to lend some support, the panel discussion will take place at Macalester College's Weyerhaeuser Memorial Chapel, at 1600 Grand Avenue in Saint Paul, at 7 pm. Click here for a map to the campus. It's open to the public free of charge, but given the timing, turnout may be somewhat low. I'd be glad to meet CQ readers at the event.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at September 7, 2006 6:28 AM

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Tonight the Captain will be speaking in support of what he believes to be the most wise course for battling the War on Terror. Though many disagree with him, if you are able - participate in this forum. As the [Read More]

Tracked on September 7, 2006 7:57 AM


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