The battle against terrorism began in earnest Sept. 11 when terrorism's scourge finally hit home for many Americans.
Now our country is on the path to avenging these heinous acts. The military response will be important, to be sure, but our response as United States citizens must also begin now.
We must become more knowledgeable about the world and we must participate in our country's decisions in international affairs as well as domestic affairs.
We have been complacent about international affairs. If we're complacent as a people, our representatives are complacent. Many of our institutions shoulder the blame for our complacency -- the media, our colleges and universities, Congress. There's no requirement that incoming freshman at colleges take a world affairs survey course. There's no desire in most of the media to highlight international affairs in coverage. ...
With more information, we might have known about the growing threat of terrorism in the United States. We might have been able to support increased intelligence gathering activity in Afghanistan, where the CIA has had no real penetration or inside information for years. We might have supported a larger budget for Radio America that gets information about democracy to closed countries where suicide bombers are brainwashed from the start of their intellectual existence.
The shortcomings of a government are only as large as the shortcomings of its citizens. We must renew our efforts, as citizens, to be informed about international affairs. It has become all too apparent that those issues matter as much if not more than domestic issues.
-- The Free Press of Mankato
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