We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

Texas Professor Attacked By University President For Writing Unpopular Truths

by Robert Jensen, Larry Faulkner, et. al. Saturday, Sep. 22, 2001 at 1:02 PM

After University of Texas journalism professor Robert Jensen wrote about five decades of US violence against Third World civilians in the Houston Chronicle, the University president Larry Faulkner wrote in to say "Jensen is not only misguided, but has become a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy." Other letter-writers chimed in.


Sept. 13, 2001, 6:08PM

U.S. just as guilty of committing own violent acts


Sept. 11 was a day of sadness, anger and fear.

Like everyone in the United States and around the world, I shared the deep sadness at the deaths of thousands.

But as I listened to people around me talk, I realized the anger and fear I felt were very different, for my primary anger is directed at the leaders of this country and my fear is not only for the safety of Americans but for innocent civilians in other countries.

It should need not be said, but I will say it: The acts of terrorism that killed civilians in New York and Washington were reprehensible and indefensible; to try to defend them would be to abandon one's humanity. No matter what the motivation of the attackers, the method is beyond discussion.

But this act was no more despicable than the massive acts of terrorism -- the deliberate killing of civilians for political purposes -- that the U.S. government has committed during my lifetime. For more than five decades throughout the Third World, the United States has deliberately targeted civilians or engaged in violence so indiscriminate that there is no other way to understand it except as terrorism. And it has supported similar acts of terrorism by client states.

If that statement seems outrageous, ask the people of Vietnam. Or Cambodia and Laos. Or Indonesia and East Timor. Or Chile. Or Central America. Or Iraq. Or Palestine. The list of countries and peoples who have felt the violence of this country is long. Vietnamese civilians bombed by the United States. Timorese civilians killed by a U.S. ally with U.S.-supplied weapons. Nicaraguan civilians killed by a U.S. proxy army of terrorists. Iraqi civilians killed by the deliberate bombing of an entire country's infrastructure.

So, my anger is directed not only at individuals who engineered the Sept. 11 tragedy, but at those who have held power in the United States and have engineered attacks on civilians every bit as tragic. That anger is compounded by hypocritical U.S. officials' talk of their commitment to higher ideals, as President Bush proclaimed "our resolve for justice and peace."

To the president, I can only say: The stilled voices of the millions killed in Southeast Asia, in Central America, in the Middle East as a direct result of U.S. policy are the evidence of our resolve for justice and peace.

Though that anger stayed with me off and on all day on Sept. 11, it quickly gave way to fear, but not the fear of "Where will the terrorists strike next?" which I heard voiced all around me. Instead, I almost immediately had to face the question: "When will the United States, without regard for civilian casualties, retaliate?" I wish the question were, "Will the United States retaliate?" But if history is a guide, it is a question only of when and where.

So, the question is which civilians will be unlucky enough to be in the way of the U.S. bombs and missiles that might be unleashed. The last time the United States responded to terrorism, the attack on its embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, it was innocents in the Sudan and Afghanistan who were in the way. We were told that time around they hit only military targets, though the target in the Sudan turned out to be a pharmaceutical factory.

As I monitored television during the day on Tuesday, the talk of retaliation was in the air; in the voices of some of the national security "experts" there was a hunger for retaliation. Even the journalists couldn't resist; speculating on a military strike that might come, Peter Jennings of ABC News said, "The response is going to have to be massive," if it is to be effective.

Let us not forget that a "massive response" will kill people, and if the pattern of past U.S. actions holds, it will kill innocents. Innocent people, just like the ones in the towers in New York and the ones on the airplanes that were hijacked. To borrow from President Bush, "mother and fathers, friends and neighbors" will surely die in a massive response.

If we are truly going to claim to be decent people, our tears must flow not only for those of our own country. People are people, and grief that is limited to those within a specific political boundary denies the humanity of others.

And if we are to be decent people, we all must demand of our government -- the government that a great man of peace, Martin Luther King Jr., once described as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world" -- that the insanity stop here.

Jensen is a professor of journalism at the University of Texas in Austin.



Jensen's words his own

In his Sept. 14 Outlook article "U.S. just as guilty of committing own violent acts," Robert Jensen was identified as holding a faculty appointment at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jensen made his remarks entirely in his capacity as a free citizen of the United States, writing and speaking under the protection of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

No aspect of his remarks is supported, condoned or officially recognized by The University of Texas at Austin. He does not speak in the University's name and may not speak in its name.

Using the same liberty, I convey my personal judgment that Jensen is not only misguided, but has become a fountain of undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy.

Students must learn that there is a good deal of foolish opinion in the popular media and they must become skilled at recognizing and discounting it.

I, too, was disgusted by Jensen's article, but I also must defend his freedom to state his opinion. The First Amendment is the bedrock of American liberty.

Larry R. Faulkner, president The University of Texas at Austin

- - -

There's a time and place

The Chronicle should have used editorial license to delay printing Robert Jensen's Sept. 14 Outlook article, "U.S. just as guilty of committing own violent acts." Such extreme views should not be printed while the nation is in mourning. It is not decent to argue at a funeral.

Joe Swinney, Splendora



The Jensen flap, continued

Hat goes off to Faulkner

Hats off to the University of Texas at Austin's president, Larry R. Faulkner, for denouncing [UT journalism professor] Robert Jensen's disgusting commentary in the Sept. 14 Outlook. And shame on the Chronicle for being so quick to utilize its editorial power to denounce Rev. Jerry Falwell's commentary as "claptrap," but relying solely on letter writers to deal with Jensen's "claptrap."

Falwell sincerely apologized for his comments; how about an apology from the Chronicle and Jensen?

Rick LaFrance, Humble

- - -

Jensen told the truth

In his Viewpoints letter of Sept. 19, [UT President] Larry Faulkner attempted to distance the University of Texas at Austin from the opinion of Robert Jensen, a member of the faculty.

Why such a high-level attempt to discredit Jensen? His article was thoroughly researched and well-written. Jensen's views were not those of a radical journalism teacher, but rather sad truths we all must live with, no matter how politically incorrect.

If Faulkner wishes to maintain credibility, he must differentiate the "undiluted foolishness on issues of public policy" from the obviously unpopular truths contained in Jensen's article.

Richard W. Avant, Houston

- - -

Common sense at UT

Thanks to Dr. Faulkner for letting us know that common sense still has a home in at least one of our fine universities.

Marianne Smith, Katy
Report this post as:

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 4 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
jensen's commentary c-bone Saturday, Sep. 22, 2001 at 5:37 PM
double standards? sp Saturday, Sep. 22, 2001 at 6:23 PM
Fasist Pig ???? Saturday, Sep. 22, 2001 at 7:26 PM
FREEDOM OF SPEECH GFAFBLIFR Thursday, Nov. 08, 2001 at 11:33 PM
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy