Frankly Speaking

The majority of truck drivers I know are brutally honest on most issues. One can appreciate hard-working people who have little use for splitting hairs.

On the other side of the coin are those who take political correctness to the extreme. The announcement that London-based Reuters news agency has introduced a policy banning the word “terrorist” from its reports on the attacks on the United States is a perfect example.

Reuters says it decided to take a neutral stance in its reporting in the name of journalistic fairness, stating in an internal memo, “We all know that one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter and that Reuters upholds the principle that we do not use the word ‘terrorist.’ … To be frank, it adds little to call the attack on the World Trade Center a terrorist attack.”

Frankly, that’s an insult to the thousands of innocent people who perished in the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and aboard the four hijacked airplanes. It’s also a slap in the faces of victims’ families, all those who worked tirelessly in the rescue and recovery efforts, and those who continue to help with the cleanup.

How can crashing planes filled with innocent travelers into buildings filled with more innocent people be justified as a fight for freedom? It can’t, plain and simple.

To be fair, the news service is not our enemy. But let’s call these attacks what they were – terrorist acts carried out by murderous cowards who try to hide behind bogus religious rhetoric to justify their actions. If this is what their god is about, we need to help these thugs meet their god. Our country, as well as the rest of the free world, shouldn’t have to suffer their existence.

Perhaps, as Reuters is attempting to be, our country has been overly sensitive when it comes to things such as intelligence gathering. We have distanced ourselves from associating with known criminals because that doesn’t look good in a politically correct, human-rights-conscious country. It’s no surprise that intelligence can be a dirty game. You don’t get top information hanging out with the boys’ choir.

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“I think we’ve been rudely awakened,” says owner-operator Bill Maloney of Rye, N.Y. “We’ve been laid back and living the good life and trying to be too nice. Heck with all this political correctness business. I just hope that we don’t slip back into the way it was before Sept. 11. We’re going to be more inconvenienced for a while, but we’ve got to focus on security now.”

It may be a long time before we feel totally secure again. Maybe we shouldn’t. It makes us too vulnerable. We need to be more vigilant and more inquisitive of what goes on around us. A few people may even get their feelings hurt now and again as we all take a stand against terrorism. But that’s much better than suffering the pain of helplessly watching thousands of innocent people die.

While our security can never be 100 percent foolproof – and we possibly face more attacks now that we’ve begun military action against terrorists and their sympathizers – we can take heart in the fact these worthless murderers didn’t break the spirit of the American people. Instead, they brought about a sense of patriotism that hasn’t been seen in such force in this country
since World War II.

The backbone of the United States is its working class – the truckers, firefighters, police officers, construction workers and countless volunteers – people who are used to sacrifice and adversity. They are the ones who were on the front lines immediately following the attacks on New York City and Washington, D.C.

They are the true freedom fighters.

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