Salon's war stories

A letter from the editors

Published March 19, 2003 2:28AM (EST)

Dear Salon reader:

Truth, the saying goes, is war's first casualty. In the case of the looming U.S. invasion of Iraq, truth started taking hits long before the shooting started. As you may have read last month in Salon, according to a poll taken in January, an astonishing 44 percent of Americans believe that most or some of the 9/11 hijackers were Iraqi.

And why shouldn't the U.S. public be so confused, when the Bush administration has spent the last year collaborating with a compliant conservative media establishment to take America's outrage at the al-Qaida terrorists and redirect it against Saddam Hussein, instead? So what if, despite what must have been frantic scouring of intelligence files, Bush's hawks have been unable to provide a single shred of credible evidence that Iraq had anything to do with 9/11, or that al-Qaida and Saddam share anything other than enmity toward the U.S.? When it comes to mobilizing a population to accept the inevitability of war, American history -- from "Remember the Maine" to the Gulf of Tonkin -- shows that the truth is only an impediment, anyway.

Here at Salon, in this wrenching time, we are doing our best to unearth and spotlight truths that the rest of the media misses or muddies. Your national newspapers and TV networks will provide you with the reports -- carefully reviewed by military censors -- of journalists who have been "embedded" in American military units. In Salon you can instead read the dispatches of Phillip Robertson, the brave reporter who filed for us from Afghanistan during and after the war there, and who now -- having slipped across the border into Iraqi Kurdistan on an inflatable raft in the dead of night -- will offer us an unsanitized, unofficial view from the ground in northern Iraq.

This week we've also provided Jake Tapper's chilling report on the vulnerability of U.S. chemical manufacturing plants to terrorist mayhem -- a danger that the U.S. Senate has not been able to bring itself to counter. (After all, terrorism may demand the erosion of civil rights and privacy, but regulating industry is going way too far!)

Then there was Farhad Manjoo's account of the U.S. firms that are first in line to profit from the postwar rebuilding of Iraq -- including Kellogg Brown & Root, a subsidiary of Halliburton, the conglomerate that continues to write checks to its former CEO, Vice President Cheney.

As you can see, this isn't run-of-the-mill coverage. Every day we ask ourselves how we can go beyond the American media's Beltway-bound conventional wisdom and provide the sort of independent, original, in-depth journalism that makes your mind feel just a little clearer. And every day we're humbled and honored to know that so many of you -- nearly 60,000 as of today -- have seen the value in what we do, and ponied up for your daily Salon.

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Scott Rosenberg
Managing editor

By Salon Staff

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