At our annual meeting last Fall, The Montana Professor's editorial board decided to turn our Spring 2002 issue into a special issue of the journal dealing with the terrorist attacks on September 11. Jack Jelinski and I volunteered to serve as guest editors. All the material included here is appearing for the first time, with the exception of the section of editorials--and those, reprinted with permission from various Montana newspapers, were all penned by Montana academics.
Jack and I are extremely pleased by the diversity of the issue. The contributions address a range of topics related to 9/11--from the potential threat to civil liberties posed by the "US-Patriot Act," to the travels of a Montana professor in the Arab world, to the response of a Holocaust survivor, to the World Trade Center attack. To gather more material, we also conducted surveys on our respective campuses, soliciting views on both the attacks and America's subsequent "War on Terrorism." We received a wealth of thoughtful responses, a selection of which are printed here in a "Readers' Forum."
Not only are the topics covered diverse, but so are the opinions expressed, which span the political spectrum from strong support of America's war against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda to equally strong denunciation of American foreign policy both before and after September 11. In creating such a forum, this special issue carries on, we believe, perhaps the most important role of the university in a democratic society--that is, as a sphere in which vital issues past and present can be discussed and debated substantively and in a spirit of openness and mutual respect.