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Friday, 21 August, 1998, 22:41 GMT 23:41 UK
US air strikes: What you think
I hope the US and Britain view terrorism all round the world in the same way that it views terrorism detrimental to its national interests.
Chirag, USA

The U.S government has stooped to the level of ordinary terrorists to pay them back in kind, by ordering the strikes against the supposed terrorist bases. Are they forgetting that they were the very people who armed and trained so many of these terrorists in Afghanistan during the days of the cold war from bases in Pakistan? The U.S had armed them to the teeth and then let them loose, and they are now facing the consequences of this. So many of the rag-tag terrorist outfits that roam the world are armed with U.S made and supplied arms. Also, the groups that were suspected in the embassy bombings were not officially sponsored by their respective countries. So the U.S had no right to invade the sovereignity of a country with these attacks. Also, the outpouring of indignation by the U.S was against the death of 12 Americans that died in the bombings, not at the 300 odd local civilians that died there. Exercising restraint is the price we have to pay in a civilised world. Otherwise, half the world would be killing the other three quarters all the time.
George Varghese, India

I think this is an act of aggression on the part of America. I am an American and proud of my country and my president despite his current troubles. However, compelling intelligence evidence for this act has not been shown to me or explained to me by my leaders. I am against air strikes on foreign countries for retaliation of alleged acts of terrorism, when there has been no "'declaration of war" passed by Congress.
Susan Koss, USA

I believe the United States government has made a mistake by using force in an unjustified manner. If someone stole something from me and I retaliated by stealling from two of my neighbours that I simply suspect, with or without solid evidence, that would be wrong. For the United States to go out and bomb two countries because those countries might have terrorist camps or chemical manufacturing plants is, I believe, just as wrong, but wrong on a grand and global scale. Might does not make right. In that the United States is very powerful I suppose she can get away with such un-neighbourly conduct in the world community. But I fear deeply for individual Americans travelling in the world community now and in the near future. I fear that retaliations from parties deeply offended by these American bombings will leave many Americans in great personal jeapordy while traveling anywhere in the world community. And I am sure that the United States government will not be able to protect the interests of individuals on the streets of the world. Moreover, I do not believe the justification for these bombings. I suspect, and it is only suspicion, that three things have occurred in this larger event. One, Clinton has cut off medical supplies to Iraq by virtue of bombing the chemical plant in Afghanistan while justifying that bombing as eliminating a weapons manufacturer. This has the effect of hurting the individual people of Iraq in retaliation for the Government of Iraq stopping United Nations insspections there. Second, Clinton can show immediate resolve against terrorism by bombing someone. I just hope this is not like a father pulling a gun in the middle of the night when hearing a noise in the house and firing only to find he has killed a member of his family that was getting a drink of water. Third, I believe this strike against two countries that cannot defend or respond was engineered to get the heat off Clinton's personal problems. As I have said, I would not be justified for such a bold retaliation in my personal neighbourhood affairs. I think people would say "two wrongs don't make it right." I don't think the United States Government was justified with bombings in a global neighbourhood affair. Also, I think it was engineered for reasons other than vigilanty justice for bombings in Africa. I fear that the "grass roots" terrorist response for these bombings may jeapordize Americans everywhere in the world.
Jim Schmidt

First, I would say that terrorism must be stopped. I feel hurt by the fact that so many civilians were killed or injured in the bombings of American embassies. But somehow I feel America deserved it. Why? Because, these (terrorists) are the same people, who were being financed and were being given most sophisticated arms by US administration. By birth I am an Indian. The terrorist activities in India are indirectly supported by the USA. When some terrorists come and kill 25 innocent villagers (in execution style), there is hardly any reaction from the US government. This is the US goverment which always talks about the value of human life. The US goverment is nothing but a state sponsoring terrorism all over the world. For the US government, "value of life" means "value of American life". The US government has no respect for people living in other countries. If the US government wants to end terrorism it should create a special UN treaty (I am sure all democratic countries would support it), to ban terrorism EVERYWHERE, and by EVERYONE, including covert operations by governments. And every country MUST support everyother country in fight against terrorism. I feel that this action by the US administration was simply to spruce-up the image of the US president. The US government must be punished for this action in the international court, for violating international laws and killing civilians in other coutries.
Ashok, USA

I can fully understand the Americans' perceived need to attack suspected terrorist sites, but the consequences of such agressive actions on foreign soil have been gravely underestimated. These attacks will only serve to escalate the number and severity of terrorist actions on American citizens all over the world, but also increase political tensions between all nations (including allies) and the US. The world is not an American playground (or battle ground).
Dan Fishlock, Canada

Although I do not advocate war by any means, the use of strategic military force against nations intent on violent, oppressive or terrorist activities is totally justified. Claims from the Afghanistan speaker that there are no military targets in the areas attacked are ridiculous. Anyone with any knowledge of the current levels of American military spy technology knows that they are hardly capable of such a mistake and they would never risk an attack unless they were absolutely certain that it was valid in this political climate. The American action is, I must say, something of an ill-timed operation. Whether the Lewinsky case had been occurring or not, such military action was likely, however one can't help but wonder if it is being used as overshadowing. Further counter-attacks by the Jihad movement will simply result in an excuse for the United States to launch an all-out offensive against Iraq and its allies - something which the US have been looking for an exuse to do for a long time. Personally I think that powerful relatiation by the Americans after the terrorist attack was a strong move, however I fear that this show of intolerance and patience may cost as all dearly.
Gavin M Rymill, UK

Being an American I support President Clinton and his decision to strike flagged terrorist sites. Because the story has only been in the headlines for a couple of days, people don't realize the enormous amount of time (and money) the CIA, FBI, ATF, and Secret Service have spent on gathering intelligence regarding radical terrorist organizations. Wars breed invention and the cold war was not an exception. I cannot fully describe American intelligence capabilities, but when I see a satellite image of my house with my car out front on the Internet, I think it is safe to say that the attacks were carefully researched. However I do believe the attacks will ONLY bring about more violence, and that is what I am afraid of.
Ben Vineyard, USA

I think US and Clinton shouldn't have done such an action. It's not a clever idea to retaliate for terrorism using armed force. There were some other solutions to revenge on terrorists. I can't help thinking that Clinton wanted us to forget about Lewinsky's scandal. They've just made some Arabic countries as enemies of US and other western countries. I'm worrying it will cause a real war. And if it comes true, how many people lose their lives and their most important people? Also, I was disillusioned when I heard Japanese government's reaction. They haven't said whether they stand by US side or not (however Clinton misunderstood their statement). I hope this situation will finish without any more blooding.
Tsuneo Noda, Japan

The attacks made by the US are truly reprehensible. Mr Clinton's reaction is truly dubious and someone who has lied to his family, his government and country cannot be trusted. How is it that information about the terrorist attacks in Kenya and Tanzania are found so quickly (with U.S officials still searching for evidence in Kenya) and yet two years on they still have no information on the bombings in Khobar, SA. Whatever 'compelling evidence' they have found, everyone knows that Mr Clinton's compelling reasons were to divert attention from his domestic troubles. A few million dollars of cruise missiles would ensure that his legacy is not forever tied to Monica Lewinsky.
N.P, USA

I think this is a very inappropriate and irresponsible act by US. The US has no right to act like that. These strikes are a direct violation of international rules and regulations. The security and peace of rest of the world is in jeopardy. President Clinton is simply trying to distract attention from the Monica Lewinsky affair. If you look by the perspective of Afghanis and Sudanese, the killing of innocent people, including children and women, as a result of these strikes is an act of terrorism. I strongly condemn the bombing in Tanzania and Kenya, but I do not support these kind of strikes against any country. What is World court for? It would have been much better if US had contacted the World court. Ironically the US is now striking those people (Afghanis) who fought on behalf of the US for ten years to win the battle against former USSR.
Asad Qureshi, Canada

I would say that the US is reaping what it had planned. All this points to the failure of US foreign policies. This bombing is not a step to eliminate the root cause of terrorism. No way the terrorist attacks should be justified. But the credibility of Clinton administration and the dual policies of US to certain countries has to be thoroughly examined.
Xiao-Ming Sun

Anyone with any humanitarian feelings will condemn the US bombings in Afghanistan and the Sudan. The simple fact is that the US government has an extremely poor record when it comes to telling the truth. Nixon denied the US had bombed Cambodia in 1970. Later the world learned that Cambodia was suffering extensive bombing by the Americans, ordered by Nixon before his public denials. During the Gulf war we were shown, evening after evening, videos of the US' so-called "smart bombs" hitting what we were told were only military targets, made possible by the military's advanced technology. Some years later it emerged, in an extremely low-key press release, that in fact the technology was largely over-rated and not able to distinguish "military" from "civilian" targets after all, with the loss of the lives of thousands of innocent bystanders. Horror at the bombs at both US embassies doesn't, in any civilized view, allow the US carte blanche to bomb whomsoever it pleases. Given the US government's record of lying, I find it hard to believe that once again, hundreds or thousands of innocent bystanders haven't been killed or maimed by these bombings. The US says it's only bombed terrorist targets. The US' record on these matters strongly suggests otherwise.
Paul Sutcliffe, New Zealand

It's a well-known fact that Mr Laden was created by Americans to fight the Russians in Afghanistan. So it is also plausible that Mr Clinton is using this relation with Laden to kill few "non-white Americans" and create a sensation and in turn go for war. This plan can easily divert people's attention and he gets rid of the sex scandal. Well planned Bill ! You have the right piece of American brain.
Ripon B, India

I am a 22 year old male in the State of North Carolina, in the US. I believe that the attack on the terrorist activities, although provoked, violated the sovereignty of those nations attacked. Although provoked, we can not interfere with persons in foreign territory without the consent of those nations (unless, of course, the nation is the subject of our assault). Any logical person can see that the nations that were victim to this attack cannot react any but the same way we would act if a foreign nation launched an attack on, say, a small ranch in California engaged by drug smugglers. Our most obvious option is severe diplomatic protest, and possibly retaliatory military strikes. The only thing that saves the US from out-right war is our obvious military power. I therefore urge the readers of this, and the nations of the world, to peacefully condemn my government for its premature activities; and to urge cooperation in the future with the authorities governing the people and the groups that would be our enemies.
Phillip Jones, USA

Here's one American who id deeply ashamed at the atrocious, illegal, and immoral attack on Sudanese and Afghan peoples. I believe my own country is the greatest threat to international peace, a rogue atate that has suborned terrorism around the globe for its own purposes at the cost of countless lives. After all, Bin Ladin is "our guy": we trained him and his cronies in order to drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan and are indirectly responsible for his bloody arsenal. It was the U.S. who drowned the Middle East in weaponry during the Cold War, propped up murderous dictators. And, worst of all, any weapons of mass destruction Bin Ladin may have could have been supplied by the likes of Saddam Hussein, who, according to a Senate report entitled "U.S. Chemical and Biological Warfare-Related Dual Use Exports to Iraq and Their Possible Impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War"(May 25, 1994), received though American suppliers such wonders as Bacillus Anthracis (Anthrax) and Clostridium Botulinium (botchulism). Not surprisingly, "these microoraganisms exported by the United States were identical to those the United Nations inspectors found and removed from the Iraqi biological warfare program." So, perhaps like Malcolm X said after the assassination of JFK, "perhaps it's only the chickens coming home to roost"
Nekita Gandy, USA

I suppose that God is also looking down on the Muslim terrorists that are also committing acts of wanton murder and brutality. America may well have lowered itself to the neolithic level of the very people these strikes were aimed at. And it may well be the case that this is nothing more than an attempt to divert unwanted media attention away from the Lewinsky case. But please let's not forget that there are two sides to this whole juvenile facade. Two weeks ago, 250 lost their lives in an unprovoked attack by Islamic terrorists. Why then, are people so quick condemn and criticise one side? The question is not, 'Was America right to do this?' because the answer is clearly no. But most people responding in this talking point seem to demonstrate the kind of casual amnesia for the chain of events leading up to this incident so common among the brainless fundamentalists. I'm not sure which is more terrifying, the ridiculously self-righteous American democracy which seems to justify any action in the cause of (democratic) freedom or the ridiculously brainless Islamic fundamentalism which seems to justify any action in the cause of (Islamic) freedom. Ever heard that expression, six of one, half a dozen of the other?
Greg Turner

I condemn these air strikes. These strikes are based on insufficent evidence. Though US law may allow such air strikes, US must realise that US law does not apply across international boundaries. I feel that US did this to rebuild its "international policemen" which has been tarnished in the last few months. The US should realise that Afghani and Sudanese lives are equally important for those countries and these countries are bound to retaliate more strongly. Another reason might be to move the cameras away from the Bill-Monica affair. In the next few decades, I feel that the US will have hundreds of enemies and only handful of friendly nations to its side. The US should also realise that religion plays a very important role in Islamic nations (as in mine) and try to respect the sentiments of these people instead of calling them "fundamentalists".
Mangesh Gokhale, India

These attacks epitomise a large powerful country with an immature government who feel like they can do what they want, when they want. I think Clinton has been reading too many Clancy novels, from now on he should be known as Clancy Clinton. So much for democracy - since when do the few have the right to decide world policy? Surely all this action can be is a smokescreen for Clinton's domestic failures and all this action can do is strengthen the terrorists' resolve to continue their fight against the Americans and all the innocents who happen to be near them at the time. Now is not a good time to be standing next to an American!
John Wyatt, UK


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