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Last Updated: Wednesday, 3 August 2005, 13:08 GMT 14:08 UK
The Power of Nightmares: Your comments
UK Prime Minister and US President George W Bush stand behind a picture of Osama Bin Laden
The Power of Nightmares examines how politicians have used our fears to increase their power and control over society. It looks at the American neo-conservative movement and its depiction of the threat first from the Soviet Union and then from radical Islamists.

Part one, Baby It's Cold Outside, traces the origins of the modern neo-conservative and radical Islamist movements in the post-war period, how they both saw modern liberal freedoms as a threat to society and how the Soviet Union was represented as "the evil empire".

BBC Two, 2320 GMT
Part 1: Tue 18 January
Part 2: Wed 19 January
Part 3: Thu 20 January

The second programme, The Phantom Victory explores how the two groups with seemingly opposing ideologies, the radical Islamists and neo-conservatives, came together to fight and defeat Soviet forces in Afghanistan.

Finally, The Shadows In The Cave, looks at how in the wake of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the neo-conservatives reconstructed the radical Islamists in the image of their last evil enemy, the Soviet Union - a sinister web of terror run from the centre by Osama Bin Laden in his lair in Afghanistan. And asks who benefits from this?

There have been over 3,000 comments about the series and a selection of these are shown below, reflecting the balance and range of views we have received.

News update:

Your comments:

It is bewildering how the new "elite" and "enlightened" mind works at the BBC. In light of the recent events in London, are you now not the least bit embarrassed to have conceived such lunacy? Did the Neo-Cons do this too? You are but a shell of what once was a brilliant and informative organization. Dear God how shameful!
James Everett, New York, USA

I think quite a lot of the comments missed the point about these series. The program does not deny the existence of terrorists. What it denies is that there is a super-terrorist organization that Osama Bin Laden formed called the Al-Qaeda. A lot of these terrorists acted independently with separate aims, just as Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hezbollah acted independently of each other with different aims. The program is asking us to be sceptical of inflated terror threats fabricated by powers that be and how these inflated threats are being used by politicians for their own ends and means.
Matthew Chan, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

The terrorist events in London this morning cast a shadow over the self-indulgent narcissism of this series. Freedom loving people of liberal democratic governments can and will differentiate between politicians exploiting the war on terror for political advantage and the despotic pure evil we see at work once again today -- perhaps "tele tax" funded BBC documentary makers will someday see the world with similar clarity.
Wallace Brockhoff, Lawrence, Kansas, USA

What's shocking to me is number of people making comments criticizing the film without actually having seen it. This film was wonderfully effective by letting everyone critiqued speak for themselves, rather than be spoken for, unlike some other documentaries, most famously, "Fahrenheit 9/11". After viewing the film, and seeing the radical Islamists and neo-conservatives speak for themselves, it's hard to call it biased or liberal propaganda. It's simply an objective look at the facts behind the scenes, and unfortunately for both groups studied, those facts don't make them look very good. This documentary should be a model for any well-done cinematic essay.
Danny Snyder, USA

Terrorism is a real, very dangerous, but small threat, probably our death-toll will never be larger than that from traffic accident. Tyranny on the part of a very close, very powerful, and inescapable government is less immediately dangerous, but a lot harder to resist and to roll back. I think Bush is one ten thousandth as evil as bin Laden; unfortunately, he's about ten million times as powerful.
John Guilt, Boston, MA, USA

I would just like to add my voice to calls for this excellent series to be made available on DVD. The logistical difficulties of doing so must be far outweighed by the public interest of giving as broad a circulation as possible to all journalism of this quality, whether you agree with its conclusions or not. Making available the recent cut-down version shown at Cannes would be a start but please try for the whole series.
Nicholas Dawson Paul, London

This series was a real eye-opener for me! As an American I find it very difficult to find the truth from our media. They are bought and paid for. I consider myself one of the "more informed" among most Americans. The fact that it caught me by surprise says a lot! Please let me know where or how I can purchase this series so I can throw "wake up parties" and show it to people who are on "the fence" as far as being informed. Thanks you and keep up the good work.
Patrick Chatfield, Ft Lauderdale, FL, USA

In my opinion, the acts of 9-11 played right into the hands of the Bible Belt right-wingers who have always wanted limitations on personal freedoms, with national ID cards, iris photos going through airports. Now police are empowered to use drug-sniffing dogs for no reason other than the profile of the driver, an intimidating prospect. The end result is the terrorists win, making the US live in fear, ever fanned by right-wing politicians making a name for themselves.
Donald Jennings, Slatington, Pa, USA

This is the most intelligent series I have seen come out of the BBC since "Reagan the Cowboy; Will He Start World War III?"
Kraig Martin, Houston, Texas, USA
This is the most intelligent series I have seen come out of the BBC since "Reagan the Cowboy; Will He Start World War III?" No serious terrorist threat? Tell that to the people living in New York. I am amazed that you have the gall to, in essence, equate the philosophies of our American President with those of the men who flew planes into our buildings. Your hatred is blinding and your intellect deceptive.
Kraig Martin, Houston, Texas, USA

I am speechless. Didn't any of you idiots see the twin towers come down? What has to happen in the UK? I suggest you read JFK's thesis: "Why England Slept?" Radical Islam kills and kills and the USA is to blame? What do they put in your drinking water?
Michael Clark, Stockton, CA, USA

Wonderful. Fear is man's most insidious poison, used since the dawn of time for control whether expounded by religion, economy, politics, nationalism, racism, sexism, classism etc. etc. This film is just a starting point for a bigger conversation worldwide, that of man's inability and unwillingness to think for himself. Finally it has made the mainstream in this film after decades of literature being ignored that deals with the same manipulation. Let's hope we can forge ahead from here, because yes terrorism is a threat but ultimately fear fuels terrorism - it breeds hate, revenge, judgement, prejudice, arrogance, greed and envy and adds to the cycle of violence in the world, and worst of all it controls and constrains man's better instincts.
Ami, USA

Thank God there are enough neocons to guarantee your right to watch meaningless tripe like "the power of nightmares." I have served side-by-side with Brits, Canadians and Ausies who understood that there is evil in the world. The BBC, NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN are all full of the pampered of our global society who have never had to face any facet of the real evil humans are capable of. I have nothing but contempt for this type of deluded rationalization. Cheers!
Larry Nevills, USA

Since the election, we have not had one single alert or warning
N. Batchelor, New York, USA
I live less than a mile from what was The World Trade Center and worked as a flight attendant for United Airlines on September 11, 2001. Needless to say, I, like many New Yorkers and Americans, was very traumatized by the events of that day. After 9/11, every time the politicians would announce another threat, I would do just as they said: buy duct tape, make sure the emergency supplies were in order, and sometimes even leave town with my children.

I think I began to realize that the alerts and warnings were being used for political gain on the part of President Bush and his cronies when it was clear that every time there was an alert, his approval ratings would go up. As we neared the 2004 election, we had more and more alerts, one time obviously based on intelligence that was several years old and possibly inaccurate. I did not vote for Bush. Since the election, we have not had one single alert or warning. The official explanation for this is that the color coded system of alert was ineffective and is under review. But still, in the six months since Bush won re-election, not one warning? Not one incident of concern? Not one threat against our safety? I am no longer afraid of Al Qaeda or Islamic terrorism. I am very afraid of The Bush White house. It is clear they will stoop to any level in order to win elections.
N. Batchelor, New York, USA

God help Europe if America ever stops being her friend or bodyguard. I have never seen such Chamberlain-like blindness. Please, for the sake of your children, pull your heads from the sand and see the real world.
David Snook, Raymond, OH, USA

This wildly deluded film... only makes sense when inconvenient facts are excluded
T J Olson, Boulder, Colorado
The problem with this wildly deluded film of "the phantom menace" is it only makes sense when inconvenient facts are excluded such as the many non-neo-con warning voices prior to 9/11. First of all, US President Bill Clinton's own terrorism advisors warned him that Islamists and Al Qai'da were a gathering, uncountered threat - see "The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America" by DANIEL BENJAMIN and STEVEN SIMON (2003). Bill Clinton himself stated that Bush was doing what he would have done under similar circumstances, except that he would have been more persistent in gaining UN authorization instead of committing to war like Bush - another trademark of the former's ineffectualism in foreign policy conduct.

The independent bi-partisan (ie, with both Democrat and Republican party membership) U.S. Commission on National Security set-up under Clinton warned that a devastating terrorist attack on America was imminent.

But even this news didn't lack vivid precedent. Firebrand Rabbi Meir Kahane was assassinated in 1990 after giving a speech at a New York City hotel, by El Sayyid Nosair from Egypt. Nosair was part of a terrorist cell involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, which attempted to do what the 9/11 Al Qai'da group finally achieved: collapse the WTC towers. One member of the 1993 attackers, Abdul Yasim, fled and found refuge under Iraq's Saddam Hussein.

That Al Qai'da was never the sole locus of terrorism - only the most prominent and easily identifiable proruption of anti-Western Islamism - is evident from the book "In the Name of Osama Bin Laden: Global Terrorism & the Bin Laden Brotherhood," by Roland Jacquard. The many primary documents translated into English from throughout the Arabic-speaking world demonstrate its protean sources. Moroccan terrorists threaten French airlines and Algerians threaten Britain's ships. The US is not alone as the target of Middle East terrorists.

PM Tony Blair was among the few wary of terrorism before 9/11. Another was University of Reading philosopher Antony Flew, who warned in 1994 of the likelihood of catastrophic Islamic terrorism after 1993's attempt on the World Trade Center, and based upon virulent Muslim tracts distributed in Great Britain.

Finally, in answer to the many silly and superficial books fingering the "neo-conservative cabal" behind George Bush's policies, a book review entitled Anti-anti-neo-conservatism by University of Virginia professor of politics, Gerard Alexander, answers them. The resort to false and misleading caricature as filmmaker Michael Moore did last year is only one of the many sins of omission and commission committed by critics like BBC producer Adam Curtis.

Thus, for a half dozen reasons and more, this "documentary" falsely claims that Bush is a neo-con toady and that the threat of Islamist terrorism is chimerical. These claims are falsified by the facts.
T J Olson, Boulder, Colorado USA and The University of London,

Most New Yorkers feel completely alienated from the rest of this country while also being hated by the rest of the world

Anna, NYC
It's hard for me to say the threat isn't there. My friend's brother died in the South Tower and my husband and I found ourselves running for our lives on 9/11 caught in that terrifying cloud as the first tower went down. Are New Yorkers scared it could happen again? Of course we are. But most of us are far more horrified at the cynical use of that day's events to undermine our civil rights, to stoke the fires of fear and xenophobia, and to wage war. Most New Yorkers feel completely alienated from the rest of this country while also being hated by the rest of the world. It's a lonely anxious place to be - caught between two fundamentalist agendas, Bin Laden's and Bush's and subscribing to neither.
Anna, NYC

To see what happened on September 11th, but replace it with a nuke or other modern city killer weapon is the concern. The misled ones are the people who can't see forward 15 years, when an unchecked proliferation lands ONE weapon like this in the wrong hands. We opened Pandora's box in creating weapons like nukes, but they are created and will never "uncreate" themselves.
John Pol, Chicago, IL

There are no "Neo-Conservatives" in America. America is about centrally one thing: liberty
Kelly, Aspen, USA
I have not seen the series. I will make the effort if I can figure out a way not to give money to these people. But there are no "Neo-Conservatives" in America. America IS about centrally one thing: liberty. To the average European, liberty as a national psychic assumption must seem like a swing to a primitive past that they have been conditioned to think is about selfishness and bigotry. It makes paying 60% of their incomes for life so much easier to accept. Those who live in a society that requires personal responsibility and in exchange gives great personal freedom will never fully understand those who think in terms of tribe, nation, race and every other group that makes up the Left politically in the West.

Islam is not the enemy, nor do the vast majority of Americans think this to be the case. The issue was medieval governments suppressing the creative life force of young people and primitive fanatics using the produced violent frustrations as tools. Free markets can produce temporary problems, but they also produce a flow of human ideas and energy that is... the most fair and stable force for human welfare on the planet. The Middle East can only be brought fully into the 21st century with respect for its traditions... but its violent intolerances and fascist governmental economic control must be overturned and it will require military action as well as understanding and... time... like the Cold War.

As for debating the fact of Islamic Terror... call it what you will... every day children and adult innocents are blown up and brutally suppressed by Islamic fanatics in Iraq, but this fact is apparently evidence of nothing? And... these people have their counter-parts in America correct? Of course there is ignorance and bigotry in American... one can find anything in 300 million free people... but the reasons Bush won has more to do with the march of the very forces of deconstruction... that the film apparently pretends to address... forces that emanate from the LEFT.
Kelly, Aspen, USA

I've waited for this argument to be made. Here in the Washington, D.C. area, I've seen how our lives were disrupted for an extended period by a domestic sniper firing out of the trunk of a rusted sedan. More recently, I've seen the capitol area fly into a complete tizzy over a lost Cessna. If there were terrorists hiding under our beds, they would have seen these events too, and sought to emulate the terror-like disruptions. Thankfully, there doesn't seem to be any terrorists (or Iranian folk singers) around to pluck this easy, low-lying fruit.
Paul Miller, Woodbridge, VA

I have not seen the moronic film. As an American I am sick and tired of the DREAMING Liberals WORLDWIDE and that includes, you Euros. You had better wake up and quit your dreaming. Reality is, there is a World Wide Holy War going on. We, the Americans did not start it. The Terrorist did, but We, since you spineless others don't have the guts to do so, WILL FINISH IT, just like all the other times we have had to save your butts.
Paul Herrmann, Kinsport, Ten, USA

It is frightening that somebody can be praised for making a documentary film arguing that terrorism is not a threat to the civilized world when all the evidence to the contrary can be seen in events like 9/11 and the USS Cole attack. I believe that hate for George W. Bush and envy of U.S. power and success in this world drive the kind of illogical thinking that has resulted in this film and the fawning praise shown here for it.
Geoff Ward, Chattanooga, TN, USA

I dare each and every one of you applauding the idea that the danger is not real to watch another video. The video showing people leaping to their deaths to escape the fire in New York.
Robert, USA

I want to buy the entire series on DVD to show my friends. What people in Europe should understand about America is that we have a corporate controlled media that prevents people from seeing the truth. Most people that voted for Bush did so out of ignorance from misleading media information. Please help us and make these programs available for sale in the US. I hope the citizens of the UK know how lucky they are to have the BBC.
Paul Wickliffe, Warren, NJ, USA

Saw this film on the Canadian Passionate Eye. My compliments to the author. I am stunned to see something like this these days, when all they show on TV are "orange alerts", "Islamic terrorists" and Al Qaeda. This is an unbiased view of the events, with a profound analysis of facts and thoughtful presentation of the material, no sticky labels or finger pointing.
Alan, Toronto

This is the best thing I've seen on our CBC in a decade! Amazingly clear and insightful. Thanks!
Warner Davidson, Regina, SK Canada

The threat of Islamic terrorism is not a dream or an illusion, nor is apprehension confined to American 'neo-conservatives'. Consider: (1) the assassination of Bobby Kennedy by an Islamist in 1968, (2) The murder of 241 unarmed U.S. marines in Beirut (3) the USS Cole attack (4) the 1993 WTC car bombing (5) bombing attacks in Saudi Arabia and Africa (6) The Madrid train bombing (7)The WTC bombing 9/11.

It is true that not all these attacks originated with any one particular organization. Nor were they coordinated by a single conspiracy. They did, however, all emerge from the same philosophical well. To deny the menace of Islamic extremism is itself to live in a dream world.

"Liberals" like to opine that there are moderate Moslems, which is true, but it misses the point. The way to encourage moderates of any movement or cause is to frustrate and turn back the extremists within it. Success only feeds on itself. It is the 'Liberals' who are dreaming, and their dream concerns the non-existent extreme right in the U.S. (and for all I know the U.K.)
Richard W. Metz, Sanibel, Florida

As I watch my country choked and deluded by a handful of powerful men, I weep and am grateful to find that there are still those, like Adam Curtis, and the BBC who are willing to peer behind the curtain. For those of us who have watched the neo-conservative movement grow, there is nothing surprising in these documentaries but it is comforting to know that there are others whose judgement and perception have not been clouded by fear and xenophobia.
Anon, NYC

Congratulations on your Bafta award for best factual series - very well deserved for such an objectively intelligent and enlightening documentary.
Andy Marsh, Sheffield

This was, and is, a truly fabulous articulation of the manipulation of the terrorist situation. (a little unintended poetry there). Will you be showing it again? Canadian CBC ran it just now in April, but I didn't see all of it, and several friends missed it altogether. When will you make it available again?
David S Pankratz, Winnipeg

Amazing film. The strength of this documentary is its ability to provoke thought. I would like to see this film screened across the United States particularly on college and university campuses. If PBS ever gets the courage to show this it could significantly impact American political thought.
Darwin Bond Graham, Santa Barbara, California

This excellent documentary brings to life George Orwell's worst fears about the future of politics being one of controlling the masses for the benefit of the elite through subjecting them to constant fear of a non-existent enemy and through regularly revising history such as the reason for going to war and, indeed, the identity of the enemy. What we have witnessed since 9/11 has been the rapid rise of the neocon agenda, opportunistically utilising propaganda to gain more power over the world's assets in what amounts to blatant imperialism. I am horrified that the UK government has so fully embraced this agenda and that Blair, like Bush, has so clearly been taken in by these lies and has become a crusading evangelist against a fictitious enemy rather than tacking the real issues facing the world. I hope that Adam Curtis's superb documentary plays a part in making people more aware of the truth.
David Levinson, Glasgow

God save us all from men who are convinced that they are right
Shelley Anderson, Netherlands
This is one of the most important documentaries the BBC has ever broadcast. As an American I wish this series would be shown over mainstream television and in classrooms. It is a chilling example of how a small group of extremists - neoconservatives in the US and Islamists in various Middle Eastern countries - can manipulate political processes and religion towards their own ends. God save us all from men who are convinced that they are right. Thank you for this documentary.
Shelley Anderson, Alkmaar, the Netherlands

Finally a voice of reason. I watched the documentary and finally saw logic and clear thinking. I am a Hindu who has been brought up around Muslims and have been infuriated at the misconception of Muslims due to the so called "War on Terror". As Imran Khan stated, "controlled democracy" is what Bush & Co have managed to develop both in the US and Iraq. I sympathise for the people in Iraq and the Americans who have been pawns in this game of corruption and power. I wonder what is so amazing about the concept of democracy when, look at us, people see what is going on in this world. Power, greed, propaganda and lots of innocent victims have enabled the Bushes to become rich and powerful whilst all of us are seeing such injustices yet in this so called democracy...cannot do anything.
Bhavna Patel, London

Well done Mr Curtis & BBC. Nice to see the old tradition of well researched TRUTHS and REALITIES confront the miasma of illusions, lies and deceptions presently being touted as reality by much of the mainstream media. As George Orwell once wrote: "During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." I found your documentary to be both truthful and revolutionary.
Francis Ayley, London

Is there any criticism of this series that holds water beyond the moronic tones of: "Curtis is wrong, terrorism does exist"? Also I think that many are ignoring another important factor of the piece when they try and use it as evidence that the US is evil. As identified in the programme it is only the extreme Neo-Con Straussians that are the problem. It's not even the whole of the Republican party that are driving the inflated lies about terror. As with the threat of Islamic extremists not being a reason to vilify Islam, likewise a few Neo-Cons with influence should not see us treating the whole of the US the same way.

One of the most worrying parts of the equation for me was the media's role. With a strong credible media that steered away from sensationalism, and didn't cater to viewing figures, politicians wouldn't be able to get away such lies. The BBC itself has been guilty of reporting fear as fact.
Paul, Manchester

Whether or not one agrees with their conclusions, these documentaries form an intelligent, thought-provoking, brave and brilliantly researched contribution to the debate we should be having. The BBC should now take the opportunity to host that debate - it should ask the Prime Minister, the US government, Islamist leaders and Adam Curtis all into a studio to discuss these allegations on live TV. Go on, please do it - it would be the most important public service that this public service broadcaster could ever perform!
Jessica, London

One of the best documentaries I have ever seen. I might take question with some of the tone of the piece, though this is perhaps because I am a neocon. I could talk your ear off about how I think that freedom is the birth right of all humanity, but consider this: What is Europe's "unique" goal?

The Islamists have their unshakable convictions about the decadent West. The Neocons have their near religious zeal for universal human freedom. And it could be as easily argued that the Europeans have an ideological attachment to some very vague and theoretical changes to our environment. Just something to think about while we are being introspective.
Will Rogers, Los Angeles

As a member of a global Islamic political party... I thought your account of recent history was holistic, unbiased, and pretty much watertight
A. Rahman, London
As a member of a global Islamic political party that is working to peacefully re-establish the Caliphate system (in the Muslim world, of course), and as someone who has studied the various Islamic movements of the 20th century, I thought your account of recent history was holistic, unbiased, and pretty much watertight (even though it was not continuous, as was probably intended) and I found myself agreeing with the vast majority of opinions expressed especially with regard to the irrational idealism and frustration seen at both extremes of the ideological spectrum.

My one fear is that in an attempt to destroy any notion of political Islam which threatens Western interests abroad, the Western media which created the term "Islamist" will now make it a "dirty word" synonymous with violence and intellectual bankruptcy, which political Islam (for anyone that has studied it) clearly is not.

My one request is please make a more clear distinction in future between those who are employing non-violent, political strategies to unite the Muslim world and re-establish the Islamic state (who number millions), and those relatively tiny few featured in your programme who use violent (and in my opinion, forbidden) means to achieve the same end goal. I stress this because the former uses intellectual arguments to win over Muslims to an Islamic political system and the latter (al-Qaeda) uses terrorism, irrationality, and, as you rightly pointed out in your documentary, fear.
A. Rahman, London

Maybe in future you could produce a documentary on curbing Islamophobia that is so prevalent in today's society with the same conviction and tenacity as shown in the 'Power of Nightmares'. I know this would go down a treat and more importantly would benefit society.
Mohammed Sadiq, Dewsbury

Do not underestimate a population's ability to put up with the harsh laws enacted by the "War on Terror". The nightmare laid out will weave its way into our society and become normal and everyday.
Shane Dillon, London

Such insight and uncovering of the ability of so few to mislead so many with such extraordinary potential consequences for our future must be sustained by all of us who want a truly fair world: not one in which a nation that constitutes 5% of the global population, consumes 25% of the resources, accounts for 40% of the world's arms expenditure and has troops stationed in over 170 countries is allowed to portray itself as the nation of universal democracy and peace.
Roy Jones, Hurley

This is the most informative documentary I have ever seen on the BBC. It paints an interesting comparison between the neo-conservatives and the Jihadists. I do however disagree with certain points raised about the history of the so called Islamists.

I do not think that Sayyid Qutb was a pioneer with regards to his thoughts. Anyone who has studied the history of Islamic revivalist movements will know that he in fact borrowed his concept of society (such as was presented in the milestones) and it's corruption from Sheikh Taqiuddeen al Nabhani who was the founding member of Hizb-ut-tahrir in 1953. Therefore the ideas of Western corruption and the need for an Islamic state were already in existence, while Sayyid Qutb was still toying with the ideas of humanitarianism.

I disagree with the assertion that the Islam as a mass movement failed. It could only have failed if an attempt had been made in the first place. The likes of Ayman Zawahiri made no attempt to change the ideas within the society. Rather what they did was initiate actions without providing any intellectual debate. I therefore think the programme slightly exaggerated the influence of Ayman Zawahiri, in the context of the overall struggle.
Hassan, Harrow

Many Muslims believe that it is not 'Islamic terrorism' that Western governments really fear, but the unexpected rise of Islamic political paradigms
Julian Symes, Brighton
Many in the West now believe that the Muslim world is more polarised than it really is, with "Islamists", a minority committed to specifically Islamic politics, on one side, and "plain Muslims" - the majority, assumed to be politically secular, and thus "modern" - on the other. This is very misleading. In fact Islamist thought, or to put it another way the question of how to create expressly Islamic society, is emphatically mainstream.

On the other hand, few Muslims have any sympathy at all for the extreme violence of some fanatical groups. The suggestion that Islamists have become more and more extreme as a result of their frustration at the failure of their arguments to convince the Muslim masses does not bear scrutiny. A more sober and less paranoid analysis would see it as a straightforward and inevitable consequence of the decades of suppression of legitimate debate on the political role of Islam that has characterised the politics of many majority-Muslim countries, notably Egypt.

Many Muslims believe, with good reason, that it is not "Islamic terrorism" that Western governments really fear, but the unexpected rise of Islamic political paradigms that pose a serious challenge to Western liberal political norms.
Julian Symes, Brighton

As a Muslim I just want to say thank you so very very much for teaching the public that we are not some crazed maniacs trying to take over the world. I've lived in England all my life and a work as a social worker, I have never really felt any prejudice. All that changed after 9-11. Yes Muslims are angry at the injustice in Iraq, Palestine etc backed by certain governments, and the only real way to stop the 'idea' the program talked about being the real threat, is to solve the root cause of the problem - Injustice in our foreign policy, and not more bombs. The BBC must have a DVD of this program.
J Bukhari, London

Powerful. Adam Curtis didn't rediscover the force of gravity but with this landmark work he did contribute definitely in redefining the gravity of modern politics. The Neo-cons with all their radical religious beliefs couldn't imagine an enemy other than extremist Islamism because at the end they join each other in the same way as we join the two extremities of a line and turn them in a circle. The Neo-cons have found in the deep lethargy of the Islamic world and its incapacity to modernize its politico-cultural corpus a good reason to exploit it in this hideous manner. Adam Curtis went where few of the front line journalists risked crossing and hopefully his work will lead to a better understanding of the black things going on inside the White House.
Issam Remihi, London

Should I destroy my holiday videos, travel maps, photo's of famous landmarks taken on holiday with my wife in the foreground, or just put my hands up now?! Great series, four more programmes!!
Liam Quinn, Dublin

Ironically the very real and dangerous threat - which we now know does exist - is being ignored while politicians do nothing but window dress the problem -- climate change. The recent Horizon programme on global dimming showed how dangerous this is but tackling it isn't politically expedient.
Jeremy, Bath

Well done Mr Curtis & BBC. You have confirmed what I have always believed and knew to be true, but didn't have the facts to prove it. As a practising Muslim, I subscribe to one world & hold everyone's life as valuable. Your documentary must be shown at an earlier time so that the masses can wake up to reality & we as a community & nations can live in peace.
Sajjad Hoque, London

Let's just get back to normal and concentrate on the real issues within our own country
Dai Stinchcombe, Cwmbran
I feel that there is no evidence of a global threat from Al-Qaeda or any other Islamic group directed at the UK. I feel it's an over-exaggerated threat in order to legislate (in a big brother way) greater controls over the general public by government in an attempt to frighten us into submission to their rule. I hope I live long enough to see true justice against this government and any other governing party who follow suit in this farcical dream of terror. Let's just get back to normal and concentrate on the real issues within our own country.
Dai Stinchcombe, Cwmbran

I am amazed and delighted by the quality of this program. It had to me the effect that only a few pieces of art had managed to achieve. It spoke to my heart and to my mind simultaneously. It made me feel human and political. It made me think and laugh. In general it was so uplifting. It opens your eyes, it is simple, clever and clear. It brings hope that pure reason, awareness and humanity can work together really well.
Vasilis Kalopisis, a Greek in Edinburgh

A somewhat scary insight and overview of the forces that have been assembling over the years in the world. Clearly the product of a world antagonistically enjoined and polarised by the only true religion, the competitive market place. One thing is for sure conflict = friction which CO2, and Neo-Conservatism = oil = C02. Are we witnessing the beginning of the end? Is this the frightening thunder roll of a species that has not quite got the bigger picture, that fails to see the seed of its success is also the seed of its own destruction but just can't get off the couch.
John K, Kilmarnock

As you mentioned, the threat of mass extreme fundamentalism achieving power and gaining control over numerous states may not come to pass for it has been rejected by the mass of Muslims. However one worry is that this could happen in Saudi Arabia where the nascent sect of Islam is extreme and directly supportive of Bin Laden. The effect on the global economy that would occur should that government be replaced by one of hard-line Wahhabi fundamentalists aligned with Bin Laden's goals is, in my mind, something to be more concerned about than the sporadic (though devastating) effects of major terrorist events. Not that the USA, Britain or any of the major powers, will allow such to happen.
Dr. William Sampson, Penrith

An excellent piece of journalism which provoked a lot of resonances for me. The themes of fundamentalist vanguards offering salvation from creeping decadence by identifying a covert and conspiratorial threat is straight out of Reich's Mass Psychology of Fascism. He was right and so are you. The motif of an incomprehensible (and self inflicted?) outrage forging a global unity against an imaginary foe is contained in Alan Moore's classic 'Watchmen'.
Steve Cook, Lancaster

Muslims generally stay away from making any comment when it's something related to ¿terrorism' or ¿Usama Bin Laden'. I couldn't resist myself. The series were excellent both for its contents and narration. I suspect, it was not the ambit of the programme, however, it would have been better if Mr. Curtis could highlights the plight of the Muslims due to this overwhelming power of imagination. No one would deny that every society has "bad apple" or "poison", despite this fact, Muslims throughout the world were blamed en masse and suffered a great deal. We truly believe that history will judge one day and would expose the truth. One last point, not a single bullet fired in the mainland United Kingdom, which can be described as "Muslim terrorism", yet, entire the Muslim community is suffering from prejudice, discrimination and suspicion. Hundreds of Muslims are in prison without trial or any charge, yet, we claim to be the defender of freedom and human rights.
Mohammed, London

A timeline review of events leading to the 19 March 2003 invasion of Iraq, vividly demonstrates the climate of fear which justified this action. It's a long story. One calamitous diagnostic is the term-of-art "Weapons of Mass Destruction" These are really nuclear, high-explosives, incendiaries. Biological and chemical devices do not destroy anything, although they can be lethal. But they are unreliable, expensive, perishable, and much harder to deploy than the others, a good reason why they are used so seldom, if at all. Rather they are mainly devices to cause terror and to deny area access. Most commentaries on them are grossly uninformed and misleading. They contribute mightily to the climate of fear that pervades the U.S. and confound the issues for the public.
(Prof.) Elie A. Shneour, San Diego, California, USA

Thank you BBC for, in this one short series, completely vindicating the existence of the BBC and its independence as supported by the licence fee. Not only a refreshing and clear account of the issues but also a rather uplifting one. A sane alternative to panic and the damage that fear creates. Thank you BBC. You've made the world a better place.
S Short, Rochdale

I studied Politics and International Relations for 7 years before working in various international roles in the High Tech Industry - my main interests have been both the Middle East and Neo Liberalism/Neo Conservatism in the USA. I'd never thought I'd see a programme that showed the convergence of Radical Islamic Terror with the rise of the Straussist Sect in Washington D.C. This deserves a wider audience. I'm sure many channels would be interested in buying this - especially in the Middle East. Many people will know parts of what the programmes explain but few will have the whole picture.
Dino Joannides, London

Excellent programme but why wasn't it broadcast on BBC1 at 6pm, the same time as the fictitious spin, lies and nonsense we are regularly subjected to?
Nick Horton, Porthcawl

More and more people are realising that Muslims are not some evil secret force out to destroy the world
M Jinnah, Ilford
Thanks to programmes like this more and more people are realising that Muslims are not some evil secret force out to destroy the world, I really want to thank you. Muslims are so frightened about those in power who seem to be hell bent on destroying us, that we have set up MPACUK, one of the first Muslim Political lobby groups in the UK to try to get Muslims to join political parties and counter the neo - con agenda. The BBC must get a DVD of this program and we promise that we will send it and have it shown in every mosque in the UK. Thank you so very much BBC for having the guts to air the program again...however it must be earlier next time! (there will be a next time wont there?)
M Jinnah, Ilford

Do not underestimate a population's ability to put up with the harsh laws enacted by the 'War on Terror'. The nightmare laid out will weave its way into our society and become normal and everyday.
Shane Dillon, London

Very informative and interesting programme, affirms the notion that this is a war of propaganda and the media is the pillar that supports this war.
Shaheen Ayoub, Ashton-u-Lyne

Michael Crichton, "State of Fear" points this out and has changed my view of almost everything; I highly recommend it to anyone.
Darren Greenwood, Glasgow

An absolutely spot on and courageous appraisal of the current world political situation. Philosophers and thinkers setting themselves up as the elite and bringing misery on the innocent. In my work as a researcher and author, I have discovered historically similar methods of mind control being exercised by Christianity for over 1500 years. When I discovered that the Celtic cross was really a Neolithic mathematical protractor used for surveying , time keeping, astronomy and navigation, I wondered how the mass of Humanity could be so easily brainwashed so as to fail to see the obvious. Nothing changes, same players different stage.
Crichton E M Miller, Rugby, England

There is good and bad in both the Islamic and Western world, but the majority of both are moderate peoples
Mohammad Hughes, Wakefield
I think this programme brings a counterweight to the imbalance of media coverage. There is good and bad in both the Islamic and Western world, but the majority of both are moderate peoples. It's just that the extremes on both sides are grappling to control the world's attention in pursuit of its own agenda. Neither can hold sway over those who can see the whole picture, ie those looking for the truth without any bias and can sift the facts in the news and reports out there. More programmes like this please at peak viewing times.
Mohammad Hughes, Wakefield

Being a fundamentalist Christian it scares me that an ideology which is supposed to be built on peace, is being used to manipulate the foreign policy of the USA. Also, not all Christians are conservative (in the political sense). This programme should be scheduled again at an earlier time with a big campaign to advertise it. Also, I agree a DVD is a must. Before Bush and the USA start to spin the lies towards Iran and a possibly more serious outcome for the world.
John Cooper, Northumberland

I have been outraged and chilled to the bone by what I have seen and heard. Please try to license it to the United States and internationally. This is not conspiracy theory. This is conspiracy FACT. Thank you for an extraordinary piece of work.
Jessica Lauren, London

Since the USSR has been removed and Saddam and Al-Qaeda have been substituted in its place as the new source of evil why do we still follow the Americans. Iraq and Afghanistan have been destroyed and although the change in regime in those countries is I think for the better it is not the basis for which they were invaded. It just happens to be a beneficial side effect. It just seems that everyone is just happy to say, well what's done is done so it doesn't matter. I'm not anti-American. The general public are nice people but their government needs sorting out.
Soroush Biglari, Leeds

I studied psychology many years ago and learnt about the moment when the internal world and the external world clash in a fundamental opposition
Ciaran, Dublin
I studied psychology many years ago and learnt about the moment when the internal world and the external world clash in a fundamental opposition. This mental event is caused by an experience or new bit of new information and is called cognitive dissonance. It is considered to be a good thing (mostly). Never has my mind experienced such dissonance. This series is like gallons of icy water being poured over you. I don't know if you have a better approximation to the truth in nightmares but I thank you for helping me look at the world in an entirely new way. As my daughter would say "clicks".
Ciaran, Dublin

When I first watched your series, I was extremely pleased and relieved to see that someone like yourself had worked to debunk the popular media and political myths about Islamist terrorism. Your programmes truthfully informed people about the history, context and nature of the real threat. However, I remain disturbed by the fact that the majority of our politicians, newspapers and television companies jumped so blindly onto the bandwagon and were so uncritical of situation. In fact I would go so far as to say that I am almost completely dismayed by that.
Tim Jerram, London

In 1954 a Nobel Prize winning British novelist wrote a story about a group of less-than-wise souls whose belief and trust in rationality and the rule of law breaks down and who end up living in fear of an incorporeal beast lorded over by a tyrannical 'leader' who believes in the rule of force. After seeing this series, it struck me that William Golding's novel is more prescient than I ever realized before.
Phaedrus, Philadelphia, USA

I would like to thank all concerned for making and broadcasting this documentary. It was so compelling that I sent it on to the remainder of my friends and family and even printed a copy for my mother, who isn't 'on-line'. Everyone was gravely concerned by what they read. We wish WE could all get BBC Two so we could watch it ourselves. None of us believed the hype generated by Rumsfeld and company about the threat of Islamic extremists. None of us voted for Bush in either election. This documentary shows that not only were we right in our beliefs but that the country is now heading down a very perilous path. Thank you for your excellent work and for having the courage to show such a controversial (and disturbing) documentary. Sincerely Yours Anne LaCroix
Anne LaCroix, New Britain CT, USA

In programme 2, the Neo-Conservatives, in pursuit of their stated aim to spread freedom and democracy throughout the world were willing to nobble President Clinton and turn their own two-party democracy into a Conservative dictatorship. The irony is fantastic!
Jan, Birmingham, UK

The psychology of terrorism and the political response are opposite sides of the same coin
Will Johnston, Bournemouth
Utterly compelling television - so much rang true. The psychology of terrorism and the political response are opposite sides of the same coin. But where will we and the US people find the politicians to break the cycle? I forget who it was that said that 'the desire to become a political leader should immediately render that person ineligible to stand for office' but it was John Steinbeck who observed in the 1930's that each successive US President needed to be less and less intelligent in order to cope with the increasingly appalling contradictory decisions to be made. Dubya seems to fit the bill!
Will Johnston, Bournemouth

The News is a business, said my economics teacher. It gives the customer what he wants to hear. I am encouraged by the observation that there still exist journalists who value the search for objective truth, carry it out through rational investigation, and are able to broadcast it thanks to the BBC who apparently value critical discussion over dogmatic assertions.
Maximilien, London

Great stuff. More please!!!!!.
Stephen, London

You call it the "politics of fear" and say that terrorism is a politically driven fantasy? The atrocities of 9/11, Madrid and Bali weren't fantasies, they were real. 9/11 required co-ordinated action to implement the attack - this is a very real threat.
Richard Speight, Barnsley, UK First I would like to say that the documentary was very interesting. For me as a Moroccan born and raised in Holland, most of the info was more than expected. It still surprises me that a lot of your people are surprised when they hear these kind of things. It's kinda like the 'un-American' Abu Ghraib abuse. What I would like to point out is something of huge importance. Your country, as well as the rest of Europe, claims to support democracy and freedom etc. How come most of the worlds' dictatorships, which are pretty much all countries from Morocco to Syria or whatever, are maintained by you. You do business with them, you help protect them, and you arrest everyone who opposes them as being a terrorist. I hope you realise that we Arabs are more than aware of this situation, and our children will also be. We hold you, the West in general, as responsible for this situation. And believe me Mr. Curtis, we are not as stupid as you think we are, only our leadership is. This may be a nice topic for your new docu.
Rachid, Amsterdam

I don't believe the neo-conservatives are so idealistic as they are portrayed to be. I think that, at the end of the day, it all comes down to economic interests and that's a point of view that has not - disappointingly - been investigated so far in this series.
Bryan, London

I would like to congratulate you on creating an excellent programme. To me, your views fit the facts. It is just so depressing that the world missed the opportunity to lessen the threats because now I think we will have a real problem.
Nigel Klein, Windsor

Excellence in the media is very hard to come by. However on this occasion I must offer my congratulations. I found it informative but, most importantly reporting the perspectives from both sides was evident and well balanced. However my own personal and rather simplistic observation is that the 'neo-cons', and probably 95% of the American nation want America to remain No.1 in this epoch. Everybody plays to their tune. For me the neo-cons are using socio-tools that allow them to maintain America's economic position - ask anybody what concerns them most and usually it is how much money they don't have. Religion, fear and other psychological tools are employed to maintain the status quo and to provide and fuel the capitalistic growth the America loves. The real cause is capitalism - we all buy into it and there is no escaping it - even the Islamic extremists will eventually be defeated by it. Finally on reflection - I know which side I would rather be on - what about you?
JG, Colne

Isn't blaming it all on various secret cabals of disaffected plotters a bit like blaming the Second World War on Hitler's loveless childhood?
Rob Kenyon, London
By failing to adequately examine the economic causes of both Islamic fundamentalism and Neo-Conservatism, isn't "The Power Of Nightmares" in danger of falling into the same philosophical trap, namely of imposing total responsibility for the current war at the door of a group of wicked, twisted individuals? Surely the Neo-cons aren't motivated purely by idealism, or even the hunger for power. So when do we get a programme about the economic motives for their project? Isn't blaming it all on various secret cabals of disaffected plotters a bit like blaming the Second World War on Hitler's loveless childhood?
Rob Kenyon, London

These programmes have really made a difference to my understanding of 9/11. It's not so big, but still dangerous. There still is a threat. They really did put those planes into those buildings. But mostly I just want to congratulate you on a superb piece of programme making. The splicing & slicing of the footage is so arresting, amusing & bewildering that I've just got to go over it all again. Some proportion & clarity. I salute you.
Martin Hunter, Glasgow

The BBC has shown it can produce first class research work and edit it for all of us to understand. I think the message is two fold: Extremists will be created as a result of other extremists and they will feed on each other's atrocities - real and fantasized - into a spiral of destruction that only finishes when it runs out as their prophesies do not materialize for all to see. There is also the matter of "transference" of self guilt on a colossal scale. When thousands or millions see their own apparent or real failures and cannot blame themselves, they will seek a scapegoat: the other one that is so different to us, MUST be to blame. Besides the "other" is a threat to our very culture, existence, progeny. They should die, say both BUSH and OSAMA. They will even use lies as everything is justified in the search and implementation of the "Truth", their truth. OSAMA et al and BUSH et al are both the opposite sides of the same coin. The coin of the USA and its ideas that have not harvested what they thought they would and on the other a world that refuses to see the "other" as a human brother.
Robbie, Edinburgh/Oban

These programmes are a breath of fresh air. Finally somebody who has the intelligence to start asking WHY. Why do you think we stop our kids doing it as soon as possible - because it's bloody annoying. Transversely the people in power don't want us to ask why either. Which is why they create these phantom enemies.
Tommy McCann, Plymouth

It is crucial that this programme gets translated and broadcast all over Europe for a start. But above this must be made available via video, DVD, anything! It is history and it should be available to all people! I am so proud and relieved to know someone managed to bravely capture those truths. Thank you. It's not often that it pays to be a subject of our occidental society. Very honourable use of television. As it is rarely the case I hope this will inspire more people in reconsidering the ethics of television.
Simon Donger, London

Do you realise you have just created one of the most brilliant, gripping, informative and challenging programmes I have ever seen? I was completely fascinated by your work and I think you should receive a big award. Probably the biggest award. Seriously now - very well done.
Rory Ling, Nottingham

I have just seen pt2 ..didn't know pt1 existed! This documentary is too important not to be re broadcast and released as a DVD/video. Please try and get it released. So many people I know have missed this and want to see it. I would like to buy a copy so that I can go over it again. There is so much to digest, it cannot be done in one viewing. This documentary is not television it is vital information for the general public and must be made available!
John Edwards, Edinburgh

The most important part of this documentary series is the notion that war is a necessary condition for preserving general social cohesion
Cort M. Johns, The Netherlands
Although I find the airing of 'The Power of Nightmares' to be an important contribution to the ongoing debate over the degree of imminent peril posed by international terrorism by Al-Quaida, what is in my opinion of arguably greater threat, is the manner in which both the U.S. and U.K. governments have approached this situation. The ideal role of national leadership should be to calm the fears of its peoples and not churn them up. Doing so only insinuates that the people are too ignorant and uninformed to gauge the seriousness of any threat to their nation's national security without appealing to their more basic fears and instincts. Doing so obviates the ability of our Parliament and Congress to methodically review any perceived threat and work towards gathering more reliable intelligence.

Perhaps the most important part of this documentary series is the notion that war is a necessary condition for preserving general social cohesion. The problem with this theory is that there can never be a time of peace; an enemy must always be created if none exists. It also sends a message to the "enemy" that there is no room for settling manners in a diplomatic manner, but only certain defeat and annihilation awaits them. This can only lead to more and more acts of desperation, ergo extreme terrorist acts. The Orwell's of the last century, although premature in the timing of their depressive predictions, nonetheless, may now again gain plausibility in assessing our 21st Century horizon.
Dr. econ. Cort M. Johns, South Limburg, The Netherlands

Finally something that cuts through the propaganda by stating the facts hidden from the sheep by the wolves. Every person responsible for condemning the world to the Bush administration's second term should be forced to watch this. Please release this on DVD. We've had to wait too long to watch this brilliant series again.
Lisa & Jeff Brouwer, London

Best TV programme I have seen. Curtis provides compelling evidence of exploitation of terrorist attacks to promote the politics of fear but does not deny the reality of terrorism either (a point some of those who gave comments here should consider). Herman Goering said in Nuremberg that it's very easy to get people to align themselves behind their leaders. All you have to do is to say: "We're being attacked". A couple of quotes sum it up for me:
"It is not power that corrupts, but fear." -Aung San Suu Kyi 1991 Nobel Peace Prize
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on. - Sir Winston Churchill
> Looks like truth finally got its pants on with the help of Adam Curtis.
Michael, Barcelona

I thought the programmes were absolutely excellent. The use of a climate of fear to promulgate legislation that would otherwise have no chance of clearing parliamentary (or congressional) approval is quite eloquently demonstrated. Our own Home Office, with its introduction (proposed) of national identity cards, the collection of biometric details of all citizens and the data-warehousing of that information is quite unprecedented. This is not an act of a caring, compassionate administration, it is the act of a cabal of self-sustaining, paranoid, control freaks. A perfect example of quis custodiet ipsos cutodes?
Jerry Wilde, Rickmansworth

I was really impressed by the fresh perspective that you brought to this issue - and I was glad that the BBC gave you the freedom to do so. I have two comments:
1. The visual presentation that you used was propagandistic rather than informative - I much preferred the sound track which was informative and authoritative.
2. You skated over the Madrid bombings - I would have liked to know more about the perpetrators and how they were organised and motivated - it seems like a hole that needs tobe patched.

John Smith, Sardinia, Italy

Your biased view towards this "neo conservative" threat is laughable
Andrew Oh, California
Although I totally disagree with your programme comparing fundamentalist Islamists to Christian fundamentalism, I thought your background history of the roots of Islamic fundamentalism very interesting and opened my eyes a tad bit more. For those that want to know more about 9/11, I suggest you read the 9/11 Commission Report. And if one cannot trust that source, why bother to trust anything at all? Also, your biased view towards this "neo conservative" threat is laughable. Especially with the editing techniques of rapidly zooming in on Paul Wolfowitz's eyes had me rolling.
Andrew Oh, Berkeley, California

The concept of a failing Islamic revolution makes sense. If you ever lived in the Middle East you can see the whole place is modelled on US architecture and road systems. Most all the cars are American. The money is tied to the US Dollar. Even Bin Laden used a Chevy Suburban. Most of the Middle East people want and have the American supplied lifestyle, a lot want to and many do move to America. The fundamentalists lost the objective when their children put on Jeans and Tee shirts instead of local dress decades ago.
Andy Bush, Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA

A lot has been said about this programme. I'd just like to suggest that any who have not seen it before and read these comments make sure they do see it this time around. This was marvellous television which challenges the assumptions of our time. David.
David, Cambridge

While foreign terrorists killed approximately 3,000 people on 9/11, nearly 15,000 Americans are killed EACH YEAR by their own fellow citizens. Yet the Bush administration would have us believe that the greatest threat to America is from foreign sources. Apparently most of America believes this and is willing to let the conservatives waste thousands of lives, billions of dollars and politically destablize the already volatile Middle East by fighting an endless war with an enemy largely created by the effort to stop it from existing.
Kevin Kraft, Santa Cruz, California

As an American born Muslim I find the documentary is on the mind of most people but in the fear of seeming "unpatriotic" in accordance to the "group think" going on here in the States. I am glad a programme like this has arisen. It should be broadcast to many masses of people especially those who believe everything their media and government feed them, without exception or investigation of further possible truth. Most people trust too much, turn their heads and go along with what the majority thinks. To hell with that! Great work! More exposure! Everyone I know will watch this.
Jil, New Jersey

We should be infinitely more concerned about the lies and manipulations the Bush administration is using to wage the so-called "War on Terror." While close to 3,000 innocent victims perished in the tragedy of 9.11, estimates are that over 100,000 innocent Iraqis have died since Bush invaded that country. We should be VERY afraid of the white man who pretends to be good and just while murdering non-Christian, non-white civilians in the name of God. Thank you for your willingness to shed light on such a dark and menacing truth.
Laurie Fosner, San Mateo, CA

Right or wrong, its good to see someone challenging the word of politicians. The worst thing that can come of this is that more people start asking questions, something urgently needed in the current political climate.
RB, London

In recent history, the UK lived with a very real terrorist threat from the IRA. This organisation was organised and did bomb our towns and cities. In comparison al-Qaeda does not seem to have the same capabilities. If it has, where is the evidence. There has certainly been no bombings in the UK on a sustained basis. The programme makers are right. The threat is a fantasy.
Barry, London, UK

Great to see the BBC still has the courage to screen programmes like this in the post-Hutton environment. I can only hope the people who see it have the courage to accept that they have been had.
Tom, London, UK

"Terrorist violence, serious as it is, does not threaten our institutions of government or our existence as a civil community", may be true but another programme recently screened by the BBC showed a hypothetical scenario of terrorism blowing up Saudi oil installations which destabilised the world financially. That is what worries me more than being killed by a bomb.
Richard, London, UK

I saw the Power of Nightmares when it was first shown and it isis brilliant. I commend the BBC for programmes such as this. But who is going to see it this time at close to midnight on BBC Two? It gives the impression of tokenism.
Pamela Gill, Bristol UK

I disagree that al-Qaeda is not a threat to the life of our nation. Just look at 9/11: thousands of normal citizens going about their daily business, wiped out. 9/11 showed that al-Qaeda do not care about innocent civilians, we are all targets to them, therefore the life of anyone in this country is at risk, so they are a threat to the life of our nation.
Mat P, Sussex

It is refreshing that someone can stand back and take a balanced and well informed view of the world
Martin Nercessian, Bolton, UK
It is refreshing that someone can stand back and take a balanced and well informed view of the world, where all around the mainstream media and high ranking politicians paint a picture of immeasurable danger to all.
Martin Nercessian, Bolton, UK

"Whether we would survive Hitler hung in the balance, but there is no doubt that we shall survive al-Qaeda." One nuclear weapon in London may cause 10 times the casualties the UK suffered fighting Hitler. We haven't survived yet.
Bert Preast, Malaga, Spain

Is there any factual evidence that attacks of recent times are in fact not orchestrated by an organisation cocontrolled by a central figure in terms of statistics? If so, are there any changes in the patterns of the attacks?
Dave, London

This programme along with the earlier Century of the Self show that the BBC is still willing to commission seriously thoughtful and intelligent programmes. Much of what was contained in the programme was not new and I was aware of many of the facts. But to see them put together with a philosophical inquiry was simply stunning.
Charlie Blacklock, Bristol

Though I agreeee with your analysis in so far as you describe politicians manipulating the threat of terrorism to their advantage, I think you have left out one crucial point. If a terrorist group of any ideological persuasion was to acquire nuclear or even substantial biological capability then there would be clearly a real "threat to the life of the nation". Life as we know it would be very different if London suffered a nuclear attack.
Saul Herman, Oxford

In response to the question "How can the BBC broadcast the Dirty Bomb programme and transmit the Power of Nightmares?" my answer would be that the BBC - determined to ask questions and look at many points of view - in years gone by, has also transmitted The War Game and Threads, but we haven't been nuked either.
Jonathan Cash, Brighton, UK

It is good to see the BBC showing such an excellent documentary. I am personally tired of the scaremongering by the government and right-wing press, especially when it comes to curtailing our civil rights. It seems that there are very few people in this world who agree that life is a risky venture and you cannot mitigate all these risks.
Vish, UK

It's nice to see the BBC showing both sides of the story. Many in the Muslim community and in the journalistic world have known for a long time that al-Qaeda has never existed. Just because governments say something exists doesn't mean it does - take weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as another example. The media has a very important role to verify the facts and to present the truth but as we all know the media is influenced by many factors and does not or cannot always do this.
Haroon Surma, Preston, England

It's a pleasure to read so many eloquent and passionate comments (on both sides of the fence of this issue). However who among us "ordinary people" really know, for a fact, what is going on in this world. I sincerely believe that our leaders know - but they're not saying (at least not the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth). I say this because I also believe that "our leaders'" motives are not as pure as we hope they would be. I'd bet it's more along the lines of greed and power for them and their greedy and powerful friends (and I can see how various wars and terror campaigns would support those motives). So in the search for the truth (or as close as any of us will ever come to it), my standards are to always keep an open mind to all theories (conspiracy as well as mainstream) and so to vary my sources of information.
Donald, San Francisco, California

Consider the series with Michael Ruppert's "Crossing the Rubicon," with Jared Diamond's "Collapse," with Zbigniew Brsesinski's "The Grand Chessboard," and the U.S. National Security Policy. Within that context, "The Power of Nightmares" extremely powerful and frightening. Then start talking with everyone you know about where we are going and who is taking us there. There may yet be time to avoid the outcome of Easter Island's Collapse if enough people become informed enough to say -- and mean -- No! As Mr. Diamond points out, there may be little time to alter our rush toward the collapse our choices are driving us toward. Acceptance of the neocon nightmares is a major driver in our rush toward and over whatever cliff that collapse will be.
Peter R. Vanderhoof, Port Angeles

Fantastic programme! You need to put this up for sale. One 3 hour DVD. TRUST ME, it will sell more than you could possibly realise. (I want FIVE copies, for a start?!) Top quality!
Bill, London

My appreciation, respects and thanks for a very very well researched and presented three-part series. This sort of journalism begins to show the basic themes that are, and have been, underlying and underpinning world history over the last half century, and more. Of course one can "pick out bits" - here and there - which could be added or rendered more accurately, as some "observers and commentators" have noted. And they are correct.

What is by far the most exciting and impressive issue here, is that this documentation has been made as well as it has - and that it is now available for the public of the world to see and learn from. Congratulations all 'round - there is hope for us yet.
FPA von Dreger, former Professor and Chairman of the Department of Political Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island, Charlottetown, Canada - retired

Perhaps we can also touch on who "funded" all these activities by both the neo-cons and Islamists! They have achieved their purpose in creating fear - "to whose benefit?" we should ask. It is not just the politicians who benefit. Perhaps the bankers should be scrutinized as well.
Harry Zanedin, Singapore

A tour-de-force: elegant, and enlightening. The power of nightmares is oppressive, and ruthlessly exploited by the seekers of power. There have been similar efforts throughout history. How the medieval church terrorised the faithful with visions of hell. Your programme itself is part of the cure. Nobody who saw it can be fooled so easily in future. It was a relief to find that programme makers have not been fatally cowed by government attacks. Just enthralling.
Martyn Dyer-Smith, Carlisle

An excellent programme and an example of public service broadcasting at its best. I am surprised to read comments from other viewers who criticise the programme for suggesting that the terrorist threat does not exist. On the contrary, I think the programme successfully differentiated between the acts of terrorism that have been/are being perpetrated around the world, and the dangerous belief that these acts are carried out by a centrally-controlled, co-ordinated organisation run by Osama Bin Laden.

One of the strengths of the programme was the manner in which it placed current events in a wider historical context. However, it is a pity that the programme suggested that the neo-conservative's aims were largely ideological - America's role in the world etc. Control of raw materials and markets are such a significant part of the American strategy that it was a pity that the programme didn't include this aspect of American policy.

Whilst we are all thinking about these "Nightmares" we are deflected from thinking about other issues that the Bush administration, and others, would rather we forgot. Whilst the war on terrorism is seen as the main threat, issues such as Third World debt and global warming are quietly ignored. Perhaps these should be the subjects for Adam's next programmes?
Peter Rooke, Oxford, UK

The Englishman William Ockham (Ockham's razor) would be proud. Adam Curtis has fit the pieces together nicely. Thank you.
Tom, Santa Fe, NM

I add my voice to the others before me. I, too, was directed to this programme on an American website, and I have, in turn, tipped off my (college-level) Religious Studies students. "The Power of Nightmares" programme will be required watching in Fall 2005 when my new course on World Religions is launched.
Melanie Mineo, Westhampton, NY

Your readers should know about an article entitled "Did North Korea cheat?" by Selig Harrison, in the journal, Foreign Affairs where he develops the argument that something quite similar has been happening with regard to North Korea and its presumed enriched uranium programme.
Chuck Cliff, Copenhagen

I watched this documentary in a sociology class and was thrilled that finally someone was saying what I had been suspicious of all along
Kelly O'Dell, Laramie, Wyoming
I watched this documentary in a sociology class and was thrilled that finally someone was saying what I had been suspicious of all along. As a college student, I have been increasingly angered by the political policy in this country and The Power of Nightmares to me is a priceless piece of work. This is a documentary that everyone - especially Americans - should see.
Kelly O'Dell, Laramie, Wyoming

Although this is brilliant, the documentary suffers from a similar malady to one it condemns, simplicity. I understand this is necessary for storytelling, however the return of the neo-cons wasn't so much due to 9/11. They were already in power, due to a potentially stolen election, and had been desperate for such power and had proven so with their forming of the "project for a new American century" and their letter as such to then President Bill Clinton in 1998 to attack Iraq. This was always their plan, and 9/11 became their tool. They were/are well aware of the global rise in demand for oil, the rise in the cost of supply, and the potential global power which comes with dominating these diminishing resources necessary for the economy of the past - the industrial, take to waste economy based on natural resources. But, I guess that would be its own documentary. Great work explaining the phenomenon of fundamentalism on both sides!!!
Patrick Kennedy, Dallas, Texas

This series is one that every American should be forced to see. It is an eye-opening, slap in the face not only to the ignorant American public, but also to two-faced, deceptive politicians everywhere. A documentary using overemphasis and clear delineations on how fear is used as a tool to rule was well overdue. Thank you. Well done.
Luman Walters, Syracuse

The culture of fear that has steadily grown over the years in nearly every aspect of our daily lives reached its apotheosis on September 11, 2001. This obsession with risk and danger has gone virtually unchallenged in the media reporting of our daily lives year after year after year. It has become so woven into our society that no business, no legal institution or government department has remained un-touched. The events of September 11 were a response to this, as well as an invitation to our society, now so indoctrinated with this fear, to respond with predictable paranoid hysteria. It amazes me that a documentary, which can no doubt be discussed and criticised for many failings, should be so heavily attacked by so many desperate people for its bravery in putting forward an argument that did nothing but present a point of view in opposition to what our media and our government have been telling us for years.
Joseph James, Bath

The media has become so obsessed with sleaze that wider and more complex issues get lost
Andy Heather, Darlington
I would like to congratulate the BBC and Adam Curtis on a thoughtful and thought-provoking series. The BBC must continue to produce and support this type of questioning and analytical journalism, simply because there is virtually no one else left in the world you could or would make this programme. People will misunderstand what Curtis was saying: he never claimed there isn't international terrorism, simply that there is not an organised network led by Bin Laden. The US don't want to admit this because it would take such a fundamental change in their policy. This was brave journalism and does require a bit of a 'leap of faith' from the viewer, and I'm sure many will be quick to dismiss the arguments put forward.

What shocked me most was how much of modern political history I was entirely unaware of because it appears to have never been reported before. I feel BBC News needs to reassess how it covers politics. What the documentary did best, and what the news is often very bad(!) at is asking the question "Why". The news is so preoccupied with what is happening. They struggle to explain why these things happen. Why have I only just found out that Bin Laden only used the term "Al Qaeda" after he heard the Americans use it?

Politicians now attempt to shape our reality but the media also has a crucial role in filtering and critically assessing the politicians' views. The media has become so obsessed with sleaze that wider and more complex issues get lost. You just need to look at the new "60 second" bulletin for evidence of how the news focuses simply on what is happening with not enough of this documentary's insight and analysis. Please BBC remember that producing documentaries of this calibre is your most vital role in today's scary world.
Andy Heather, Darlington

There's not much I could add here without echoing others' comments, but to say that this programme should've been shown in the US for educational l purposes. I'm astounded by it's depth - this is the most detailed exposé on Straussian utopians' intrigues in American politics I have yet seen. The American public failed to pay any attention to it and happily lets these nihilists draw their own grim future. An atavistic instinct of fear usurped the one to question the authority, which - very much like in the 1930's - can be easily dismissed as "unpatriotic".
Rod, Chicago, Il

I thought the series was great. I watched it in tandem with Jonathon Dimbleby's "The New World War" on ITV, which made both programmes even more relevant and informative. They complemented one another. The point the series basically seemed to make was that those in power or craving power can manipulate the masses into believing what they want us to believe in order to hold onto or obtain power. The truth I gained from both shows is that the problems of the world (be they real, imaginary, manipulated or otherwise) are linked together ie global terrorism, global poverty and global warming.
Cristian Ramis, Southend-on-Sea

I really enjoyed this documentary series. I do accept that it was one-sided. However, it is necessary to be one-sided if you want to question existence of the "threat of global terrorism". This is because the news media takes the threat of Al-Qaeda for granted. I would like to see more investigative journalism like this that questions these received wisdoms. And another thing! Why is it that MPs never question whether UK is really in more danger since September 11th? Everybody in the House of Commons takes it for granted that we live in a more dangerous world than we did before. When was this proved and who proved it?
Ben Hughes, Somerset

The Truth will always be revealed. Thanks for starting us on that path.
Paul, London

In the 30 odd years I have been living in the UK this is by far the most open and so well researched program on such a topic. It has been widely know and for many years that politics are driven by big business, but was never stated so openly. There is of course a terrorist threat, but it was courageous for the BBC to show that it is led and driven by the superpowers.

Saddam and Bin Laden are the product of the CIA who used them when they needed and demonised them afterwards when their value to the USA diminished, or they did not toe the line. US politics are driven by commerce and the UK are following in their footsteps willingly. The biggest terrorism is in fact from the superpowers who invade countries for flimsy reasons, that they manufacture anyway, and depospose freely elected presidents if the policies of that country does not suit them.

Who has used weapons of mass destruction so far? USA. Also who wiped an entire ethnic population to grab land? USA. Is this a good base to claim higher moral ground that people like Bush posture from? Is the UK much better with its colonialist past and behaviour in Aden, Sudan and many other parts of the world? Bravo to the Beeb for having, once again, shown that decent programmes can be made, and more importantly, that there is a public keen to watch and appreciate something other than voyeurism telly.
Kader Ziriat, London

A fantastic documentary, the best so far in addressing how psychology is being used by a few to control the many
Tom Chrysostomou, London
A fantastic documentary, the best so far in addressing how psychology is being used by a few to control the many! Using fear is not something new. There are lots of examplesles from history, the Spanish Inquisition, the rise of Adolph Hitler and the Nazis are two examples from the many. When I was studying psychology at university I found that some theories which were called "rubbish" by the psychology powers that be i.e. Freud's theories, were used to great effect by private and/or government agencies. This documentary has shown to date the largest application of psychology in the last 200 years. To finish on an ironic note, anyone who has ever wanted to achieve success has always been told: "If a way does not exist, make one"! This is I believe what the underlying message of these three programmes was, politicians finding a way to control the masses.
Tom Chrysostomou, London

I was just wondering how the creators of "The Power of Nightmares" series can justify their claims that the terrorist threat is an illusion, when there is so much evidence to contradict those claims. All one has to do is observe the deteriorating situation in Iraq, Afghanistan and many of the worlds' hotspots to see that there is a great terrorist threat. What is more, Blair and Bush have never implied that Al-Qaeda is the sole source of this threat, nor have they and the Neo-Conservatives been the only people trying to highlight this threat. Pakistan (an Islamic country) has made it quite clear through its gathering of intelligence via espionage activities, that there is a terrorist threat numbering hundreds of thousands, stationed globally. Despite these blatant inaccuracies, I found this to be a very interesting piece of anti-Republican propaganda by a Social Democrat.
Matthew Winfield, Pershore

How could it gloss over the very real and stated reasons for Bin Laden's crusade - the plight of the Palestinians
Mark, Sheffield
A fascinating but unfortunately rather deliberately blinkered portrait of a selective part of the truth. How could a three hour documentary not once mention the driving force behind most of the West's evil machinations - the greed of over-powered corporations and their total influence over the US government? How could it gloss over the very real and stated reasons for Bin Laden's crusade - the plight of the Palestinians and other occupied and oppressed peoples in the Middle East? The facts uncovered and reiterated by this programme alone make it necessary viewing for anybody with an interest in the mess the world is in, but the premises and conclusion leave much to be desired. The programme itself could be accused of being part of a sinister conspiracy - the diversion of people's minds away from the fight against global capitalism.
Mark, Sheffield

It would be churlish not to praise many elements in this series, and the archive research especially. Also, I am sure it is not easy to reach the programme's conclusions in the current climate, both internationally and inside the BBC. That said, however, I found the theme vaguely implausible. Are we really expected to believe that we have our current American empire solely because of the neo-con influence? Even I find it hard to subscribe to that theory. Isn't it really about how corporate elites, ie "big business", want to shape our futures and spread the wonders of the free market whatever the cost to the planet and relations between nations and cultures. A little more sophistication would be appreciated - though, I dare say, would not be broadcastable.
Jonathan Cook, Nazareth, Israel

It is difficult to know who to believe, but to me, Adam Curtis's explanation of events was far more coherent than the US/UK government's, and therefore more credible. (In addition he hasn't been caught misleading the public yet.)
Aidan, Nottingham

I am once again astounded at the quality of British television in comparison to all but a tiny selection of American programmes
Jon, Portland, Oregon
I found this program on an American website, and was so impressed I hope to share it with everyone I know. It was the first explanation (whether completely accurate or not) that truly seemed to make sense of the events unfolding around us. Particularly interesting to me was the depiction of the rise of neo-conservatism, and the belief of Strauss (or at least his students) that they must advocate the national myth, but need not really believe what they espouse. It seems disturbingly similar to Orwell's concept of "double-think;" and as in "1984" the ruling class seems to both understand that the threat does not really exist - that it is to some degree manufactured - while at the same time honestly believing that it is real. I hope this program becomes available on DVD, and that follow-ups are planned; I am once again astounded at the quality of British television in comparison to all but a tiny selection of American programmes, and am very envious of those who have regular access to BBC programs.
Jon, Portland, Oregon

Definitions of "network" and official membership in particular organizations aside, Mr Curtis seems to have got at least the basic philosophical positions right. Here is a quote from a column in today's Washington Times, regarding the nomination of Ms Rice for Secretary of State, and the difficulties she will face: "The State Department is generally regarded as hidebound, slow to move and interested more in stability than in the export of freedom and other U.S. ideals." The basic ideological battle seems to be between realists and idealists, or perhaps more accurately, between realists and people who people who believe they can create their own reality.
Steven Sidman, Scarborough, Maine

Congratulations on a remarkably achieved documentary, especially given the climate of fear which has gripped the media itself. This is a very fine piece of investigative journalism of the highest quality. Please try to rebroadcast soon - it is of immense value and importance - and please also retain the early timeslot. This kind of programming is almost essential viewing. Alarming, totally compelling, a wake up call of the most critical nature to our fast overwhelming culture of compliant media and spin. Very well done.
Eugene O'Reilly, Dublin

This programme added an understanding of the West: the susceptibility to fear, need to be "good" and the projection of evil onto others. I thought it was great
Robyn Vesey, Norwich
A fantastic documentary, integrating the political, psychological and historical components of the culture of fear. The naming of these nightmares made a powerful and positive programme, and challenges us to face our humanity and the reareality of the world we live in. Understanding something of the bloodshed, torture and poverty that leads to fundamentalism is one thing, but this programme added an understanding of the West: the susceptibility to fear, need to be "good" and the projection of evil onto others. I thought it was great.
Robyn Vesey, Norwich

Thank you BBC2 & Adam Curtis for a most stimulating series that puts modern American & British politics firmly in its place. More so following the US elections which were devoid of any great visions (or policies) for the populace by either candidate, but degenerated into a battle of who could alleviate a nation of its fears the better. Ironically gay marriage and abortion seems to scare the "moral majority" more than terrorism does, nevertheless it was still a vote of fear (or negativity) that ultimately carried the day. A triumph of paranoia over understanding. Without vision there is no enlightenment, & America it would seem is now the undisputed leading light of the Western world in this respect.

Whatever transpires in the future, a decision or vote sponsored on blind fear is as questionable a decision as one based on hate. The Power of Nightmares is a wake up call, but, to those who refuse to think for themselves, who follow the political and social doctrines of the day, who in turn rubbish any voices of dissent as dangerous, misinformed and/or unpatriotic. Adam Curtis's views are likely to fall on deaf ears. Fear it would seem paralyses all reason.
Jess Fabian, Penzance

A degree of healthy scepticism seems to be lacking from many comments here
Charlie Taylor, Oxford
This TV series was another source of information. If you find it stimulating, whether through repulsion or attraction, you should inform yourself more. Read, research, discuss - then vote (in the election, obviously, wherever you're from). Both sides of the argument are highly charged, reflected in audience reactions to any presentation both pro- and anti-war. It's good that different people are receptive to both sides, but a degree of healthy scepticism seems to be lacking from many comments here. This type of television is designed to inform and entertain. Which parts relate to which aim is for your judgement to call. But don't swallow everything you hear whole!
Charlie Taylor, Oxford

If accurate this series is the most important contribution to our democracy in decades. It cries out though for the other side, the fear mongers, to give their view and counterevidence. Yes the public is manipulated but how can I be sure that the evidence presented here is balanced, that the author has not left out essential "inconvenient data". The Islam scholar Gilles Keppel on whose views this series draws heavily is one of the foremost analysts in the field. But his approach has weaknesses too and these went unmentioned in this series.

One last point: Israel was entirely left out of the argument, even though the politics of fear were perfected over there, and even though many neo-cons are closely cooperating with people like Netanyahu, who I believe does not at all share the neo-con social agenda but who has first and foremost geopolitical designs.
Joris Luyendijk, Amsterdam

Most profound research and analysis. Letting it all come out of the horse's mouth lent huge credibility to the theme of illusion and self-deception. I hope public opinion will start to shift away from viewing Muslims as hell bent blood thirsty terrorists and that in a circular world, extremes do meet, even if most unpredictable at first. For the BBC to show this programme during prime time wipes away the tarnish of post-Hutton.
Ahmad, London

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This is typical of the left. Anyone who disagrees with them is insane, just like Stalin's Russia
Blaine Montgomery, Edinburgh
Is this supposed to be original? The propaganda technique of instilling fear into the populace in order to control it was most famously commented upon by Herman Goering. This series is an attempt to portray any public concerns or fears which tend to stand in the way of the PC steamroller, as manifestations of insanity.

This is typical of the left. Anyone who disagrees with them is insane, just like Stalin's Russia. Modern terror operates as a nexus, not as a network as did terrorist groups of the eighties. This is the age of the internet. Concrete connections and personal relationships are redundant. Freedom of information and travel in the computer age creates an environment for broad transgressive movements without clearly defined structure. It does not surprise me that the BBC have failed to notice this and instead pretends that, because the new terrorism does not conform to the modality of the old it does not exist.
Blaine Montgomery, Edinburgh

While this fascinating and shrewdly insightful series, reminiscent of political satires such as GK Chesterton's 'The Man Who Was Thursday' and Philip K Dick's 'The Penultimate Truth', deserves to be widely seen, I suspect it wasn't intended to be taken at face value as The Real, Secret Truth About Our World (as though such a thing were possible) - rather as food-for-thought to help restore a much-needed sense of proportion. Perhaps it occasionally veers too close to conspiracy theory by underplaying the role of accident, ignorance and sheer human stupidity in international affairs, but, unlike so much TV, it does at least encourage the viewer to think and ask questions. Great stuff.
Richard, London

I am an American living in the UK and want to thank the BBC for "connecting some dots" that not only explains a few things about current US politics but also about this strange, new religiosity that is now strangling the US. I think I am now more afraid than ever! How do I get my friends and family in the US to watch?
Laurie Veninger, Lancashire

As one of the few remaining unbiased and uncensored bodies of information, it is vital that the BBC continue to expose the lies and machinations behind Republican power. It would however, also be pertinent at this point to explain the global economic imperialism and financial slavery that ensure an inexhaustible supply of damaged, desperate terrorist recruits.
K Page, London

This programme had as much relationship to reality as a Harry Potter novel
Andrew, Bournemouth
This programme had as much relationship to reality as a Harry Potter novel. Apparently 9/11, Bali, Madrid, attacks on Christians in Iraq and Pakistan etc, are all fantasies whereas the so-called "Neo-Cons" are all too real and are the cause of today's problems. All this programme does is confirm the BBC as an anti-Bush, anti-Israel, anti-democracy pressure group for which we, the licence-payers, are forced to pay.
Andrew, Bournemouth

An excellent and enthralling documentary. Many of the points to be quite frank, have been repeated many a time amongst the Muslim community ever since Sept 11th, only now people are beginning to believe the impossible. Please tell me how I can get a copy.
Majad Hussain, London

Interesting, but in many ways wrong. The American's reasons for creating its dossier on the Soviet Union's involvement in terrorism was largely to persuade the Saudis to overproduce oil in order to make the USSR's economy collapse (see Schweizer's 'Victory'). In fact there are many economic reasons for creating an imaginary enemy and the US administration is mainly guided by dollars not ideology.
Andrew, London

What a scary documentary to watch. The current action to curb "terrorism" by the free world, are in effect creating them. The so called nightmare may not currently truly exist in the West but it does exist in those who have to feel the end of the stick of the American and the 51st State of Great Britain's fight for "Freedom". The poor Iraqis, Afghanis and the thousands of innocent souls who are kept in prison in Guantanamo Bay and across the world.
A. Adhal, London

What was scary was that I saw how much this culture of fear has got to me - I remember being afraid to use the Underground
Corinne Gurvitz, London
This was probably the most interesting programme I've seen in a while. It feels like my eyes have been opened to what is behind terrorism and the threat that we feel. I had never thought about the philosophies that were behind the fundamentalists (from both sides), and although I'd always found similarities between the two, it was fascinating to discover how similar they really are. Everyone knows that Bush rules by a culture of fear, but what was really scary was the extent to which the media seems to support these ideas - and even in Britain. Why do they not state the research that was put forward in their news reports, and challenge the politicians with it? Although this programme will have brought the material to many more people, saying these things on the news would make even more people aware of this. Isn't the news meant to show all sides of a situation?

Secondly, what was also scary was that I saw how much this culture of fear has got to me - I remember being afraid to use the Underground when there was an apparent threat on it and staying away from central London for a while. I think that there should still be much caution, because there are groups out there who would carry out similar attacks like in Sept 11th, but the big issue that this programme raised was the question of where the caution ends and the unnecessary panic begins. How long will governments be able to keep us afraid? If the problem of terror is to be solved pre-emptively, then let's just all go to jail in case we might even think of something that's wrong - that way we'll all be safe. 'War is Peace' - 1984, anyone?
Corinne Gurvitz, London

Call it Al-Qaeda or anything else, a powerful and a dangerous network does exist. And I say this because II have seen it in person
V. M., London
While the documentary was well presented, it seemed to conclude quite naively the non existence of Al-Qaeda. In truth, the activities of these groups have existed for over a decade before Sept 11th, long before Bin Laden. The now scattered Taliban in Afghanistan, the Kashmiri militants in India, the "Jehadis" of Central Asia (former USSR states) and the "tribals" in North Pakistan, are geographically, culturally and ideologically in fact part of that network. They have the deadliest of small arms, some of the most sophisticated communications networks and cadre based regimental military system. The American support to Taliban (when operating as freedom fighters from Soviet occupation) provided them with a huge manpower resource of men hardened by war, with a bleak future and an extreme Islamist ideology to turn to, coupled with Bin Laden's money and a global vision have catalysed a growing group that we know as Al-Qaeda. Whether they have a dirty bomb or not is speculative. What is not is the fact that they will (and I presume do) aggressively pursue to acquire and use these. It is true that the media has in fact served their purpose by excessively over-highlighting the twisted philosophy of hate, but its dramatic spread could only have been achieved with the existence of a network. Call it Al-Qaeda or anything else, a powerful and a dangerous network does exist. And I say this because I have seen it in person.
V. M., London

The Christian evangelists now seem to hold power in the US, whilst if Iraq held its elections today then the Islamic Clerics would get all the votes. I despair that the world still seems to be governed by religions created millennia ago by half-literate desert-dwelling goat-herders. Great programme by the way!
Jon McCrae, Bolton

Well done Adam Curtis. Like Century of the Self, an excellent attempt to unravel a complex subject often obscured by ludicrous journalism. I'm sure it is much closer to the truth than most of what is dished up. However, it did seem to have one glaring error and one unfortunate piece of bias. Firstly, in Episode one Henry Kissinger was portrayed as the good guy, for liberal secular democracy and against the neo-cons. Nothing could be further from the truth really. Kissinger is a key player in the financial and banking power elite that go hand in hand with the neo-con agenda. Indeed episode one briefly mentioned the role the intervention of American banks had in the uprisings in Egypt and Iran.

For the next series Adam, take a close focus on the web of mirage created by absolute power of financial institutions and their absolute power in holding the rest of us in slavery. (Mortgage - mort-death gage-grip) Secondly, the comparison between the Green movement's precautionary principle and pre-emptive neo-cons is misleading. The Green movement's precautionary principle arose from the extremely advanced understandings of science, from Rachel Carson's silent Spring to James Lovelock's Gaia. These are highly acclaimed scientists. The Green movement does not build huge military establishments to kill those who don't agree with it and nor does it jail or imprison those it sees as threats. Indeed the precautionary principle advocates working with nature rather than imposing revolution on it.
Chris Hart, Lancaster

Along with the Jonathan Miller series on atheism, your Power of Nightmares documentary is a landmark in British journalism. Taken together they make a devastating case against blind faith religion of any kind, and illustrate the catastrophic consequences of politicians using the "fact" that they have God on their side to do things which are self-evidently wrong in human terms. Pre-emptive strikes and detention without trial are equally wrong in their way as the 9/11 attacks. Your programmes were brave to take on the Bush/Blair axis on these issues and I hope that you will continue to develop the arguments further. True democracy is at stake as well, perhaps, as the security of the world as we know it.
Bernard Rimmer, London

This has been an engaging and thought provoking series. There is a tendency to condemn programmes such as these as consppiracy theory writ large. However it merely holds up a mirror to those for whom such theory forms a large part of their political rationale. It is easy 50 years afterwards to observe the excesses of Mc McCarthyism and think of this as a malaise of a particular place & time. However what has been spoken of in these programmes is every bit as dangerous and corrosive to civil society and civil liberty.
Gerry Hoey, Drogheda, Ireland

A wake up call to all who have fallen deeply into the sleep of neurosis, paranoia and fear that so serves those that propagate it. How astonishing it is that this is the first intelligent voice to call the great bluff. We need more analysis of how a society as strong as we thought we were could so quickly dismantle so many of the fundamental freedoms that took centuries to acquire, in just a few short years, for a handful of shadows. Thank you for an extraordinary programme.
Frank Rickett, London

The way this programme was constructed - (particularly the music used) was a stroke of genius. I found myself laughing out loud in Part Three, not at terrorists but at ourselves. Thank you for a brilliant programme which I hope will be repeated soon. I think as many people as possible should see this.
J Dennis, London

What we need are governments worldwide who care about REAL issues like global warming, famine, world peace
Helen Smith, North Yorkshire
Why do many of us tend to believe what politicians tell us, of course they lie to get in power, they lie to keep us in our place in fear of overexaggerated risk of terrorism and terror networks. What we need are governments worldwide who care about REAL issues like global warming, famine, world peace and not something that is for the most part a fantasy.
Helen Smith, North Yorkshire

What a fabulous series. Well done to all who were part of it. I continue to be impressed by the ability of politicians to play the tricks of power with the finesse of a magician. You can't tell what they are doing even though it is happening in front of your eyes. Orwell's constannt battles between the three powers was war without end, though this is an ancient theme of history. Yet here we are in the 21st Century with the same story playing out.
Chris, Coventry

Thank you BBC. I am known as the paranoid landlady of my public house. I've spent the last four years trying to enlighten my customers with very marginal successes. Your wonderful programme helped my cause. I only wish more of them had watched it. One complaint; I found the trailors misleading and could have deterred some viewers. I also wish there had been more public feedback via the media. But then... They are also in on it.
Di Easton, Exeter

Some mentioned: "I am concerned about the message about "dirty bombs" being presented by the BBC. In the "Power of Nightmares", a number of experts suggested that the risk from such devices was minimal. A Sunday night BBC factual drama about 2 months ago, Dirty War described the consequences of exploding such a bomb in the centre of London, again supported by expert advice." I recall Richard and Judy doing a piece about this programme when it was aired. The experts behind that programme also said that the radioactivity on a dirty bomb would not be a big threat - that it can be countered just by getting everyone in the area to wash the dust off. The people in "Power of Nightmares" were saying the same thing - the real danger of the "dirty bomb" is its power to cause panic and get people to do the wrong things. The question asked by the earlier program was whether the emergency services themselves have the knowledge and plans in place to counter such a threat. Paul
Paul Hammond, Peterborough

Where can I get this video in the United States? Will it be shown or is it being shown on BBC America? Half of us in the States are terrified and disheartened at the state of our government and what it is doing to the world and its own citizens? We need help from the European news media to keep pounding on this story because the message is not getting through to the American people unless they are really dedicated about finding the truth. And evidence suggests that the reality is much worse than most people can imagine. The premise of this documentary is right on. We are being manipulated and terrorized into submission to the neoconservative police state. How long will the world community allow this to continue?
Elliott Shannonhouse, San Fransisco

This series is the most profound series we have ever watched. Every single person in the Western and Arabic world should be made to sit down and watch this- especially the world leaders. Thank you!
Nancy Coppock, Bath

A friend in London showed me the 3rd Power of Nightmares episode which I thought was brilliant. Is there any way to view or buy this series here in the States? We need it! Please let me know.
Karen Kohlhaas, New York


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