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Your Earlier Comments on Britain on the Brink


I suspect that the results of the survey would have been dramatically different had 7000 Londoners been slaughtered on September 11th. I was also surprised at the ability of much of the panel to ignore the fact that most of the US foreign policy that was denigrated, occurred during the cold war when the USA was in fact the only power that stood between the democratic world and totalitarianism. The panel also ignored the fact that the majority of the criticism levelled against the USA comes from states run by dictatorships who's freedom to act is severely curtailed only by fear of overwhelming retaliation from the USA. Britain should stand firmly by its ally as it is the only democracy that, despite mistakes, is still in a position to protect freedom and human rights. It is so easy to criticise from behind the skirts of the USA, especially with hindsight. The freedom to do so is mainly down to the USA's stance in the past.
T. Toomsalu

A very thought provoking programme with an excellent and well chosen panel. Very much food for thought, but why oh why is such well informed debate confined to the hours when so many people have gone to bed? Most importantly of all, why is such debate not taking place in Parliament? Isn't this what our elected representatives are elected for?

This despicapable act was carried out by faceless, cowarldy, individuals

Simon, Harrow
Similar situations in the past have almost invariably involved Parliament. Unfortunately, it seems to be typically arrogant of this government to by pass the entire system through which they should be accountable.
Colin Heasman
Dunmow

I watched and listened with interest to all of the guests on your program and note that whilst interesting none of them is representative of any of the involved parties, not can they do anything about this act of terrorism. This despicapable act was carried out by faceless, cowarldy, individuals who only represent themselves (terrorist mentality). They (the terrorists) did not debate the rights and wrongs of their act, nor did they wait for parliament to resit! Most of these terrorists come from well to do 'middle class' families in middle eastern countries. If they had been American or English they would have been hunted and evetually caught and treated like the sick criminals that they are/were. Let us stop making excuses for these animals. We should fight this by any means possible, even if this affect all of our civil liberties. If we don't like it then go and live in a less regulated society, (like Afganistan).
Simon Angel
Harrow

I don't believe for one minute that we are standing shoulder to shoulder with America. If that was the case why wasn't there representatives from NATO at the meetings in Camp David? The American government will act in whatever way it sees fit. We are there to act as some mouthpiece for Bush. It disgusts me to watch our leaders being no more than puppets of the bush administration. I'd have appreciated seeing some facts about this before we sent our troops off to fight in a war we can't win against an enemy we can't identify. To be honest America IS reaping the rewards of its foreign policy. Perhaps the best thing for us to do as a nation is to tell America just what the facts really are. After all we've been thrown out of more countries than any other nation on this planet.
Neil

How can any country tackle and finish with terrorism if the terrorism depends on single people? How US prevented or will prevent a new possible Oklahoma bombing? Are we also fighting this "war" (if we can say that?) amongst our citizens? Because any citizen can be a terrorist if they have the willing or have motive to be?

"War" against terrorism is like trying to catch wind with your hands... I'm afraid that you simple can't catch¿ (Beside "war" is for fools) We may have some progress and results but that doesn't mean that we ever finish with terrorism. With other words: To finish with the terrorism we may have to kill all mankind because anyone can be a terrorist.
Miguel Ribeiro
Redhill, UK

I enjoyed your show this evening and like some of the panel I suspect was left at times very frustrated. An awful massacre has occurred and it so easily could have happened to Britain, and possibly might still? If there are people in this country who preach damageing views and hate towards our country and support the cowardly destruction of so many innocent lives then please send them to the terrorist organisations they so openly support. They obviously would be happier with a larger community of like minded people. Before I am accused of being racialist as is so often the case for anyone who is proud to be British! Please believe me when I say I am not. It seems the credentials required for being accused of being racialist these days is being white and male and proud of your place of birth!! I feel Britain has lost its identity and if you take a poll from the REAL people on the streets I suspect they may possibly echo my views in large numbers. Britain is a wonderful country! It has its problems as we are all aware, but we are very fortunate, there are so many people who put our country down. I guess some people are never satisfied I am just sick of hearing it!!
Tony

In the event that ID cards are introduced, how is it proposed to enforce the carrying of them - will there be a penalty if one is found without a card? If so will it be by a fine related to one's income/wealth, or a prison sentence -will the penalty be "on the spot" or subject to a court appearance? ID cards may cause more problems than they solve.
Robert Baker
Woodbridge, Suffolk

When I was a police officer I carried a warrant card. My brother in the army carried an ID card. In addition, we also had numerous documents like bank cards, membership cards, shop debit cards and more official items like passports which all facilitated our daily lives, in private and in business. HOW can the issue of a properly RESEARCHED AND PREPARED national ID card with photo and fingerprint be anything but an advantage to the honest citizen? On the subject of 'civil rights' - these rights are only guaranteed by the sacrifice of those who fight for them and ultimately democracy may only be preserved by undemocratic means. It is a necessary irony but no less real for that.
Mark Newberry
London

Why isn't the lack of human rights for women in Afghanistan a primary issue? Even the women that have been invited onto your programme don't raise this matter. And more worryingly the Muslim women don't address it.

The way in which Britain is bending over backwards for the Muslims in this country, I fear for our position in society in the long term. (As it is their societies that tend to create great inequalities between the sexes.)

I don't ever remember international intervention when a country decides to subjugate its women and disallow them basic human rights.

How many other refugees will we take in when their governments fail to look after them

J.Gibson, Hull
Therefore I feel we need to remain vigilant and have this raised. Never mind the 1.5 million Muslims in this country, what about the 30 million Women! I believe this country is considering making religious hatred an offence. What about misogamy?

It may not be on America's agenda but I believe this war is about the liberation of women in Afghanistan and the continued liberation of women in the West and for this reason I support America with all my heart and soul.
Barbara Highton
Keighley

As regards taking more afghanistan refugees I am against this. Why should this country take in more? They should be staying in their own country and trying to sort out the mess and make it into a place they want to live in,otherwise how many other refugees will we take in when their governments fail to look after them and consider money spent on guns is better then feeding their own population.
J. Gibson
Hull

Having watched your programme I am somewhat disappointed. The panel you had was it the best of a bad bunch? Bianca Jagger has hardly been in the news in regard to this issue. Terrorism is not alien to Britain we have lived in its shadow for many years. In response to the terrorist attacks in America let us remember that we must act with the benefit of intellect not with the burden of emotion. While I welcome measures to combat terrorism I do not believe that issuing individuals with ID cards is going to combat it. You cannot legislate against fanatical and suicidal individuals you can only be more vigilant. Any attempt by the government to act in haste will mean erosion of liberty and polarisation of a society in which ethnic minorities are even more evident to the xenophobic tendencies of extremists.
Dee S Datta
London

Nicholas Soames was right anyone who decries our country should be sent to any other country of their choice, seditionists should be jailed no matter who they are.
Jane Baxter
Blackpool

We should stand by the U.S. totally. We should also accept identity cards, if we are honest we should have nothing to fear by carrying identity cards!!!!
M. Cook
Colchester

I found tonight's episode of Panorama to be a constructive debate, and very much agree with the positions expressed by most of the participants. However, I found Andrew Roberts to be a notable exception through his glib comments, which leave very much to be desired by way of actual documentation or knowledge of international relations, least of all terrorism. Mr. Roberts may be a decent historian, but he has shown that he is notably ignorant on the numerous issues surrounding this "war against terrorism", which all the other participants on the program addressed intelligently and constructively, and I hope that he will not appear on similar programs in the future.

As for the actual concepts expressed, most of the participants agreed that terrorism is an international problem, and therefore one that requires an international response. In that case, why, in almost three weeks, have I not heard a single person mention international law? Why does the international community accept hands-down that all initiative in this self-declared "war" against terrorism effectively resides with the USA? Why is the UN completely and consistently ignored, even when, in situations such as this, it represents probably the only channel through which to build an effective consensus against terrorism based on the rule of law, as opposed to military action? Why do the countries of the world bypass what they themselves felt motivated to create in the wake of the atrocities of WWII, precisely to avoid something like that from happening again?

As long as the USA, and the UK, refuse to recognise the existence, much less the authority, of international law, there will always be conflict on action taken which is not in conformity to the rule of law, and any military action taken in this manner will always appear to be illegitimate.

Let us hope that these countries may choose to pursue the rule of law as opposed to the rule of might, not just concerning this specific episode, but all matters which are indeed of international concern, of which terrorism is but one example!
Federico Moscogiuri
London

I feel that a distinction needs to be made between the 'international terrorism' of the groups associated with Osama Bin Laden and groups such as ETA and the Tamil Tigers, whose terrorist acts take place within one country. We are all at risk from 'international terrorism', it is up to all of us to act against it.

A religious belief must never become the law

John, Essex
I do realise, however, that these groups interact and help one another and this should also be dealt with. Any country aiding terrorists elsewhere by funding or supporting their activities in any way must set their own house in order or leave themselves open to international action, whether they be Syria (Palestinian groups) or the USA (the IRA)!
Janet Cox
Huntingdon

Whilst American foreign policy seems to take the blame from most Muslims on TV let us not forget the 6000 innocent people in the WTC. America in the past has acted to protect her own interests,rightly or wrongly. In the UK we seem to accept certain extremists who condone the atrocities of Sept 11th whilst claiming any UK Social Security Benefit available. This nation has been a soft touch for too long and must stand and fight,not just on foreign soil but must combat the injustice which our own people face.
Mark Robinson
Glasgow

It would seem that the West is under attack for its foreign policies. Is it not a fact that if the West had no foreign policy many places like Afghanistan would starve. Instead of criticising the west would it be better for the people of these countries to put their own houses in order first ie by food before buying a gun. I would always put my religion below the law. A religious belief must never become the law and no one should be allowed to force their religious views on another.
John
Essex

How many Muslim countries have military governments? I can think of only three, only one being in the Middle East. I agree that Israel should be allowed to exist but so should the Palestinians have their own nation. I sometimes wonder if Israel learnt anything from what they suffered at the hands of the Nazis. I am old enough to remember the aftermath of the last war. Do we never learn from history?
M Grobler
Liskeard

I find it difficult to tie together the apparent opposites of Britian condeming Terrorism while it appears we are harbouring known terrorists. The government needs to be even handed and not hypocritical as it seems to be at present
David G. Marshall
Huddersfield

It appears to me that terrorism is a group or groups of individuals allowed safe harbour in a country with the express purpose of killing people by whatever means in another country.

It is also clear that to help them by allowing them a sanctuary, that the country in question is in active or at least passive collusion with them. That being the case each country that harbours terrorists is helping them.

The neutron bomb does not pollute the planet we are led to believe so that is a reasonable answer to any and all countries that help terrorists to kill people in other countries.

President Bush, if he continues with the normal behaviour patterns of presidents in America, is susceptible to suicide bombing.

If we arrest Osama Bin Laden and jail him, how many people will be killed or kidnapped before we are forced to release him.

Ben, London
As he is like the Indian family, unlikely to serve out this term of office, he should stop each country helping people to try to kill him by nullifying each capital city of the countries that will assist terrorists. They will then stop.
A R Cattle
Bridgend

Personally I think we should fight terrorism at the core, which is probably going on right now. At least I hope it is. Like we never knew what was going on the with World Trade Center. As long as we have the true culprits.
Darren Turrell
Broadstairs

I have no problem with carrying ID cards and nor should anyone with nothing to hide.I suspect that there are hundreds in my home town who are living here illegally and are sweating at the very idea of being found out. Weed these people out.It will be hard enough to fight against these people without them being in our own back yard.
Anon
Middlesbrough

I think that, with the size of the army the USA has massed in the Gulf and its recent resistance to use it to its full potential, the coalition are in danger of rattling their sabre in this "crusade" only to be able to throw a needle. Whilst large scale military action was always going to be unwise, I believe that it is even more imprudent to threaten and then backtrack. This will be seen as a sign of encouragement and will raise the morale of the sector of the population who hold these fundamentalist views.

In addition, I would like to point out that, whilst we seek justice, justice will hold no fear for people who are prepared to die for their cause. If we arrest Osama Bin Laden and jail him, how many people will be killed or kidnapped before we are forced to release him. If he is executed he still leaves his money and network behind, but now this network has a martyred leader who showed that he was also prepared to die for his cause!

I do not know the answer to our predicament any better than our leaders do, but I do know that it has taken the USA many decades to get to grips with their own Mafia, and I suspect that these networks will have chemical, biological and nuclear methods of genocide long before that. What do they say about a rock and a hard place?
Ben Waddington
London

The government cannot ask the British people to first fund the army to go out to fight against terrorists, then to fund aid programmes for the indigenous population who will inevitably be affected by such action, and thirdly accept an influx of refugees from those same countries. This means that we would be paying three times for the same action. Does the Taliban take in refugees? Do they feed their own people? Why is it that time and again, we read about "poor" countries who ask for aid and yet have a lethal arsenal of weapons at their disposal? I agree absolutely with the current softly softly approach because we have seen how in the past the "gung ho send the troops in" fails miserably when pitted against a culture which does not think or react in the same way as ourselves. But I truly believe that this time, if the government stretches the inherent generosity of the British people too far it will suffer a severe backlash politically and socially.
Elizabeth Power
Esher

I believe that We should do all Necessary to Beat ALL Terrorism, Not Just Islamic Extremists But also the sectarian Extremists In Ireland too, get the Peace process WORKING at all Costs! It's time we had a SAFE world for Our Kids to inherit!
Carl

It seems that we have taken the time and not responded in the heat of the moment, only to do exactly what we were going to do anyway. This is not reflective action.

The war on terrorism will be as long and as difficult (and as succesful) as Clinton's war on drugs. It will enable our "benevolent leaders" to take away civil liberties (in Germany they have ID cards and as everybody knows, no terrorism!) in the name of safety.

If we are fighting terrorism let's start by: 1) Stopping our duplicity (funding IRA while we fight terrorism). 2) Reviewing our foreign policy. 3) Stopping terrorist actions we ourselves commit(Iraq etc.) 4) Using the legal means at our disposal (UN) to bring justice and not assigning guilt by suspicion.

Finally a word about the BBC. Next time you want to put a nice picture when the newscaster says the word terrorist can it not be a man dressed in Palestinian clothes?
Harry Theoharis
London

The only thing I can bring myself to say is that I would hope, from all that has happened, politicians of whatever political persuasion, will learn from this, and think before they make decisions regarding foreign governments they deem expedient to support either militarily or financially. I include current decisions on the "coalition", because it will always come back to bite you and, more particularly, us the citizens you represent, on the backside. Quite frankly though, I don't hold out much hope.
Christine McLean
Sutton, Surrey

I was strongly in agreement with those who cited the need for the International Community to address the question of why the Western 'rich' Nations of the world are so despised. America and indeed Britain have maintained their interests through questionable Foreign Policy in the Middle East. The situation in Iraq and Afghanistan is appalling for many of the 'ordinary' population. The sanctions in Iraq have crippled the people of that country. I support the notion of bombing these countries with food aid, as was suggested by Martin Amis in his Guardian article last Saturday.

My 7 year old son asked me today if we were going to be in a war.

Louise, Powys
I also would like to echo his sentiment that we are a 'species' for all our differences - and that retaliation of a military nature is barbaric, and will only lead to further horrific violence.

Out of this appalling crime against humanity, there could arise an opportunity to look with newly opened eyes at our world, to reassess the global balance of power. To wake up to the fact that we in the West! We live in a state of deep and complacent privelege, whilst much of the world still faces famine.

This crisis has woken us up - let us not further the waste of this terrible tragedy. My 7 year old son asked me today if we were going to be in a war. I didn't know how to answer him.
Louise Osborn
Rhayader, Powys.

If we really ARE a parliamentary democracy, how can it be that in such dangerous circumstances. members of parliament are being kept on enforced vacation and are not being allowed to do what is so obviously their most important duty ?
Anon
Bourne

After watching a very interesting debate, I find myself agreeing with Colonel Bob Stewart, Nicholas Soames, and Jon Nichol. They all, I thought, spoke a lot of sense and stated their views clearly. My own view is, the main priority is capturing Bin Laden, preferably alive and then progressing from there. I do fear military action will cost thousands more innocent lives, causing loss of worldwide support of any action taken. I am in full support of the government's actions so far.
Steve Fuller
(city) Brighton&Hove

I am forty years of age and find myself overwelmed with every emotion possible, from compassion, anger and sadness since the 11th Sept. If we are going to live together in a multi cultual melting pot like I have all of my life, let us please hit the terrorist in every format we can. Democracy is truly a wonderful thing.
MR D Costin
Bethnal Green

Before the Moslems living in this Christian country can expect to be accepted, they must totally reject the violence and barbarism of Islam. No more stoning to death, no more torturing animals to death, no more threats to the life of Christians and/or dissenters (Rushdie), no more beatings in the streets. no more public decapitations. In other words they must show that they are civilised or become civilised. Turning the other cheek to them as Christians tend to do will not have any effect-they will continue to laugh in our faces and take our jobs
John Holmes
St. Austell, Cornwall

Following this evening¿s programme: There is no question that there is a backlash on Muslims. Many Muslims estimated to be around 400 of different nationalities were killed in the tragedy.

Since the disaster there have been two racially motivated deaths - one of a Muslim and one of a Sikh. Among many other incidents worldwide. The media representation of Islam in often incorrect - there is no such thing as 'Islamic terrorism'. It is a contradiction in terms. A terrorist is a terrorist there is nothing Islamic about him or her.
Kishwar Sultana
Glasgow

I am heartened that the debate carried people from many communities and political persuasions.

I am worried, although not surprised, at the stonewalling behaviour of John Reid when posed direct questions, particularly with regard to why Tony Blair is treating the gravest crisis in the last 5 years as an excuse to create British policy on the hoof in front of the media, without recourse to formal Cabinet debate, nor to extensive parliamentary debates.

I am most gratified that an increasingly vocal community are stating the clear position that providing food aid is paramount above all other things. And finally, there is heartening evidence that sane, rational and tolerant sections of the community are starting to demand that all nation states must be brought to account for the evil atrocities they have carried out in the past.

In this regard, the British PM should submit a list of the genocides committed by the British state over the past 1000 years to the UN as an example of its own previous guilt and a desire to seek atonement for those crimes - to include the Highland Clearances; the supply of opium to China; the enslavement of millions of indigenous peoples during its own imperialistic empire-building phase; several murderous outrages in India; the systematic disenfranchisement of Irish Catholics in Ulster through both occupation and religious bigotry; and the genocide of Dresden in the 2nd world war.

When this is put against Osama Bin Laden's list, we will find that Britain has been just as barborous at analagous times of its history...the only difference is that it has never been brought to account for its barbarism in a court capable of dispensing international justice.

To move beyond revenge requires an acknowledgement of prior misdeeds on ALL sides, a framework for forgiveness and atonement and a common set of standards to be agreed upon for the future.

Well, that should keep politicians, aid agencies and NGOs busy for the 21st century!
Rhys Jaggar
Manchester

When people stop believing in religion and everybody lives on their own personal views and morals of life the world will be a better place. I cannot see why people believe in such rubbish weather it be Christian, Muslim or whatever, science has proved it to be wrong. If you wonder where this fits in with the recent crisis, well I will tell you. The Taliban and Bin Laden are mad and mainly due to their religion are not afraid of death or anything. Being like this, it is worrying to think of what they are capable of
Andrew Hardy
Ipswich

I believe that we must be careful not to target Muslims or Arabs in this country simply because they are involved in protest or have strong political or spiritual views. I fear that Muslims who exercise a dissenting voice may find themselves accused by police or military intelligence of terrorism. I, as a white person of European descent, have the right to dissent, to criticize the government, the religion, the political structure, and the culture of this country. This must remain the right of all UK citizens, to have freedom of speech without fear of recrimination. I must also express my shock at Andrew Robert's comments. His blind imperial arrogance displays exactly the kind of attitude that goes into creating, and fuelling, crises such as this. His views are callous, ignorant and foolish. Also the poll that demonstrated that a majority of people in this country are not willing to accept Afghan refugees was very distressing, and I hope this is not a truly representative picture of British opinion (which it may not be).
Carly Jeffrey
London

Thank you for an entertaining debate. Can we voice our support for Col Stewart and Mr Soames in all that they say. Stop listening to the 'yes' people and let's look after those of us who have survived terrorism so far. These days our country is multi- racial therefore we have a duty to look after all cultures living with us but it doesn't mean that we sit idily by and let undesirables have their way in our society. Asylum laws should be addressed now before it's too late, this includes people who already live here in order to protect our national security.
Mr/Mrs Hine
Plymouth

I was in Washington 11 September 4 miles from the Pentagon when the plane that hit the Pentagon flew very low over my head, to be followed moments later by the actual hit. I was facinated to see that the Americans spend a lot of TV airtime on the question "why do they hate us so? "

It was suggested, as it was indeed tonight in the debate, that American foreign policy may have something to do with it. There should indeed be an adjustment of policy. The unquestioning support for, say , Israel even when it breaks its word or agreements will create these enemies. The selectiveness of their foreign policy has much to do with it. When I discussed this with some American friends, they just couldnt see it.

As long as foreign policies are insensitive to local customs and ideals, extremism will flourish.

Mike Walters, London
Yet right now, even in this crisis, the US is possibly demonstrating the same thing. President Bush says that he will go after those who assist, support, harbour etc terrorists. Yet allegedly there have been two fund raising rallies in Chicago for the IRA since the 11th. It has never been mentioned. Neither is there any evidence that the administration is going after those who finance from the USA the IRA and other Irish para-military groups. Comments have already been made in Ulster about this, as I heard on radio 4 today. So an allignment of US foreign policy showing them to be more even handed may actually have a significant anti-terrorist effect.
Loe van Haarlem
Trowbridge

It is clear that there is a commonality amongst all terrorist groups. The war must be extended to include the IRA, ETA and all other terrorist not only Bin Laden's organisation. These World Class Criminals should be tried by International War Crimes Courts. America has in place mandatory execution for serial killers, perhaps War Crimes Courts should adopt this stance. I am against execution for any other crime, but crimes against humanity must be seen to unacceptable to all mankind.
Barry Archer
Olney

The majority of the panel seemed to favour a cautious and judicial response and in addition, consideration of the causes of terrorism and the consequences of any action taken against the terrorists.Why is the response conveyed to us by Tony Blair so different?
Rebecca Sissons
Horsham

America is to blame for all attacks. My country of origin Cyprus, WAS condemned by Henry Kissinger, and now pays Turkey to occupy a third of Cyprus and to have a military force in Cyprus. What they wanted from the 60's to see what goes on in the Middle East. I have no sympathy for the US. We are living in the American empire.
Andrew Georgopoulos

I support Bianca Jagger's last point which was passed over without comment. America's foreign policy has been to act in their own interests - and, most relevant in this situation, to have trained and supported the Taliban. I think it is essential to pay full attention to why America and ourselves in Britain are so hated, who makes and sells the arms and how much this self interest has acted to destabilise developing countries.
S Roberts
Linlithgow

Superpower incursions on foreign lands and peoples are the root causes of why extremist take up arms. As long as foreign policies are insensitive to local customs and ideals, extremism will flourish.
Mike Walters
London

The only force terrorists know is a greater force and if that means sending in the United States and Britain, as the rest of the civilised world will fall by the way side once force is used then so be it. A great opportunity was missed against Iraq in 1991 but the world was weak and we are know paying for our weakness. What is needed now is to go into Afganistan and use the Northern Alliance to overthrow the regime, giving them all the weaponry and manpower required. Once overthrown leave the country immediately.
Roger Needs
Gosforth

I like many people in this country lost grandparents in the 1st World War. My father was disabled in the Second World War, and my son was in the Gulf War. Every year in November we remember what they gave up for our freedom. I for one will NOT carry an identity card-so what are the government going to do about it put us all in prison? You will always get nut cases doing that sort of thing. 10 million should not pay the price of having their civil liberties taken away for these sick people
Laraine
London

Let's squash the idea put forward by some that the arrest or death of Osama Bin Laden should be suffient justice, his terrorist group number several thousand and one man would be quickly replaced. The threat to all democratic nations (especially western democracies) would continue from this group and some others. There is no option but to aim for the destruction of such groups by all means possible, and the approach currently being taken is correct. Yes there must be direct military action when the targets are identified and the opportunity presents itself, but there must also be compassion shown to the innocent and the strangulation of funds and support.
Ed Brown
Warminster

I personally have no problem with ID cards - I lived in France some years ago and had an ID card - hardly noticed the difference. Why not do a poll on this? - I think most law abiding citizens wouldn't object. I too believe it would help the police and maybe in places where more security is now needed, eg hospitals. When talking about countries supporting terrorists no-one has mentioned that Americans have been supporting the IRA (re a recent TV programme on this).
Maureen Stanny
Preston

Amusing in the least was the reference, by whom, I can't remember, to a future in the UK of houses being searched (in addition to ID cards etc.) in the fight to combat terrorism. Castro has been criticised for such a regime, by the West, for at least 3 decades!
Mark
Glasgow

The panel was massively biased in terms of its selection and (therefore) its views - anti-war and pro-liberalist! When is the BBC going to stop relentlessly propagating the liberalist agenda? We - I mean the Anglo American majority - are at war with murderous Moslem fanaticism. Tonight's 'Panorama'was consciously designed to subvert the morale of the Anglo American majority. It won't succeed. Shame on the BBC!
Peter Johnson
London

Britain has offered to stand shoulder to shoulder with America, but who is covering our backs? We need to stand back to back surely. What does "taking Bin Laden out" imply? Killing so we never need to present a case in court? PLEASE USE PLAIN ENGLISH.
Wendy Stokes
London

A bit difficult to prevent terrorists from having the expectation of success when history tells us otherwise. History of creation of Israel - 1946 The British declared Begin a wanted terrorist, and offered a $50,000 reward to anyone assisting in his capture. Became Israel's 6th Prime Minister.
Jill Marshall
Wales

On the subject of ID cards. I agree that we should have them. If they were done as they do in South Africa there would be no way that criminals could forge them. All information should be included, this would also stop bank fraud. On the subject of why other nations hate America. It has nothing to do with jealousy of their way of life, it has more to do with the way they tell the rest of the developing world who they can trade with and how they should run their economies. The battle with the EU over the importation of bananas is a case in point.
Amy Brown
Liskeard

Mr D failed to allow many of the less well known participants of tonight's programme comment fully. Particularly the only Moslem MP and the only military commentator? The journalists and self styled experts appeared to reign supreme-why?
John Forth
RHU

It is amazing to see this pathetic PM of ours suggesting that the terrorists were not Islamic, is there nothing that this man will not do to win support from minorities and yet slap the face of the British majority. Supporters of Islam caused the tragic events in NY and Washington - that is a fact why not be honest be honest Mr Blair.
Mike Hall
Nr Chipping Norton

The debate was good, balanced and many viewpoints well presented. The set and lighting was awful, a distraction. We are not interested in red runway lighting and blue searchlights as background to a serious debate.
Roy Titchmarsh
Redbourn

We are huge fans of David Dimbleby and on the whole enjoyed the discussion but felt that comments about humanitarian relief and the need for the USA to look hard at its foreign policy were never developed. Are we being simply groomed for war? Please can we have debate on the long view as well as the issues around military involvement. Also next time you invite a historian please ensure s/he is actually going to give a historical view point. With thanks for the good stuff!
Ruth Clements
Glasgow

We have to be 100% with the United States on this matter. How many thousands more will have to die at the hands of terrorists for the chattering classes to realise we are at war, and we have to act as if we are at war?I agree with President Bush. If we are not with the United States we are siding with the terrorists. I hope this Government will have the moral courage now to stand against terrorism in Northern Ireland.
Canon Keith Punshon
Ripon

Eroding our civil liberties will surely not stop terrorism. Having lived in the USA for a number of years I noted they have less civil liberties than we currently enjoy in the UK, and yet that did not stop the attacks. How we can stop terrorists who are willing to make the ultimate sacrifice of their own life is a question which needs to be carefully considered and widely debated.
Jane Enkel
Oundle

I feel that most of the panel seemed to lack awareness of the scale of the current terrorist threat. In the past it was perhaps a reasonable response to accept the odd bombing or hijacking as "the price we pay for our liberal democracy". However the stakes have been raised immeasurably. There can be no doubt that people such as Osama Bin Laden would, if given the opportunity use the most massive means of destruction they could lay their hands on. All the talk about changing US foreign policy etc is admirable and should be vigorously persued, but the no 1 priority at this time should be to break up this terrorist network. If not the next time could be much worse and I don't think the restraint shown would persist.
G Barnett
cardiff

Although this is a troubled time for many, I agree with most of the panel that refugees should not be allowed into the UK. As sad as it is how big is this ISLAND, a darn site easier to protect from the shore than from within.
Mr G.R.Taylor
Torquay

Is it not about time we realised that Religion is at the course of all evil. When all religions I know of preach you should not kill, will bend this rule to kill people of other religions. Is it not true that Judaism, Islam, Protestants and Catholics have the same GOD. I think if their God exists a lot of people will have some answers to give when they die to THEIR GOD?
Daren Lewis
Northampton

The hypocrisy of people who condemn the events of 11 sept but who supported/ support the IRA is outrageous. Shouldn't we have a list of Noraid supporters and visit them with a crusade-there would be some well known names amongst them.
Dave Smith
Portsmouth

Islam IS inextricably tied up with the main thrust of global terrorism through the Wahhabi sect (see Steven Schwartz). Nowhere on any BBC coverage except for a brief reference on PM has this major fact b een revealed, let alone debated. You are a public service broadcaster. Fundamentalist Muslims of this sect are here in Britain, and we don't know how many of the 1-2 million illegal immigrants are also of this "faith". People need urgently to know about this, and you seem actively to be preventing them from finding this out.
Steve Moxon
Sheffield

I watched Panorama and found it very fair and enlightening. However I did take exception to the insensitivity of the screen graphics depicting 3 skyscrapers as a back drop. I would have thought that the producers of the prog would have had a bit more nous as to put such graphics to use.
Glyn Rogers
Wrexham

London is sure to be a target in the foreseeable future for another terrorist spectacular. Would any of the more liberal minds on the panel change their views even a little if similar numbers were lost in London?
Fabian Redpath
Bury St Edmunds

By not releasing the relevant evidence into the public global arena we are creating future terrorists. If we are in any way heavy handed we will allow future terrorist leaders to manipulate the truth their followers receive and further escalate events. We don't only need to act on our consciences, but we need to be seen to be acting that way by Muslims around the world. If we are seen to be acting justly, fairly and in a calm manner part of the terrorist leaders potential of mass following is broken. The Taliban wants to portray the West as evil war bringers who abuse their power. They have offered a reasonable compromise so why don't we show them the evidence? Communicate with the Afghan people the evidence, and only then if they don't hand him over do we have a right to use military action.
Mr J Edwards
Sutton Coldfield

I feel we should stand by the US. Also the government should introduce ID cards forthwith. These cards should include your fingerprints-reducing crime as well as terrorism. If you don't have anything too hide why be against it? Also I agree if people do not want to stand by this govnt, they should go back to their original countries or one that supports the Taliban.
Andrew Moir
ARUNDEL

Why did we not invite the CIA and G W Bush?
Anon
Bath

Better than the last Panorama... are we learning now BBC ?
Gary Owen
Portsmouth

Why not turn the United Nations into a world government, a federation of states which controls a one world military force, and a one world security service against all crimes. This would appear to be the right time for such a suggestion. It does not mean giving up one's country or culture but it would leave such criminals as commited the atrocities in America no-where to go!
S Friend
Bognor Regis

Recall Parliament, allow a nation of represented subjects have their say about what we should and should not do. To allow a single man who seems 'in bed' with Mr G W Bush is wrong. If we do recall Parliament early at least my local MP can debate on my behalf how much we participate in the eminent war.
Ollie
London

Not everyone thinks that it is ok for us to declare war on Afghanistan. It will not achieve anything, it will result in the deaths of more innocent people. It will not end terrorism, only understanding why this happened will change anything. The west seriously needs to consider just how detrimental its foreign policy is in these countries. Revenge is all a war would achieve and how good will we really feel when more innocent people are killed.

I feel that those who object to the introduction of ID cards in the UK must either have something to hide or be paranoid.

Jayne, Warminster
The west has been responsible for enough deaths in other parts of the world without increasing the numbers. When is the press going to stop feeding the general public propaganda and start telling all sides of the story, rather than fueling ignorance and hatred?
Jo Lumbis
West Kingsdown

If Britain and the US take military action against Afghanistan, we should be willing to accept refugees too and not leave it to the other countries in the region to cope on their own as they have had to do in the past
Anon

Democracy should not prostitute itself to ANY ideology which inspires violent action by making pluralist appeals to multiculturalism or misplaced humanitarianism.The enemy within our own borders must be quickly identified and dealt with.
Fiona
Inverness

I feel that those who object to the introduction of ID cards in the UK must either have something to hide or be paranoid. They would greatly assist the prevention and detection of all types of crime not least to say benefit law abiding in all manner of ways. Of course hardened criminals and terrorists may attempt forgeries but current technological advancements would put them at far greater risk of detection. The benefits of introduction vastly outweigh any perceived loss of civil liberty.
Jane Brown
Warminster

It was an awful act on Sept 11 and I feel deeply for the families and people involved especially the city of New York - but as it was an attack in America why should we spring to war? Our budgets were not able to support London Underground or Heart Hospitals -how come now Blair can give £50 million when none was available for that? Germany is a country with a stronger base than us and they consider to "logistically support" America, which incidentally was what help America availed us in the Falklands conflict. Has America helped us through the 30 years of IRA bombs we had here in London - did they help us to go after the terrorist?
Chris
Hayes

My deepest sympathy goes for the American people, particulary those families who have lost loved ones. While we are building a coalition we should not forget some of those middle eastern countries that are part of this coalition have supported terrorism in the past and they are still supporting it in other parts of the world. I am a kurdish refugee from Iran in this country, and live and work in London. In addition if there are any Muslims in this country whom advocate any terorist activity they should be immediately deported. There is no room for people who have no respect for what the host country feels. I would be happy to come and talk about this at any of your programmes.
Parwez Zabihi
London

Why did David Dimbleby avoid the comments of Bianca Jagger. She addressed the question of US Foreign policy which John Reid clearly blocked to avoid discussion.The real issue was ignored as always.
J Hillbery
Haslemere

I think Katherine Hamnett should better concentrate on fashion design than discussing politics. Even if Bin Laden has not masterminded these murders in the US there is enough evidence against him to bring him to justice.Our world needs justice. It becomes smaller every day. Therefore it's worthwhile to give up some little human liberties to keep it working for a little bit longer.
Andres Benguerel
London

Are we at war with China and terrorism against tibet? - the IRA freedom fighters, the Tamil tigers, the supporters of terrorism like the CIA. I noticed these questions were being avoided like the plague, so why call it a war against terrorism that no one seems able or wants to define. There is sheer hypocracy at work, so lets get real.
Jack Kybird
Coventry

By far the most important point made in the programme: If the USA were to review its foreign policy because of the terrorist attacks this would represent a VICTORY for the very terrorism and terrorists which we are attempting to destroy and would only encourage further outrages. Terrorists are never satisfied and they will increase their expectations, raise their sites and gather encouragement by any such CAPITULATION!! Have you noticed how many Arab commentators around the world have brought up the idea of these outrages being linked with US foreign policy!? This indicates that although they may APPEAR to condemn the appalling loss of civilian life, in reality many of them are behind ANY acts which may help in the destruction of their eternal enemies! OPEN YOUR EYES(!)
Joe Varley
Camarthen

Michael Ancram said we must not change policy in response to terrorism. What, even if we're wrong?
Martin Brampton
York

The attitude of the panel is quite ludicrous, we need to fight these terrorists. Why should we be listening to foreigners on the panel. Let's see our own feelings. Why should we feed refugees from Afghanistan? This is not our fault, this is a country ignoring their own peoples suffering, the panel are out of order. Back Prime Minister Blair and the American regime Bush, or suffer the consequences.

Our Government should look again at the IRA terrorists

LIz, Workington
Are we weak, that we allow foreign influences constantly to dictate to us our life style. Let the foreign persons support their own do not expect the British to always be responsible for others. The time has come for the do gooders to take a back seat and mind their own business.
Kathleen Shopland
Plymouth,Devon

Britian should assist the U.S in every way to rid the civilised world of Ben Laden and his associates. No one should kill five thousand people and get away with it.
D, Bowerman
Toronto.

I feel for the women in Afghanistan. I would have thought that the women at least would be campaigning for their liberation, especially the Muslim women, yet they just seem not to consider it to be one of the main issues. As a woman I do not feel safe. I hear MUSLIM MUSLIM MUSLIM - what about women and their position in the societies of the world?
Anon

I believe we should stand shoulder to shoulder with the US but I also believe our Government should look again at the IRA terrorists and stop pussy footing around, are they not as bad as Bin Laden? A terrorist is a terrorist.
Liz Telford
Workington

Having watched your programme, I am puzzled by what criteria you chose your panel, what the dickens does Bianca Jagger know about world affairs? Very strange and is a pity that the only Muslim woman you could find was an English convert.
Alba
Perth

Why ever do BBC presenters repeatedly fail to point out the gross hypocrisy in the "war against terrorism"? The US and its allies have consistently promoted terrorism against others. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were backed and trained by the US. Saddam Hussein was backed and armed by the US and the UK. And so on. Why the total silence on promotion of terrorism by the west?
Martin Brampton
York

A lot of what is being said is what the West will do in this region, how far should Britain go? etc. What are the Muslim people prepared to do? Why are there Arab states ruled by military dictaors who cause immense suffering to millions of their own people and seek the destruction of Israel and the West? Are there enough peace loving Muslim people in these countries in positions of power who can wipe out these terrorist organisations who commit attrocities in the name of their religion? If not why not? The United States need not condemn itself for protecting Israel against extermination but it is the Arab people who should change their agenda and not seek their destruction and instead govern themselves and be ruled by people who can obey international law and democratic rights.
Neil Price
Leighton Buzzard

I am listening to some of the panel's comments and answers to the questions posed, and I despair! What a bunch of idiots we have in positions of responsibility. Does no one there realise that terrorism ONLY exists where there is ALREADY at state of oppression or exploitation. Countries with good relations and respect for each other, do not suffer from terrorism. America has suffered a terrorist attack as a result of the disgusting way it treats the third world. America MUST revise its foreign policy, or else no matter how much military might it has, and no matter how much it hammers its opponents, it will NEVER beat terrorists. Did the French resistance give up in the face of the might of the German army in WW2 ? When America Stops "Screwing the Third World to Death", and stops persecuting races it doesn't like, then terrorist attacks against it will stop. But no amount of military strikes will do any good.
Graham Tattersall
Bury

Britain should be a leading partner in the war on terrorism but terrorism should not be the total focus of the government. As neglect of other issues like the economy could have terrible consequences for the country.
Stephen
Huyton

The speed with which America identifies and often captures the perpetrators of terrorist activity is startling and thus gives me a very dim view our own intelligence forces. Manchester and Omagh stand out as ideal examples of people 'seeming to get away with it' and in my view questions our commitment to defeating the terrorists.
Dean Moriarty
Bury, UK

David Blunkett's enthusiasm for ID cards is totally wrong. Any serious criminal could obtain a fake or adapt a stolen one, and this would lead to less security, not more. The real purpose of ID cards is to intimidate people who are opposed to the government of the day, and to dissuade them from protesting on the streets. He should be ashamed of himself.
Frank Ward
Dornoch, Sutherland

There must be complete coalition support, not just British support, in effectively undermining the only identifiable source of terrorism, namely the Taliban. It seems more and more clear that the Taliban are becoming increasingly defiant towards the international democracies of the coalition that action of some sort must be administered in response to the deplorable events of 11 Sept 2001
Paul Hammond
Christchurch

I think that attacking a country like Afghanistan is way out of our league. It will most likely end with us retreating and not finishing our objectives just like the Soviets had to in 1989. It will cost the US and anyone else who sends troops into the region many casulities.
Ryan Kiani
Los Angeles, CA, USA

It is a very sad and pointless action that was taken by the terrorists. Non-comprehended experience results in mis-understanding which in turn leads to inappropriate behaviour. It is self evident that the attack on the World Trade Center was inappropriate. I suggest one way to look at this is that the perpitrators are fundementally paranoid and paranoia springs from oppression and abuse. Freedom and education are the likely antidote but how that is put in place I don't know. It also raises a fundemental philosophical question of how can one person ultimately be safe from harm from another. The bottom line seems to be trust and fair play. That is not how countries seem to deal with each other.
Nik Allday
Oxford

The world has seen dramatic changes within the last 50 years or so. Everything has changed. Is it not time for the US to change its foriegn policy to avoid any further conflicts with other contries and also to try and reinstate justice in the world and especially in Palestine?
Luay Salih
Hayes

As hundreds of Britons died in the attack in New York, it is hardly just an American tragedy. The interests of Great Britian are very much involved. But if we do go forward with our fight against terrorism from the mid East, we must be equallly aggressive should IRA terrosists ever revert to their violent ways. They too must be weeded out and dealt with.
Thomas T. Andrews
Reading

So far Britain and the West in general have behaved with considerable wisdom. Maybe not an instinctive word to use, but nevertheless relevant. These people want to be martyrs. They must not be allowed to fulfil that desire. They must be captured and made to live a long time to reflect on their evil.
Andrew Robinson
Swansea

There are times when individuals have to trust in the good sense and judgement of their leaders. This is one of them. Blair & Bush have a much greater knowledge of the risks that we face, all risks, and must be trusted to use their best judgement to take us through the minefield
Rory Anderson
London

The only way for Britain and the USA to put an end to terrorism is to stop intervening, any excuse to manipulate other nations.
Denise
Nottingham

We should look at home first and kick out all the asylum seekers, legitimate or not. The Lib Dems David Chidgey is defending these so called asylum terrorists, how many other MP's care more about these people than their own electorate!!!
Robert Dickson
Eastleigh

I am distressed by the programme. There appears to be no evidence that Osama Bin Laden is resposnisble for there attacks and furthermore I am concerned that any dissenting voice or voice of reason is marginalised or negated in the ever present media hysteria. War on Terrorism should be removed from BBC subtitles. Be responsible please.
Lorraine

My feeling is that Bin Laden is a product of the current economic and political inequality in the World, and unless America and other developed countries address such structural issues there will be many more Bin Ladens in the future. While he should be brought to justice the factors that brought about his rise to 'infamity' must be addressed.
Neil Gibson
Ispra (Italy)

Bob Stewart was never commander UK forces Bosnia let alone UN forces bosnia, a position that required a rank of at least Major General. He was however the commanding officer of a fine infantry regiment on the front line. As such his experience is invaluable but it is vital that you get your facts right first. How else can we take seriously the content of the rest of the program?
Simon Else
Nottingham


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