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Panorama Monday, 1 October, 2001, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Your comments on Britain on the Brink
Your Comments on Britain on the Brink

The forum is now closed.

I strongly felt that the English Muslim lady was not given the chance to express herself about the attacks in the States and why bring her on the show when she is not given the chance to speak? And the historian, called Andrew Roberts, was talking the most and he was pro-war against innocent Afghani people. The show was very much supporting the War.

The double standards of the west bewilder me when it come to such atrocities and the reason they were caused. They claim to act on UN Resolutions like they did in the Gulf War bombarding Iraq for attacking Kuwait. Yet they firmly standby Israel when they occupy the Palestinian territories and defy UN Resolution 252 that Israel must exit all occupied Palestinian territory immediately. That was in 1967, and just like in the Gulf War, Israel should have been attacked since then.
Frank Richards

I was appalled by the ignorance of most of the people on the panel except a few who made comments, which were morally correct and not hypocritical like the American foreign policies. Arabs in Israel are killed every day, settlers take their homes and land, Israel has plans to establish a greater Israel, which will encompass many other Arab states and parts of other estates. Yet America arms Israel with all of the sophisticated warfare and atomic capability which is a clear threat to the Muslim world.

As far as I am concerned the American bully is playing God on this planet and there is no concrete evidence that it was Osama Bin Laden was behind the atrocity. The Americans were already planning to over throw the Taliban and they found a good excuse without even investigating it. And why is it that it was not deemed appropriate by one of the MPs to accept the truthful comment made by MP Sarwar that Osama should be tried in the international tribunal just like Milosevic?

And why is it that non of the panel members except the odd two spoke of the judicial process. One of the clever clogs suggested that Osama had to be obtained before the judicial process. They have already ASSUMED his guilt, which he has denied. In the British legal system if the impartiality of the judge or the jury is in question then a juror or the judge can be replaced. And in no circumstances is the prosecutor allowed to sit or act as a judge or jury. In the current situation the American government is not only acting as the prosecution but also as the judge and the jury therefore the Americans should not even have the right to try Osama but instead impartiality should be assured by trying him in the international tribunal.

The discussion about the WAR ON TERRORISM was illuminating. The ex-military bods, who looked so nice on the outside, exposed how Blair and Bush are not stalling for time for humanitarian nor compassionate reasons but just because of military tactics. The guy who was an ex-soldier who thought it was great in the past to be searching a whole row of houses to find terrorists in Northern Ireland was frightening. The historian who made the Freudian slip of initially calling Afghan refugees 'Afghan TERRORISTS' exposed his xenophobic thoughts. Dimbleby was allowing people at the start to spout their own rhetoric unopposed but later on when there was dissent against America's hypocritical and callous foreign policy, the programme really picked up and became a debate. I hope next week we don't just have to listen to the WHITE MIDDLE CLASS GREAT AND THE GOOD and actually have some ordinary people who will not be the future Lords, OBE's etc. Well done!
Clarence Jackman
Acton, London

Following the recent attack on America, will Western countries begin to look at their policies in African countries too, not only in the Middle East? I listened to all the Debate, not one person mentioned how African countries feel about what the situation is right now in the world. Does that mean Africa does not exist anymore? Africa is as angry as the people in the Middle East, only we choose to be quite about it, people are dying every day in Angola, Sudan etc because of Third World debts which can be cancelled, though that will not solve their problem but can help a great deal. Let the Westerner not forgot the help Africa gave when they were in need.

I would like to point out my comments in the direction of helping Africa to develop. But Aziaya should not forget that Western Europe is in the phase of an European Union, and not an African Union. Europe as a continent has a the biggest challenge ever and I think that European people by origin, race and nationality should dedicate almost all efforts to this task first, and then prioritise other matters. Lack of knowledge of European languages cause misunderstanding, and the First and the Second World War within European Land. The Russian prime minister is helping the German government to focus a peaceful democracy. I would say that Africa is a big continent that would be able to sort out their problems themselves without exhausting European efforts and comforts.

Why haven't you invited Professor Noam Chomsky to air his views? You don't want to hear some unpalatable TRUTH.
David Soori

I was appalled at the tone of the publicity and the setting for the programme. It all gave an impression of intergalactic doom and gloom more suited to Star Trek. The content of the programme was well balanced and delivered in a measured way by the panellists. The over-dramatic, news-creating fervour was only re-iterated by David Dimbleby in his closing remarks. I was saddened by this unnecessary heaviness. What we need is a return to every day routines not a call to arms from the media.
Kathryn Valentine

Why is it that when we know the Taleban have enough money through heroin/opium to probably BUY this country, that we have to send aid to feed their people. Also why was it that all the best comments came at the end of last night's programme?
MV Burdon

It is generally a very delicate subject. I believe we should support the USA - it does work both ways. My main concern is aid to Afghanistan - very simply charity begins at home and with all our National Health problems and just about everything else as well, I genuinely believe that the government and Parliament should be getting our health service back to the way it used to be with correct funding, etc. When our problems at home have been sorted out then by all means aid the needy abroad. Certainly no aid should be given to the Afghans until the Taleban have been wiped out and they have a decent, law abiding government. I have no objections to giving aid abroad but I strongly believe that this country needs all the financial help it can get at present. I maybe short-sighted but let's make this country a great one again and one we can be proud of. Of course terrorism should be wiped out but unfortunately that is impossible. Arrest all suspects - everyone is innocent until proven guilty but it shouldn't prevent arrests being made if anyone is suspected. The rule of thumb is suspects are arrested, questioned and taken further if necessary.

This latest terrorist atrocity has the same intention as all previous actions by Middle-East groups, to provoke the west and the US in particular into a vengeful and massive attack on any of their member states with a view of totally uniting the Arab/Islamic world against what it sees as their enemy. The western world has a long history of underestimating the intelligence (encouraged by our ridiculous tabloids) of middle-east leaders. Yes, some action is obviously necessary but it must be meticulously planned and implemented as to have no impact on the civilian population, instead of a costly, damaging and incredibly dangerous war (for the above reasons) the money would be better spent on swamping Afghanistan with food and medicine, not bombs, and carrying out small but hopefully effective strikes against the localised terrorist organisations. If no lessons are learnt from this tragic episode as to why the US, the West and Multinational Globalisation are so despised in the Middle-East (and by some in the West) the loss of life will have been for nothing. Surely this is an opportunity for publication and debate and an attempt made by the world in general to understand what drives these terrorists and then to make changes in the world if injustices seen to be happening.
Paul Webster

Well done, if this is marginalised Panorama, let's have more. By far the most interesting and balanced discussion programme so far. I thought Bob Marshall-Andrews ended with an important insight so far missed by most politicians who continue to muddle the language of War and Justice. The former will allow a cloak over vengeance and a worrying erosion of civil liberty, community relations and erode the very freedoms we claim to value. Justice is more difficult, it will take time and if the JFK saga is anything to go on, will possibly be inconclusive, but we have no choice. Clearly any attempt to apprehend paramilitary terrorists will require paramilitary police, but this is quite different from an all-out dirty war. As Bob Marshall-Andrews said, it will seem as if we have one hand behind our backs, which means we play fair. So be it.

The idea of ID cards will be a bad step, because this will increase the racism between the Police and the blacks, this will be opportunity for Police to stop and search anybody who does not have English accent, and there will be more law cases in the court.
Aziaya I

I just wanted to say that I believe that America and Great Britain are playing into the terrorists' hands. What it would appear that the terrorists want most is to destroy as many Americans (westerners) as possible. What better way of achieving it than by carrying out an act that would cause America to declare war and send in military troops. How many more people are going to die? Probably thousands more than the World Trade Centre totals. Why they can't send in the SAS to dispose of the heads of the organisation, freeze assets (which they are now doing) and destroy all known training camps, I don't know. Why do we have to have a full scale military war? Joe Public doesn't see this as a war on terrorism, they see it as a war against Afghanistan and probably Iraq. Hence, the build up of racial hatred towards people of these countries. Does the UK really think that Pakistan will help? The government might but the people of Pakistan are against assistance. What happens to the asian communities in Britain when that becomes very apparent on the news? Does the Prime Minster think that there won't be any further retaliation against these communities?
Annelie Ash

Americans and the West need to review their foreign policies and give values to Muslim World too. Americans and her Allies killed 90,000 civilians in Iraq. No one raised any question and Israelis are killing Muslims everyday...again NO ONE is bothered to condemn Israelis or bomb it...why?. When other nations fight for their rights you call them LOYALIST and FREEDOM FIGHTERS but when a Muslim fights for his/her rights you label them a can you justify this?. I must clarify here that what happened in America I do not support or appreciate, my heart goes to all those who have died and to their relatives. In my view the American Administration themselves are fully responsible for this incident.
Imteyaz Azmi

I was pleased that many of your guests seemed to share my view that our standing 'shoulder to shoulder' should be conditional upon their pursuing the goal of bringing the terrorists to justice in an appropriate international (not American) court. It should also depend on all possible efforts being made to avoid harm to innocents. Consequently, I applaud the efforts to get food aid to the Afghan people, both in Afghanistan and in refugee camps in neighbouring countries.

I do feel that the USA should review its cavalier and somewhat arrogant international policies. Your contributor, who said that the WTO should work for the poor countries, and not against the poor people of the world, shares my views. They should also address their bias towards Israel and replace it with one of justice. I feel anxious over our Government apparently giving unconditional support to the USA. The USA is a country which reneges on its International commitments on important issues such as the environment and the international courts of justice, but expects all nations to fall in line behind any campaign it advocates when it is wronged against.

I do feel that the USA should receive our help in achieving justice following 11th Sept. But this help should be conditional upon it recognising, and acting on, the many calls for justice from other citizens of the world.
Keith Perks

Why has there been no New World Order investigators interviewed, or featured on debate programmes such as Panorama, when it is clear to all who have even briefly studied the topic that what we are experiencing has already been predicted so accurately ?

Freedoms are at stake here, so please think of the world we are allowing our children to witness, when we can easily stop the corruption and lies of those in power, so we can live in peaceful equality with all. The truth must come out before many more innocent lives are wasted to protect a 'democratic' regime steadily creeping into fascism with the unknowing public's consent
Geoff Deacon

Jenny Tonge said that we should flood Afghanistan with food aid and in the next breath says that the Taleban will obviously take the first shipments of aid that are currently being taken into the region. If she knows this will happen, why don't the people who are suppling it know this? We are currently feeding the very people whom we wish to remove from power.

Robert Marshall-Andrews said that we should take our share of refugees. Does he or will he be living in the same areas as these people? Neither he nor any one of the panel will have to do that and as they know it won't affect their happy little lives - they can say and do and be as politically correct as they like. Not one of them had the balls to mention the white people who are forced to leave ethnic communities as THEY do not fit in because of the differences in cultures. It was stated on the programme that Muslims are now targets for attacks and an example of a Taxi Driver who is now severeley disabled was given.

However, not one of the panel mentioned the killing of a white youth in Peterborough by seven Asian youths last week. Of course it was because that couldn't possibly have been racially motivated! There are areas of Birmingham that have signs saying no whites after 8pm and even buses travelling through these areas, with white passengers on board, have been forced away. The panel consisted of far too many "well off", politically correct, do-gooder types (Bianca Jagger, Katharine Hamnett) who have no idea what living in a poor, working-class, multi-racial community is like.

Well I do and it is tough for all concerned whether you are Asian, black or white. During the next debate give "ordinary" people the chance to have their say on such matters and not just the chance to vote on the qustions you pose to them in one of your polls!
Ian S

These Islamic terrorists, and they are Islamic terrorists despite Tony Blair's insistence to the contrary, have one objective: To bring the US in particular, and the West in general, to its knees. They hate Americans, and they hate most other Westerners too, because we, in their eyes, are infidels, 'kafir'; so we are not worthy of human life. There are, of course, other reasons for their hatred, too.

These people are hell bent on Islamicizing the world. Until our leaders realize this point, then they are always going to be misguided. We have to defend rigorously our own freedom, based as it is on the Judeo-Christian tradition. It has brought us moderation, tolerance, understanding, and freedoms beyond measure.

Muslim fundamentalists do not revere democracy. It is anathema to them. They want a system of government and law based on what they believe to be God's word - Sharia Law. This must be recognized.

They seem to think they are the law enforcers of the world. And when America is attacked, everyone is expected to rally round and feel sorry for them.

S W Bath, Hastings
To think about introducing even more anti-racial legislation - legislation that will take even more of our freedoms away - just to appease this intolerant minority is an outrage! You cannot make people like others through legislation. You cannot bring about racial harmony this way. Consider what happened in Hitler's Germany because people perceived that the Jews were taking their culture away! If we continue down this road, we shall have to pay very dearly for it in the future!

If these people wish to live in our country, then they should adopt the principle of 'doing in Rome as the Romans do'. Let's not expect the Romans to do what they wish. Jews have lived in this country, in the States, and in many other Western countries, for centuries, and they just get on with it. They are no trouble to anyone. Muslims should take a leaf out of the Jews' book. If people hate Muslims so much, then Muslims should ask themselves some fundamental questions.

That the government is thinking of tightening up legislation regarding the use of religious language is irresponsible. They will be playing fast and loose with free speech. Where will it all end?!

We have gone soft on all these people. There are thousands of unwanted, dangerous, yes dangerous, illegal immigrants in this country. They should be sent back to where they belong. It is time for the government to start looking after the people of Britain, time to start considering the security of the British themselves.

The Welsh have been downtrodden by the English over the years. Was anything done for us? Do we complain? Are we paranoid?

These people think the whole world is against them. So they demand more and more protection. There will be no satisfying their demands. They will only increase, the more we yield to them. It is they who need to start yielding - to start living and letting live. When this time comes, we shall begin to find harmony replacing disharmony, trust replacing suspicion, and friendliness replacing hostility.

With regard to whether we ought to stand by the Americans regardless, the answer is, of course, yes. Unequivocally! Just as the Americans stood by us during the Second World War. After all, we will probably be the next target of these terrorists.

Aid, too, should not be given. It can be given when they toe the line. In any case, what are their Muslim brothers in the rich Gulf countries doing for them? They have enough wealth to sort it all out. There are people in this country on the poverty line. If there is so much money swishing around, why don't we give it to them? Charity, after all, begins at home!

Minorities can be security assets.USA is obviously using the language and local knowledge skills of Arabic and Pushtu minorities. They can help correct policyms-perceptions leading to tragic blunders.The speaker who equated refugees with security risks had tunnel vision.
Tony Abrams

What right did Tony Blair have to say that we stand shoulder to shoulder with America? He has put every man, woman and child at risk in this country. The American people have been supplying the IRA with funds to bomb us for 30 years. They have been using their bully boy tactics on third world contries, supplying some with arms to fight when the policies suit them - bombing Iraq at will, killing the people.

They seem to think they are the law enforcers of the world. And when America is attacked, everyone is expected to rally round and feel sorry for them. For the people who lost their lives, yes I do. For the country, I think they had it coming and it's nothing to do with the UK. As for terrorism, it seems to depend whose side they're on.
S W Bath

I think the Taleban should be removed from power as they and Bin Laden are the same. They killed tens of thousands of their own people, simply because they resisted them or belonged to different ethnic groups of theirs. They violated the basic human rights of individuals and committed widespread attrocities. They banned woman from education and work and forced them to wear Burka. Formal education is limited, men have to grow beards and wear turbans,(wearing Western clothes is prohibited), no form of entertainment is allowed and, in short, there are no civil liberties or freedom including political freedom in Afghanistan under the Taleban. They represent no one but their own extremist circles.

What seems for me to be a sensible course of action regarding the Afganistan situation is for the allied coalition to create a safe haven within Afganistan. For instance where the Northern alliance are operating, and use that area to airdrop aid and medicine. Then let the refugees into that area to be looked after. The task of the military should be to stop the Taliban and other unscrupulous terrorists taking control of that aid.

This will gain us the hands of friendship, strengthen the coalition and destroy the ideology created by Bin Laden and others that this is a war against Islam.
James Fish

Last nights' programme was rather weak as there was very little criticism of our Government's lack of action within the UK. 20 days after the tragic incident in New York and we have yet to see any action taken on home ground. There are many known and suspected terrorists in Britain but very few if any arrests have taken place . Is this yet another case of double standards?
Thomas Wilson

The same theme seems to be going around, that America should change it's policy in the Middle East and support the Arabs.

What about the USA's interference in democratically elected governments in other countries

Dafydd, Beulah
This would inevitably lead to the destruction of Israel. This is what Bin Laden wants and he appears to have support from the likes of Nicholas Soames, David Mellor and others. People seem to be saying we are at war with terrorism, except for the IRA and anyone who blows up Israelis.
Michael Gerard

There were the usual glib comments about 'terrorists'. Who is going to define what a terrorist is? Margaret Thatcher described Nelson Mandela as a terrorist. Given Britain's close relationship with the USA would the ANC have been banned in this country and where would that have left Peter Hain? Are Palestinians who fight an occupation army (as defined by international law) terrorists, or is it the Israelis who hare terrorists? Sharon, their prime minister, was in the 80's implicated, by his own then government, in the massacre of 7,000 Palestinians, mainly women and children. Is he a terrorist?

What about the USA's interference in democratically elected governments in other countries - as pointed out by Bianca Jagger. The truth is that the USA want to decide and they have consistently got it wrong. Welcome the next generation of terrorists, or is it freedom fighters, or is it guerrillas - nothing has changed.

For cheep sensationalism, radio and TV continually air the views of the critics of Tony Blair in this current anti terror campaign, these remarks are made by uniformed and sometimes downright stupid people. We are extremely fortunate to have somebody of the character and backbone of Tony Blair in control at this time.

Don't they realize that you cannot talk to these people or negotiate with them because they are religious heretics who believe that by murdering anybody that is not a Muslim gives them the immediate entrance to paradise. This insanity has been bred into them by their religion for over a thousand years.

They have been taught that only a Muslim has a direct line to god and every other person that follows another religion is an infidel. When they declare a Fatwar or holy war what they are saying is that we are on the side of god and every else isn't so they can be murdered.

I have not heard one Muslim leader state that these murderers will go straight to hell and burn in internal fire for their actions and not go to paradise. When they start preaching this maybe we will have less suicide fanatics.
Michael Collins

Judging by the TV pictures of demos in Pakistan etc, for each hijacker, there are hundreds if not thousands more Muslims willing to die for their cause in the same way. The War on Terrorism will therefore never be truly won. The West must try to understand WHY there is so much hate directed towards us. My solution is a greater redistribution of Western wealth - more aid to build hospitals, schools, better healthcare etc - in order to improve the Muslim world's perception of the West, and show that capitalism and commercialism can have a positive impact on all parts of the world.
David Campbell

The most worrying thing at the moment is the rhetoric coming from George Bush. He always seems to be reading from a Hollywood script. We hear about this being an attack on the civilised world but all we hear about is America America America. Yes there was nationalities from all over the world in the WTC, do you see any other flags being waved in the US or just American? Isn't America part of the UN? If so why is that George Bush says that "America is ready to go in with or without the rest of the world". Surely as part of the UN he must abide by UN rules.

Will ANY anti American be considered a terrorist? What if Green Peace affect the profitability of an American oil firm? Will they then be classed as terrorists and have all their assets frozen? For such a young country the US has caused a lot of Death and Destruction compared to other nations. (Hiroshima and Vietnam to name a few). Lets just hope that the rest of the world doesn't get sucked in to more Death and Destruction at the hands of the US.

The rest of the world should stand up to the US and if necessary embargo the US economy until they see sense, and start talking Peace not Death.

I was extremely disappointed to listen to the panel and telling America to change their foreign policy with regards to the Middle East.

State harboured or sponsored terrorism is nothing but a euphemism for conducting a war

Darius, London
In other words with regards to Israel, these extremists actually do not want peace in the Middle East as they continue to attack Israel every time their is any sign of both sides getting together. Certain people seem extremely quick to blame certain countries for the recent horrors. I think people should know more about the history before commenting and blaming others so quickly.

Andrew Roberts and Nicholas Soames were the only two panelists that spoke any sense on last night's programme. All US immigrants have to swear allegiance to the country, it's about time we did the same. The government should get it's priorities right and remove these traitors living in the UK who love all the benefits the country gives them but openly admit they hate it and support known terrorists to the point of suicide.

I have noted certain lack of clarity amongst majority of your distinguished panellists on tonight's Panorama program on matters of war, terrorism and justice in the context of the tragic events of 11 September. None of the panellists, it seems, except possibly Messers Reid and Soames, have managed to grasp the true importance of President Bush's instinctive declaration that the attack on New York was an act of war against the US. Imagine if a similar attack had been carried out before the end of the cold war by a Russian harboured terrorist organisation akin to that of Bin Laden's!

There would have been no question then, I suppose, that an attack on that scale, masterminded and financed from within Russia, would have been rightly construed as an act of war against the US unless Russian authorities had swiftly acted to pursue those responsible and handed them over to the Americans. The Russian authorities would have been undoubtedly expected to show plausible proof that they did not have anything to do with it, apologize for allowing to use their territory for launching such an attack and possibly pay reparations for loss of life and property.

Let us not be mistaken - state harboured or sponsored terrorism is nothing but a euphemism for conducting a war. Accordingly, those engaged in planning, aiding, sponsoring or carrying out acts of war on the scale experienced in the US on 11 September should be dealt with in a military manner. Civilian justice system in a democratic society is not appropriate for dealing with any type of organized terrorism or war crimes. The talk of bringing terrorists to justice through civilian courts is not only inappropriate but also dangerous.
Darius Zamojski

It was an excellent debate, but marred by the last statement of the double-barrelled gentleman. In response to Major Bob Stewart's reasonable comment that in his considerable experience the UK's Security Forces are always forced to operate "with one hand tied behind their backs" he expressed the opinion that this was a "good thing" as it is a small price to pay for the liberal society which we enjoy. If Parliament/Canary Wharf/Buckingham Palace had been the terrorist target, and the attack had been organised by someone who had illegally slipped into the country as an asylum seeker and remained undetected because of our lax security controls, he would not dare have made the remark.

As for ID Cards, they are an essential part of modern society in most Western countries. Of course they should not be abused by the authorities, but there are many benefits to be gained in times of relative calm such as the avoidance of benefit fraud, organ donor records, passport substitute for EU travel etc. Modern technology provides the means to record fingerprinting, DNA readout, blood group will make them well-nigh un-forgeable. The danger in the current climate is that their introduction may be rushed through without proper thought and we might be left with an inadequate system. This would prejudice their acceptability to the public at large under more normal circumstances.
Derek Markham

Grim prog. Load of tosh from where I am sitting. I gave up after 20 mins. Lots of soundbites from too many, no analysis, just a lot of self serving people, with a few exceptions, ventilating. Really unworthwhile tv, not worth watching and a disgrace to the BBC .
Raleigh North Carolina

Since this tragedy happened in America, each and every programme on the TV in this respect, seems an orchestrated one. The same sentences are repeated by the participants. They have talked about religions, especially Islam, but nobody talked about its Master, THE GOD ALL MIGHTY, amazing! Because I do read Qura'an therefore it is incumbent upon me to tell the truth which many Muslims have been avoiding. In the Qura'an God All Mighty tells the mankind quite clearly, regardless of their religions or beliefs, that "For every thing in this Universe will perish at its appointed time." NO BODY INCLUDING JESUS, MOHAMMAD (PEACE BE UPON THEM, A KING OR QUEEN, A MULLAH OR A PRIEST, A PRIME MINISTER OR A PRESIDENT CAN AVERT IT. The cause of the death and destruction could be due to any human being or natural one. In other words, the source could be any thing but no body neither predict it or control it. Please look into the past 90 years and you will see that millions and millions of innocent people have been killed or slaughtered for one reason or the other-for this war or that war. And America comes on the top in killing directly and indirectly millions of people all around the world, after HITLER OR STALIN, and even its own Presidents. The same God tells us that, "If any one kills a person-unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land," he has killed the whole mankind. Al-Qura'an VERSE:32 CHAPTER: 5. And if Osama Bin Ladin is perpetrated of such a crime then he will, not only be punished in this world, which might not be enough for his crime but he will be judged and punished if found guilty, on the DAY OF JUDGEMENT. Justice will be done eventually.

It really looks as if we are being groomed for the bombing of a country in return for the actions of a few terrorists that they cannot or will not control. I cannot but see this as analogous to bombing Britain because of the blitzkrieg conducted by Blair and other NATO war criminals against Serbia. The USA were proud of their hopeless attempts to target only military installations around Belgrade. Let them refine their targets more carefully. Let their retribution not be sullied by association with the Queers of the New Labour Perversity.
Washington, England

I think the Taliban should be removed from power as they and Bin Laden are the same.They killed tens of thousands of their own people simply because they resisted them or were belong to different ethenic groups of theirs. They banned woman from education and work and forced them to wear Burka. Formal education is limited,men has to grow beard and wear turban(wearing Western cloths is prohibited), not any kind of entertainment is allowed and in short there isn't any civil liberties or freedom including political freedom in Afghanistan under the Taliban. They represent no one but there own extremist circles.

What a brave country we are. Mr Blair wants to stand shoulder to shoulder with Mr Bush and wipe out terrorism. It seems to me that Bush and Blair will not be happy until they have bombed a bunch of shepherds and started World War Three. Well Tony, if Mr Bush fails then you fail as well. What should be done, I don't know, but bombing shepherds is not the answer.

How do we know this was not a CIA initiated plan? Why not investigate the very department who aided and helped fund Osama Bin Ladens' merceneries in Chechnya and oh Kossovo. Remember the KLA?.terrorists as stated by the US state Department in 1997. Portrayed as freedom fighters in 1999, during the farce in Yugoslavia? When will the media be straight open and fair? Without your support none of this would ever happen!

It's ironic to see Blair helping to organise the hunt for Bin Laden in the mountains of Afghanistan. It's a pity he hasn't shown the same enthusiasm in hunting down the murderers of the people in Omagh. But then again he might have offended Gerry bin Adams and that would never do.

All of us; leaders, pundits, commentators and people have had time to purge ourselves of the first flood of emotions aroused by the trauma of Sept 11th. It is now time for the people to let their opinions be known to their MP, who should take those opinions to be debated in Parliament. Then the Government, who the people voted into power, should seek/obtain a mandate from the country,in an appropriate form,to act on the behalf of those they represent. Thus the nation will be represented by a single, coherent voice. The rest of us can get on with whatever individual role our elected government asks of us.

It was amazing to witness the speed of the programme, as if there was something to hide. Panorama has always been a reliable programme . I have found this forum not only a minus on its score board; but also a bit cautious if not cowardly in its content and approach. It was sad to see that the BBC could only invite four women to such an important forum, especially when they are discussing the fate of a country where children and women are more than simply oppressed or terrorised. Interestingly enough, in the last two weeks the whole media has been plastered with male voices and images all over the news, as "the" voices representing us all.

The other very important issue is since the politicians, who get more than enough exposure to "lie", could be avoided in some of your programmes from now on. Why don't you ask the ordinary people what they think openly, instead of coming up with some "paparazzi style, 2 question; "yes or no" surveys, utterly insulting and frustrating to everyones intelligence?

I regret to say I was awfully disappointed in the forum programme. It has not only confirmed my mistrust in politicians: it made it clearer to me that they were groping in the dark and were busy creating new Frankenstein partnerships under new secrecy codes, bound by dangerous partnerships which will surely affect us all in the future.
Merill Taygun
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Why is there so much negative comment about America, on all news footage about Afganistan, I only see mounds of sacks of grain with U.S.A printed all over them. Where are the sacks of grain from Egypt Syria Saudi Arabia and Iran? Why don't they support the humanitarian crisis? They seem to be more materialistic, with their vast oil wealth than any other so called western societies. Don't knock American policies before you get your own in order!

Time and again, including tonight's episode of Panorama, it is said by knowledgeable people that the USA's foreign policy is responsible for the hate felt for them by many countries, and is illustrated by the numerous attacks made on them. Many, if not most people, would like to be better informed as to just how uneven is the USA in dealing with poor countries? How uneven is their dealing with the problem between the Palestinians and Israel?

By attempting to understand the roots of terrorism we undoubtedly strive closer to a solution

Zubair, Heathrow
When the death toll from Sept 11th is finally published, it will surely show that a far greater number killed were non-American - what will that prove? The TV news from Afghanistan frequently shows food aid pouring in from the UN - with bags clearly marked as the product of the USA. Why isn't it all rejected and burned?

Until programmes including Panorama address such matters to provide the public with a better, clearer understanding of the background to what has led to the fraught state the world now finds itself in, it will be difficult for many to decide just who is on the moral high ground, let alone the most appropriate route to be taken.
Ely, Cambs

The tragedy of Sept 11 has bought issues the public were before ignorant off but our governments were aware off, closer to home. A 'textbook' approach should be adopted. The perception of an 'unfair American policy', held by millions of different people throughout the world, warrants critical examination by everyone. Unfortunately American policy does play a role when identifying the reasons behind why some people in the world get so angry, frustrated and desperate. By attempting to understand the roots of terrorism we undoubtedly strive closer to a solution, and in turn reassure the weaker coalition countries of our patient, calculated and just approach.

The Afghans fought the US's war against the Soviets. When Russia withdrew its troops, the Afghans were abandoned by the US and turned on themselves. The facilities made available to troubled Americans who fought in Vietnam for the US were not made available to the Afghans who also fought for the US, and who faced worse conditions and turned to extremists in their time of abandonment and desperation. The Northern Alliance (one evil), should not be allowed to replace the Taliban (another evil). The king of Aghanistan visibly looks weak and in a poor state of health. Neither of these two nominees should be allowed to gain any more power.

I just want to say in what has happened in USA New York ATTACK. I am very sorry to hear the loss of all those people who died and what happened. The media is doing is selling stories on American and British people who died in the twin towers. Were there not other ethinic groups? Is America not full of other groups of people? Can you give me one good reason why America is accusing Bin Laden? Have America got any proof? .

The UK shouldn't be on the brink of war with Afghanistan. We can back-up the US in the war they want to instigate against Afghanistan or Osama Bin Laden & terrorists, but to send in our troops, I totally disagree. If we have Afghan's in this country, then they should be sent home, as long as they remain in Britain, they could very easily destroy our beloved country and many of the innocent people that live and work here.

I just can't understand why we should get caught up in a war that is going to leave families without loving Father's, Brother's or anyone else they love. It is time that our government upped the security, but that doesn't mean we should have to carry ID cards or to prove who we are, that's an invasion of our rights.

Too many chiefs and not enough Indians are running this country, trying to do what is best for Britain, but it isn't always best.
Kevin Cooper

Andrew Roberts comments about small countries which will hate USA anyway is very offensive and hypocritical. The injustice breeds hate. America's completely biased support to Israel and others is one of the main reasons for the hatred to it. Why are these small countries not targeting Japan for example if it is only out of jealousy as you are trying to say. Your attitude and ignorance is very appalling for a historian. I am surprised someone like you should be writing history.

I wish that I was in a position to do something myself. The programme this evening accomplished nothing, and quite frankly we have got to stop being the gentlemen losers and show these fanatics and their followers that we are gonna stamp this evil out regardless of humanitarian crises that follow. Otherwise we will have one in the civilised world too. Humour the do-gooders, and get on with this war. After all we are fighting for peace at the end of the day, sadly prices have to be paid.
Paul Cunningham

Given the amount of hatred towards the USA in the world, I think that we would be justified in trying to bring back the idea of Fortress America, and let Europe deal with the Balkins and let whoever deal with everything else.Most Americans just want to live their lives here in US, most Americans never leave the country anyway!
Debbie Curnes

As many of the panellists pointed out, there is some satisfaction that the American administration has not for once gone in with all Cruise missiles blazing, and there appears some indication that they are beginning to realise how much of the rest of the world lives. However, Bush has saddled us with the word "war" from day one, and the media feed the emotive implications of this one word. Please use language more carefully! "Britain on the Brink"--what does it mean? You have to be "on the brink" of something:what? Presumably all of us couch-potatoes are invited to fill in the gap and say "war".

Furthermore I think there should be curtailment of civil liberties for any more journalists/presenters who conclude their piece/programme with a line to the effect than within a day or two we may well have seen decisive military action, as Mr. Dimbleby did. And as for Andrew Roberts:who needs terrorists when we have such arrogant, reactionary, revisionist "historians" in our midst?
Crawford Logan

The discussion would have benefited from more astute and penetrating chairing. David Dimbleby repeatedly failed to follow up key points, apparently afraid to let the discussion approach the 'specific', preferring to keep it boringly general. For example, the questions of whether to provide the Taleban with evidence against Bin Laden, the history of America's alleged double standards in its Middle East dealings, whether or not we should override our usual legal procedures in order to be able to act more quickly - these points, it seems to me, are the most important issues which need to be discussed in detail.

Why does the BBC persist with such a perceived 'establishment' type figure for these programmes. Mr Dimbleby often seems too much 'the politician's friend'. It was as if he was in some way 'towing the party line' in avoiding certain difficult detail. The BBC should find more intelligent and perceptive presenters for this type of discussion. The very difficult and complex situation we find ourselves in as a result of these terrorist attacks demands the sharpest minds on the case.

I was not altogether surprised that what was billed as a Panorama debate should turn out to be the usual consensus for inaction and surrender. John Nichol was the only one who attempted to inject some sense of strategic reality, and was studiously ignored by everyone else. It is probably true that the USA cannot adopt policies that will make it loved in the Middle East. It is therefore doubly essential that it should be feared.

Rather than attempt to build some sort of world alliance, America should have reacted immediately to the attacks on its cities by using some of the most powerful weapons in its arsenal. Talk of justice is beside the point.

Terrorists carry out acts of violence as a way of making a point, getting themselves heard.

Bob Tear, Otley
This was an act of war, and Edmund Burke probably put it as well as anyone when he said that, in the presence of arms laws are silent. World peace was preserved for forty years by the fear of nuclear weapons. If that peace is to be restored, all groups - and particularly all states - have to be convinced that, in the event of an attack on its cities, the West is prepared to use its full power in reply. Only by making this absolutely manifest is there any chance of achieving global renunciation of terrorism.
Lloyd Davies

As usual these debates leave me feeling that so many views are left unheard. It is to do with ideology and poverty and belief and the most important feelings were expressed by the women present, apart from the Labour MP. Discussions lik this should be open ended and wide. Allowing different class, gender and belief to be really heard and expressed. What a sad day when Greg Dyke felt pressurised to apologise for the only interesting and passionate Question Time ever transmitted. Television at it's best should be passionate, informed, emotional and subjective.
Donald Coutts

Why are we trying to fight the terrorists in a language that they don't understand? Terrorists carry out acts of violence as a way of making a point, getting themselves heard. Therefore, what is the point in talking to them or entering into any sort of negotiation? If they felt that they could make their point in this way they would be doing it. I don't believe in violence at all but when you want to communicate with people who violence is their language, you have to do so in a way that they understand! To talk to someone you are making an assumption that they have the same values and mindset as you. The Taleban obviously don't so how can they see things from our perspective? It would be nice, if just for once we would act instead of discuss! Do we in Britain have to be subjected to the same sort of terror before we take some action. Now is the time for action - not tomorrow or next week!
Bob Tear

Other than capitulating completely to all terrorist demands, most of your panellists were devoid of any solution. John Reid takes impertinence to the ultimate limit, to even agree to appear on a programme about the destruction of terrorism, when he and his terrorist appeasers, lack the courage to even state that the UDA has indeed broken their ceasefire. Of course that would mean that he might have to return some of its members, to prison, where they rightly belong. Worse still this might lead to pressure for similar treatment for his favourite terrorists in the IRA. Now that is completely out of the question, what would Bertie Ahern think???
George Stewart

We here in Birmingham have taken some time to come to terms with the problems that are associated with the vast amount of people coming from various parts of the world to live near us all. The different cultures we have had to endure, due to weak knee diplomacy. We weren't given a chance of normal integration, we were told we must get on, so we did. Those who come to our country should swear an allegiance and if not, should be turned away, this would in turn empower the police to arrest those who continue to use our hospitality. Religion has kept the Asian countries where they are, destitute, do we want to now go down that path in further appeasement?

I am proud to live in this country and am grateful to the people who died in the wars to give us freedom. Do not let our country go down the drain even further! We need laws now to stop the fanatics.
Stan Francis

Britain on the brink - The Panorama debate

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