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Wednesday, 26 September, 2001, 11:05 GMT 12:05 UK
Fighting terrorism: What can be done?
Political leaders and security organisations from around the world have been trying to put in place new measures to fight the war against terrorists after last Tuesday's attack on America.

President George W Bush has already called for a lifting of the ban on US involvement in assassinations overseas. There have also been calls for the CIA to work with former members of known terrorist organisations to widen their knowledge of these groups.

Mr Bush also hopes to get new security measures in place including increased powers on detaining non-US citizens, phone tapping, email surveillance, tracing laundered money and tougher penalties for those assisting terrorists.

Is this going too far in fighting terrorism? Would you accept greater surveillance measures to combat terror attacks?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

We must not fight terrorism with terror. We have to look very hard the reasons behind such attacks - that does not mean they are justified but we have to accept that nobody chooses terror as a career. I believe desperation, the feel of hopelessness and the absence of a peaceful alternative for redress against a much more powerful opponent drive people to take such drastic action.

I therefore think it is about time the UN became more democratic. The way to do that is to do away with the right of veto enjoyed by the five permanent members of the Security Council. Surely nobody can make a case for the current system as being a fair and democratic one. Yes let's attack terrorists wherever they are, but let us give them an alternative - a peaceful one.
Sherif El-Alfy, UK


We are fighting for the right to live freely and in peace

Norman, Australia
Governments all around the world should put aside their political ambition and their own private agenda to fully (and I mean fully) address the ongoing highly sensitive problems of society. If these problems are not addressed, we can fear that extremists will take the law in their own hands thus giving birth to political violence or in other words, terrorism. Groups or individuals that support race-hate, anti-government policy, etc, must be looked upon as a potential problem that we should not just swept under the carpet until it becomes too late.

Action must be taken - not just against Osama Bin Laden but any groups that can have the potential to damage society with their beliefs. Remember we are not fighting against the Islamic faith or a culture of people, we are fighting for the right to live freely and in peace. This is nothing new, and it is time that governments unite to ensure the preservation of humanity.
Norman, Australia

To suggest that the US simple fold its hands and let these people get away with this, and hope that they go away is not realistic and isn't going to happen. They must be tracked down and eliminated permanently. There really isn't any other way to restore security to the rest of the world.
Jim Hubbell, Texas, USA


All religions preach tolerance and peace

Felix Tan, Singapore
All religions preach tolerance and peace - turn the other cheek. I do not think that these philosophies preach cowardice but more a way to defuse the hate and prejudice we face daily. It takes a lot of courage not to hit back, especially when you know you have the means to do so. Somewhere, somehow, someone must say "Enough of reprisals - it ends here and it starts with me". Then the wounds can start to heal and trust restored. I know this is an idealistic scenario and may never materialise, knowing the dark side of human nature. But like many others who hope for peace, I pray that humankind will someday come to realise this and hope that it won't be too little, too late.
Felix Tan, Singapore

The terrible events of last week have produced world-wide sympathy for all those who have lost family, friends, colleagues and loved ones. Ironically it presents the US with a unique opportunity. Rather than react in the predictable - though understandable way - of mounting a US-led military campaign against the perceived enemy, it can call upon the world at large to bring them to justice. It is time to give the United Nations the authority to deal with this through the international justice system. It could be the beginning of genuine world peace which in the end is the only way to defeat terrorism.
Philip S. Hall, England, UK

Get away from our thirst for oil so we would not have to get involved with non-democratic states
D. Cocker, England

Destroying terrorist networks will accomplish nothing unless it is supported by addressing the cause of Arab/ Islamic anger, most specifically the US' shameful "green light" to Israeli aggression on Palestinians. Purely destroying the existing terrorist networks will be as effective as taking an aspirin for cancer.
Anthony C, Australia

Terrorism may be a growth industry, but like every other industry it costs money to run properly. I think that some of the measures to freeze terrorist assets, announced today by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, might be a first step down the right road.
Henry Case, UK


Every citizen of every country needs to become the eyes and ears of the intelligence agencies

Chris, England
Would I accept greater surveillance measures in order to combat terror attacks? Along with every other sane person who has seen what's happened in New York, my answer is an unhesitating yes! Furthermore, it's no longer enough to leave anti-terrorist measures and intelligence gathering to the agencies configured to deal with the problem. Every citizen of every country needs to become the eyes and ears of the intelligence agencies. It is, after all our lives, and those of our families that are at risk.
Chris, England

Regarding hand luggage, maybe a standard clear plastic bag with few pockets would make it easier for staff to check?
Pete Wilson, UK


We must adopt the "business as usual" slogan of the London Blitz

John Gant, UK
At times of such great tragedy, when natural feelings and emotions run high, it is difficult to interject cool logic into any discussion. Such pragmatic arguments are generally considered "unseemly" or "inappropriate" whilst the tragedy itself remains fresh in people's minds. Nevertheless, the ensuing economic catastrophe following the attack on New York, further enforced by the doom and gloom prophesies of the media, has brought results far greater than whatever were the original aims of the terrorists who carried out this atrocity.

To accept this situation is to accept defeat at the hands of those who wish to harm us. We should all refuse to have our lives so disrupted and so changed. To do this we must adopt the "business as usual" slogan of the London 'Blitz': continue to travel and continue to spend, revitalising the economy and demonstrating that that the peoples of the democracies will not be cowed by acts of terrorism.
John Gant, UK

The lifting of sanctions and the cancelling of third world debt, will do more to halt terrorism than all the bombs in the world.
Luke Rothwell, UK

Many of the terrorists involved in previous incidents and indeed this latest atrocity have all the necessary papers or are citizens of the countries they attack. Terrorists are distinguished by their actions not by their nationality. Unfortunately by the time they act it is all too late.
David Needham, UK

First at all, rename the terrorist as guerrilla or as a fighter for human rights, then start negotiation and political dialogue about their demands. If you have a problem about it call for envoys from Macedonia, they will help you to endure all this easier. We are all with you.
S.T., Macedonia


The principal threat is the new kind of international terrorism as advocated by the so-called jehadis from Pakistan and Afghanistan

Naloke Bajpai, India/France
It would be a mistake to identify Osama bin Laden as the principal or the only source of threat to the international community. The principal threat is the new kind of international terrorism as advocated by the so-called jehadis from Pakistan and Afghanistan. India has been facing this crisis for the past 20 years. More than 40,000 lives have been lost till date, most of them being civilians. But surprising is the fact that the US had been ignoring India's plea to recognize this terrorism and now when they themselves have been afflicted with it, suddenly they want to bomb Afghanistan.
Aloke Bajpai, India / France

One solution could stop it. This solution will stop refugees coming to UK and will stop what happens to the state. The solution is to remove all leaders from the Middle East as these people haven't been elected by democratic means but by imposing themselves as their leader. Let the citizens of the Middle East elect their leader and we will see. What the UN has done to East Timor should be applied to the all Middle East, North Africa and Africa.
Badreddine, UK

By all means go after the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity. But for the sake of those of us that wish to live in hope and safety, please understand that unless the US, NATO and the Western world address the causes of this, an ever more tragic cycle of 'an eye for an eye' will unfold. The US should start by using its considerable might and influence to settle the Israel/Palestine question once and for all instead of standing by while Israeli forces continue to create new martyrs to the Islamic cause with each passing day. We Europeans are not liberal-minded appeasers to terrorism and to many of us the US seems naive and blinkered, choosing to ignore the cost exacted, both human and ecological, by the juggernaut of unfettered global capitalism. A mighty but simplistic military response to this may deal with the symptoms for a while but unless our leaders engage with the dispossessed of the planet, this will not end here.
Philip T, UK

Suicide terrorism predates the existence of the State of Israel, is not caused by Israeli policy and will not be solved by decreasing American ties to Israel. While poverty can contribute to terrorism, it is totally simplistic to view these acts only as a response to poverty and/or suppression. Many poor societies do not produce suicide terrorists. Furthermore, the terrorist hijackers appear to have been middle- class, highly educated, with "something to lose." Several of them were married with children.
Eve, Israel


The most chilling aspect of last Tuesday's atrocity has been the reaction of some bystanders in the West

Henry Case, UK
The most chilling aspect of last Tuesday's atrocity has been the reaction of some bystanders in the West. Until now, I had never suspected the depth of the moral corrosion that has eaten into the heart of anti-American prejudice and the degree to which it has corrupted "liberal" opinion. The warped moral relativism which has led some to attempt to rationalise, even excuse such a monstrous act of evil is not only sickening, but frightening. Tell me, how can such people seemingly find it easier to sympathise with terrorists and dictators than with the families of the innocent office workers who flung themselves to their deaths from the burning World Trade Centre?
Henry Case, UK

The emerging picture of a "crusade" versus a Muslim Jihad suggests a reversion to medieval times. Bush's Wild West comments, "Wanted dead or alive" do not make it any more perceptive. Much more knowledge, much more understanding, much more thought are wanted before any decisions should be made. Above all, Europe shouldn't be drawn into this maelstrom, which will probably spill much more innocent blood than even the atrocities in NY and Washington.
Y. Lotan Hairston, Israel

As an ordinary person I really can not do much about groups of very evil people who claim to represent a community or religion and commit these horrific acts. Governments all around the world must work together to find out who were behind it and eliminate them. The Western governments must also balance their foreign policies and try their best to bring democracy too all parts of the world and stop supporting oppressive regimes. May God protect us all against evil.
Alan Hunar, London, UK

Sharon B, UK, has a valid point, however she is clearly na´ve. You need to look beyond recent comments made in the media, for instance the UK intelligence services making available all communication records. From this statement it is blatantly clear our e-mail, voicemail and who knows what else is already being monitored. Do the good people of this country realise that US intelligence recruits are trained at RAF Menwith Hill, trained using trapped communication? There is something very dark and sinister afoot and we as subjects are powerless. Never forget that, without a written constitution, we in the UK are subjects, nothing more. Not citizens, but subjects with very, very few rights indeed.
James Devereaux-Quille, England

I would like to send my love and sympathy to the people of the USA and I deplore the terrorism which caused so much suffering and loss of life.
My hope is that their leaders will realise that spending trillions of dollars on national missile defence could never have prevented what has happened. The only way to remove the fear of further atrocities is to turn one's enemies into one's friends.
Bombing and retaliation can never do that.
Dr Jenny Gibson, UK


We might have to rethink the priorities in the defence budget

Shekar Mandala, USA
This is a new kind of war with an invisible enemy. A very good intelligence network both technical/human intelligence accompanied by more broad laws for enforcement agencies can effectively tackle and prevent such terrorist acts. I think in the future we might have to use special operations increasingly in hit and snatch missions. We might have to rethink the priorities in the defence budget.
Shekar Mandala, USA

The obvious answer is to find him and detain him. The 'spy satellites' are being deployed but it seems to me that this is a somewhat flawed idea. Not only will he be 'lying low', but he can take steps to disguise himself and his environment. However the most significant problem is that the world's press are relaying all of the plans (ostensibly), and he must therefore be aware of exactly what is going on, without resorting to his own intelligence systems.
Alan Challoner, Wales, UK

I would say to United States of America that they should make their policies sincere with the Middle East countries so that these countries will help them in gaining control of global terrorism. Otherwise it will not be fruitful for them if they only take Britain and other western countries into their confidence.
Prince Irshad, India


It is time to think of the rights of all rather than the rights of the individual

IR Jama, US
I travel frequently and it is scary to hypothetically put myself on one of those hijacked flights on 9/11 and because of that, I would welcome giving up some rights (to allow finger printing, DNA sample) for the sake of safety; it is time to think of the rights of all rather than the rights of the individual. Also, the US authorities should spend more time and effort understanding the root cause of this problem.
IR Jama, US

Many countries have their own local homegrown terrorists. The UK is no exception. I hope this war that is being waged will have the necessary spin offs to starve the Irish terror campaigns and link it firmly to the same terror inflicted on the US.
J.Ellis, UK

In my opinion, we need much tighter security to prevent this type of attack from occurring again. Airport security has a always been poor, so when I heard the 4 planes had been hijacked I was not at all surprised. I flew to Kos last year, and did not have to show my passport once, in the UK or in Greece, and neither did my fiancÚ.
Colleen Stephenson, United Kingdom

So much needs to be done by so many people, but even in total, it may not ever satisfy hawks looking for obvious and violent results. We need to bolster: our economies; tolerance of diversity; immigration, airport and airline security; intelligence gathering on the ground and from space; and public surveillance.

We'll also need to settle the Middle East peace process, send cop and commando raids to terrorist hideouts everywhere on Earth, and most of all, tangibly prove to millions of dispossessed whose support terrorists live off of that our way is better after all. Whew! Not TOO much to do, but you just know some would rather bomb indiscriminately whether it would work or not.
Paul Connor, Canada


It's time we, the developed countries, realized that we cannot ignore this problem anymore

K, USA
It's natural for Americans to want retribution. If any other country was attacked at this massive scale, they would have reacted the same. I am not so concerned about what happens right now. However, it's time we, the developed countries, realized that we cannot ignore this problem anymore. As someone here said, we have a lot to lose and most of the terrorist countries have nothing to lose. Unless developed countries take upon themselves to bring about democracy and education in those places, we will forever be vulnerable to such attacks.

We must try to understand that certain people are ready to die essentially because they have nothing to look for in life, no hope, only religious leaders who want control in the name of religion. It's not a single attack by the White House that will win the war, but a long, sustained and fully committed cooperative action by the democratic countries. I truly hope we can unite and bring terrorist countries out of utter hopelessness.
K, USA

As I read through the responses from people in Europe and around the world, I simply do not understand where you people are coming from. Our sense of safety, and thus freedom has been taken away from us. Our foreign policy may not be popular to the world, and for that I, nor any American should apologise. We are called upon by many nations for support and help all the time, and in any situation, there is someone out there who opposes what we do. I for one, like many Americans, and many people around the world wish we would stay out of the world's business for once, not because the world opposes our foreign policy, but because it would be interesting to watch the world crumble without us.
Eric Locklin, Vermont, USA

Understand that America's foreign policy largely stems from the World Wars. Prior to these tragic events our nation lived under the policy of isolationism - a simple "it is not our problem" attitude. This isolation led to the genocide of millions of Jews under Hitler and even more deaths under Stalin's regime in Russia. From WWII on, we have been involved in world affairs. Our nation has made mistakes, but we have chose to lead as best we can and to continue to rally around the values of humanity, democracy, and tolerance.
Dan Williams, USA

It's probably stating the obvious to suggest that the cockpit doors on all commercial airliners be made impenetrable as soon as possible. Middle East airline EL AL does it and hasn't had a hijack for many many years. If you can't get in you can't commandeer the plane, no matter what violence might be visited on passengers and crew in the rear of the plane. Even eliminate that door altogether and have pilots enter elsewhere.

All airliners should have a rearward facing video camera into the passenger area to monitor goings on back there and as a last resort should there be a hijack attempt, crews could activate a canister of non-lethal sleeping gas to immobilise any hijacker, who could then be arrested once the plane has safely landed. The passengers would be otherwise unharmed. Relatively inexpensive solutions that would go a long way to perhaps deterring the lunatics that perpetrate the kind of outrage we've seen in America.
Peter Sellen, Australia

If the US government stopped blindly backing Israel, I think we'd see a dramatic drop in terrorism. Move an international force into Israel to make peace there once and for all. Otherwise Israeli acts will simply continue to generate suicide bombers.

Several people have also mentioned American funding of the IRA. It will be very interesting to see if this "war" against terrorism extends to South Boston, or if it will only be fought in the conveniently distant cities of the Mid-East.
Marcus W, US ex-pat in Japan

We live in the suburbs of New York, too close to the City. We have our own children that we are frightened for, and know of many others who now wake up every morning missing a parent. They tell us this may only be the beginning, and the dread is overwhelming. This talk of war scares me sick. A figurative "war on terrorism" yes, but an all-out military action? It seems the sure way to make a horrible situation even worse, if that's possible. We hope our leaders follow the path of intelligence and restraint. One last note - you have no idea how heartening it is to hear and read of your support - not in any political way, but in a purely human one. Thank you so much.
Lynn, USA (New York)

Lots of people seem to be obsessed with the fear of a repeat attack similar to last week. You can tighten security at airports all you like but remember that there are still the "traditional" tactics of car bombs, use of firearms and mortars to deal with too. Vigilance is only part of the answer, the West and the USA in particular needs to look at the root causes of terrorism - poverty and injustice. Killing Afghanistani civilians is as immoral as the deplorable crimes committed in the US on Sept 11th. Just because George W. Bush calls it war doesn't give the Americans the right to commit further crimes like they did at Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Jenni, Bristol, England

Read today's news. Once again, one-by-one, countries throughout the world refuse to stand with us. Our United States of America contributes more charity to this world than any other country on earth and what are we receiving in our time of need? Not much. Where is the rest of the world's backbone? We do not need any more sympathy. We need full support from true allies.
Ron, USA

Instead of trying to find who did this, it is far cleverer to understand why they did this. There should be something wrong that causes somebody to sacrifice their life to take others' lives with them. No one wants to die unless their life is too desperate to live, unless living gives negative return. Military action gives no answer. They will strike back. This is a symptom of an interventionist American foreign policy which needs to be revised. Peaceful talk is of no avail because they have no chance to talk.
Marc Refuerzo, Seattle, Washington

The US is the country that everyone seems to dislike. If we take a high profile countries think we are interfering. If we take an isolationist stance they complain we are avoiding our responsibilities. We can't seem to please anyone. Yet people daily risk their lives to immigrate here.

And yes, like many here in the US I deplore that a small number of my countrymen contribute to front organizations for the IRA and the loyalists. And people seem to forget that we brought hundreds of Muslims from Kosovo here for refuge. There is hardly a country in the world that the US has not given some sort of aid yet we continue to be reviled. I am not angry as much as I am hurt.
Jim J., USA

I have nothing to hide so of course I do not fear extra surveillance measures.
Andy, UK

I have not heard mention of the IRA in all of this. The bulk of IRA funding comes from the US and Boston in particular. Many IRA sympathisers live and work in Boston and it is the first port of call for IRA fund-raisers. If we are to wage war in international terrorism the US will have to accept that they are not totally innocent of supporting and probably harbouring terrorists.
Marc Nield, UK

I think that the loss of innocent life is terrible, but I find it ironic that the US is now declaring war on terrorism when the US have been involved in training and funding terrorists over the world for decades. A prime example is the huge amount of funding that the IRA gets from Noraid, major contributions coming from New York.
Nadia, England

It is to be hoped that America will use this albeit tragic opportunity to genuinely consider why it is so widely despised in the East. Can one of Bush's advisors please stop him using vocabulary likely to further incite the situation? The worst instance, from this morning, is use of the word 'crusade', guaranteed to trigger memories of the (Christian) West's own shameful history.
Elaine Darlington Brown, Britain

I join hands with the rest of the civilised world and offer my sincerest condolences to the families of those people murdered in New York and Washington. Also, I condone the response of President Bush and the other World leaders who are prepared to stand up and be counted. Does this declaration of war against terrorism infer that we are to be rid of despotic leaders such as Saddam and Mugabe, rid of organisations such as the IRA and ETA or will it be limited to those who act solely with the intention us destroying the US?
Mark Mainwaring, Germany

If Tony Blair is serious about backing George W's war on terrorists he would do well to sort out the problems in the UK's backyard - Ulster. In the past the US has backed dissident groups in countries where the government there has been out of favour with America. The best way to fight terrorism is to ensure all people have full human rights. If this means using the UN and sanctions as weapons then so be it, until then democratic governments can only punish those who have been found guilty of crimes by fair trial.
Mike Parker, England

Instead of trying to find who did this, it is far more clever to understand why they did this. There should be something wrong that causes somebody to sacrifice their life to take others' lives with them. No-one wants to die unless their life is too desperate to live, unless living gives negative return. Military action gives no answer. They will strike back. This is a symptom of interventionist's American foreign policy which needs to be revised. Peaceful talk is no avail because they have no chance to talk. American and British are double standard. Every human being is equal only when it is white. Think again.
Supruet Thavornyutikarn, UK

Is this a coalition against all terrorism, or just the organisations behind this latest in a long history of atrocities? Does this include the organisations in Ireland & Spain to name but a few? Are the arms producing nations of the world going to finally learn, and stop this stupid trade? Are the banks of the world going to learn not to provide a safe home for terrorist funds? I hope so, but fear not!
Iain Stevenson, UK

If the Americans are going to do something about harbouring and funding terrorists what are they going to do to themselves with respect to their funding of IRA killers???
Dominic, UK

It is necessary to neutralize the terrorists and their 'friends' but still it is necessary to fight this 'compost' which can make any man a terrorist: poverty, misery and injustice.
Forget, Belgium

How about all the major leaders of all religions around the world getting together and signing a pledge / statement that their religion should not be used to harm another person. As in Christianity Thou Shall not kill. People will always have political and territorial differences... but let these be addressed as so, If a religious leader will not attend, one must ask the reason why ?
Phil Daw, UK

The West must guard against knee-jerk decisions of any sort. One of the great pinnacles of democracy is the right to a fair and open trial, even if the convicting evidence may seem overwhelming. To then selectively remove this right and allow selective assassination only brings the US down to the same level as the terrorists themselves. Yes, we need to find those responsible and serve justice upon them. However, do this in a public environment, where scrutiny can be applied, and the whole process is not only fair, but is seen to be fair.
Mark Westwood, UK

The truth is that murder is murder and state sponsored murder is really a form of terrorism. Although things are far from ideal in the West - if it is found that there are reasonable grounds to suspect Osama Bin Laden of being responsible for the events of last week, an extradition warrant should be sought and he should be tried in a court of law with full legal representation. We are all equal and terrorism is the same whether it comes from a hijacked airliner in America or from an aircraft carrier firing missiles at cities in 'undesirable' countries.
Roger Kynaston, London, UK

How do you bomb the property of those who have nothing? How does killing people remove the hatred some hold for us? There are people in this world who have nothing to lose - that is a strength. We have much to lose - that is our weakness. We can only eradicate terrorism by bringing about a just world. When we stop exploiting the poor nations of the world we will be safer.
Joe McGrath, Scotland

We must bring those responsible for the atrocities in New York and Washington to justice but what are the intended objectives of this so called 'war on terrorism'? Let us hope that we do not descend into some sort of paranoia about Muslims and Islam. Will this war end with the setting up of some kind of new world order or empire?
Raja Ali, UK

Should we support the USA in the fight against international terrorism? Yes we should. However does this war on international terrorism include the IRA, supported by many people in USA? Their money came and comes from the USA, the weapons from Libya; surely this counts as international? Or is Bush only interested in 'against the USA'? I feel very much for the Americans, but feel now is the time for them to re-assess how they treat the rest of the world. It's a whole lot different when it's in your own back yard.
Peter G Mason, UK

These men are not martyrs, they are cowards. America should not fear retaliation since we see what they will do when we do nothing.
Chuck Pendergast, USA

You have to ask why people turn to extreme acts of violence to get a message across. America will be safe again but it requires them to separate out their own interests from the Zionists' interests if it wants to be considered the international policeman.
Nabila Choudhry, England

The civilised world should act in a civilised way and not meet barbaric acts with its own variety of barbarism. This means that the perpetrators of the events of last week should be brought to trial before an international court, which will send out a clear signal to all that the rule of law prevails. This action should be backed up by a UN resolution, as was the case in the Gulf War. Unless this or a similar approach is adopted, a violent reaction by the US and its allies risks causing a domino effect of escalating terrorism. You don't defeat terrorism by applying terror and any action by the US and its allies must be based on minimising the risk of escalation all round.
Chris Chittenden, England

Assassinating people whom you do not even have enough evidence to convict in a court of law is madness, and will only lead to further hatred and terror attacks. Hard as it may be to accept, the only course open to the US is to get testimony against Bin Laden from someone involved in the atrocity (unlikely) or to track the money that funded these terrorists to its source. They will never get any other irrefutable proof of who was behind the attack, and they may have to accept that the trail will go cold before it reaches Osama Bin Laden.
Keith Cowan, UK

I for one would rather have my privacy "invaded" by a government determined to prevent terrorist acts than have myself, my family or my friends killed in a repeat of Tuesday's events. It is only those with something to hide who should really mind being more closely "Big Brothered" - others are just flattering themselves that their lives are so interesting.
Jez, England

The greatest mistake the US has made until now is announcing its intention to bomb targets in Afghanistan. Rather than openly announcing any anti-terrorist plans, thus giving time for the perpetrators to hide, the US should proceed with the task through a covert operation launched in cooperation with the Russian secret services, who have had considerable experience in dealing with serious crises in the region.
Nikolai, Bulgaria


We must allow our intelligence services the means to do their job

Rob, UK
In times of crisis we should be prepared to give up some of ours freedoms. The sad truth is that as terrorist organisations become more sophisticated, the need for intrusive intelligence gathering measures becomes greater. We must allow our intelligence services the means to do their job. Let us not forget that the terrorist groups behind the attack on the World Trade Center are not constrained by any moral boundaries. Future attacks could include chemical or biological weapons that will result in even higher death tolls. As for assassination, why is direct military action generally deemed acceptable but assassination not? Surely it is preferable to kill those backing terrorism and thereby avoid the so-called "collateral damage" of war.
Rob, UK

I cannot see how terrorism can be destroyed by carrying on using the same methods of fighting our enemies as before. I am British and as Prime Minister Blair is now using the same martial language as the USA, and as British citizens were killed on that dreadful day, it is now "my fight".

Apparently, war has been declared, not on a particular nation, but on a particular "new evil". Evil, or the nature of evil, is not new. What about the evil of terrorism? Our leaders seem to think that to root out terrorism they have to find the geographical location of it, and then threaten that state or country with near extinction so that the "evil terrorists' will be turned over to justice and that will be the end of terrorism. I suggest that this is as impossible as trying to find "terror" itself on the map of the globe. We know it would be ridiculous to attempt to do so because we know that terror exists in the realm of human emotion. If we are terrified we have to conquer that situation internally; we have to fight it with our hearts, our minds, our spirits, not external weaponry. I believe the battle against terrorism has to be fought in the same way.
Chris Davies, UK

Like almost every one in this world, I was shocked by this irresponsible act. I also agree that those responsible must be found and punished. Even if the US foreign policy is not good for them, killing innocent people is not the way to express anger. However, the solution to this problem does not consist of a single step! Finding the right criminals is important. It is clear that the US somehow found the criminals before conducting the search! Jumping to conclusions is not good. The US must provide solid evidence before rushing into war. It is likely that more innocent people are about to die! Also the US must change its policy in the Middle East as an integral part of the solution. Because it is likely that out of 10 million angry people, one may find one person who is crazy enough to do another attack. It is right that the US is the most powerful nation, but they must realize that other nations do exist.
Sami Alharbi, Saudi Arabia

The point of terrorism is to get the world to listen to your point of view. The fact that Bin Laden is denying all involvement would lead me to suggest he didn't do it. This is not a man who is frightened of being arrested. The terrible legacy of Timothy McVeigh was to show the world that you can't even trust your own. Bin Laden has been the FBI's most wanted for nearly 10 years. I somehow don't believe that punishing him for this will solve anything. And punishing one of the world's poorest countries makes me sicker still. I understand American anger, but at least when the IRA attack us, they admit it. The people who really did this are no doubt desperate to start a war. And with Bush's help, they have succeeded.
KH, UK

Greater emphasis should be placed on gathering intelligence on suspected terrorists' at home and abroad. Perhaps the alliance forged by Mr Powell could decide to set up an agency for that purpose. Otherwise next time we may be caught by surprise again. Furthermore, stricter immigration laws should be put in place to prevent people with fundamentalist beliefs, who could pose a potential threat to domestic security, from entering the country. And last but not least, maybe it is wise to abolish religion altogether. It has brought the world nothing but trouble.
Mark Wijkhuizen, Netherlands


The best reprisal is to cut off the finances of the terrorist organisations

Jim Mc, UK
The best reprisal is to cut off the finances of the terrorist organisations. If we want to talk about countries harbouring terrorists, this should also apply to their finances. Can we expect to see a change in the banking laws of Switzerland et all or am I just being naive and thinking that money is the root of all evil.
Jim Mc, UK

The fight against terrorism is in two parts, education to overcome hatred and economic to remove jealousy of those who have economic stability.
Mike Riley, USA

If the US really wants to stamp out terrorism then they'll also have to stop funding terrorist and rebel groups in Central America. The CIA will also need to explain why they trained Bin Laden's men in the first place...
Rod MacLean, Scotland


Terrorism cannot be defeated by military means

John, UK
Terrorism cannot be defeated by military means. Let's say that the US and its allies were able to identify and "remove" every last member of the terrorist cartel that perpetrated the recent attacks. Would that end terrorism? No - others would simply step forward to take vengeance for those who were killed. The unpalatable truth is that terrorism is best defeated by political means. This means understanding why terrorists want to attack your country and addressing these issues.
John, UK

Whatever it takes to prevent the recurrence of the terrible atrocity on the World Trade Centre - we've got to do it. If that means ID cards, restricting certain civil rights - in a word Western societies becoming less liberal (where this is genuinely necessary) - so be it.
Miland Joshi, UK

Obviously there is a balancing act to be done here. However, the last time that I visited the States was about 3 years ago. On my way back home I started off by catching an internal domestic flight and I was astonished when I was allowed on the plane without going through a metal detector or having my hand luggage scanned. Even worse, when I sent a letter of complaint to the (American) airline involved, all I received was a bland reply saying that "they would investigate the matter", which I suspect they did not do.
Steve Darke, UK


An eye for an eye in this case is just not morally justifiable

Sally, UK
It's never enough to fight this kind of suicidal terrorism, which is also the most frightening type. I would wish for a similar incident never to happen again, and if this means greater surveillance measures then all the better. I would prefer discreet surveillance and measures undertaken not to undermine civil liberties than an all out gung-ho war. Isn't it enough to have caused so much destruction already? An eye for an eye in this case is just not morally justifiable.
Sally, UK

No matter how extreme precautions are, terrorists will always find a way. So if there's any eliminating to do, eliminate the reasons why they do it! (History is a great teacher, unfortunately it does not have many pupils.)
Dominiek De Ridder, Belgium

What the US is doing is not sufficient. They should get the world to co-operate with countries that have terrorist organisations that create havoc. Bank accounts of terrorist organisation should be frozen and the funds should be channelled to the respective countries to fight terrorism. Military Satellite information should be provided to the respective democratically elected governments by the US to combat terrorism in all countries. The world should help countries to fight terrorism end eradicate it once and for all.
Ruwan Nallaperuma, Sri Lanka

The great government of America needs to reform it's foreign policy and stop interfering in other sovereign state's affair. Afghanistan is certainly not to blame for the WTC bombings. I'm very sad to see without any evidence Afghanistan is getting blamed for something it has obviously has not done.
J Steinberg, UK


A disarmed populace is a vulnerable populace

Lee, England
Security ALWAYS gets lax eventually. Look how many times bombs go off, despite all the increases in security after such events.
You cannot defend against suicide bombers by 'beefing up' security. You can only defend:
1) a society - by decentralising the systems of control.
2) the people - by allowing personal non-firearm weaponry.
A disarmed populace is a vulnerable populace.
Lee, England

Common sense and rationality are the order of the day! The USA are in mass hysteria overdrive regarding calls for all-out war against a certain Bin Laden and his cronies network which is blatantly spread all over the world.
What is called for is careful surveillance and infiltration over a period of time to try and root out the villains of the piece. Other countries have warned the US about the threat and terror emanating from these parts but the US sought to downgrade importance or priority, now its so different when suits them that gung-ho tactics will be the way to go and not careful investigation measures over a period of time. These terrorists clearly have support and bases in the West too, attacking one country will only further push these satanic and brain-washed people to further terror tactics.
Sam Patel, UK

We need to clarify who we are and what we stand for. At least the USA has a constitution, so it knows what it's citizens have signed up to no matter what their origins. In this fight for democracy, freedom and free trade, we need to decide which are the most important values.
Mary Anne Orkney, UK

No amount of security will ever protect citizens from the threat of being maimed or killed. It is delusional to think otherwise. Forget the time-wasting security checks, which only normal citizens abide by anyway.
Jack, UK


The fact remains that the best security is practised by the individual and society as a whole remaining vigilant

Phill, England
I fear that concentrating on eavesdropping on electronic communications will be folly. The fact remains that the best security is practised by the individual and society as a whole remaining vigilant.
Any terrorist needs cover to work and this can just as easily be provided by others looking the other way as it can by someone actively providing support. The levels of human security and surveillance at airports in the US was very low, it is alleged that the criminals who perpetrated this crime had illegal documents (if any). These are areas where massive improvement could be made to security.
Phill, England

My advice to President Bush is this: by all means seek retribution and revenge against these criminals, but hit them where it hurts most - in the wallet. Fight this new kind of war you talked about, apply all the mental skill and calculation exhibited in the great game of Poker (which Americans invented, and at they excel). Without his billions Bin Laden, and his ilk, are nothing.
Josh, UK


We will never eradicate terrorism altogether, but we can certainly minimise its destructive impact

Michael Entill, UK
A great deal can be done. Much stricter control of the entry and movement of non-EU nationals is essential. All illegal immigration must now be halted. Strong anti-terrorist and anti-agitator laws should be used to close down some of the vile extremist groups in the UK that have surfaced this week. No asylum should be given to anyone with suspected terrorist connections. We will never eradicate terrorism altogether, but we can certainly minimise its destructive impact.
Michael Entill, UK

If Tony Blair is serious about the fight against terrorism, he should crack down on the IRA and similar groups in our own back yard as a first priority.
Guy Hammond, England


We must avoid a knee jerk reaction regarding identity cards and DNA samples from every citizen

Thomas, London, UK
Yes, we must accept greater inconvenience, especially at airports in order to improve security but we must avoid a knee jerk reaction regarding identity cards and DNA samples from every citizen. In any case determined terrorists always travel and move about using false papers and multiple identities. The USA and the CIA in particular is good at collecting raw inelegance data but is poor at the analysis of that data and this is a weakness that must be improved. Britain can provide important assistance with intelligence due to its broader world view, because of our imperial past. But why mobilise troops against Middle Eastern groups. It's time for the so called "civilised world" to start taking a wider world viewpoint on the causes of hatred.
Thomas, London, UK

The first step must be to look at those who shelter, and encourage organised criminals, imprisonment, internment and extradition should be used as needed. If necessary on a massive scale. It is not acceptable that the apologists and recruiting sergeants of terror groups find a welcome anywhere, especially here and in the USA. It should be acknowledged in the way that this is done that there is no functional difference between terror groups (be they anti-choice, religious, or politically motivated).
Ed, UK

Neither is it desirable nor is it necessary to give wider powers to governments. They should rather be obliged to use the powers already established more efficiently. The idea of legalized political assassination is as perverse as terrorism itself.
Juergen Dudek, Australia

A great deal can be done. Much stricter control of the entry and movement of non-EU nationals is essential. All illegal immigration must now be halted. Strong anti-terrorist and anti-agitator laws should be used to close down some of the vile extremist groups in the UK that have surfaced this weak. No asylum should be given to anyone with suspected terrorist connections. We will never eradicate terrorism altogether, but we can certainly minimise its destructive impact.
Michael Entill, UK

This is madness! You can not infringe on the rights of innocent people this way! The only Big Brother I want to see is the one on TV - I do not want to have my life surveyed and spied on by governments. I have nothing to hide but I do have my privacy to protect. Also when the SAS assassinated members of the IRA in Gibraltar the UK government was condemned the world over - why is it all right for the USA to suddenly agree to assassiniting people worldwide? What if they get the wrong people? Are we giving the a carte blanche to take out whomever they like? People should be allowed to live in a free society. If they want to change things they should tighten up their security on airplanes but they shouldn't put the whole world under suspicion.
Sharon B, UK

An old Chinese proverb the American hawks should remember: "If you seek vengeance, prepare two graves"
Kerry Renshaw, UK


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