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Friday, 21 December, 2001, 21:03 GMT
Where next in the war on terror?
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US-backed forces are now flushing out the last remaining pockets of Al-Qaeda resistance in Afghanistan.

But with victory in Afghanistan apparently assured, strategists and analysts are now wondering where the war on terrorism will go next.

Iraq is a likely target. Some key Bush administration officials see Saddam Hussein as a sponsor of terrorism, but no direct evidence has emerged linking Iraq to the 11 September attacks.

Other countries that could find themselves in America's sights include Somalia, Yemen and parts of Indonesia, all of which are suspected of harbouring al-Qaeda cells.

Should American military action be extended beyond Afghanistan? Can the international coalition hold together if it does? Where next in the war on terrorism?

We took your calls on this subject in Talking Point ON AIR, the BBC World Service and News Online phone-in programme which was presented by Robin Lustig. Our guests were former US Defence Secretary, Caspar Weinberger and the BBC's Defence Correspondent, Jonathan Marcus.

  • Your comments since the programme
  • Your comments during the programme
  • Your comments before the programme

    This debate is now closed. Read your comments below.

    Your reaction:

    Your comments since the programme

    Does it sit back and wait for it to happen again?

    Rob, UK
    As soon as Osama Bin Laden gave the go ahead for the attack on American soil it was an act of war. What is America to do? Does it sit back and wait for it to happen again or does it take the war to the people who attacked them?
    Rob, UK

    Terrorism is a cancer. And, as any cancer survivor knows, to survive as well as ridding your body of the cancerous cells, you have to change your lifestyle. Right now, the US's foreign policy and it's global perception of itself invites terrorism. Allowing the war to spread at this point would be like a person who just cheated death by surviving lung cancer celebrating with a cigarette.
    Craig, Montpelier, VT. USA

    As an American I understand that I may have a different point of view then the rest of the world. Does that make it wrong? Lets not forget; countries like Iraq brought the USA into the Gulf war. If Saddam would not have invaded Kuwait the war never would have existed. So when people say that Americans should rethink our foreign policy, I say to them "maybe you should rethink your position on America."
    Mark Hallamore, Chicago, USA

    The Taliban are removed from power in Afghanistan, and Bin Laden is absconding. The battle is won, but the war is far from over. This is no time to stat a new war or enlarge it. Democracy and federalism must be introduced in Afghanistan and restored in Pakistan, especially the latter. Otherwise, the Al-Qaeda and Co would shift operations to Pakistan. Remember how even a rich and progressive, but despotic Iran fell a prey to the militant Mullahs.
    Thiruvengadam Ramakrishnan, New Orleans, USA

    The development of a sustainable alternative fuel source to oil

    Frank, Charleston, SC
    I think the next change in order should be a directive by the Bush administration that the resources of the United States should be directed at the development of a sustainable alternative fuel source to oil. This should be characterised as the foremost national priority and a matter of national defence. If successful then the actions of the supposed imperialist countries could not be characterised as greed driven. Demonisation of the West would not be a viable domestic policy for Middle Eastern governments and those that continued such rhetoric would risk becoming increasingly marginalised in a global economy.
    Frank, Charleston, SC

    Who appointed George W. Bush sheriff in this town? How can the US think of going against Somalia or Iraq or anywhere else when it was the US that trained the Contras and legitimised the idea of terrorist training camps?
    George, London, UK

    The only thing that will come out of an extension of the war is an extension of US imperialist interests, billions more spent on arms while even a massive proportion of US residents live in poverty and there are thousands more dead innocent civilians.
    Andrew, Belfast, Ireland

    Why don't the UK and US look at a country like Zimbabwe as their next target against terrorism? The ruler of this country is nothing more than a terrorist and a dictator, using political power to do what he likes. This man should be charged by the world as a abuser of human rights and must be locked up for life.
    Joe, Zimbabwe

    Europe is merely a second division player

    Steve Caldwell, Spokane, Washington
    I am currently holidaying in the US. The success of the military campaign in Afghanistan has brought forward the prospect of Iraq being a future target. Let Europeans understand that the US is 'running the show' and what I see and hear over here gives me proof positive that the 'coalition' against terrorism is multi-tiered and Europe is merely a second division player and second division to US public opinion.
    Steve Caldwell, Spokane, Washington

    There can be peace in the world if there's a will for it. It requires rational thinking and impartial action by the international community. The Palestinian and Kashmir issues are the highest priority flashpoints and could spiral out of control. Both of these conflicts could involve the use of nuclear weapons if they escalate. If the world adopts an impartial policy and applies pressure on the occupying parties instead of those facing persecution perhaps we would get results and to a large part the absolute frustration and resentment that promotes so-called terrorism would be done away with.
    Immivich, Toronto, Canada

    Surely terrorism is a war from within. When the consequences of this become unacceptable the freedoms of the West will be eroded and we will be left with one group against another.
    John W, UK/NZ

    In regards to Islamic fundamentalism, the Arab League should take more control of policing what is happening on their doorstep. They need to take a stand and clean out their own countries and work together as a whole. Their silence is deafening and their own complacency and lack of trust for each other is a sign of deep-rooted problems.
    Cathy, Boston, MA, USA

    All human life is of equal value

    Leigh, USA/ UK
    I find it disturbing that war can be discussed in such an off-hand way. All human life is of equal value and the vast majority of people living in the countries being considered for downsizing are truly innocent of any association with terrorists, not matter how you define them. It takes precious little courage to bomb a poor country, much more to face up to the fact that the West is driven by greed and wealth.
    Leigh, USA (UK originally)

    Until all the really 'civilized' people of this world - those who believe in real freedom, democracy, justice and the sanctity of ALL human life - stand up to the greatest terrorist threat the world has ever known, there can be no peace and justice only an endless cycle of slaughter and injustice.
    Labhaoise, Melbourne, Australia.

    Where to next? It has to be Israel - a state that has been murdering Palestinians and stealing their land for the past 45 years and all with the political, economic and military support of USA. Whilst Israel's right to exist must be recognised, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip must also be recognised as the free and independent State of Palestine with all Israelis withdrawing from these lands. This will only happen if USA says it must happen and are prepared to take all action as is necessary to make it happen. Then and only then will the Islamic extremist terrorism that threatens global peace quietly go away.
    W J Andrews, London, England

    You cannot destroy these emotions with bombs.

    David, Wales
    The next step is to address the causes of terrorism and not continue to attack the symptoms. You can throw all the bombs in the world at it but until there is a serious attempt to redress the injustices felt by the poor and dispossessed, terrorism will never go away. You cannot destroy these emotions with bombs. Before you say Bin Laden is hardly poor, which I agree he is not, it is not he and Al Qaeda alone that is behind all this. It is much, much bigger than any one terrorist group - however well organised. Call me a hand-wringer if you will, but thousands of people will have been needlessly killed in the US, in Afghanistan and in Northern Ireland and will no doubt continue to be killed until these fundamental injustices are righted. And that will take real courage.
    David, Wales

    The United States will not beg, cap in hand, for permission from the rest of the world to defend itself. Countries have now been warned that if they pose a threat to the United States they will be pre-emptively attacked. The choice is theirs.
    Gerald Joyce, Chicago, USA

    Saudi Arabia spawned Osama bin Laden, funded him for many years, funded Al Qaeda, and supplied that organization with many of its personnel. Clearly it is the power behind the September 11 attacks, yet the USA won't touch it. Why? Oil. America dare not bite the hand that feeds it, no matter what the cost.
    Paul, Manchester, UK

    I personally feel that militant Islam is posing as big a threat to the stability of the world as Hitler did in the 1930s. Some Governments and liberal minded, politically correct, people are all too easily finding excuses for and appeasing evil undemocratic regimes and they are quick to lay blame for their troubles on either Israel or the distribution of wealth, but apart from the US they all are failing to understand that these militant fundamentalists want to destroy Western democracies and form one Islamic nation. We must deal with Syria, Iraq, Iran etc and all the terrorist organisations in the Middle East in the same way that Bin Laden and his cohorts have been dealt with before it is too late.
    Andrew, London, England

    A better system needs to be evolved wherein the world can act against extremes collectively

    Robert Morpheal, Canada
    In my opinion a better system needs to be evolved wherein the world community can act against specific extremes of national and international conduct collectively and not unilaterally or capriciously. Situations where a nation is enacting violent extremes against some or all of its own people, or against the people of another nation where there has been no violent provocation, need international response. That intervention might take many forms including military incursion in situations such as Afghanistan, resembling on a larger scale, a police action against a violent savage gang that is terrorizing the safe conduct of daily civilian life anywhere within a nation. However, some mechanism needs to be put into place where an international body such as the UN, or the World Court at the Hague empowers military intervention, upon sufficient proof of certain essential standards of peaceful coexistence among nations and within nations, providing preservation of human life against savage violence, are being violated. In that way civilization is upheld rather than toppled into what in the past has been an essentially unprincipled conflict of differing ideals.
    Robert Morpheal, Canada

    Military action should definitely be extended where there is deemed to be a further risk to our safety. We should stop apologising to the Muslim world - the decent moderate Muslims understand why action is being taken, and frankly for those who don't like it - too bad!! We have every right to defend ourselves.
    Bill B, Preston

    It is far too early to crow victory. Yes, the Taleban have suffered a massive defeat. But the country does not yet have a stable government. The challenge is now for the central government to assert its authority, to get rid of the lawless warlords with their private armies, and end the state of perpetual civil war. This will be even more difficult than defeating the Taleban, and if it fails Afghanistan will once again become a refuge for terrorists.
    Manu, Belgium

    One cannot help but wonder why people are in such a hurry to enrich our lives with their valuable opinions, when they quite clearly haven't ever bothered to read behind the major headlines of the western pro-government news agencies (like the one that hosts this forum). They all know who's the good guy and who's the bad guy. It must be an amazing existence with such simplistic views.
    Danny, Australia

    Although the US did not have much choice other than to attack the Taleban and al-Qaeda, this has started a horrifying new trend. Nations such as Israel and India are labelling popular movements for freedom in their countries as terrorists. They use this label as an excuse to commit crimes against civilian populations. In India's case this is especially dangerous because the repression of an indigenous separatist movement, for which the UN has twice called for a plebiscite, is being blamed on "foreign terrorists" from Pakistan. Terrorism is becoming a convenient excuse for state sponsored terrorism itself.
    Nabeel, New York, USA

    We have no option but to destroy those who would destroy us

    Michael Entill, UK
    The idea that unless the West is itself first made perfect it should not take action against the religious fanatics that seek to destroy it is ludicrous. The attacks on the World Trade Centre struck at the very heart of Western civilisation and ended thousands of lives. The bottom line is that this cannot be allowed to happen again. We have no option but to destroy those who would destroy us. I have no qualms whatsoever about this. Muslim extremists must either mend their ways or suffer the consequences.
    Michael Entill, UK

    I guess terrorism is evil and it should be uprooted. Russia supports the West in its war but why won't the West support Russia in its war against terrorism? I mean the Chechen war.
    Yuriy, Russia

    What about countering terror with a campaign for global fairness, such as redistributing some of the goodies enjoyed by New York to the poor of the world? This would make a change from manipulating world trading systems to disadvantage primary producers in countries where basic needs are not being met.
    S. Browne, London, England

    To Chris R from the UK: A lot of Americans have travelled outside of the US - for instance the 500,000 that deployed to the Gulf War. The millions that fought in Vietnam over the 8 years of that war - hundreds of thousands fought in Korea - not to mention the millions deployed to Europe since the end of WWII - you get my drift don't you? While Europeans have spent the last 50 years becoming socialists, Americans were paying the price to the tune of well over a 100,000 dead and many times that wounded to defend democracy and freedom. We may be arrogant, but you Europeans have a superiority complex that just won't quit!
    Phil, Seaside, CA USA

    To Phil, CA, USA who claims that Americans have paid the price of 100,000 plus dead "defending democracy and freedom" since WW2: Millions upon millions of people have died throughout the world because the US has been "deterring" democracy and freedom. So long as the USA continues to dominate the world in this arrogant way it seems obvious that terrorism will continue to flourish. As for your claim about "you Europeans", our governments are little better.
    T Irwin, UK

    Your comments during the programme

    I agree with John Berge, the Americans are simply going out for revenge. They supply weapons to the IRA and have harboured IRA terrorists for years. The majority of United States dwellers have never even left their own country, hence can't distinguish between a world front against terrorism and a US front.
    Chris R, Gloucester

    If we follow Casper Weinberger's simplistic line of reasoning about terrorism, Britain should have bombed the US for financing the IRA terrorists and harbouring them during their reign of terror in Great Britain.
    John Berge, Lindesberg, Sweden

    The most promising next step would be the destruction of terrorist training camps

    R. Watts, USA
    "Meaningful dialogue" would not be the next logical step in the war. Remember the results of Chamberlain's "meaningful dialogue" with Adolf Hitler? The most likely continuation will be increased pressure on the government of Pakistan and special ops forces in Pakistan and Kashmir, led by the US and India, in order to find Bin Laden and Mullah Omar. If and when they are captured or killed then the most promising next step would be the destruction of terrorist training camps and biological weapons facilities in Iraq.
    R. Watts, USA

    The problem with Americans is they don't think hard enough about the future of their actions. Bombing Iraq or any Muslim country will simply create more discontents and provide ammunition for, perhaps even justify, those terrorists out there just waiting for a crisis to whip people into a fervour.
    Rachana Shanbhogue, Bangalore, India

    I have been watching this war on terror. It seems to be a disease slowly infecting the whole world. It's like a cancer eating at the very social structure and civilization. First the US attacks Afghanistan. Now Israel is on the bandwagon using the excuse of war on terror. Then the Indian Parliament is attacked by terrorists and now an island in Indonesia has three hundred more terrorist on the way. Are we civilized?
    Donnie, Morganton,NC

    Weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue states threatens the whole world

    John, Sydney, Australia
    Now that the Americans have defeated the Taleban they should continue to destroy terrorists and punish states that sponsor terrorism and develop weapons of mass destruction. Next on the list has to be Israel, then Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq and Somalia. As Mordechai Vanunu warned in 1986 weapons of mass destruction in the hands of rogue states threatens the whole world. Unless the US adopts an even-handed approach especially with regard to Israel- it erodes its moral authority and will become powerless to act.
    John, Sydney, Australia

    At what point was the USA appointed the world's police officer? I don't recall the United Nations sanctioning such a role. International terrorism is an international problem that requires a careful, calculated and coordinated international effort over time. The kind of 'quick wins' that the USA seems to favour will not solve the problem.
    Jonathan, London, UK

    Once this campaign in Afghanistan is over, all political leaders must spend some time reflecting upon the events of the last 3 months. Bombing countries is not the solution to our political problems. In many cases these so-called terrorists have an underlying political grievance that needs to be addressed. Bombs, missiles etc breed more hatred and contempt among the people of these mostly poor countries towards the West.
    Arif Sayed, Dubai, UAE

    Your comments before we went ON AIR

    All Bush wants is the excuse to settle old scores

    Alan, Warsaw, Poland
    All Bush wants is the excuse to settle old scores that his father, and this including the same old jaded team now with him, failed to do. What does he care who dies in this wish for revenge? If anthrax is such a threat to the world, why are the Americans making the stuff?
    Alan, Warsaw, Poland

    Given that the US has sponsored more terrorism around the world than anyone else I think they need to do some serious soul-searching. Stop messing about in Central America and stop supporting despotic regimes like Israel and Saudi Arabia; then the world might listen to you. Until then get your own house sorted out and stop giving money to terrorists in Northern Ireland.
    George, UK

    What about Saudi Arabia which produced most of the terrorists who masterminded the September 11th attacks?
    Oliver John, Netherlands

    Iraq - has to be. I can't help but think the world would be a better place without Saddam's regime in place. What do you think, Mr Weinberger?
    Peter Bolton, UK/ US

    What is all this talk of 'where next'?
    Has Osama Bin Laden been caught? No. Has Al-Qaeda been dismantled? No. But weren't these the objectives of this so-called 'war' in the first place?
    Bilal Patel, UK

    Using military forces will never solve the problem of terrorism but dealing with its causes will help a lot

    Fathi Abd El Ati, Egypt
    I think it's not wise to attack any other countries without having clear evidence. Using military forces will never solve the problem of terrorism but dealing with its causes will help a lot. No-one in the Middle East will ever believe that USA is fighting terrorism by attacking Iraq or any other countries in the Middle East as long as the USA administration approves Sharon's crimes in West Bank and Gaza.
    Fathi Abd El Ati, Egypt

    Is war the proper way to eradicate terrorism from the world. Why an organisation can't be eradicated by FBA or other secret agencies, which are made for the same purposes. Why the root causes are not going to be discussed. For a single organisation a country can be destroyed.
    YASEEN, Pakistan

    I'm sure that the US/UK coalition will choose an appropriate target country especially one with little or no military power.
    M. Zaman, USA

    I think the question is a bit absurd. Why wait for the ongoing mission to end while there are terrorist cells around the world? Every civilised state should begin its own terrorist investigations.
    J. Armfelt, Helsinki, Finland

    Action against Somalia will be far more disastrous than anything that has happened in Afghanistan

    Daniel Brett, UK
    If the west attacks Somalia, it will throw that country back into civil war and famine. The tenuous agreement between the warlords signed in Djibouti last year will be undermined by outside military intervention. President Abdulkassim Salat Hassan's authority will be jeopardised and there is no obvious successor. It could also draw in the breakaway states of Somaliland and Puntland as well as Ethiopia, Djibouti and Kenya. If the Northern Alliance is finding it hard to stabilise after the defeat of the Taleban, then the transitional government stands no better chance and will be destroyed by military action. Action against Somalia will be far more disastrous than anything that has happened in Afghanistan.
    Daniel Brett, UK

    First, let's define terror. I would hazard a guess at: "The deliberate targeting of innocent civilians with intent to kill or maim, for political or religious reasons." At the very start of this, Bush was careful to state that the US would go against anyone perpetrating terrorism and those who harbour terrorists. This sentiment should be praised by all human rights lawyers (and I am one) as upholding the fundamental right to life. However, the means of achieving this end is another issue.

    We can go after people in London, Paris or Hamburg, not with daisy-cutters but with much greater intelligence, anti-terrorism legislation and financial controls. A military solution should only be imposed where intelligence will have no effect. My main criticism of the west is that it thinks it necessary, in its pursuit of the terrorists, to cosy up to states which clearly harbour the terrorists themselves. There should be no appeasement of Syria or Iran. They, and places like Iraq, Libya, the Palestinian territories and Chechnya, should be targets of the next stages of the war.
    Paul, UK

    We have to be in this for the long haul, otherwise we will have the same situation happening again and again. The Islamic fundamentalists who perpetrated this attack chose to use force instead of words to show their contempt at the US's foreign policies and support for Israel. They chose how this conflict would progress, so if it takes an all out war then I'm all for it.
    Dan, UK

    Terrorism and fundamentalism are the root causes of all the evils on the planet. Any amount of diplomacy and mediation will fail to resolve the disputes between nations or communities, if a section of fanatic forces continue to resort to terrorism. The war on terrorism must be continued unabated - both militarily and politically - to defeat these evil forces. The US and its allies have already identified some terrorist groups as well as nations, which have been clandestinely aiding and abetting terrorism in different parts of the world. There should not be any difficulty in forming a general opinion to continue the fight against these destructive forces in the next phase of war against terrorism.
    Mahesh Chandra Somani, Oulu, Finland

    In response to Mahesh Chandra Somani's comment, in my opinion it is not terrorism and fundamentalism that are the root causes of all evil on this planet, but rather religion, greed and money. In regards to the US continuing on into other areas, I am sure that "should they or shouldn't they" will not matter. Once it has Bin Laden the US will put him on trial, send him to prison and the world will return to its humdrum existence until the next atrocity. I have no faith in any political power in Afghanistan, whether created by the US or otherwise. Its inability to compromise means that as soon as the US has what it wants and withdraws, business will return to normal.
    Jake Reynolds, UK

    Afghanistan was attacked because her government refused to hand over the perpetrator of the Sept.11th atrocities. But to continue the strong arm strategy by reducing to smoking rubble every nation which poses a potential terrorist threat to the West is unreasonable behaviour. In fact an objective and neutral observer could argue that it would amount to global terrorism. There are a dozen or so countries which might become targets for this treatment - and to bomb them all on a "just in case" basis would be an act of madness that would eclipse the worst that bin Laden has done. I think the answer might be a better global intelligence system.
    Chris B, Bedford, England

    I suspect the next US move will be to consolidate the diplomatic advances that have been made with Iran, Pakistan, and Russia

    Cheryl, USA
    I think most people are over-worried about the "next step." I suspect the next US move will be to consolidate the diplomatic advances that have been made with Iran, Pakistan, Russia and various former Soviet republics. The real danger is what we're seeing on this board right now. Each nation wants it's internal problems designated as "terrorism of global reach" and each individual within the nation wants anyone on the other side of the political fence defined as a terrorist.

    The US government must look to the needs and protection of its own citizens first and foremost. That's the only reason it exists, after all. Military action in Afghanistan was clearly in the interest of the individual American citizen. Military action in Iraq would not be. The question of Somalia is more difficult, but it should be remembered that bin Laden was under internationally recognized indictments before entering Afghanistan and that the Taleban government was (foolishly as it turns out) given years not weeks to comply with US demands for his extradition.
    Cheryl, USA

    If there is a next it will be in Iraq or Pakistan. Belonging to the region, I do not wish any harm on people, but it is with regret that I note that these regimes have harboured and sponsored terrorists for decades now. If they are not stopped, terrorism will continue to spread like a malignant cancerous growth.
    Ayesha, Middle East/ USA

    How can USA justify treating Pakistan as an ally? They are the ones that created, maintained and bolstered the Taleban. If USA really would like to wipe out terrorism they should go for the root not the branches. And this is the high time to do it, not after a decade of making "allies". If they want to attack Iraq because of the excuse that some terrorists are there, then what about the terrorist factory?
    A D, Canada

    The war is against terrorists and those who harbour them, not against specific countries. The current phase of the war is not against Afghanistan, as the Afghanis are our allies. It is against Al Qaeda - whatever country they reside in. So governments can choose - support the terrorists, or support the Coalition - pretty simple really.
    Tony Watson, Sydney , Australia

    Any campaign against terrorism led by the US should start as close to home as possible.

    Zoe, UK
    The war should stop, it is inhumane and against international law. All crimes, including war crimes, should be tried in an impartial international court. Meanwhile, I guess any campaign against terrorism led by the US should start as close to home as possible. The School of the Americas (now renamed WHISC) is based in the US state of Georgia and has long trained soldiers and paramilitaries for terrorist action across central and south America. that would be a good place to start. Although actually the CIA headquarters are even closer to the Pentagon, why not start there with the people who set Bin Laden and the Mujahedin - who led to the Taleban - off on their careers?
    Zoe, London, UK

    I say the US should go after Mr. Saddam Hussain of Iraq once the job in Afghanistan is completed. It was a job that President Bush Sr. left unfinished after the Gulf War of 1991. So President Bush Jr. must finish the job now !

    The US should not forget Saudi Arabia either. A significant number of the hijackers implicated in the tragedy of Sept. 11th were of Saudi descent and belonged to the Wahabbi sect of Islam. By all accounts, Saudi Arabia is a haven for terrorists. I say the US should wipe out the House of Saudi in its current War against Terrorism.
    Josephine Joseph, SINGAPORE

    A job half done is a job poorly done. Since terrorists reside throughout the world, it's appropriate and natural to hunt them down wherever they hide. Different places require different approaches, there is no "one size fits all" solution - what worked in Afghanistan may not work in Somalia, Indonesia or the Philippines. However, one must keep the pressure on - be it military, covert, overt, economic, legal, etc. at all times until the vast majority of terrorists are soundly removed from this Earth.
    Stephen, USA

    First, lets define terrorism. Afghanistan was a special case - if Mullah Mohammed Omar had handed Bin Laden to the US authorities, would this so called war on terrorism continued for so long now? Or would the Taleban have been dismantled from power? We cannot even come to an agreement upon the definition of a terrorist. Until we do that, the US or anybody else does not have a right to topple a country's regime. Because as they say, one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.
    Kavita Sangani, Boston, USA

    The war on terrorism will have to take place on many fronts.

    Martin, Vancouver
    The war on terrorism will have to take place on many fronts. Militarily, obviously Iraq is next, because it is ruled by a tyrant who has developed weapons of mass terror that he would willingly use. Iraq will quickly fall like a house of cards because tyrants never have real support among their people - just look at the Taleban's example. The other front is in people's hearts: we need to address the causes of future terrorism (poverty, injustice) while we crush today's terrorists. Otherwise the cycle will repeat itself.
    Martin, Vancouver, Canada

    I would like to disassociate myself from the previous comments by another "Martin in Vancouver". Wholesale bombing of another country by the USA can never be regarded as being policically correct. The USA had their chance to take out Hussain of Iraq 10 years ago. They chose not to then, so why now?
    Martin Sullivan, Vancouver, Canada

    While Saddam Hussein does have an awful track record regarding human rights and has tried to increase Iraq's military power through biological and nuclear means, it is ridiculous to expand the war against "terrorism" by associating his regime with the events that took place on September 11th. There are numerous countries in the world that have developed weapons of mass destruction, including the U.S., France, the U.K. and Israel to name a few. It is especially hypocritical of the U.S., since no other country in the world has a worse record than America when it comes to using these deadly weapons.

    The "war" must continue wherever twisted minds plot mass murder in the name of god or ideology.

    Chris Devine, USA
    The "war" must continue wherever twisted minds plot mass murder in the name of god or ideology. Send the police. Send the diplomats and when all else fails, send the marines. At the end of the day, when the battles have been won, and the cancer that is terrorism has been removed, we must be as equally vigilant with compassion. If we are to truly defeat terrorism, we must not walk away after the battle. Opportunity for prosperity and freedom must follow for the people whose nations fall in our crosshair.
    Chris Devine, Providence, RI USA

    Strange how the list of potential targets does not include a country where most of the September 11th terrorists came from, has extensive financial and human links to Al Qaeda, is a totalitarian society which oppresses women and chops off heads and hands, and to top it off spawned bin Laden... Saudi Arabia. But, hey, they are our friends and without their cheap oil how will we run the B52's, Cobras, Apaches and numerous paraphernalia we need to target the weak kid on the block?
    Dr Adnan Siddiqui, London, UK

    Where next? Hopefully, some soul searching within the America's own borders. History has taught us that there is no such thing as a primarily military solution to a fundamentally political problem. The American leadership has not yet adequately addressed the question: "WHAT drives people to such extremes?" To do so would be to recognize what most of the world has been telling them: terrorism is horrible, tragic, and unjustifiable. But terrorism and extremism feed off injustice. So long as there are poor, dispossessed peoples in Palestine, Iraq, and other places, men and women who have nothing to live for and the Americans to blame for their situation, hatemongers like Bin Laden will have a ready supply of recruits for his war.

    Terrorism is supply and demand. The U.S. war has so far addressed the supply. It's about time it realized that now is the time to quell the demand, since so long as the demand exists the supply will always be met one way or another.
    Tariq Fancy, Toronto, Canada

    When America started this war they said it could take a very long time. If they continue to fight the symptoms not the problem, that is exactly what will happen..
    Pete Blacker, Manchester, UK

    The next step in the war on terrorism should be directed at obtaining Iraq's compliance with the existing cease-fire agreement.

    Werner L. Stunkel, Illinois, USA
    I believe the next step in the war on terrorism should be directed at obtaining Iraq's compliance with the existing cease-fire agreement. There is little doubt that Iraq has been making mischief for some time, and there is a legal basis for this process. Beyond that, an international authority, perhaps INTERPOL or a new agency should be empowered by a vote of it's members to collect data on the sources of terrorism and choose the appropriate response.

    The world should also be on notice that another act of terrorism directed against citizens of The U.S. will likely result in unilateral response.
    Werner L. Stunkel, Lake Forest, Illinois, USA

    Chhun Yasith, self declared leader of the CFF (Cambodian Freedom Fighters), is wanted by the government of Cambodia (democratic and multiparty, if still beset with corruption) to stand trial for charges of terrorist atrocities. However the authorities where he lives refuse to hand him over. At what point do we start bombing Long Beach California until they comply and help us defeat terrorism?
    Derek Sansom, London, UK

    As an American Liberal I find much that is great and much that is reprehensible about US foreign policies, and yet I have cast aside this ambivalence in light of the enormity of danger I still perceive. Before curing the illness that is the hypocrisy of American, British, and Western foreign policy, we need to stop the haemorrhaging that is the very real threat of the instant loss of thousands and thousands of souls to terrorist caprice.
    Kevin Gau, Washington D.C., United States

    The time for overt military action is ending. Now is the time for the majority of resources to be channelled into diplomatic, and covert operations to dismantle terror organisations as well as addressing the underlying issues, such as US Foreign Policy, Israeli domestic policy. The US must admit to itself that they may have made mistakes which have escalated into today┐s global anti-Americanism. Just pretending that it is jealousy at the US way of life is too naive.
    Graeme, England

    Whilst having every sympathy for all those who died in the twin towers, I also have sympathy for those who have died in Palestine & Northern Ireland. All are victims of 'Terrorists' or 'Freedom Fighters' depending upon which side of the fence one is on. America clearly sees itself alone as determining who exactly is a terrorist, hence Bin Laden being 'Bad Guy', & Adams / McGuinness being 'Good Guys'. Somehow, I think they make the rules up to suit their own circumstances.
    Steve Hind, UK

    The next step in the war against terror should be a period of contemplation as to what exactly terror constitutes.

    Descurrie, South Africa
    The next step in the war against terror should be a period of contemplation and decision as to what exactly terror constitutes. Without a definition of terrorism the continuation of persistent game play will remain the order of the day. It is significant that most countries, America and the UK amongst them, continue to deal with differing decks of cards whilst playing the same game against a myriad of terror organisations. Terrorism, it seems, constitutes violence against civilians. Many civilians died in the September 11th attack. Subsequently many civilians have died in the attack on Afghanistan. Can one be considered terrorism and the other not? Civilians are civilians in whatever country they may be. A civilian who dies in collateral damage is just as dead as a civilian who dies in a terrorist attack. But both remain innocent. Des Currie
    descurrie, Umdloti, South Africa

    The next battle must be fought in the Afghanistan neighbourhood of Kashmir. Chances are the terrorists who fled Afghanistan are now in Kashmir, preparing for attacks against India. We have already seen it with the attacks on the Indian parliament. India should begin hot pursuit or pre-emptive strikes against these terrorists to any neighbouring region that harbours them.

    The heartbeat of world terrorism emanates from Iraq, Iran and Syria. It is now clear that force is the only possible option against Saddam's regime and those that think otherwise are deluding themselves. However there's still hope that real international pressure can pull Syria and Iran back from the brink and give them an opportunity to end their support of terrorism and rejoin the world community.
    Joe Howard, Ipswich, UK

    Next stop the Terrorists gateway into Afghanistan. The main country responsible for moving funds to finance these terrorists and train them and arm them - Pakistan - has to be curbed from its clandestine terrorist activities.
    Jack, UK

    I can accept the right of the USA to protect the rest of the world against terrorism - as long as it is seen to be fair

    Name Here
    At the moment I am waiting to see what happens. I can accept the right of the USA and other countries to protect themselves and also the rest of the world against terrorism - as long as it is seen to be fair, patient, with due warning and even handed. However, the US has only a window of opportunity. If it does not address some of the past and present inconsistencies with regards to Northern Ireland, Israel etc. I will have no sympathy for any action because I will know that such action will not be founded on justice but on prejudice.
    Will Lever, Chester, UK

    The USA and the whole civilised world should go after terrorists and their supporters wherever they are and with whatever means. The deliberate targeting or total disregard of innocent people for political aims is intolerable. Any 'group' that cannot accept this will have made their choice.
    Charlie Watson, Brighton England

    The attack on the World Trade Centre on September 11 was part of a new phenomenon, different from previous forms of terrorism. In fact, I would argue that it is not "terrorism" as we previously understood it. The aim of the terrorist is to cause panic out of all proportion to the physical damage. To traditional terrorists such as Irgun, FLNA, EOKA, ETA and the IRA, the number of deaths always needs to be limited. The "ideal" terrorist action would be spectacular, very public, timed for prime-time news and with a minimum loss of life. It is worth noting that, until Lockerbie, the biggest death toll in a single terrorist action was Menachem Begin's attack on the King David Hotel in 1947 (which killed 91 people).

    The new breed of "terrorists" of the 1990s actually aim for the maximum destruction of human life. They also seem linked to their own interpretation of religion (not only Islam, Timothy McVeigh was a "Christian Patriot" and Asahara of the AUM sect claims to be both a reincarnation of Jesus Christ and a Buddhist). The priority has to be to take on al Qaeda, AUM, and the "Christian Patriots". Unfortunately, this stage will not be a spectacular television friendly war in a third world country. It will involve intelligence organisations from Russia, America, and probably some middle east countries.
    Alcuin, UK

    In this seriously flawed war on terror, there should be no next.

    Habib Hemani, San Francisco
    In this seriously flawed war on terror, there should be no next. If it continues then the international coalition will become an "international coalition of terrorism" in itself. Meaningful dialogues are the best way to resolve issues on terrorism instead of exercising bomb-powered muscles.
    Habib Hemani, San Francisco, USA

    There is a clear relationship between chaotic regimes rent asunder by internal conflict and their dependencies on organisations like Bin Laden's. It is very easy for a country like the US to "take out" these regimes. The answer surely lies in both military action and some support for these impoverished countries, where most of the citizens have no say or input. The dangers for the "war on Terrorism" is mayhem on the international stage. The common tread with these wars is of large countries bullying small ones. It will be interesting to see if India responds to Pakistan┐s "act of terror". I suspect it will show these Wars only apply when a weak defenceless country is involved.
    Austin Rock, Ireland

    Just because thousands were killed in one day.. is it any different to the hundreds that have been killed over decades in Northern Ireland? I have not seen a non-Muslim country as the next possible target. How is Mr Bush going to get support from the Middle East if he keeps attacking Muslim countries when there are plenty of terrorists (Real IRA, ETA etc)who are from non-Muslim countries? It also amazes me how much they know about terrorists yet they fail to do anything about them until they have carried out the crime. Do they let terrorist attacks happen so it gives them a reason to attack the country they originate from?
    Rob, England

    The covert nature of international terrorism presents inherent difficulties for the US

    David, London, UK
    What about likely Al-Qaeda suspects/associates who are most probably still living in London, Paris, Berlin, New York, Chicago, Los Angeles etc, who remain undetected by either domestic or international intelligence? The covert nature of international terrorism presents inherent difficulties for the US and the Coalition, particularly when would-be terrorists are currently living in their own back yard.
    David, London, UK

    The US and allied forces have done a resounding job in bringing down the Al-Qaeda and Taleban within Afghanistan. The words of President Bush on this ghastly episode have rung true by the might of powerful military muscle by the US. But the story is not complete. Somalia is known for its training camps of terrorists, its continuation of Al-Qaeda which must be crushed and torn to pieces if vindication is to complete. Afghanistan is only the first step against this evil war on terror.
    Mark Dowe, Scotland, UK

    After success in Afghanistan, the war against terrorism should be extended further on other countries which support and harbour terrorists and their organisations. The international coalition should stay together and united.
    Isakhr, Manchester, UK

    No hypocrisy please

    John, UK
    Let's root out terrorism by all means but no hypocrisy please. It's widely accepted that Al-Qaeda have for many years operated a fund raising "cell" in London. Will we see B52 bombers dropping Daisy Cutters into the Square Mile? I really hope that we continue "the war on terrorism" but don't get drawn into "the war on countries we don't like".
    John, UK

    Sort out the killers in Northern Ireland and the Americans that fund them. But, of course, that isn't what the American or British governments want. Let's bomb another dust bowl in the Middle East or Africa instead. Makes good TV for the people at home.
    Andy, UK

    So, Syria and Saudi Arabia get a grovelling visit from Tony Blair while Somalia and Yemen could face the full might of a US military campaign. It's truly heart warming to know that the west's foreign policy is founded on such ethical principles.
    Maura, UK

    Somalia is a land virtually without central government with known links to extremist groups. It is therefore a likely place for al-Qaeda to have bases. If this is true then it would be a valid target.
    Victor D, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    Bush should be thankful that he has gotten through this war unscathed - they won't all be like this

    Martin, UK
    This is the problem that most people who understand this conflict feared. America has now won the war on terrorism against a poor country. It now thinks that it can take on other countries in the same way. I believe the coalition will fall apart if the USA decides to take on other Middle Eastern countries. Iraq would be a mistake as you can't change geopolitics with missiles. Bush should be thankful that he has gotten through this war unscathed. They won't all be like this.
    Martin, UK

    What September 11 reiterated was that there are extremist groups with no regard for human life or civilisation, which are often based or founded within oppressive regimes. While people may find it morally difficult to go after Iraq there can be no doubt that Saddam has produced weapons of mass destruction, and this is unacceptable. We need to be more proactive rather than reactive. UN weapons inspectors need to be allowed to return to Iraq and if they are prevented, decisive action needs to be taken against Saddam's government.
    Nick Ritter, London, UK

    It appears that al-Qaeda cells exist all over the world, including Britain and many European countries. Does that mean the US will have the right to again go gung-ho and try to take charge and flush out these people. If a man who lives in a cave can organise people from all over the world to fly planes into the WTC then the US has no chance of winning this war, and is no longer a superpower.
    Matty, Surrey, UK

    Matty wrote: "If a man who lives in a cave can organise people from all over the world to fly planes into the WTC then the US has no chance of winning this war, and is no longer a superpower." I think this is the most ignorant statement I have ever heard...The US is a regulator and EVERY country needs us. Hopefully, Iraq will be next and we can finish what Bush Sr. did not.
    Zachery , Memphis, USA

    Anyone who thinks terrorism begins and ends in Afghanistan is either incredibly naive or incredibly stupid. I'm afraid it is a war, and we have to decide whether to see this through properly, or sit back and wait until some more skyscrapers are knocked down.
    Simon, UK/Finland

    I think that the next terrorist organisations to bring down should be the smaller ones that are closer to home. At the same time, for more than 10 years now I've been afraid of what Iraq has planned for the west and I think that taking care of this problem would lift a huge weight off of peoples' mind throughout the world.
    Jake Indriks, UK

    Many Somalis question whether the US is simply looking to get its own back for what happened in 1993

    Ali, London, UK
    As a Somali I would like to say that the vast majority of people in Somalia are shocked to see the name of our country put in the same league as the terrorists. Many people are worried about the developments that could happen and many question whether the US is simply looking to get its own back for what happened in 1993. One thing is clear. Somalia is poor and lacking in powerful friends. The US should think again before it picks on a poor country like ours.
    Ali, London, UK

    With another sectarian murder in Northern Ireland today perhaps the government here should look a little closer to home? It's interesting to note that in the list of targets there is no mention of Saudi Arabia, which has links Islamic extremists, or Israel which, like Iraq, is violating numerous UN resolutions. No double standards here then! I think there should be a war against hypocrisy instead.
    Dave Whyte, Manchester, UK

    I agree with Dave Whyte, Manchester, UK because he is addressing what everyone else is too afraid to admit. The US and its allies now risk turning the coalition into a hypocritical mob of bullies attacking third world countries.
    Mo, UK

    Dave Whyte is right on the button. The US should take care of terrorism within its own borders before trying to clean up the rest of the world. If they can find money trails to Bin Laden, then they can find money trails to terrorist groups within the US and to Northern Ireland. Israel uses a government-sanctioned form of terrorism against Palestine but if New York Mayor Guilani visits Israel, then I guess they must be okay. Hypocrisy, you bet.
    Di Stewart, North Carolina, USA

    Some very valid points from Ali UK and Dave Whyte make you wonder when Cuba is going to get a mention. After all the US doesn't have a completely spotless record. Central America, early 80's - need I say more?
    Andy, UK

    Although terrorism incited by Islamic fundamentalism continues to be firmly addressed, other forms are being ignored. Even if the US concentrates on global groups only, the world would be enriched if the threat from Basque terrorists and the like were removed. It would also give credence to the US claim that this is a war on terror, and not on Islam.
    James, Cambridge, England

    We Muslims keep telling the world community that the terrorist attacks against the US were because of their support of the Israeli occupation of Palestine. There are 1.2 billion Muslims throughout the world. Does the US seriously think it can bomb the whole Islamic world into submission? Until all mosques in the Middle East are liberated, the US must never dream that terrorism will end.
    Dr Osman, Turkey

    Dr. Osman - if thats what it takes for us in the West to be safe, then so be it. It's either that or it is up to Islam to sort itself out and stop breeding these extremists in large numbers.
    Garry, England

    In response to Dr Osman: there are 1.9 billion Christians in the world, and 5 billion non-Muslims. So what? This isn't about numbers. It's about the crazed actions of murderous extremists. Globally, more Muslims than non-Muslims die at the hands of extremist fanatics. There is nothing to be achieved by addressing the issue of terrorism in playground terms of "my dad's bigger than your dad". It doesn't change a thing.
    Michael Entill, UK

    Dr Osman from Turkey is right - untill and unless the US stops supporting Israel and puts a stop to the illegal occupation of Israeli's settlers there wont be an end to terrorism.
    Yousuf, Lahore, Pakistan

    Dr Osman identifies the real cause of Muslim terrorism when he Speaks of 'We Muslims' and the need for 'all mosques to be liberated'. These are the same sentiments that motivate all violent muslim separartist groups around the world: India and Sri Lanka, Indonesia, South Thailand, The Philippines, Nigeria, Nepal, and Tanzania to name but a few. The Muslim faith needs to face up to its problem - the fundamentalist need for Muslim rule, and stop blaming everyone else for their problems. This would resolve the world's greatest terror. I for one am sick of hearing of Israel being the root of all evil.
    Sarah , Sydney / Nottingham

    Abdirahman Mahamed, Melbourne, Australia
    "Somalia needs international intervention"
    John Yates, London, UK
    "What about the Saudi link?"
    Bile Gama, Oslo, Norway
    "The US has no right to attack Somalia"
    Daniel Brett, UK
    "Undermined by military intervention"
    Kavita Sangani, Boston, USA
    "We need to define what terrorism is"
    Mahesh Chandra Somani, Oulu, Finland
    "The US and its allies have already identified some terror groups"
    Werner Stunkel, Illinois, USA
    "The next country we should look at is Iraq"
    See also:

    10 Dec 01 | South Asia
    Q&A: What next in war on terror?

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