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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 July, 2005, 14:32 GMT 15:32 UK
How real is the threat to global security?
The destroyed bus
What do the London terror attacks mean for global security?

More than thirty people have been killed and hundreds more injured in a series of terrorist attacks on London's public transport system.

Security analysts say the simultaneous blasts, reminiscent of previous incidents on New York, Madrid and Bali, bear the hallmarks of al-Qaeda.

A statement on an Islamist website - purportedly from al-Qaeda - has claimed it was behind the attacks.

What do these attacks mean for the war on terror? Are you worried for your safety? Can further attacks be prevented? Have anti-terror laws proved ineffective?

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


The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

Terrorism can happen anywhere, at anytime
Mike, IL, USA
The London terror attacks underscore the thought that terrorism can happen anywhere, at anytime. The question is, how many people are willing to give up some liberties in order to prevent such an attack from happening again? I personally have not been inconvenienced by anti-terror laws here in the US. A few minutes to check in at an airport, is worth it for my safety' sake. I support anti-terror laws even thought they may be unpopular. Better safe than sorry. Londoners are feeling very sorry right now.
Mike, IL, USA

What is that drives people to become suicide bombers and terrorists? This is what we should address. We know there are issues in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan but the only way to solve them is through dialogue not through extremism. These terrorists should also know that their acts are not justified and they will be tried by the law for taking the lives of innocent people.
Mittu, Southampton

I think that the West's policies toward the Middle East over many decades is partly to blame for the threat to global security. That is not to say that we should give in to terrorist acts. However we should make efforts to reverse the oppression of parts of the world for our own interests, then we would see a slow improvement. This may take decades. Brains not weapons!
Eric Moore, Bedford

The only way to improve global security is to convince Saudi Arabia that it must take its schools and orphanages out of the control of the radical Wahabi clerics. Only when Saudi Arabia recognises its role in creating modern fundamentalist Islam can the world sleep safely and travel to work without fear.
Samuel Cooper, Bournemouth, UK

Effective security takes time, effort, planning, manpower, money, training and commitment
Kevin, UK
The attacks demonstrate that although we have plans in place to deal with acts like this after they happen, we do not have sophisticated and effective plans in place to prevent them from happening. Effective security takes time, effort, planning, manpower, money, training and commitment. The only way to stop these attacks is to be so effective at catching the perpetrators before they commit the acts that others are deterred from trying.
Kevin, UK

The only way to defeat terrorism is to remove the reason, source, cause or whatever you want to call it. In order to do this, we need to understand what makes people want to commit terrorism. To respond without that understanding will merely serve to provoke more acts of terrorism. Yes, these people have committed criminal acts and need to be punished, but we need to prevent further people from committing criminal acts also and I strongly believe that to do so we need to remove the root cause.
Rob O'Connor, London, UK

The real cause for terrorism is politics, interference in others' matters and self-serving greed for material benefits. Sly government policies and imposing ourselves on others are yet some more reasons for acts of terrorism. One can clearly see all these things in the speeches and actions of both the US and the UK governments and its leaders. The Iraq war has disturbed many peace loving minds like me and million others. Mr Tony Blair has blindly supported president Bush of the US for a useless war that has brought destruction and death everywhere. So, we are left with no alternative but to live in perpetual fear.
C Sachidananda Narayanan, Tirunelveli, India

Terrorism is the personification of evil and represents an anathema to the civilised world. It operates ubiquitously and can happen any time and as such it is hardly preventable, no matter what tight security measures a country may adopt. However, we must not bow to this evil power because if we do, it will achieve its goal. To combat terrorism is a test of our willpower and ability to endure adversities. We must not flinch from the on-going war on terrorism. I send my personal condolences to the families of those killed in the London attacks.
R Chan, Hong Kong

No government in the world can put a stop to a fanatic with a cause
Dwayne Chastain, Ohio, USA
These attacks mean little when you look at the big picture. Terrorism has been in the headlines for the last 30 years or so. Whether it be in Israel, Moscow, Bali, New York or London, it is all devastating and hard to stop. Terrorism is the result of fundamental differences in religion and opportunity and until parity is reached in these areas, unrest and resentment will continue. No government in the world can put a stop to a fanatic with a cause. All the average person can do is be aware of their surroundings and hope for peace. As far as anti-terror laws, I think they have proven effective for large scale attacks but have done little to stop the little guy.
Dwayne Chastain, West Jefferson, Ohio, USA

Global security will always be at risk. The London attacks also mean that terrorism cannot be fought by big guns and bombs only. These only form part of the mode of fighting terrorism. What about fighting terror at conceptual level - in the minds of the would-be terrorists? Terrorism has become an ideology and equally needs ideological means of combating it. Of course the Brits know very well how communism was fought - not by guns and bombs! Lets fight terror holistically - not only militarily as the case is now.
Muyuni, Lusaka, Zambia

My heart goes out to the families of the victims. A very sad day indeed. The threat to global security is a reality and only George Bush and Tony Blair can stop it by changing there foreign policies. Leave the rest of the world to be and they'll leave you.
Muhammed, JHB, South Africa

You can never defeat terrorists simply by police. Even if hundreds of terrorists were arrested, thousands of them will follow up if the roots of terrorism cannot be removed. We have to talk to them, see what they want. Nobody is born to be terrorist. Every human life is valuable. Why they hate western countries so much that they have to use their own life to take revenge. Is there a compromised way that can satisfy both sides? How can we defeat them if we can not understand these basic questions?
Jiang, China

Bush and Blair have plunged their respective countries and allies into an unambiguous unending spiral of terrorism for the sake of oil, multibillion firm contracts etc. As far as I'm concerned their only way out of this is to retract from Afghanistan, Iraq and all other occupied lands. The times of the colonial past are over. Occupying a country in this day and age will result in backlash such as so-called terrorism.
Jan Siemerink, The Hague, The Netherlands

It is a sad day when you wake up and realise that the world as we knew it has changed so greatly. I believe until our leaders begin to treat other countries as comrades we will continue to witness malicious acts such as this.
Glenanne Johnson, Fayetteville, AR, USA

It is time for all serving police officers and security service operatives to be armed routinely. Tackling a terrorist with taser, stick or CS gas is just not going to cut it. Let those who threaten our peace and security know that they will be met with deadly force.
Philip Sullivan, London, UK

The war on terror can never be won by military means alone and will continue, without end, until Western foreign policies change (especially those of the USA). Attacks in Madrid, London and across the world demonstrate just how vulnerable we are.
Grant, Chelmsford, England

The so-called war on terror is an endless no win situation
John, London
The threat is endless, the so-called war on terror is an endless no win situation. I think the UK government and especially the US should seriously take note of remarks made by Iran's Ayatollah Kashani.
John, London

Why give religious tags to terrorists, whether it be Islamic, Catholic, Protestant, or any other religion? It is not the religion that is causing the terrorism, but the warped mind of the individuals. I believe that if we stopped giving religious legitimacy to these terrorist groups, their credibility would be compromised. It would not stop terrorist acts, but would reduce the oxygen of apparent legitimacy they claim.
Kev, Bushey, UK

How real is the threat to global security? There is a presupposition in the question that there is such thing. For global security there must be an epoch of peace. After two world wars and a third one in the making, global security is a figment of the imagination of the classes and nations who hold power and maintain the barrier to lasting peace for mankind.
Arpad Polan, Canada

Surely after what has just happened in London there is an urgent need for ID cards. How can the police do their job efficiently when they don't even know who's in the country? They are wasting valuable money and hours chasing unknown persons. It's like chasing smoke. Bring back border checks and an ID card for national security only. The money wasted for this will pay for a big part of the ID cards.
James Vanko, St Abbs, Scotland

We can never defeat terrorism, only hope to contain it
Ron Milligan, Gosport, England
We can never defeat terrorism, only hope to contain it. We are fighting a war according to the rules. They, the terrorists, do not have to therefore we can never 'win'.
Ron Milligan, Gosport, England

In the coming days and weeks we need to make sure that the threat of terror is not used for political gain. It's a sad fact that the death of these innocent people will be used to push through ID cards. Can anyone really say that ID cards could have prevented what we have seen taking place in London this week?
Paul Davies, Wilmslow, UK

Treating terrorism is a long term process. It involves understanding the social, political, cultural and economic developments and the interactions between them that led to the terror disease. However, on the short run we cannot allow the disease to develop freely. We have to use all possible means of prevention to quarantine it, of retaliation to make it costly for terror mongers, and eradication to reduce their nasty effectiveness.
Chadi, Lebanon

We must set aside political posturing and come up with practical mechanisms to stop this happening again
GV, London
I'm troubled by this talk of resilient, brave Londoners; that we must continue as if nothing happened to prove to the terrorists they cannot win. This is easy political rhetoric. The simple truth is we must continue because we have responsibilities to loved ones to earn a living. I'm now sat at home "calculating" the risk profile of journeys to work, shall I go in earlier, later, on the bus, cycle? We must set aside political posturing and come up with practical mechanisms to stop this happening again.
GV, London

No one has the right to kill innocent people. It is the same in London, New York, Iraq and other places in the world. Even if there are the differences between policies or faiths, we can not solve the problem by force. We should talk satisfactory and understand each other. As a Japanese citizen I want Japanese government to withdraw the Self Defence Forces from Iraq.
Matsuda, Nagasaki

I remember the BBC showing a documentary not so long ago about the power of fear. It believed that this climate of fear is superficial and suggested terrorism isn't real. How wrong could they be? We live in an ever increasing unstable world where attacks are indiscriminate and barbaric. If action isn't taken on a global scale we risk further attacks on freedom and democracy.
Liam, Bradford

The threat is not too big. I mean more than 50 people were killed in London. But terrorists don't only try to kill people. They try to change our lifestyle and our values. They want us to think that it is our fault. That's the real threat. We can fight back if our secret services and our people work together.
Rafael Fernandez, Malaga, Spain

I am surprised at people who think that there is a way to talk, understand, the people who caused these horrific acts, or that there exists any justification for carrying them out, the people who do these things here in Iraq, England, or any other place on earth are either doing it for money, or believe in a sick ideology that killing people will lead them to heaven, neither of the two are humans, they shouldn't be considered as so.
Sarab, Baghdad, Iraq

There is nothing to be done except war against these people who are not just the enemies of humanity but also Islam, because the killing of innocents is strongly condemned in the circle of Islam, even in the time of prophet Mohammad Peace Be Upon Him.
Abdul Malik Khan Saber Achakzai, Spin Boldak, Afghanistan

Any civilised person must unequivocally and totally condemn this vicious act as barbaric
Howard Cannatella, Prince George, Canada
Any civilised person must unequivocally and totally condemn this vicious act as barbaric. To think and feel otherwise is to side with the forces of evil and inhumanity. The real threat therefore to global security comes from those driven by ideology and hatred.
Howard Cannatella, Prince George, Canada

Ignorance is the root cause of conflict which we must rid ourselves of through education and understanding.
Zak Kahn, Glasgow, Scotland

It's surprising many people trying to give reasons for the bomb blasts. 9/11 happened for nothing. The victims are innocent people who had nothing to do with war. How can anyone justify this with Iraq war?
Senthil, Hamden, USA

Why do we persist in calling names instead of asking the pertinent questions? Are these guys just made evil or something has made them evil? Are they being oppressed like most of us and have got the guts to fight back with their life? May be we should look inside a bit more.
Peir Joan, Paris, France

Terrorists want to change our way of life. Therefore the best way to defeat terrorism is to continue living our lives the same as usual.
Graham Smith, London, UK

Global security is an oxymoron. There is no such thing, and if it was, states such as Great Britain would have been broke from lack of weaponry customers.
Bjornar Kjensli, Melbourne, Australia

For me the issue is about education and tolerance
Peter Campbell, Freiburg, Germany
For me the issue is about education and tolerance - the only way we will "defeat terrorism" is to work to eliminate the need for it - this will take years and is nothing to do with increased security and "fear driven" responses which get us all deeper in the hole.
Peter Campbell, Freiburg, Germany

We are all, of course, shocked and angered by the despicable actions of these terrorists but we must channel these emotions into a constructive resolve not to be intimidated by these people and not allow our anger to turn against our fellow citizens, of the Muslim faith, who are as equally innocent and just as devastated as any of us.
Graeme Brown, Plymouth

Like so many Londoners, I have been affected by many terrorist bombings and I was unfortunate enough to witness 9/11 personally. What happened to our ability to cope? Each time the IRA struck we talked about the spirit of the Blitz, not about giving up or blaming Blair or Bush or the futility of fighting fire with fire. War is a terrible thing but sometimes it must be fought. If we listened to the apologists in 1939 we would have suffered a fate much worse than Eastern Europe did under the Soviets.
Jake, USA, ex UK

The real threat to global security comes not from terrorists who cannot, however dreadful particular incidents might be, seriously affect society as a whole, but from governments who use them as an excuse to curb civil liberties for their own benefit.
Alex Swanson, Milton Keynes, UK

We never have been totally safe and we never will be
Jesse Meredith, Evesham, England
There has always been a threat of terrorism. It has taken the 9/11 and 7/7 attacks to bring the threat to the public's attention, but if war is waged on "terror", attacks on us will be on a far greater scale. We never have been totally safe and we never will be, but what we don't want is to put ourselves in more danger.
Jesse Meredith, Evesham, England

From BBCArabic.com: Those who blew up the stations are the most cowardly people because they are fighting people who have nothing to do with what is going on in the world, innocent people who were going to earn their living. Those stupid bombers will only harm Arabs and Muslims whose isolation and hatred by the British people will grow even though they were among the most sympathetic people with their cause. What an intense stupidity.
Abu Abdallah, UAE

From BBCArabic.com: Western leaders should know that their policies to fight terrorism and spread democracy in the Middle East have completely failed. It is necessary to evaluate these policies, to reach out to moderate Islam in the region and to make peace with the people out of honest intentions. Only then will it be possible to defeat terrorism and extremism.
Mohamed Abul-Yazeed, Alexandria, Egypt

From BBCArabic.com: I hope we do not hastily blame these terrorist acts on one group in general and specially Muslims. Most comments talk about those who committed these acts as Muslims; as if it is natural to blame any terrorist act on Islam.
Amr, Cairo, Egypt

From BBCArabic.com: What is the crime of civilians both in Iraq and London to deserve what has happened and is happening? Islam and all religions have nothing to do with them. With their barbaric acts, they make the world hate Islam and disfigure the values of humanity.
Sawsan Ibrahim, Arab living in London, UK

Those who give up liberty for the sake of security deserve neither liberty nor security.
Ben Franklin, Philadelphia, USA

We should be ready to sacrifice our 'freedom' for better security. Freedom is not the absence of restraint but we should self-discipline ourselves and be more responsible to accept 'big brother' type of security and protective initiatives.
Tonio Azzopardi, Floriana, Malta

I don't think there is such a thing as global security! These terrorists have proved that they can strike us anywhere if they want to. Yes I am scared for what is going to happen in the future though I will never let it stop me living my life as normally as I can. This is nothing to do with religion - it's the work of pure evil.
Angela, Glasgow

Terrorism has no morals and unlimited restrictions on where and when it strikes
Walter, Hong Kong
Terrorism has no morals and unlimited restrictions on where and when it strikes. Recent events in New York, London and Madrid should be a wake-up call for the rest of the World to take action against this evil force. Until there is unified opposition to terrorists they will continue to grow, become stronger, and eventually change the course of civilisation.
Walter, Hong Kong

Although I do condemn the attacks and the killing of innocent people, I must also say that the British government is partly to blame for this. The Iraq war was waged to make America and its allies safer, but it has only deteriorated the global security situation. I think that this is only the start of the targeting by extremists of US allies.
Hashim, Pakistan

There is no such thing as Global Security (although a false illusion of safety and security has existed in the past). Ever since the War in Vietnam, a new kind of threat has emerged to the forefront - Guerrilla and terrorist attacks, by an anonymous and often un-uniformed enemy. This is an unconventional type of warfare, with many losers and no visible winners.

The goal of many groups, (both home-grown and outside ones), is now, probably, to instil fear, instability in major world centres and, most insidiously, undermine economic stability. Which ever group carried out these attacks...it will take much time and a great deal of effort, to uncover the actual persons who carried out the attacks. This is not a traditional war.
Patricia Vanderveer (Robinson), Liverpool, UK

There is almost nothing Londoners can do to prevent such attacks except to be more vigilant. The anti-terror laws have done little except limit our liberties. It is really a problem to do with international politics, i.e. a powerful extremist ideology that feeds off discontent in Islamic lands. The so called 'war on terror' has if anything fuelled terrorism and this attack is almost wholly due to our invasion of Iraq. We need to look to the causes of terrorism such as the occupations of Palestine and Iraq, Kashmir, Chechnya etc rather than its symptoms.
James Wild, London UK

It is almost impossible to prevent such attacks in a free country
Andy D, Oxford, UK
The war on terror is real and cannot be ignored. The UK (and London in particular) has long lived with the threat of terror attacks. The British people will never be defeated by such acts of cowardice and intimidation. Despite the terrible scenes yesterday and the tragic loss of life, the numbers involved were surprisingly low. Our security and law enforcement authorities are doing a fantastic job, however, it is almost impossible to prevent such attacks in a free country. It is beyond my comprehension however, when this country faces a real and undeniable threat, there are voices that still claim we should safeguard all civil liberties. At certain times liberties must be curtailed to ensure the safety of the majority - if this means detention without trial, suspension of asylum rights, deportations or even internment so be it.
Andy D, Oxford, UK

In the shock and outrage that follows these murders, it is important to remember that we have survived decades of terrorism. Yes, it is a tragedy for all concerned, and our hearts go out to the victims and their families, but the truth is that TfL transports over a million commuters a day: if yesterday's death-toll rises to 50, then the odds for a commuter of being killed were about 20,000 to 1 against. If we allow these tiny dangers to panic us into throwing away the free society that makes us British, then these people will have won. When the outcry comes to "do something", remember that, please.
Simon Richardson, London, UK

Even we in the Middle East aren't immune to terrorism, as the bombing in Doha a few months back has shown. The only way to stop these people, in my opinion, is to show them how little support and popularity they have amongst their own people. Perhaps they will feel remorse as a result.
Sufyan, Doha, Qatar

I believe that, if we all stand back and study the events that have happened here and abroad over the last ten years we will see a pattern emerging. The people responsible for these attacks are much closer to us than we think. They are not the groups most of the people think they are. We, and I mean the population of the world, must be prepared to face up to things that we may have never considered before or want to believe.
William, Glasgow

Evil only succeeds when good men do nothing
Maxine H, London, UK
In all of these acts of barbarity, it is always the innocents who suffer. Whether it is in London, New York, Iraq, Afghanistan, Bali etc., the easiest targets for terrorists and warmongers are innocent people. What is needed is dialogue and a way forward to find some kind of peace in this world. It will take brave people to do it, but it can be done. Evil only succeeds when good men do nothing. The 'War on Terror' is a nonsense and is not working, but only creating more reasons for militants to brainwash the vulnerable. My sympathies to all those whose loved ones will never return home. It is truly a terrible day.
Maxine H, London, UK

The problem with the statement about negotiations with legitimate organizations is that there are no "legitimate" organizations on the other side. It's a group of people hell-bent on destroying our way of life and our freedom. Peace and love cannot defeat those like this.
Brian, College Station, USA

You can't fight fire with fire. If you do, both flames engulf each other.
Andreas Christodoulou, Northampton, UK

Terrorism has been around much longer than George Bush, and it certainly is nothing new to the British. Those of you that believe you can reason with fanatics that would do something like this to innocent people, are fools. Hugs, understanding and kind words mean nothing to a rabid dog. My sincere condolences to our British friends, know that no matter our differences, we will always stand beside you as you have so often done so for us.
Al, Calif. USA

The UK beat terrorism once in the form of the IRA and it can do it again. The way to beat terrorism is by destroying the ideology not the terrorist as in Northern Ireland. A terrorist is easily created if there is an ideology for him to follow. An ideology of hate is not so easy to create if people feel that there is social justice democracy and accountability. Blair should realise that Bush's 'war on terror' is a big failure though it might be a big success with neo-con hawks.
Vajid Ali, Birmingham, UK

We seem to have taken our eye off the ball
Ed Corbett, Bridgend, UK
Whoever committed this latest atrocity is well organized, has access to explosives detonators, timers, sophisticated or crude and seemingly has entry to the UK or any other country they may wish to attack. We have no idea of their nationality, where they are based, or to which terrorist group they belong. The threat to global security is real and positive. The Security Forces of all countries need to become more vigilant and cooperative than we have been since 9/11. We seem to have taken our eye off the ball and now we have a new number to remember "7/7". It's time to get back to fighting terrorism whether it's called al-Qaeda or some unknown group.
Ed Corbett, Bridgend, UK

More loss of innocent lives, and these lives are important no matter where they are, whether in London, New York or Baghdad, etc. It is time for the killing to stop from all sides. G. Bush and T. Blair need to go back to the drawing board and make plans for peace instead of all the war talk, and who has the best way of life. That is something I believe that most people like to decide for themselves.
M. Clark, UK/US

It doesn't matter which countries George Bush has invaded in the name of Terror prevention. All it takes is a handful of people to bring London to a terrifying halt. The only way the attacks will stop is for our leaders to actually listen to the people who are committing the attacks; as opposed to bombing/invading them... you cannot fight fire with fire! My prayers to everyone affected.
Len, St Helens, UK

It is unfortunate that it has taken an incident of this nature to 'unite' the G8 heads. Furthermore, Bush is now able to drive focus towards the war on terrorism, and in doing so can dim the limelight on his stance on Africa and global warming. I truly hope that this attack will not encourage more 'pro-war' feelings, which will only increase the gape between the West and Middle East and jeopardise the safety of innocents on both sides.
Jacs, Austin, Texas (Born in South Africa)

I believe London was targeted because it is a major Western city
Dave Woods, Cleveland, USA
The bomb attacks in London are an episode in the so-called War on Terror. Obviously terrorist placed explosives on subway trains and a bus. I don't see this as a change in the situation except possibly a change of target. I believe London was targeted because it is a major Western city.

One could speculate that there is a connection between the bombings and the recent choice of London as the site of the 2012 Olympic Games - but I think there probably is no connection - coordinated bombings like this require planning and I don't see any group organizing this sort of thing overnight. It is quite likely that this has been planned for months.
Dave Woods, Cleveland, USA

All these attacks do is strengthen our resolve to see these cowards brought to justice. Worried? Any sane person would be but there are life threatening dangers all around us in our everyday lives. Terrorism is the danger you cannot see. I have faith in our MI5 community to help and prevent these attacks but no amount of preventative measures are going to stop the lone murderer with death on his mind.
Jeff, Fareham, United Kingdom

It's sickening to see Bush has no shame, using these terrible events to justify his "war on terror". We should be focusing our attention on terrorist groups, not entire countries. Are our streets safer now? Talks must be initiated with legitimate organisations on both sides of the fence.
Craig, Austin, Texas, USA (formerly from Peterborough, UK)

The greatest threat to global security is the USA, anyone who opposes their rule by militarism is labelled as 'terrorist', 'communist', etc.
Mauricio Gonzalez, Monterey, California, USA

I blame the so-called "War on Terror" for this frightening attack. Joining the US in Bush's unrelated and unprovoked attack on Iraq has made London a target, nothing else. Bush and Blair have made the world more dangerous for all of us.
Matt, NYC, USA





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