Readers Respond: Will the Terrorist Attacks Change Everything?

Ed's note: While the news media pumps out coverage of the attacks in New York and DC, and our potential retaliation in Afganistan, AlterNet readers are fearfully speculating about our nation's future. Should we expect war? Domestic lockdown? More terrorist attacks?

The following quotes have been culled from AlterNet's buzzing message boards. We hope you will add your voice as events unfold.

"Two things concern me most, now that the first impact is over: 1) Will the U.S. now start a new "war," this time not against drugs, but a "war against terrorism," which promises to be as useless as the other one?; and 2) Will we use the terrible disaster of the WTC, etc. to justify suffocating the right of the press and free publications of news?"--Thomas Baumgarten

"The thing many people are missing concerning the events of yesterday is that the world hasn't suddenly changed. The illusion of security is gone. And it was only an illusion. The difference is that the sort of atrocities that occur around the world and are dismissed as something that happens to other, less morally upstanding people has now occured here."--Ryan Hadley

"We've never fully appreciated or respected the differences in beliefs, religion, values, etc., of foreigners, particularly in the Arab world. I believe that the media encourages us to label their religion, their values, their dress and their actions as "crazy" or "worthless." I admit that when I see the video tapes of Bin Ladin on CNN or I watch the footage of Palestinians and Egyptians celebrating in the streets -- dancing, singing, grinning and shooting bullets into the air because thousands of evil Americans have been killed, I, too, want revenge and think that they're not the kind of people I would want in the world. But I know that I'm wrong."--Eve Fox

"If Osama Bin Ladin did this, then he has made his own bed and will have to sleep in it. I'm not against just punishment of any guilty person, but let's not over-react and massacre hundreds or even thousands of innocent people. And in the meantime, maybe we can expand our concept of culpability to include not only the disenfranchised, but the architects of world domination as well."--Jim Otterstrom

"We are angry, and when the emotions rise, people want to define choices in the simplest possible terms. Nothing is either/or. This horrendous attack was not caused or deserved by the U.S., but neither is it just attributable to religious zealotry. It's both/and. We need to take a few deep breaths and start seeing the world as the unfathomably complicated system it is."--Jon Tveite

"The highest levels of American government would have us believe that they are a force of "good" fighting a war with "evil" terrorists ... Assuming Middle Eastern terrorists are responsible, many of them such as Osama Bin Laden were trained by the CIA; they're monsters created by and connected to American government. American foreign policy worldwide has fostered the conditions and context for terrorist action, but will our government ever change its policies?"--Robert Smith

"If, as people believe the attack was by a Muslim group (and please don't mix Muslims and Arabs, Christian and Jewish Arabs exist in our neighbourhoods), they (us Muslims) are clearly gaining nothing from this. Those images of Palestinians rejoicing are images of sad people who don't know what they're getting into.--"Arab & Muslim"

"While I fear I cannot control how our government will react, I counsel strongly that we not retaliate. Any military response will only escalate and perpetuate the cycle of violence. We cannot divide the world and decide that certain people are evil, or are our enemy because of their faith, color, or race."--John Wilson

"The distant root causes for this horrific action in no way can ever justify it. Nothing justifies it. Even considering all the imperialisms, globalisms, etc. that you can stick the U.S. government and way of life with, this is surely a disgusting violent act, directed as much at you as at the George Bushes of the world."--"Johnny"

"Little media attention has been paid to critics of defense spending and counter-terrorism. The Department of Defense allocates only 1.5% of its budget to counter-terrorism. (U.S. General Accounting Office. Combating Terrorism: Spending on Government-wide Programs Requires Better Management and Coordination (GAO/NSIAD 98-39, Dec 1997)). Though not a paltry sum ($6.7 billion) few critics of defense spending waste time arguing about what amounts to one cent for every dollar spent on defense."--Bill Sparks

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