hunting bin laden
Join the Discussion: What are your thoughts on Osama bin Laden's holy war against the U.S. and his multinational terrorist organization?   How should America deal with terrorism?
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Dear FRONTLINE,

Your story on Osama Bin Ladin is very informative. I have been trying to verse myself and my friends and family on the subject and in my research I have come across much information on him and the Muslim 'extremist' viewpoint. Many Americans are not aware of their motivations and deep rooted devotion to their cause. Osama Bin Laden, though I do not agree with his worldly views or tactics, is a very intelligent man. It is easier to think that he is simply 'crazy' or 'a madman' but unfortunately, this is not the case it seems.

I am a 22 year old musician from Arizona, not a soldier, not a politician, just an artist. I know my role as an artist is important and just another part of our diverse culture but it is hard to feel like you are pro-active in something like this when your role in society is that of a muse. However I have promised myself to learn as much as possible about this and many other things that I as an American citizen, am involved in. I am still reading and learning about the U.S. involvement in foreign affairs that has fueled his hatred for us but I admit I am not ready to decide, for myself, what the best course of action is. He is hurt by what he believes to be the U.S.'s aggression toward his way of life and his land and it's people's. It is an understandable reason to be angry. The thing I am still sketchy on is, even if we completely changed our foreign policy and left everybody to fight their own wars and fend for themselves, aren't these 'religious warriors' eventually going to kill everyone on the face of the earth who does not believe in the Islamic faith? That's where it all loops back on itself and any justification or understanding goes right out the window.

Even among all the terrible things in this world, there are so many beautiful things that contrast. I don't want to see these things disappear. There has already been far too much bloodshed, here and over seas. I hope that the world can find a way to handle this without more unnecessary casualties.

Much love to all of you,

American.

phoenix, arizona


Dear FRONTLINE,

Glad to see a rather rational discussion here. First of all, I'm against any form of violence, be it a terrorist attack or a reprisal war. I'm not a muslim nor an American. As an outsider, I see the whole thing as TWO tragedies, a tragedy for the innocent americans who lost their lives, and a tragedy for those people who had been unfairly treated for years.

If Bush has solid evidence that Laden was the mastermind of the attack, show us the evidence and get him, but spare the civilians of Afghanistan and Iraq because they, like the people working at the World Trade Centre, are innocent too. The world don't want to see more tragedies and reprisals followed by reprisals.

As an outsider, I think America has been too involved in the middle east affairs. On the TV, I saw palesteinians threw stone at Israeli police and were fed with bullets. America claims herself a Cop of the world and still supports Israel. Is there something wrong?

There are different cultures and different peoples in the planet. What we need is more understandings, less conflicts.

Peace on earth.

Shirley Lam
hk, hk


Dear FRONTLINE,

We need to find Bin Laden, and show him we do not put up with this kind of atttack or any others for that matter. We need to fight back. Our coutry will go on and grow more stronger from this and all come together as we have seen already.

elwood, ill


Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you for the information you have provided. I'm scared and my heart is broken. After reading about Osama bin Laden, I think this must be what Hitler was like. No matter what the US and western countries do, it will not be enough or right. These types of terrorists will not be satisfied until THEY control the Arab countries and THEY control the oil. Their deaths would only make them martyrs, but will we have a choice, when the death of our culture and religious freedom is all them want from us? These terrorists want to go back to a far ago time of isolation. The world is not a perfect place, but the kind of dictatorship bin Laden envisions is not where the world wants to go.

st. louis, missouri


Dear FRONTLINE,

Never accuse anyone before proven guilty. So far what demage has he done? What prove have you got, the AMERICAN govt always says he is wrong, that doesn't mean he is guilty. While the AMERICAN govt has done a lot of demages to other parts of the world, and proven and justified, for instance bombing in IRAQ, PANAMA etc, but they never take any revenge as in this matter when WTC was bombed. The US cannot justify who is the attackers as proof they have many enemies. THIS IS FACTS.

basyirah abdrahman
kuala lumpur, wil pers


Dear FRONTLINE,

All, I have read all the messages posted. Some messages call for force, some for peace. To me the bottom line is this: the perpetrators of this act must be brought to justice and terrorism as a whole must be condemned and fought.

How else can we fight terrorism in Libya, Sudan, Afghanistan, Algeria, etc. without a military act. In reality, there may be no choice except military force.

I will admit that America has not always been in the right in its actions around the world. Yet, our actions in Saudi Arabia and Iraq do not justify his (Bin Laden's) actions. If I am correct, during the operations in Iraq much of the Arab world supported our efforts. Osama is carrying out a personal vendetta, not a holy war.

David Barrett
massapequa, ny


Dear FRONTLINE,

I wish this information was avalible in the mainstream media. I have heard that 94% of the country wants to go to war. After hearing this report I have a hole in my patriotic heart. We need to admit some responsibility here. If we kill bin Laden will not one of his group take his place? Isn't that the way he has trained people? Why are we still in Saudi Arabia? Is there any way that we could work out a peaceful solution? Instead of striking out and making his people more angry why not find out what their demands are and if a compromise is possible? Can't we see where 10 years of bombings and occupation troups have gotten us?

madison, wi


Dear FRONTLINE,

I consider myself a relatively well informed American. I read the paper, watch the news, CNN etc. I don't remember much media attention devoted to this Bin Laden interview in 1998 or even the tower trials. Not half as much as I heard about cigars and Monica Lewenski. Our media will cover trivial facts of public figures personal life under the banner of the public's "right to know". But something as important and truly newsworthy as this is given a cursory glance. Perhaps we need to re-evaluate what is really news.

michelle archer
nashville, tn


Dear FRONTLINE,

The show about Osama bin Laden was well timed and showed again why Frontline is the benchmark which other news programs should be compared. While watching network and cable news on Sept. 11, 2001 I was waiting for someone to ask "Why?". They seemed to be intent on showing the towers every 5 minutes. It may prove to be the darkest day in the history of America. I think we are in shock and must grieve and bury the victims of a truly horrific act. Finally at 6:00pm(EST) switching to PBS and found intelligent reporting. PBS and NPR do this country a great service by digging much deeper into the problems we face everyday.The 9:00 Frontline show answered many of the questions about the attack.

Today, Sept. 15, 2001 I have been listening to radio and watching television since the terrorist attack trying to get a sense of our nation and where we are headed in the following days. Hopefully we will keep our civil liberties in place and not become a nation of jingoistic fools. To get an idea of these rants listen to talk radio for a day. It seems we have forgotten the body bags of Viet Nam and all wars. I look forward to the Frontline shows in the future. Thank you for doing a great job and continue to give us programming that looks at important issues of the day.

Tom Scipione

Tom Scipione
providence, ri


Dear FRONTLINE,

i am a muslim..who condemn these attacks on the WTCs.A terrorist is a terrorist,he cannot justify himself by killing inocent people and calling it a holy war.Our religion doesnot allow an inocent blood to be spilled like this.Because of these few people all the muslims all over the world are being targeted and hated.Two wrongs cannot make a right.If he thinks american govt is resposible for killing thousands of muslims in Iraq,Palestine.Well he went on doing just the same,so what's the difference between him and the people he hate so much to declare holy war against.I strongly condemn what's being done in Palestine,Iraq,bosnia,Kosovo,Kashmirand even Afghanistan,but our religion does not allow anyone to kill inocent people.

MEHREEN HASAN
lahore, pakistan


Dear FRONTLINE,

PLIZ, LET THE WORLD KNOW THAT OSAMA HAS A JUST CAUSE, ... THE F16 WARPLANES THAT HAVE CLAIMED SO MANY ARAB LIVES ARE AMERICAN WEAPONS. BUSH HAS ALWAYS SUPPORTED ISRAEL AGAINT PALESTINIANS. lET AMERICA BE BALANCED IN ITS FOREIGN POLICY THEN WE SHALL LIVE IN PEACE. Condolence message to innocent people who perished in US attacks. Bush should be accountable. If US attacks let it expect more reprisals. It is only diplomacy tha will win.

kakaza Med
tel-aviv, israel


Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank you, PBS, for your Frontline report. I believe it took a step to help people understand something about the anti-American sentiments in other countries, particularly the Middle East. While the horrific and tragic events of Tuesday, September 11 cannot be condoned, no other news media conglomerates even come close to exposing how our (American) actions in other countries, fueled strongly by our own oil interests - not in the interests of the people who live there - create an anger and frustration in peoples who have little power to determine their own political destiny.

In order to truly "fight" terrorism, I strongly feel that we will need to learn how to view our world from the eyes of other nations, other people. Only in this way will we be truly able to ultimately join hands with the world.

Terry Church
petaluma, ca


Dear FRONTLINE,

Osama bin Laden refers in his fatwa to Americas trangressions against Islam... the invasion of the Arabian peninsula, etc. This was action taken by America and the world community to stop the agressions of Iraq against it's neighbor and to promote its wealth and warmongering. How do Iraq's motives and crimes against its brother arabs fit into Islamic ideals?

I don't believe we were completely innocent in our motivations, but were we agressors there? No.

He also states that in order for the American people to redeem themselves, we should reject a government that supports, in any way, Israel. How nobel that he would consider us redeemed by standing aside while he and his ilk slaughter Israeli citizens.

Everything bin Laden states as a motivation for Islamics to commit terrorist acts against Americans is contradictable. Osama bin Laden is a self serving zealot, who in the name of Islam - a noble religion, lies and seduces weak minded individuals into doing his bidding. He will lead his followers to ruin just like Hitler, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, David Koresh...etc.

The best hope for the Islamic world is for levelheaded and clear thinking Islamic leaders to carry on a dialog among their community and their children about true modern Islamic ideals. If these efforts are not made, and I'm certain they exist even now, the warped bin Laden may continue to gain followers.

oxnard, california


Dear FRONTLINE,

Your story terrified me. You showed that bin Laden is not the crazy "nut case" I (and millions like me) would like to believe he is. He obviously must be stopped, but I am glad I am not the one who has to figure out how to do it.

Patty Spath
berryville, va


Dear FRONTLINE,

While I do not condone what happened to our country this past Monday, I cannot help but still be against the irrational war cries heard all over the US and the world.

We have a chance, as humans, to remove ourselves from the tyranny of history but rather than ask ourselves WHY this is happening, we've only used ambiguous adjectives to explain who and what the enemy is. We used amorphic phrases like "we're being attacked because we are the brightest beacon of freedom in the world and the dark forces want to destroy that light"

um...we are not living in Hollywood or in a fictional world where issues can be explained away as the forces of good vs. the forces of evil. It's not that simple and not that black and white.

Rather than try to follow the words of Jesus Christ of turning the other cheek or follow the non-violent ways of Gandhi, we want war so that we can spill blood. Blood for blood, eye for an eye as the great Hammurabi dictated.

...NO WAR has EVER eradicated the enemy or the ideology of the enemy? We might have defeated the Nazi's in WWII but their rhetoric is alive and well around the world today.

So what will this war achieve other than more spillage of blood? Nothing.

Osama bin Laden i viewpoints represent something that all of us in the free world need to take a look at. We need to address and understand why he hates the West so much. Because it is not just he, it is also millions of other people around the world who feel the same way. We need to get to the bottom of that hatred, understand it, and work to rectify it.....

Pablo Rios
granada hills, california

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