looking for answershomesaudi arabiaegyptintelligence failurediscussion
ground zerojoin the discussion: What are your thoughts on the roots of militant Islam and the minds and motivations of those who hate the U.S.?


Dear FRONTLINE,

I was sickened by "Looking for Answers".

The aim of your program was clear: America is to blame for the events of 9-11. The filth that massacred thousands, and attempted to massacre tens of thousands, of human beings were merely acting in response to the foreign policy of the United States.

In your pursuit of "answers" you gave a complete pass to all but oneof those you interviewed that sympathized with the terrorists (Achmed Sattar, The Muslim Doctor living in London, the Sudanese political leader) while countering with pro-terrorist arguments those that were anti-terrorist (Dick Armitage, Prince Bandar, the Egyptian Ambassador to the US, and at least one other gentleman whose name I missed).

Why did you choose to produce a program that contorted the finger of blame back towards our country? Why did you neglect to ask those that supported the terrorist what sort of inhuman beast could possibly kill thousands of innocent people?

Of course, the answers to those questions begin with the program's co-creator, and one of Frontline's sponsors, the New York Times and NPR repectively, both prominent bastions of liberal thought and anti-American sentiment.

Dick Armitage said it best, speaking to the interviewer after he (the interviewer), used a pro-terrorits argument: "You're playing ball in his court". He was so very right, in so many ways.

Tomorrow I'll contact OETA, the local PBS rebroadcaster and will inform them of my immediate withdrawal of support. This weekend I'll compose a letter to the three men that represent me in Congress and ask them to diligently pursue the repeal of Federal funding for public television.

You have the right to your opinion, but I'll be damned if you'll spend my money to pursue and promote it.

Frank Knuppel
oklahoma city, oklahoma


Dear FRONTLINE,

I'm surprised, amused, dismayed by the cries of "bias," "foul play," and "sympathy for radical Islamists" in comment after comment by viewers of your excellent program. You have provided a full range of information, points of view, stunning visual accompaniment in a compelling package, that, together with this web site and its links, gives intelligent individuals the wherewithal to begin to form judgments for themselves. Your website, the full transcripts of interviews, and the general excellence of the links to other readings makes these pages the single best available source for an evening of enlightenment--no, the beginning of enlightenment--on a hard topic in very difficult times. The point is to listen, understand, and react, not to blindly and incredulously denounce. The problems your Arab interlocutors point to are genuine, the perceptions of the United States they discuss are hard-wired and close to immutable, the religious devotion that motivates them sincere (and unfathomable to most Americans), and the totality a puzzle, I would hazard, to most viewers. I applaud those who compiled this material for having rendered a very great public service.

reston, virginia


Dear FRONTLINE,

I don't understand the plausibility of the Islamic terrorists' motivations in wanting a Palestinian state "free of non-believers." This quote at the end of the show obviously refers to Israel- the only "state" in the Islamic world full of "non-believers." Judaism as a religion came first, then Christianity and after Islam. If anything the presence of Israel IS more just and true than an all Islamic state. Judaism preceded and gave birth to Islam.

The terrorists' self-righteous claims are just opportunistic, grand-standing with no solid foundation. That they would even try and make a claim is pure adolescent whining.. beckoning an "adult hand" to come down and smack them on the backs of their heads for ever having been so foolish.

David Jablonski
charleston, sc


Dear FRONTLINE,

Dear Frontline: As I watched and listened to various Islamic Fundamentalists comment on their hatred of the U.S. and the events of September 11th with apparent smugness - my blood boiled. The feeling of overwhelming sadness has diminished over the weeks following the attacks - now replaced by an underlying rage in my heart. Discourse of the why(s) although critical - should not overshadow the need to act decisively. Now is not the time to determine why those responcible did what they did or why we are preceived as the infidel to zelots. Second guessing ourselves as a nation and what we truely stand for - will only divide us in a time when unity is needed. I compare Islamic extremists to Nazis - appeasement - negotiation - LOGIC - will not work...I find it insulting to suggest that we even try to understand evil. Maybe I've missed the point of your show - but I feel I speak for the vast majority of Americans in stating that our frustration level has reached the breaking point and the reasons why...can take a backseat for now.

J J Luranc
birmingham, michigan


Dear FRONTLINE,

A very good news program on the current problems and war on terror. I think contrary to some of the postings, it shows why Americans should support democracy and freedom rather than a particular person or regime. We may not be thrilled by the choices people make in a democracy, but it is a system that allows true self-governance.

We must move beyond Reale Politik to operating from principles of freedom, democracy, and free markets.

washington, dc


Dear FRONTLINE,

Why didn't you ask the Muslims some revealing questions, such as:

If the Egyptian government is so repressive: How differently would you have reacted if your government were attacked and your head man had been murdered? How would women be better off under the Islamic Jihad? How would your government treat Christians, Jews, other flavors of Islam? What country would be your model? Iraq? Iran? Pakistan? Afghanistan? Palestine? And how would you be less repressive? The Saudis follow Islamic law, cutting off hands, heads, etc. What would you do differently?

If unemployment is a problem: What have Islamic Jihad and similar organizations done to improve the life of ordinary Muslims? Why don't you spend your money on vocational education, factories that make useful things, stores, trading, or other things that provide employment? Why do you direct all your money and training toward weapons and killing?

Armitage had it exactly right. Frontline is playing on the terrorists' turf. You did your best to make the terrorists look good and the U.S. look bad by both your biased questioning technique and video selection. What's next? A sympathetic look at Adolph Hitler with high praise for getting rid of trichinosis and making the trains run on time? Perhaps you should try living under the Taliban for a few years.

issaquah, wa


Dear FRONTLINE,

Thank for your excellent program. We have been waging war on the Islamic countries of the middle east since the collapse of the Ottoman empire, the Muslims do not forget the Balfour declaration, Lawrence of Arabia's lies, the Arab revolt, the foundation of the state of Israel, four Arab-Israeli wars and the 34 years of Israel's brutal occupation of Arab land.

Ask an Arab how he responds to 5,000 or 6,000 innocent deaths and he or she will respond, as decent people should, that it is an unspeakable crime. But they will ask why we did not use such words about the sanctions that have destroyed the lives of perhaps half a million children in Iraq, why we did not rage about the 17,500 civilians killed in Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon. And those basic reasons why the Middle East caught fire last September the Israeli occupation of Arab land, the dispossession of Palestinians, the bombardments and state-sponsored executions it is time root out terrorism by disengaging from Israel occupation, supporting democracy and civil society and stopping the genocide of the Iraqi people.

Once we do that Ben laden will be alone

omaima salous
santa clarita, ca


Dear FRONTLINE,

When the attacks first happened, I was concerned about Islamic-Americans in this country facing persecution if there was a back-lash. But after watching those people in other countries dance in the streets and rejoice over our national agony, actually rejoicing over the deaths of thousands of innocents, I can hardly contain my rage. If those foolish people want a holy war, I think that they should have it...and everything that implies.

Marion Larkin
vancouver, washington


Dear FRONTLINE,

I watched with great interest your chronicle of the terrorists from the Munich Olympics forward till the events of Sept.11th. What was reported was overall well done. There is no doubt mistakes were made in dealing with these very difficult times. However I am ABSOLUTELY appalled that you reported ABSOLUTELY nothing of the events during the Clinton administration - when the PAL was put back into Palestinian. You jumped from the end of George Bush Sr. right up to George W. and Sept 11th. Your's and the New York Times EXTREME LEFT position is clear. It's why real thinking Americans don't contribute to That paper or your network. By the way I am an independent voter not afiliated with either party.

Curious Viewer Dave

Dave Curtis
wilmington, de


Dear FRONTLINE,

As an American who lived and worked in Cairo, Egypt from 1983 to 1989, I was glued to your program "Looking for Answers." It was the most informative program I have seen since September 11 on the issues.

Lester Kolb
poulsbo, washington


Dear FRONTLINE,

I have always appreciated the in-depth reporting that has been the hallmark of virtually all Frontline broadcasts. However, last night's report on the root causes of the hatred and anti-Amercanism in Islamic countries was a disappointment.

Over the past 10 years, I have lived and worked in several Islamic countries. From this experience it has become clear to me that at least 80% of the hatred directed our way has roots in our contribution and indifference to the suffering of the Palestinian people. An honest discussion of the creation of Isreal (which, I believe has a right to exist) is still a taboo in the American media.

It is important to understand that the attacks in New York and Washington are mainly an effort to extend the suffering to the people who are seen as a source of the oppression and humiliation of Palestinian Arabs. The media's unwillingness to confront these issues is one cause of our present circumstances. It appears that when it comes to middle-east politics, even Frontline will stand down....I am sorry to say that after your broadcast, I feel more pessimistic than ever.

Michael Harvey
portland, oregon


Dear FRONTLINE,

You performed a tremendous public service airing this in-depth and balanced report.

I can't help thinking the U.S. will continue to be the target of terrorism as long as we're perceived to be the region's kingmakers. The only way to avoid being a target is to disengage from the region's politics, which means ending U.S. and European dependence on the region's oil. Any anti-terrorism program that does not include an agressive energy independence program is destined to fail.

Keith Melchers
washington, dc


Dear FRONTLINE,

I would like to express my appreciation to the Frontline that provides in-depth analysis in Looking for Anwswers.

I would also like to express my regret for those who blame the Frontline for giving too much time to the dissidents, or bad guys. Those are definitely not the ones who are looking for answers.

salt lake city, utah


Dear FRONTLINE,

I have always enjoyed your reporting on controversial topics which need addressing, but you really did it this time. What a mesmerizing report.

Given all the authorities you interviewed, I felt I was taking a history course on Islamic Leadership 101 and it was very interesting. Your descriptions of the Islamic nations with their rituals and customs was well done. Knowing that there is always someone who takes their religion to extremes skillfully turning their faith into cultural persuasions causing great harm to global security is very much a part of our world and we need to understand the dangers of it.

Edie Libeatore
sherman oaks, ca


Dear FRONTLINE,

There's an amazing vacuum of self-examination as to how our system of rapacious capitalism negatively affects Third World people. Not a peep about that cause of emnity in the public discourse, as far as I can tell. Bush's frothing about "freedom" is simply code for insuring unbridled capitalism, aka economic colonialism, of the West at others' expense. Honestly, where is our own sense of culpability? Someone out there care to connect the dots between the WTO, the World Bank, and fury from those peoples and countries impoverished and disenfranchised, in the name of economic prosperity and "growth"?? We ARE the enemy: it is us! Until we extend the well-being we enjoy in the West to those who are literally dying from being have-nots, it will be our own conduct that engenders this hatred. So I'd ask, What part of this is ours?

eugene, oregon

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