Should the US be scared of Europe?

Morning / afternoon / evening, Peter Dobbie here with news of today’s World Have Your Say, on air at 1800 GMT :o) Today:SHOULD THE US BE SCARED OF EUROPE ?
One of the biggest threats to US security may now come from within Europe, according to the US Homeland Security head Michael Chertoff. He told the BBC that militant attacks and plots in Europe over recent years had made the US aware of the “real risk that Europe will become a platform for terrorists”.

Mr Chertoff said it was likely security checks on travellers from Europe would be increased. But he said steps would be taken to ensure travel and trade were not hit. In the interview on our sister programme, The Interview, Mr Chertoff said he had seen “home-grown terrorism begin to rise in Europe”.

He cited deadly bomb attacks on Madrid and London, and a terror alert affecting UK-US flights in August 2006, as well as “people travelling from South Asia and the Middle East into Europe and carrying out attacks there”.

Mr Chertoff’s comments came after reports that British intelligence services are investigating an Islamist Web site which said that a branch of al Qaeda had been established in Britain. Security experts fear a posting on the site, urging young Muslim men to rise up against what it called infidels — such as the Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the former Prime Minister Tony Blair — may be genuine.

What do you think ? Is Mr Chertoff right: is Europe a hotbed of fanatics, bent on destroying the US and all it stands for ? There are ‘terrorists’ in every country – so what makes Europe different ? If YOU’RE an American from where do you perceive the main threat ? It is easier and easier to move around Europe — is that part of the problem ? Why Europe, and why not the Middle East ? Let us know your thoughts.

As ever:


TEXT: +44 77 86 20 60 80

PHONE: +44 20 70 83 72 72

Dont forget we’re on Facebook these days, and if you don’t want to receive this e-mail, just let us know and we’ll delete you as soon as we can.

Peter :o)

Peter Dobbie

Presenter / Anchor

BBC World TV

BBC World Service Radio

78 Responses to “Should the US be scared of Europe?”

  1. 1 Brett
    January 16, 2008 at 13:45

    As an American, I percieve our main threat as ourselves.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  2. 2 John D. Anthony
    January 16, 2008 at 14:00

    I will repeat what I said the last time we discussed the E.U. getting rid of border checks and spending billions on securing the new Eastern frontiers~

    ” What about the old Western frontiers? Given that a lot of the 911 group came to the U.S. through Germany, what are you people thinking?”

    From this side of the pond it looks like your security folks are “drawing a line in the water”. Not exactly reassuring.

    John in Salem

  3. January 16, 2008 at 14:17

    Yes, US must be scared of Europe. The statement made by the Russian authority on their coming back militarily and the silent of the German military since the second Woeld War.

  4. 4 Tommaso Debenedetti
    January 16, 2008 at 14:32

    It’s a real danger. Europe will become a platfor for terrorism. The dander is strong in Southern and Eastern Europe. Countries of former Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Romania and Greece, but also Italy and Spain can be platforms. Governments of this countries, have to help more US and UK in the prevention of terrorism, because, in countries of South and Eastern Europe, the prevention of international terrorism is actually irrelevant.
    Rome, Italy

  5. January 16, 2008 at 14:34

    The number of Muslims in the London area alone, not to mention their population in Great Britain, make Chertoff’s comments valid. Anyone can see the potential. I saw an article way back in the BBC website, that using your population estimates, placed radical elements of your Muslim population in the London area alone at over 100,000. It was then estimated that there were 8,000,000 Muslims in Great Britain. A radical cell can be made up of a very few people. It seems that both of our nations have been far too lapse in our immigation controls. President Bush may very well be the only rational person on earth when it comes to dealing with the Radical Muslim world. Europe and the US desperately need “sniff the coffee”. Their blind faith, (not an option) leads them to destroy anyone not committed to the Muslim beliefs.

  6. 6 Lou C. (Indianapolis, USA)
    January 16, 2008 at 14:36

    I believe the threat to the US of terrorism from within Europe is largely indirect. It is, however, a direct threat to citizens of the EU (such as the people of London or Madrid). The aim of such cowardly and dastardly terrorist acts is to punish Europeans for maintaining friendly relations and economic ties to the people of the US. Terrorizing the people of countries in, for example, Southeast Asia (e.g., Bali), does not have the same impact and consequences for the US as harming our friends and allies in Europe. Sad, but true, I’m afraid….

  7. January 16, 2008 at 15:20

    all countries want to sell what they make to other countries, but then theres a surplus and then no one needs it,its not like food thats eaten and moire must be griown, china wants to rule the trade russia wants to america wants to and so on, its like what do you have that we need, as most countries can ake what they need, gold is the backing of any countrys wealth thhen the middle east has the oil what does a country have thats the thing

  8. 8 Muhammad Asim Munir
    January 16, 2008 at 15:41

    Hi WHYS!

    I hope you all are fine.

    I think that there is nothing wrong with Europe, Middle East, Asia or Africa. These are unbalanced US policies that make US darling of so-called as well as real terrorists. US citizens are losing their social freedom and this must not be the case with Europe. Middle East, Asia and Africa are paying the price of US policies.

    Americans must change their attitude towards the world. Arrogant and aggressive US policies are an explicit threat to the world.

    With Regards,

    Muhammad Asim Munir
    Gujranwala, Pakistan.

  9. 9 steve
    January 16, 2008 at 15:58

    Does this social freedom include the right to draw mohammed cartoons?

    you said:

    US citizens are losing their social freedom and this must not be the case with Europe. Middle East, Asia and Africa are paying the price of US policies.

    Americans must change their attitude towards the world. Arrogant and aggressive US policies are an explicit threat to the world.

    With Regards,

    Muhammad Asim Munir
    Gujranwala, Pakistan.

  10. 10 Brett
    January 16, 2008 at 16:02

    “Middle East, Asia and Africa are paying the price of US policies.

    Americans must change their attitude towards the world. Arrogant and aggressive US policies are an explicit threat to the world.

    With Regards,

    Muhammad Asim Munir
    Gujranwala, Pakistan.”

    I completely agree with you sir. Hence my comment, that the greatest threat to America, is in fact America itself.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  11. 11 George C
    January 16, 2008 at 16:05

    I believe it matters little whether the perceived threat is Europe or the Middle East.
    The position of Mr.Chertoff and funding for his department is dependant on the American people believing the threat to American security remains high.
    Also note how the Internet is increasingly featured as a tool for terrorism. Won’t be long now when in the interest of national security the US government imposes measures to control Internet use, something it and others have wanted for a long time now.

  12. 12 Anthony
    January 16, 2008 at 16:10

    Most Americans believe that terrorists are coming from the Middle East, but I think Americans are more concerned with our recession, and how long it will go on for. I’m stock piling my water, ammo, and rations just in case : )

    -Anthony, Los Angeles, California.

  13. 13 gary
    January 16, 2008 at 16:23

    Hello All,
    A large group of people working toward a common cause may have substantial impact. Europe isn’t fully unified, yet. But it will become so. Most Europeans, it seems to me, approach their lives’ responsibilties in mostly democratic and rational ways. I’ve no fear of rationality. However, this can’t be said of all US citzens. The questions raised here are of course directed toward control of the various, but mostly middle eastern-born terrorist organizations.
    The real problem is: If you poll the average non-Israeli, middle easterner, they would not feel much affection for the US. They feel ill-treated, and in most instances they have been either ill-treated, or completely ignored ( Many people having loving families and want simply to meet the challenges of the day without being described as a member of an “axis of evil!”). The US kicks people around and expects other people not currently being kicking around to protect our shoe shines. Really kind of sad isn’t it?

  14. 14 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 16, 2008 at 16:42

    What do you think ? Is Mr Chertoff right: is Europe a hotbed of fanatics, bent on destroying the US and all it stands for ?

    The whole world is a hotbed of fanatics bent on destroying the US AND every other country or religion or viewpoint which does not agree with that of the fanatics. My opinion is NOT limited to Muslim fanatics only. There is the FARC vs the Venezuelan Govt. fight, LTTE vs Sri Lankan Govt. fight and so on. Both are ‘fanatics’ from the other’s viewpoint.

    There are ‘terrorists’ in every country – so what makes Europe different ?

    Europe & US / ‘The West’ are different because there are many there who will fight for the human rights of the terrorists! An ‘honourable’ terrorist (The IRA used to give warnings so that people could be evacuated before the blast) will respect this attitude in his ‘enemy’. But a terrorist who isn’t honourable (the ‘9/11’ & ‘7/7’ & Madrid-type) sees this as a weakness & will shamelessly exploit it.

    Thus, Europe & ‘The West’ must address this weakness’.

    In non-European countries many terrorists are taken care of by extra-judicial means & some terrorist movements have been obliterated by this process. (Not justifying this but just stating a fact.)

    If YOU’RE an American from where do you perceive the main threat ?

    I’m not an American, BUT I like/love the American people AND dislike or hate the American ‘system’. In many ways the threat is from within the American ‘system’.

    See the serial called ‘La Femme Nikita’! ‘Read’ / ‘listen’ between the lines & you will understand how the so-called Western liberal democracies play the dirtiest & vilest games behind the scenes.

    It is easier and easier to move around Europe — is that part of the problem ?

    It is, it may be or it will definitely BE a problem. Freedom is a very precious commodity. So precious, that at times it has to be rationed.

    The vast majority of people in ‘The West’, in India, as well as many other countries in the world respect AND enjoy their freedoms. However, the tyranny of the minority (terrorists) HAS to be curtailed else the liberties of the majority will be trampled upon by the jackboots of the terrorists.

    Why Europe, and why not the Middle East ?

    Counter-question: Why were the immediate & extended-family members of the bin Laden clan or family allowed to leave the USA RIGHT after 9/11?

    May be ‘Michael Moore’ will answer this question better than me.

    Since the general topic is terrorism & the specific topic is Islamic terrorism, I must bring the attention of everyone to an article on this topic by a Singaporean journalist by the name of Asad Latif. His article appeared in ‘The Straits Times’, on the editorial page, sometime after 9/11. I kept the entire newspaper but made the mistake of not making a note of the date. Now, I cannot find that article/newspaper in my huge apartment!

    Anyway, Mr. Latif has written, in my opinion the best and most balanced article in relation to differences in religions, roots of terrorism, etc. Key concept in his article was comparison of precept vs practice. If someone can find the article (and the date of that article), please inform me too.

  15. 15 Will Rhodes
    January 16, 2008 at 16:47

    It’s the US citizens that I feel for – you can bet that the European intelligence agencies are working hard to correct the imbalance that was there before the July bombings. Chertoff is scare scaremongering once again. Maybe he is electioneering for one of the republican candidates.

    It will be interesting to see how many US people add to this discussion – I would like to see things from their point of view.

  16. 16 Mark
    January 16, 2008 at 17:08

    So the periodically comatose Michael Chertoff finally woke up to the threat that Europe’s ambivalence to Islamic terrorism presents to the US. What a fine Homeland Security Director he makes. It only took him three days to wake up to the ravages of Katrina right under his nose, this one has taken him three years.

    The problem Europe presents to the US is the same it always has, it is fundamentally irrational run by people who have no connection with the real world and populated by people who don’t want any. America should know by now it cannot save Europe from itself, but at least it can save America by no longer trying by not getting caught up in Europe’s perpetual lunacy anymore.

    Europe doesn’t get it. It never gets it until it is too late because the consequences have already manifested themselves beyond denial. It has a two thousand year history of it. Imperial Empires, Theocracies, Monarchies, and a host of isms each one its latest route to certain utopia. Ultranationalism led to the first world war, Nazism and Fascism to the second, and Communism almost led to a third. Internationalism and pan Europeanism is its latest hair brained scheme. As a result, it has imported millions of now disaffected Moslems who have not been assimilated. Europe confuses indifference to tolerance. As a result, it has rejected the most innocuous religious rituals such as the wearing of hijabs in public buildings in France while it has permitted its most dangerous political agenda, the overthrow of Western civilization and its replacement by a worldwide Caliphate under Sharia law through indoctrination of terrorism by foreign Imams among disaffected youth. Even protests to the government by law abiding Moslem citizens in the UK that this was going on fell on deaf ears. In Germany, terrorists complicit in the attacks on the US on 9-11-01 got off with just 15 year jail sentences because the US would not divulge the methods and sources it used to obtain security intelligence information still vital to its own protection and which would be rendered useless if it were divulged. Meanwhile, Europeans rail at a handful of cases where extreme measures were used to extract terrorist plots or where renegade US soldiers violated US laws even though they were later prosecuted and punished.

    The US needs to lay the law down to Europe forcing it to comply with all American demands totally and unconditionally or be cut off from all contact. America should pay no heed to Europe’s triumvirate of supplicants Brown, Sarkozy, and Merkel. Europe desperately needs America, America does not need Europe. I for one am willing to put that theory to the test. Frankly, it will take multiple attacks far worse than 9-11 to wake people up. I just hope they are perpetrated on the East side of the pond where the targets are softest and not here.

  17. 17 VictorK
    January 16, 2008 at 17:14

    The US is right to be wary of the muslim terror threat emanating from Europe because European governments have shown that they lack the will to deal with the terrorists.

    Consider the UK. In 2004 the government reported that there were some 10,000 Al Quaeda supporters in Britain. A poll of muslims after the 7/7 mass murders found that 6% supported that outrage, or roughly 100,000 people (there are about 2 million muslims in Britain). when polled the majority of UK muslims said that they could understand why the suicide bombers did what they did. The British government has agitated for and secured the release of Guantanamo detainees who were not even British citizens, merely British residents, simply to spite US anti-terror efforts and to please muslim voters in the UK. Human Rights legislation has been used repeatedly to protect non-citizens accused of terrorist crimes from extradition. The British government itself refuses to extradite anybody – regardless of the seriousness of the crime they are charged with – to any country that has the death penalty, unless they are given water-tight assurances that the extraditee will not face a capital charge. Britain is the base for dozens of shariaist, Islamist, pro-terrorist organisations. Imams who have praised attacks on British soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq have gone unpunished. Omar Bakri found asylum in Britain when he was expelled from Saudi Arabia for, of all things, religious extremism. For years Abu Hamza’s Finsbury Park mosque was a recruiting ground for aspiring muslim terrorists, and for years the British authorities turned a blind eye to the mosque’s activities. At one point 7 of Egypt’s 14 top terrorists were to be found living in Britain. Terrorists with British links have planned or executed attacks on Americans, American interests or American allies. Abu Doha was part of a conspiracy to attack the US embassy in Rome. Ahmed Sheikh was the moving force behind the kidnap and murder of a US journalist in Pakistan. Djamel Beghal and Kamel Daoudi were members of a group that planned a suicide-bomb attack on the US embassy in Paris. Two British born muslims travelled to Israel in order to launch suidice attacks against Israelis under the direction of Palestinian handlers. Muslims marched through London praising 9-11 and threatening Britain and Europe with a similar terrorist onslaught to be followed by forcible Islamisation; while making these open incitements to murder the demonstrators were accompanied, and rotected, by a police escort, an escort whose only arrest was of a member of the public who objected to the terrorist threats against the UK. The authorities only prosecuted some of the demonstrators after several leading muslim organisations made it clear that such prosecutions would be acceptable to them. It is widely believed that the British security services had an unoffical understanding with Islamists in Britain: they would be allowed a free hand to organise, plot, agitate and conspire, so long as Britain was not an object of their plots and conspiracies. The Islamists kept to their end of the deal for several years, and it only unravelled with the events of 7/7.

    There were more known and wanted muslim terrorists active in Britain than there ever had been in Iraq under Saddam. If the US had a case for invading Iraq and Afghanistan, it probably had an even better one for launching an attack on Britain, which has given safe haven to scores of known and suspected terrorists under the guise of ‘asylum,’ in much the same way that the Taliban welcomed and sheltered bin Laden.

    Britain, like almost every other EU member state with a large muslim population, has shown itself wholly unfit to combat muslim terrorism. Its policy is largely one of ‘carrot and carrot’, thinly disguised appeasement, with nothing decisive or forcible such as closing moques and bookshops known to be centres of Jihadist activity and propaganda, expelling foreign-born agitators, barring foreign imams, stripping people of British citizenship for terrorist offences, forbidding asylum to known or suspected terrorists, and reducing the level of immigration into Britain from muslim countries. It is this institutionalised appeasement that the US is rightly afraid of.

    Apart from Israel, the US is the only country in the world that is serious about fighting muslim terrorism. It will take a disaster on the scale of 9-11 before European countries catch up.

  18. January 16, 2008 at 17:28

    Based on this story, I do not think that Americans should be afriad of Europe. It would seem that it is outside forces going into Europe that are targeting the United States.

  19. January 16, 2008 at 17:38

    It has become evident over the past 6 years that everybody should be afraid of America. It’s political personality is like that of a teenaged girl, with all of the predictability of a hurricane. A small group of maniacs in a tiny ungoverned nation launches a sucker punch attack and The US invades a completely unrelated country. They sell the invasion to the legislative politicians and the country a quest to rid an unrelated country of nuclear weapons. A country that claims it didn’t have, isn’t trying to get, and never has tried to acquire nuclear weapons. Confirmation of that fact came from every investigation group in the world independent of the immediate cabinet of the US presidency. This included people that the administration had sent to research and came back with unsupportive information.

    Only one country has so many soldiers deployed all over the world. Only one country gives billions of dollars in arms and support to repressive governments like Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Only one country gives “evil dictators” biological weapons to fight off his enemies, then hangs him for his offenses 20 years latter when he actually uses them. It is a country where the president in the face of so much evidence that he is wrong about a countries nuclear weapons aspirations, still shows a hostile and vocal offensive front to them.

    Only one country gives lip service to “freedom” while breaking their bank accounts, keeping them uneducated, and allowing their rights to be revoked in the name of “national security.” In the end only one country has ever actually used a WMD on a people. A weapon that killed men, women, children, babies, land, and resources for hundreds of years.

    In the end only one country did my grandfather and great uncles fight and die so that we didn’t have to live under such dictatorial rules.

    Should the US be afraid of the EU? I think the better question is Should the EU be afraid that the US will become afraid of them. When the US is afraid they tend to destroy that which they fear.

  20. January 16, 2008 at 17:53

    Terrorism is a problem and always has been. The trick for the EU is to watch and observe how the Bush Administration has handled terrorism then do the opposite.

    The EU is moving in the right direction, just don’t screw it up and look to contemporary America for solutions for your problems.

    Many of my fellow Americans and I often joke about wishing for the UK to invade the United States, it is the only way we are going to get health care!

  21. 21 John D. Anthony
    January 16, 2008 at 17:53

    Yes, there is a LOT wrong with current U.S. foreign policies and many aspects of American culture.
    But is this what is causing Sunnis and Shiites in Iraq to strap on bombs and blow up each other’s children? Did American attitudes start the slaughter in Darfur? Did American arrogance create the bloodbath of Ruwanda or what is happening now in Kenya?
    America is undeniably guilty of many things but it is also now the easiest target of conveniece for angry people all over the world. If the U.S. disappeared tomorrow would the world be a better place?

    Maybe…. But not for long.

  22. January 16, 2008 at 18:10

    Eliel From Brooklyn NY (email)

    Well since most American acts of Terrorism have been made by American Citizens, I think the United States should be terrified of their own. Don’t forget the Uni-bomber, and Waco texas, and Oklahoma City to name just a few. But what happens in a smaller level that doesn’t get reported on an international level still occurs, and is perpetrated by Americans.

  23. 23 Milton Valler, Los Angeles, CA
    January 16, 2008 at 18:11

    The bombing in London on July 7th, 2005 demonstrates that Britain has become a breeding ground for Islamic terrorists. Mainly attributed to the worship of the mutliculturalism above all else by the British government, with weak immigration controls from Islamic nations, and little to no attempt at assimilation.

  24. January 16, 2008 at 18:12

    Banks in Amsterdam (text)

    Perhaps the United States should introduce its own internal passport for travel between states. That might give them an excuse to stop blaming the rest of us.

  25. 25 Zara Araboff
    January 16, 2008 at 18:13

    The single biggest threat to the US has been wrong headed US policy. Instead of worrying about where these attackes are launched from, the US should examine the causes of terrorism and why the threat of terrorism has grown in the past years.

  26. January 16, 2008 at 18:17

    Anon in UK (text)

    There is a fine line between being careful and just paranoid. America has crossed that line. Also, people who are saying the UK has relaxed its border security and that this is the reason terrorists are operating here need to realise that if it’s not here it will happen somewhere else, it’s not WHERE it’s happening that the US should worry about, it’s WHY.

  27. January 16, 2008 at 18:18

    Ahmed in the UK (text)

    No, America should not fear terrorists from Europe. It should fear itself for generating terrorism around the world. As for this man – he seems to be paranoid.

  28. January 16, 2008 at 18:19

    Puneet in the UK (text)

    Britain has long been known as the playground of terrorists – it is now a battleground for them. They have given asylum to known Khalistani and Islamic terrorists bombing Indian people – it was only a matter of time that such bombings happened here.

  29. January 16, 2008 at 18:19

    chukwudi, From Nigeria (email)

    The only option open for proper exploitation in order to stem terroist threats from Europe which have America as its target is for American Legislators to review how Bush administration implements American foreign policies as regards to global war on terror.

  30. January 16, 2008 at 18:20

    Kent, by email

    I honestly don’t believe the US should be scared of Europe. European nations seem to be doing a fair amount to try to prevent the extremist cells from forming. The countries we need to be afraid of are the countries that turn a blind eye to radical Islam.

  31. January 16, 2008 at 18:21

    Josh from Washington (email)

    Yes, I do believe the U.S. should be frightened. In the States we do not have vast social discrepancies as Europe does when it comes to immigrant populations. Many parts of Europe breed fundamentalism because they do not provide their citizens with enough opportunity for financial success.

  32. January 16, 2008 at 18:22

    Nick from Florida (email)

    I am having a hard time believing Europe can or will play a major roll of terrorist acts towards the U.S.
    The real agenda in regards to this issue is to alarm the US residents; so they can further the purpose of the Real I.D Act.

  33. January 16, 2008 at 18:24

    Corine in Oregon (email)

    I attended university in Germany in the late 80’s. I remember the Arab students always telling us (the American students) that what they were learning in their classes they were going to take home and use against us. We would just laugh…we’re not laughing right now….

  34. January 16, 2008 at 18:27

    Eamonn in Kent, UK (text)

    America should certainly be aware of the risk of terrorists from the U.K. It should be remembered that the bombers who killed 52 people were living seemingly integrated lives in these islands.

  35. January 16, 2008 at 18:29

    Guldar Khan Wazir in Peshawar (text)

    America is the major global terrorist power, and it has created an atmosphere of antagonism and terror in the world.

  36. January 16, 2008 at 18:29

    Steve, USA (email)

    Isn’t it a fact that europe has places that are so dangerous, that the police are afraid to enter them? I’ve heard this about places in France and the UK that are virtually 100% muslim. So is it not possible that some of these people in these no-go areas are probably a terrorist threat? If not, why are the police afraid to enter these areas?

  37. January 16, 2008 at 18:30

    Tom D Ford (email)

    The worst threat we all face is from conservative fear-mongering! They have made a mountain out of a relatively small molehill!
    Stop their fear-mongering and we can all relax a bunch!
    Yep, Conservative chicken-littleism is the problem!

  38. January 16, 2008 at 18:31

    The attitude of the EU is not going to discourage terrorism. Americans are vulnerable to financial loss and the easiest place to hide is in the UK or Europe.

    Also the fear in the US over oil loss is a target for terrorism and the EU cannot stop that. The more scarce the oil market becomes the more easily terrorists will be able to threaten the US.

  39. January 16, 2008 at 18:32

    Carolyn, USA (email)

    I find this discussion very interesting. The comments from the Americans are all naïve and incorrect.
    My daughter who is half Iranian gets targeted every time we fly. My other daughter who looks more traditionally American, does not. The Iranian looking daughter is searched, has to enter the bomb sniffing machine, etc. This has been going on since 9/11 and she was 10 years old. So, our (American) feeling that we are safe when we fly has to do with targeting ‘brown’ people. It is all very ridicules.
    We as Americans are very racist. We are afraid of Europe because it does not racially profiled.

  40. January 16, 2008 at 18:33

    Lamii Kpargoi, Liberia (email)

    I don’t think either of these places is a threat to the other. What in my view is the problem is the immigration and visa granting policies of Europe and America.To get a visa to enter either of these places, you’re have to prove that you’re rich or well off at home. And as we all know, the place from which the so called terrorists come from do not have the problem of showing that they are rich since money is not their problems.

    Any of the people who bombed the World Trade Center on 9/11 would have been given a visa to the US or any European country without much hassle. But when it comes to granting visas to those of us from the poorer parts of the world it is a big issue.

    I had to travel to Europe along with three colleagues in June and it was a real hassle arranging the visas. We were treated with suspicion all the way to and even why we were leaving. We had to be there for a month. Imagine, the immigration officials didn’t give us even a single day longer than the duration of the program we were there for.

  41. January 16, 2008 at 18:35

    Steve, USA (email)

    I’m hearing all these people complain about how people get inconvenienced at US border and customs because they have a muslim name or they are brown, but I’m sure in most cases the matter is straightened out, and the person is admitted. If the profiling was based on hatred, then yes I would say it wrong. My first time ever in Europe was to france, back in 1991, and there was a middle eastern passport control guy, and he took my passport, started getting angry, started accusing me of being an israeli spy, demanded I speak Hebrew to him, and he started cursing at me, saying something “yahood” and he literally started frothing at the mouth. I had to get the program guide from my exchange program to deal with the situation. Some other french passport control came, told the guy to leave, and then stamped my passport, and they didn’t offer any apology or anything. They guy just took his hatred of Jews out on me, no doubt he was taught to hate Jews from a very young age. I had never even left the US before, was born in the US, and I got accused of being an Israeli spy. So if any of your listeners have experienced anything like that at US borders, then you have something to complain about. If not, they’re just trying to protect everyone’s safety.

  42. January 16, 2008 at 18:36

    marie delloue (email)

    it is amazing how the usa refuses to take responsibility for it’s own role in terrorists’ activities creation and continues its agressive behavior thru out the world without thinking of repercussions…
    europe has a long history of dealing with terrrorism but only the most recent instances are looked at and used as excuses by the usa, to blame europe.
    thank you

  43. January 16, 2008 at 18:41

    Santus-Mbaise in Imo state, Nigeria (text)

    Terrorism is an ill wind that can blow from any direction. I think the USA should be wary of every continent, even Europe.

  44. 44 Anna , Portland Oregon US
    January 16, 2008 at 18:45

    With a 25% approval rating of the Bush administration, the majority of Americans do not trust nor believe the security analysis delivered from Home Land Security. We are clear that these are fear tactics developed to control the American people; creating new boogie men to an exhausted public who is finished listening.

  45. 45 Sean
    January 16, 2008 at 18:45

    I don’t believe Europe is more of a platform for terrorism now than it has been for many years. The announcement by Homeland Security is indicative of the sensationalist fear promoting trend that has gripped this country in the wake of the tragedy of 9/11. I think it’s important to note that such broad statements do little to zero in on sources and causes of terrorism. I agree with the caller that stated that America has it’s own brand of Christian fundamentalism. Radicals and extremists exist at the fringe of every society. Broad sweeping accusations do nothing but create resentment. The fact is a very few terrorists have us all pointing fingers and living in fear of one another rather than working together to address the variety of causes of terrorism.

  46. January 16, 2008 at 18:47

    Stefan in Prague (email)

    as an american in self exile since the fear mongering reagan days, i think the fear and hatred peddled and absorbed by americans about terrorism is giving a tiny weak enemy far more strength than they could wish for, and breeding the hatred of america by their very actions around a world they understand and know little of.

  47. 47 Josh On
    January 16, 2008 at 18:48

    On the contrary, it is the actions of the U.S. that the U.S. should fear. On January 10, “US bombers and fighter jets have dropped 40,000lb (18,144kg) of bombs” on the southern outskirts of Baghdad (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7180685.stm). This is terrorism and it will not make anyone safer.

  48. January 16, 2008 at 18:51

    Akin in Nigeria (text)

    Is US foreign policy also responsible for Muslim terror in Nigeria, Thailand, the Philippines etc.? Islam and its culture are the sources.

  49. January 16, 2008 at 18:52

    Bob Lynnwood, USA (email)
    You think Europe has border problems. We have Mexico along the southern border and Canada along the north. Not only do Mexican try to cross but Koreans, Chinese come over thought the northern borders. Also Canadians bring their BC Bud to sell here.

  50. 50 Simon
    January 16, 2008 at 18:53

    As I am listening I am surprised that the discussion of ’emerging terrorists’ implies that becoming a terrorist seems like a simple choice – words like ‘breeding ground’ hint at this. What – I believe – is important to remember is that the process involves massive psychological and sociological influences, that are fundamentally dependent on a feeling of, for want of a better word – ‘disenchantment’. Isn’t it worth remembering that the decision to blow one’s self up is, in many respects, a courageous act, an act born out of desperation.

    What conditions might elicit such desperation?

    The occupation of a homeland.
    The sense that an injustice has been served.

    Until we – in the west – consider our own place in the construction of desperation – be it in Palestine, Iraq, or Afghanistan – we will never ever get close to answering the question of ‘Why?’.

    Whether Europe is a conduit for terrorist activity or not is NOT getting to the source of the decision to commit an act of terrorism.

  51. January 16, 2008 at 18:55

    Jay Hoge, An American now living in Riga, Latvia (email)

    I am shocked, but, unfortunately not surprised, by the paranoic utterances of Mr. Michael Chertoff of the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security. I am well aware that this sort of fear has been an element of American society since the Know Nothing movement in the later half of the 19th century, the 911 attack has made this sort of fear acceptable.

    The continued existence of the department of which Mr.
    Chertoff is the Director depends on the existence of a continuing threat. Since there has been no terriorist attack in the US since 911, he is in danger of Americans waking up and realizing that the cost of guarding against this alleged threat (in terms of curtailment of individual liberty) greatly exceeds the danger of the threat itself. Hence, his need to create a “goblin in the closet”.

    January 16, 2008 at 18:57


  53. January 16, 2008 at 18:57

    Richard, (email)

    Intelligence reports vast majority of known terorist have infiltrated US soil through UK and Europe, with the bulk of these criminals origins in middle east. This is a well known issue, that allows intelligence agencies to conduct clandestine surviellence. If you think world powers aren’t aware of this, look at the facts surrounding known 911 terrorists being watched months prior to the attack in 2001. Europe is not news in this regard, quite the opposite, its business as usual, tracking the trafficking of terrorsts.

  54. 54 Orlando
    January 16, 2008 at 18:57

    I think Mr. Chertoff is after minorities. Just look at the Real ID programme that will be implemented this May. Pretty much Real ID will remove all undocumented inmigrants from the mainstream since none of them will be able to get jobs of drive. And there is not a solution for that issues as of now. I think now Mr. Chertoff is after minorities in Europe.

  55. January 16, 2008 at 18:58

    Tim in San Francisco listening on KALW (email)

    Homeland security wants us to be afraid of Everybody! If everyone is afraid then we don’t have to confront the underlying reasons why there are terrorist.

    Look at what Bush just gave Saudi Arabia (where most of the 9/11 terrorist came from). Now there’s a country that is a shining beacon of freedom and liberty.

    Americans want to continue to sell and drive SUVs and must have cheap oil. That means we must dominate the mideast – people who, without hope, become terrorist.

  56. 56 Pam R USA
    January 16, 2008 at 18:58

    I am an american and consider the threat to be the actions of my own country with its high handedness with other cultures. The united states continues to try and force its ways on others, and although it may work for us it does not mean that it will work for all. The foreign policies in this country have failed miserably over the last few years and until we start to treat others, as the united states claims they do, with respect, regardless of their differences nothing will change.

  57. 57 Delia Wilson, Dallas, TX
    January 16, 2008 at 18:58

    The knee-jerk hatred of the US by Europeans, precipitated by the policies of Pres Bush, blinds Europeans to the threat of Islamic terrorists developing in their midst.

  58. January 16, 2008 at 18:59

    Linda- France (email)
    I feel that this debate is more or less useless because if the borders were closed in Europe there would still be terrorists and they would always find a way to achieve their goal.
    Regaring 9/11 these terrorists recieved their training in Florida!

  59. January 16, 2008 at 18:59

    Hasn’t Europe been a easier launch pad for terrorism for decades?? But even so I beleive that the American government is fear-mongering (as is usual since 911). The American gov’t is pushing terror as I see it. Fear is poisoning Americans just as fanatism poisons all.

  60. 60 Robin Wilder
    January 16, 2008 at 19:05

    Hello? People routinely get killed in the US by random gunfire. Why should US people comment on Europe as a hotbed for violence when the US is even more random? We need to look at our own backyard before saying that the other side of the fence is a threat. Also, people should not refer to 9/11 as an example, because it has been demonstrated as a major failure of INTERNAL security agencies.

    Robin Wilder
    San Francisco

  61. 61 Ryan Buntrock
    January 16, 2008 at 19:08

    I do not feel that the U.S. should be anymore concerned with terrorist threats coming from Europe or the UK than it should with terrorist groups within the United States itself. Both Europe (and the U.K.) and the United States have tools within themselves for terrorist groups to cultivate and grow. One could also make the argument that the United States has more fertile ground for such growth being a very religious country. Not necessarily within Islam as a whole but the diversity of other religions and other religious groups. A solid example of this is Christianity within the United States. Although the Roman Catholic Faith is a big player, the United States has thousands of isolated protestant groups (commonly called Non-denominational Christians) that form there own ideals based upon there interpretation of scripture. I point this out because it is exactly how the terrorist groups in the Middle East and in Europe also foundationally have formed and grown. My point is that the United States has just as much fertile ground in which for terrorist groups (threats) to form, as does Europe, therefore I do not feel that the United States should be particularly more fearful of Europe as far as terrorist threat is concerned.

  62. 62 Jack
    January 16, 2008 at 19:11

    To sum up; I’m all right , Jack – It’s [u]you[/u], I’m not so sure about.

  63. 63 Bola - Oakland California
    January 16, 2008 at 19:15

    The Bush administration has demonstrated its ability to manipulate the media for its own purpose. I believe their purpose now is to use whatever means to get a Republican party candidate elected in the November Presidential election. In the past fear has led many to vote for Republican candidates who are believed to be better leaders during war time.

  64. 64 Gary Dee
    January 16, 2008 at 19:21

    Pointing to foreigners is a way for US Homeland Security to deflect away from its own homegrown threat problem. The Portland Seven, the Lackawanna Five (or Six or Seven, depending on how you count), the Miami plotters against the Sears Tower last summer, US Army Sgt. Ali Mohamed who was AQ’s lead military trainer, OBL’s former personal secretary from Texas, and now Adam Ghadan – AQ’s new chief of multimedia. All are US citizens, the majority born and raised rather than naturalized. Let’s also add white supremacists who are interested in aiding and abetting a radical jihadist attack on the US to forward their own separatist agenda.

  65. 65 steve
    January 16, 2008 at 19:22

    Linda, please. The 9/11 terrorist recieved their flight training in Florida, not their insane jihadist ideology teaching to hate and kill everyone who isn’t an insane religious fanatic. Remember, everyone on 9/11 was killed because of some nutjob’s belief in a fictional deity and their belief they go to some fictional heaven if they slaughter innocent civilians. I can only pray there is a hell, and the 9/11 terrorists and all future terrorists are swimming around in pig excrement.

  66. January 16, 2008 at 19:23

    The war on terror is a neat invention. No terrorist attacks? We’re ahead of the game, keep on funding us or else something bad is going to happen. A terrorist attack happened? The funding was not enough, give us more money. As such, a climate of fear is only beneficial to this whole “war on terror” meme; fearful people are grateful for protection, and don’t fret as much when you take their civil liberties away.

    “Europe, the platform for terrorists” is just the latest episode in this grim and ridiculous saga. As one of the callers said, if only global warming would get half as much attention (and funding) as the war on terror gets, we probably wouldn’t have any global warming to speak of (and Al Gore wouldn’t have a Nobel peace prize to brag about, but I digress).

    My question is this. Why do we only just now hear about this “Europe, the big danger” thing? It’s been 7 years since “11/9” (as we Europeans call it); should we assume that the US Homeland Security department only just now realized this alarming fact? And wouldn’t be this rather broad affirmation akin to saying that universities are platforms for serial killers? I mean, look at Virginia Tech, that’s your example right there.

    I bet US citizens have rather more pressing matters to be fearful about. The subprime mortgage crisis, with its close friends, a falling currency and a possible recession looming ahead. The broken health insurance system. Violent crime, perpetrated with the use of illegal firearms. You know, relevant things.

  67. 67 Mark
    January 16, 2008 at 19:26

    President Clinton and Congress played with Monica Lewinsky and impeachment while al Qaeda burned with rage and a yearning to destroy Western Civilization at its greatest symbols, New York City and Washington DC. President Bush was preoccupied with the morality of cloning embryonic stem cells and Congress would not allow the CIA and FBI to communicate with each other while Moslem terrorists were learning how to pilot jet planes into buildings. In a war where long periodic lulls in action and no clear front line exists, it is easy to get complacent and develop a false sense of security. That is when we are most vulnerable and the enemy will find it easiest to strike us. Al Qaeda has a sanctuary in remote tribal areas of Pakistan and is being funded by wealthy Saudi Arabians. Iran is building a nuclear weapon openly enriching uranium, the most critical step to obtaining them. Europe jabbered at Iran for over two years with no effect. Europeans have been anywhere from indifferent to openly hostile to any and all efforts the US has taken to protect itself since 9-11. This not only included the war in Iraq where EVERY MAJOR INTELLIGENCE AGENCY IN THE WORLD believed Saddam Hussein had WMDs and President Putin warned President Bush Iraq was planning an attack on US soil but in the war against the Taleban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, against extraordinary renditions, against GITMO where the world’s most dangerous criminals are in custody and kept out of society, against demands for more and better information about who is traveling to the US from the EU, against every single measure. One would have to conclude that many Europeans are not merely indifferent to another terrorist attack on the US but would actually welcome it. This is a very stupid position to take. Whatever the consequences of the next attack, they will be very bad for the entire world. Europe cannot and will not win if America is hurt no matter how badly. The only thing wrong with American foreign and domestic policy is that it has not been nearly aggressive enough in identifying and neutralizing threats to America before they can materialize. America should not concern itself with the opinions of citizens or leaders of other countries or the consequences of its policies to them. The only constituents of the American government is the American People and their safety and well being should be its only concern. To those who complain that the US only acts in its own behalf, I ask why should it be any different? Were that only true.

  68. 68 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 16, 2008 at 19:28


    Please refer to my post at 4:42 pm.

    Please read “There is the FARC vs the Colombian Govt. fight,…..”
    instead of “There is the FARC vs the Venezuelan Govt. fight,….”

    Dunno what I was thinking while I was typing!

    While hearing the programme on air & the programme having ended, my observation was that NONE of the speakers (from whichever side of the debate) mentioned some very relevant facts:

    >The people who wanted to learn only about flying a plane & not landing the plane were training in the USA.
    >Flying school instructors had alerted certain authorities? Why weren’t these warnings acted upon?
    >The laptop which was seized in the Philippines (Ramzi Yousef’s) allegedly contained elements of the 9/11 plan. The USA knew about this. Why wasn’t anything done?
    >19 of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi. What has been done about the location of, and prosecution of their backers?

    >b>The only person who seems to have an inkling of the truth & had the temerity (!?) to state it was the one who quoted Eisenhower & referred to ‘fear’ & the military industrial complex! You are wise, Sir!

    The Q: Should the US be scared of Europe?

    is best answered by the statement:

    No! The WORLD must be scared of those elements within the USA who use destabilisation & war as a means to make money as well as achieve so-called ‘strategic’ goals. AFTER that the rest of us need to worry about Europe & terrorists or Islamic terrorists.

    Of course some Americans (including those on this blog) will continue to rant against Europe. That is actually a very smart move. It removes attention from the real culprits!

  69. 69 Connie-USA
    January 16, 2008 at 19:32

    How hypocritical of our government to worry about everyones elses borders when they can’t control their own. If there is another terrorist attack, the terrorists are probably already here because they was able to come in through our southern border. Of course if it was to happen the government would sit there dumbfounded wandering how it could have happened and then find a way to blame everyone else.

  70. 70 Fahad Khan
    January 16, 2008 at 19:40

    The problems that were not started by the US and their foreign policy in the 20th and 21st centuries, were the results of imperialism in the Islamic/Asian/African world. Every example given has been caused due to European colonialism. From the Southern Philippines (Spanish and American occupation), Pakistan (British), Palestine (British), Kashmir (British), Algeria (French) and the list goes on. The same problems exist in other countries but are not defined by religion. (South Africa and Zimbabwe for example). The redrawing of borders (Iraq), settlement of Europeans (Israel), and exploitation of resources throughout Africa and Asia have led to terrorism. The US wants to be able to prop up dictators in the Islamic world, get subsidized oil due to these dictators, build extensive military bases in these countries due to the dictators, then gets surprised when they are attacked and accuses the religion of violence. It’s not a blame game but the truth. There were Marxists who fought these same battles a generation ago, so religion is not the cause of anything. Islam says fight against oppression, and even if it didn’t say that, that is the natural reaction against oppression.

  71. 71 steve
    January 16, 2008 at 21:41

    Ahh, this couldn’t have happened without the desire for diversity!


  72. 72 Nadine
    January 17, 2008 at 02:22

    Yes, I think we should worry about terrorist threats from Europe more than from within America. People who immigrate to America from Muslim countries are generally well-off to begin with. Obviously they had the money to get here in the first place. They often come because they agree with American ideals, not because they’re desperate to be anywhere but their home country like many immigrants to Europe are. Along those lines, it would not be easy to recruit terrorists here. People who come to America often realize the American Dream, and if they don’t, they still have opportunities for social mobility that don’t exist anywhere else in the world. It’s just not that easy to hate Americans once you’re here. On the other hand, it seems like it’s pretty easy to hate Americans when you’re in Europe and don’t know any! Immigrants to Europe from Muslim countries are more likely to be in desperate situations and less likely to have benefitted from Western ideals.

  73. 73 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 17, 2008 at 10:31

    Re: Fahad Khan January 16, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    “Every example given has been caused due to European colonialism. From the Southern Philippines (Spanish and American occupation),…..”

    While it IS true that European colonialism HAS created problems, your analysis is NOT balanced. Here are some facts & questions:

    >In terms of age the ‘major’ religions of the world, in descending order of age are:
    Hinduism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, Baha’i. This list does not include Jainism, Shintoism & Confucianism.

    >What oppression were Muslims fighting against when they were spreading their religion through the sword? This is similar to the Crusades of Christianity.

    >When Muslims decimated the Zoroastrians in Persia, what oppression were they fighting against?

    >When certain people wish to ’re-establish’ (?) a Caliphate in South-East Asia what is the logical reasoning backed by historical facts for this desire? For your information the indigenous people of Malaysia, Indonesia, and Philippines are what the ‘West’ named as Polynesians. Initially they followed their indigenous animistic beliefs, which incidentally last till today. Perhaps, at a later stage some followed Hinduism & that is why you have Hindus in Bali. Then some followed Buddhism. After that with the advent of Arab traders the spread of Islam started in this part of the world.

    The Vijayanagar kingdom of India had trade & other relations with South-East Asia. Angkor Wat in Cambodia was designed & built on the basis of knowledge from the Hindus in India. (Early 12th-Century).

    In other words, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity AND Islam are all interlopers in this part of the world! So why should the planned Caliphate take precedence over those who were here much earlier? Why shouldn’t there be a recreation of a Hindu or Buddhist kingdom in South-East Asia?

    To summarise; the prevalent disease in all religions is a ‘Holier than Thou’ chauvinism. Almost all religions have been through the process of purity to decadence. No religion is special or the best. It would be better if all the people in the world took stock of their religions’ ‘good’ & ‘bad’ points & took the necessary cleansing actions.

    Islam has many good teachings. Islam considers usury as ‘haraam’ & proposes an Islamic concept of banking. I respect this view in Islam as usury has historically created misery for many in various societies. On the other hand Islam proscribes alcohol & drugs. So why are Afghans (Muslims) heavily involved in opium & heroin manufacture & trafficking?

    Please read ALL of history or as much as you can. Then THINK & come up with a balanced view.

  74. 74 George
    January 17, 2008 at 10:38

    Homeland Security and the misuses of “threat/fear” to subvert the Constitution

    they swore to defend and protect is a greater threat to the USA than terrorism.

    The ideology and lust for power of this administration, discounting all law,

    is a deeper cause for concern today than all the terrorist on earth in the long run.

    The use of terrorism to pursue agendas is not limited to Muslims extremists.

    Extremists of all stripes are a threat to our nation and form of government.

    The “threats” parallel pushing a National ID, obstructing voter registration,

    Diebold rather than voter elections,

    Gulf of Tonkin like events with Iran, a selling out Israel “peace initiative”,

    and massive abuses of “national security” official oppression within our own borders, just to name a few.

    I strongly support real national security for the USA.

    “Homeland” Security appears to be working against our nation rather than for it.

    The oath of government employees, elected officials and our military is to

    “defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic”.

  75. 75 Dictatore Generale Max Maximilian Maximus I
    January 17, 2008 at 12:10

    Re: Fahad Khan January 16, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    “The problems that were not started by the US and their foreign policy in the 20th and 21st centuries, were the results of imperialism in the Islamic/Asian/African world. Every example given has been caused due to European colonialism. From the Southern Philippines (Spanish and American occupation), Pakistan (British), Palestine (British), Kashmir (British),…”

    I forgot to retort to your comment having included Kashmir in it, in terms of laying the blame on the British.

    Before the Mughals (Muslims) attacked India (please note that at that time India included what is now Pakistan) there were no Muslims in that part of the world. Even Afghanistan was Buddhist at one time! (The Buddha’s of Bamiyan!). The Hindus or the Buddhists did NOT go to Arabia & attack the Muslims. So once again, what oppression are we talking about here? Who is oppressing whom?

    The British took over India through the East India Company with a mixture of guile & cunning; divide-&-rule etc. The British did not attack India! Perhaps this is the reason why the British are not hated in India. Though they would definitely be disliked by some or many.

    After the British began to increase their power the Mughal kings were dealt with one by one, ultimately leading to the demise of the Mughal Empire. That is the way human history has been. Once again both the Muslims & the British were interlopers in that part of the world! So, if your statement implies that the British were the only reason for the problems in India or Kashmir or Pakistan, you are dead wrong. It would be interesting to know what’s the colour tint in your reading glasses or your camera lens!

    My ancestors come from Kishtwar (which is now in Pakistan). Despite whatever oppressive pressures the Muslims may have placed on the Hindus we did not convert. If we had I wouldn’t be a Hindu! You have not stated where you are from so you have to investigate why your ancestors became Muslims. Was it under pressure, or was it for gain, or was it because they were convinced that it was a better religion & so on?

    Hope you enjoy a REAL reading of history from other sources.

  76. 76 scott Hall
    January 18, 2008 at 13:00

    And because sometimes when you are doing whatever you want mike newel would pop up and steal a packet of mini cheaders from the coop which incidentally uses ICT in society wherefore many people cant afford a laptop dishwasher or Vauxhall Corsa that just happened to crash through the post office window at 9.30 this morning and killing mr’s Jones her husband did not care as he had just spent her pension on a foot massager from pc world.

  77. 77 Shirley
    January 18, 2008 at 14:32

    I am tired of the xenophobia that blames the world’s problems on immigrants or on Muslims. We in the States get enough of it from our Republican Presidential candidates, who are constantly spouting off about so-called “radical Islamic terrorism.” If we as a global society would try to understand the problems that lead to terrorism – poverty, injustice, corruption, etc. – and try to solve them instead of constantly pointing the finger of blame at others, we would find much less terrorism in this world.
    -Shirley, Chiacago, USA

  78. 78 Neil McGowan
    January 20, 2008 at 09:17

    The yanks attacked Afghanistan, after claiming it was a threat. This was a lie.

    The yanks attacked Iraq, after claiming it was a threat. This was a lie.

    The yanks are preparing to attack Iran, claiming it is a threat. This is a lie.

    Now the yanks are lying that Europe is a threat. Guess what happens next?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: