Dear Sir,
Your commentator, the Majorca based US hotelier, obviously does not understand the Muslim fundamentalist psyche. While many Muslims, as decent people with shared family values, will deplore the events in the US, not one will act against anything done in the name of Islam.

With few exceptions, Ulster being one, blind acceptance of religious ideology no longer exists in the West and most people have no idea of the strength with which Islam empowers its followers.

Throwing money at the heads of individuals would solve nothing since, for every “bounty” collected, a hundred volunteers would gladly take their places and rejoice in the opportunity of becoming martyrs. Bin Laden has said as much himself, and therein lies his strength.

Tactically, the events of the eleventh of September were simple and the logistics well within the capability of a few intelligent, dedicated people with common sense. They had the ability to take advantage of a wide open window of opportunity which was provided by the Americans themselves...even to the point of training the pilots responsible! Strategically, the Muslim fundamentalists may have shot themselves in the foot. One strike does not win a war but it has started one. Let us hope that the apologists and hand-wringers are firmly set aside and that Bush has the balls to do what it takes and not stop half way like his father and Colin Powell did in the Gulf War. If the West does not act decisively now the prophesies of Nostradamus may well become reality sooner than later.

Robert Hains. Palma

Dear Sir,
As the dust settles in New York, the on-going events around this momentous and tragic attack still unfold, and the world awaits with bated breath the United States' reaction when they settle on who was to blame.

As I have watched the constant programming on CNN, two main points have given me particular reason to consider. The first, that as huge as the terrorist attacks were, with the resulting loss of life, tragedy for thousands of families and the colossal damage, the USA are only in recent years experiencing at home and abroad, terrorism experienced by other countries over decades. Spain has ETA to contend with, but Britain has had the IRA. Whilst the individual incidents may be eclipsed by the magnitude of NY and Washington, nevertheless thousands, including women and children have died in bomb blasts in the UK. What I could never understand was how NORAID could so openly collect funds in the USA, where everyone knew part or all went to the IRA during their active 25 years or so, no doubt funding the purchase of bombs, guns, and bullets. Now that terrorism has “come home” to the States, I wonder if there is not some soul-searching as to the support Irish Americans have given in the past, to what really amounted to terrorism.

Be that as it may, my second point is that with all the intelligence and resources in the world, terrorist incidents cannot be 100% curtailed. The suicide bomber will usually succeed, and if one fails, there are dozens more awaiting their turn. So, maybe it is time for a whole new appraisal and approach to the problem of international terrorists.

Before the second world war, the USA knew of no terrorists -Europe did, after all it was a bomb-throwing anarchist (predecessor of terrorist) in the Balkans that set off WWI, but since the last world war, America took on the mantle of world leadership. Maybe in part it was forced on them as the richest and most powerful nation in a world where the cry was for democracy and freedom. Naturally, one has to take sides in any issue, and events since 1945 show: the war in Korea left the USA with enemies of China and N. Korea. Cuba followed, with today continued sanctions nearly 40 years on. Then came Vietnam, and in the Middle East first Iran was “bad boy on the block”, and Iraq helped and supported in their war with Iran to only a few years later, Saddam Hussain becoming the current “bad guy of the season”. Russia invaded Afghanistan and the USA supported the rebels, it goes on and on. In the meantime, one side in these crimes is a, not life-long, but generation-long, enemy of the USA.

As to people with a grudge, for whatever reason, there are always plenty of candidates to hit back in the only way they can, horrendous terrorist attacks.

So possibly it is time to completely re-think America's role in world affairs. Should they be expected to continue to make everlasting enemies all around the world, especially as the cost in American lives, billions of dollars, etc invariably end up in continued resentment of, and actions against, those who seek to help, ie the US of A.

A solution could be to totally re-vamp the United Nations. World problems (like terrorism, democracy and the right to live a decent life), need a united effort from all nations. We have seen the UN line separating the Greek and Turkish parts of Cyprus for over 20 years -- incident free in the main, and long may it last. Israel and Palestine are a current situation crying out for a neutral force to separate them; it should be enforced via the UN. The re-vamp of the United Nations needs the troops and forces to enforce a peace, maintain it, and all nations should support this, or step out of that organisation. Once individual nations, such as at present the USA, are not personally responsible for actions supporting one party or another, where will terrorism make its next target? The UN? That means the whole world!

It may also help if less arms were provided/sold to these nations/groups who could do more with farm machinery and western expertise. “Yesterday's” terrorist is “today's” freedom fighter, to possibly become “tomorrow's” leader/dictator. Britain saw this with Kenya, Rhodesia, and any position of power gained by force of arms must by suspect and avoided if possible at all costs.

Of course, this would mean a whole new attitude of the USA towards the UN, but with the total support of the United States, the UN could be re-born and actually be fully effective. The question is: is President Bush and his administration capable or willing, or is the easier course to just bomb the living daylights out of an area somewhere in the world, probably miss the main target (remember Reagan/Gadaffi?) and await the next atrocity. Time will tell.

Graham Phillips. Palma