Let me start by saying I in no way condone the atrocities of Tuesday in any way. In fact I have friends who were affected by the attacks and am still not sure on the whereabouts of two of them.

What seems astounding to me are the double standards and hypocrisy coming from American and European leaders and, in particular President Bush over a large number of things connected with the horrendous attacks. The president is now raging his war on terrorism, but what has he done to stop the places, mostly bars, in areas such as Boston that openly accept donations ultimately for the IRA? And what of the fact that Tony Blair released from jail known terrorists, and murderers, during the Good Friday Peace accord? Not exactly in keeping with their latest sentiments on terrorism. What about the terrorist attacks in numerous different countries around the world every day that don't effect America (probably funded by covert CIA operations)? I don't hear Bush's War Cry to help the victims in countries that have little, or no, economic or strategic use to the U.S. Very worrying is the incredible lack of knowledge the average American has of their country's foreign policies and why these policies garner such responses. I am yet to hear CNN ask your everyday American why they think they've been attacked. The only question being asked is the obligatory What shall we do to them? which is normally responded to with the pathetic Bomb the Bastards! This also seems to be Bush's solution to the problem. One of his most ridiculous statements so far has been that America was attacked because it is a beacon of liberty and democracy to the rest of the world. Unfortunately the majority of Americans believe him. The reason America was attacked was because it is seen as an economic and military bully that only involves itself in another country's business when it is favourable to itself.

Flattening Afghanistan and its people, assuming it's Osama Bin Laden behind the attacks, solves absolutely nothing. It will only increase attacks and harbour more hatred and frustration against the western world, particularly America. The only way for America to cease terrorism on its own soil is to change its policies, and when I say policies I don't just mean foreign, I also mean its diabolical environmental policies that affect other countries, and its economic policies. Your average American needs to be told of the country's policies and how these policies affect countries such as Palestine, numerous African countries, along with South and Central American countries. Until Americans know this they will not understand why Tuesday's attacks happened.

It wasn't so long ago America was funding Mujahadin soldiers, including Osama bin Laden, to fight Russia, the country that was seen as the enemy of the day. It's a case of the regime that fits in best with American ideals will receive the funding to fight The Enemy (by use of terrorism in some cases, no doubt).

I was at university in America during the Gulf War and remember vividly watching with revulsion as college-educated Americans hugged each other and celebrated whilst live CNN pictures of strikes against Iraq flashed on the screen. Attacks that probably killed innocent Iraqis who have no choice whatsoever in who their leader is. To me this is more sickening than the small amount of Palestinians celebrating Tuesday's attacks.

While Israel can illegally move into Palestinian land overnight with America not lifting a finger, step into a land that's important, either for oil or strategic reasons and reap their wrath. It's these double standards that cause the animosity against Americans and until they wake up and realise that people resent them there will be more blood spilt on American soil.

I thoroughly agree with Graham Philips' letter of Friday, the U.N. need to take a greater and more powerful role in Middle Eastern affairs, and world affairs in general.

Matthew O'Connor

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