NOAM CHOMSKY author, MIT professor
"Today's attacks were major atrocities. In terms of number of victims, they do not reach the level of many others -- for example, Clinton's bombing of the Sudan with no credible pretext, destroying half its pharmaceutical supplies and probably killing tens of thousands of people. (No one knows, because the U.S. blocked an inquiry at the UN and no one cares to pursue it.) Not to speak of much worse cases, which easily come to mind. But that this was a horrendous crime is not in doubt. The primary victims, as usual, were working people: janitors, secretaries, firemen, etc. It is likely to prove to be a crushing blow to Palestinians and other poor and oppressed people. It is also likely to lead to harsh security controls, with many possible ramifications for undermining civil liberties and internal freedom."
"The events reveal, dramatically, the foolishness of ideas about "missile defence.' As has been obvious all along, and pointed out repeatedly by strategic analysts, if anyone wants to cause immense damage in the U.S., including weapons of mass destruction, they are highly unlikely to launch a missile attack, thus guaranteeing their immediate destruction. There are innumerable easier ways that are basically unstoppable. But today's events will, nonetheless, be used to increase the pressure to develop these systems and put them into place. "Defence' is a cover for plans for the militarization of space, and with good PR even the flimsiest arguments will carry some weight among a frightened public."
"In short, the crime is a gift to the hard jingoist right, those who hope to use force to control their domains. That is even putting aside the likely U.S. actions, and what they will trigger -- possibly more attacks like this one, or worse. The prospects ahead are even more ominous than they appeared to be before the latest atrocities."
JOHN SIGLER, adjunct professor of political science at Carleton University and former U.S. State Department official
"The initial response will be anger. But the more serious diplomatic voices (in the U.S.) will all call for a much more careful appraisal of whether unilateralism is the right policy or if strengthening multilateral ties and other efforts to moderate policies isn't a wiser choice."
FRANK SNEPP, former CIA agent and writer on U.S. national security issues
"All the talk of missile shields and that sort of thing -- clearly, none of the initiatives the Bush administration was considering would have forestalled this kind of thing."
GENE SHARP, director, Albert Einstein Institute in Boston, Massachusetts
"Whatever groups believe they have a grievance and believe in the necessity of violence are likely to do things like this, and our governments have set the example by believing that the more capacity for violence you have, the better."
JOHN ASFOUR, president, Canadian Arab Federation
"I hope that whenever the culprits are found, the officials, responsible people -- and the media especially -- do not just accuse by association, simply point the finger at a people, a race or a nation. I wish to God that it's not an Arab group. We don't need this."
ERNIE REGEHR, director, Project Ploughshares
"We can only speculate if the U.S. will recognize the futility of their defence plan and abandon it or, in outrage, feel compelled to pursue every avenue of so-called defence and redouble their efforts."BILL GRAHAM, Liberal MP (Toronto-Rosedale) and chair of the foreign affairs committee"What we can do as Canadians is try to persuade the Bush administration that whatever reaction they make to this is going to have to be a calm, measured reaction that doesn't exacerbate the problem."
LILLIAN ROBINSON, human rights activist and principal, women's studies program, Concordia University
"What I fear is a combination of a misdirected military response and domestic repression."
MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY, economics professor, University of Ottawa"If somebody says, "Bin Laden is behind this,' I say, well, who is Bin Laden? What's his proximity group? Who does he link with? He links with the KLA and the Bosnian Muslims. What is the position of U.S. foreign policy in relation to these groups? These are dangerous questions."