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IQ: The terrorist network

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Almost everyone agrees that the terrorist network behind September 11 has to be broken. Many worry, though, that we're being sucked into another Vietnam: committing troops without a specific plan, timeline or limiting framework; taking on a foe we've seriously underestimated who is driven by fierce patriotism and religious fervor.

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Sarah Linn
Student at Fuller Seminary
Hood: Downtown

Is Afghanistan the next Vietnam? This is a different ballgame. Vietnam was a war against communism, and we got involved covertly. Our involvement this time is out in the open against an enemy that doesn't distinguish between civilians and military.

Are we depending too much on military force? I think we're pretty hesitant to commit troops, and when we do, it's to restrain evil, not to take territory, seize power and install puppet governments.

Does last week's anti-terrorism bill alarm you? Not that much, because it sunsets in four years. Also, we've become so sensitive to governmental abuse of freedoms that we won't let them erode.

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Jay Hughes
Waiter
Hood: Cripple Creek

Is Afghanistan the next Vietnam? History shows that the Afghani people won't lose this war. They're driven more by religion than by politics, and you're not going to defeat religion. The enemy isn't clearly defined. We should be treating September 11 as a criminal act, not an act of war.

Are we too inclined to deploy troops globally? Increasingly, we're using military force to take away freedoms, not to defend them. Our focus should be humanitarian. What little humanitarian aid we provide is for PR show, not for solving long-festering problems we helped to create.

Does last week's anti-terrorism bill alarm you? Remember the Japanese internment camps during WWII? There are a lot of citizens on the government's fringe list -- Muslims and citizens of Arab lineage in particular -- who are ripe for government profiling and secret observation. This bill permits no-knock searches and lets the government enter your house without you knowing it. They can put anything they find on file and use it against you. Or put you in jail.

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Joann Serio
D-11 social worker
Hood: Vista Grande

Is Afghanistan another Vietnam? That's certainly a possibility. There needs to be a specific direction and time frame. This can't be a long, drawn-out thing with no declaration of war.

Are we relying on military force too much to solve our problems? We belong to NATO, but why is it that we're always the first member to commit troops? In truth, I'm a terrible hawk, and part of me says just bomb the hell out of them, but there needs to be a time limit and spelled-out mission, and I don't think we have that.

Does the anti-terrorism bill passed last week bother you? Yes. There wasn't enough discussion. The public isn't aware of what's going down with that law.

Can you name a specific provision of that bill? No, and that's symptomatic of the problems with this law. I doubt that anybody you talk to will know specific provisions.

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