Oprah: As a country, what kind of action should we guard against in our anger?
Madeleine: We should guard against wholesale revenge—it doesn't get you anywhere. I do think there should be military action. The question is, "Who deserves it and where should it be? And how do we approach those states that give support to terrorist groups, even if those groups had nothing to do with this attack?" The time has come for those states to understand that if they want to be part of the international system, they have to follow the rules of that system by dealing with the extremists in their own societies. As strong as the United States is, we can't deal with terrorism alone.
We need to understand that this is a long-term problem that will require a lot of strength to handle. And given that innocent civilians have died, the issue now is whether we'll be willing to accept that some American military may have to sacrifice their lives to make the rest of us free.
Oprah: How can we balance our liberties as Americans with the need for increased security measures?
Madeleine: We'll all have to deal with longer lines and more questions. But as a country what we can't do is decide to close down and trust no one.
Oprah: What is the role of government in all of this?
Madeleine: I am a believer in the idea that government is on the side of the people, not on the backs of the people. We have to see that the government is helping us by trying to develop rules to make our country safer. What none of us want is an authoritarian country in which we all have to wear identification cards around our necks.
Oprah: Do you believe we can heal the wounds of September 11?
Madeleine: I do. There is a strength and spirit in Americans that is rare and unparalleled anywhere in the world. We have a resilience that most people don't have, and trials bring out the best in us. What happened on September 11 will be seared into our brains forever. But I believe that we will move beyond this. We have to.
We Hear You!