View Full Version : No Easy Answers / Much to Learn

09-16-2001, 10:59 PM
I've followed the debates here, impressed by the level of discussion (with some exceptions, of course). Admittedly less informed on these matters than I should be, I've appreciated the mix of mainstream and well informed alternative (whatever that means) points of view. As strongly as many are arguing their points, it's clear enough that with such complex political and historical issues there are no easy answers. But who would have guessed a poker/gambling discussion site would attract such valuable debate? (I know some would question it's quality, but obviously you have to separate the wheat from the chaff.) It's given me the incentive to educate myself further.

Perhaps my strongest reaction to Tuesday's events has been the desire - somehow - to protect my children. The more I've thought about it, the more I feel I owe it to them to develop a better understanding of issues in the Middle East and related U.S. policy. (something I've been too lazy to do for most of my life) Only this will allow me to do what I can as an individual to try to make the world a little safer for them in the future.

Do others share a similar reaction? For me, this will mean a lot reading. My browser's bookmarks are already multiplying, with mainstream and alternative press sites, and sites specifically on Middle East issues added. (Searches can turn up a lot of leads. When you find a site which appears to provide useful coverage, check their links for more sites. You may not agree with the politics of some sites, but that does not mean they lack worthwhile information.) Of course for more depth I'll need to hit the books as well, including some I've seen mentioned here. It's a long term plan for which my other long term plans will just have to make room. I see little choice.

09-17-2001, 12:05 AM
I have to admit I knew basically nothing about Afghanistan and the Taliban before Tuesday. (Picked up a paperback, "Taliban" by Ahmed Rashid at Borders that is good.) It is terribly important that we try to educate ourselves lest we find ourselves 100% dependent on our government's take on things. As we learned in Vietnam, its take can sometimes be less than reliable.

I'm overwhelmed by two things: 1) the sense of sadness over the plight of those who suffered this week. I went back to the pictures my then ten year old son and I had taken on a visit to New York last year and we looked at a shot of the skyline we took from the Circle Line cruise boat and cried at the enormity of the World Trade Center. And 2) the trepidation at what life will now be like. Perhaps we were spoiled until Tuesday. On Monday I was thinking about selling belts (my business) and whether I should check-raise on the turn. Today on TV, I heard talk of germ warfare, assassinations, nuclear scenarios, and alway, scares at airports, ports, office buildings. Who among us will ever take a plane flight or sit on the fiftieth floor or a skyscraper and feel the same again?

It's difficult to imagine a happy ending to all this. We're going to need smarts, skill, money, cooperation from others in the world, and luck.

09-17-2001, 03:29 AM
There's little to add to your excellent and thoughtful post, except to recall the old saying about "Knowing your adversary". Whoever he may be. Starting to read more stuff about what's going on down there, is indeed a good start for all of us.

09-17-2001, 04:15 PM
I think you're right on the money John when you say you have been "too lazy" to educate yourself about issues in the Middle East. I think that applies to all of us. I believe more of the general American populace will become far more informed about issues in the middle east.

I believe this will be bad for Israel in the long run. I only recently began studying and reading up on the history of the Israel/Palestine issue, and I believe that the only reason there is any kind of support for Israel in this country is the general lack of knowledge found in most of us.

It doesn't take long to become staunchly pro-palestine after you start reading up on it. But maybe that's just me! /images/smile.gif

The sad thing is, it shouldn't take the desperate measures of a few sick individuals who cause untold damage and destruction before we begin to reflect and take the effort to educate ourselves about parts of the world where we are heavily involved. I am as guilty of this as the rest of the country.