Tuesday, March 05, 2002

I'm pulled apart by all the aggression and war talk these days - mostly because I see no real answers being offered by anyone. I admired Bush for going into Afghanistan pronto and pulling the very un-Republican move of taking a role as the world's cop and nation-building. But I'm bothered by his administration's belief that there's some simple and easy way to repeat this success throughout the world. I don't think that's true. More important, I think that's exactly the kind of trap that gets the US in trouble - we march across the globe convinced we have all the answers (isn't that what conservatives say liberals always do?). We are asking to be hated even more than we already are.

The Middle East is just genocide waiting to happen. The only question is who will be the victim. There was a NY Times article months ago by a US citizen who had moved to Israel. After the violence started, he and his wife were starting to wonder if Israel was just a grand experiment doomed to failure. I'm starting to wonder too. It is so disappointing to look at a conflict and not admire anyone. Sharon started this latest mess 18 months ago when he marched into the Temple Mount in some sort of political stunt. Now he's PM and can't resolve anything. Though they usually play the role of underdogs, the Israelis are starting to look like the Roman Empire after it's peak. Because they are the area power, they are a big fat target for anyone eager to die with a bomb strapped to their stomach. Q. How does a well-trained army fight that? A. They don't - unless they are willing to be more brutal than Slobodon Milosovich. Middle East problems have reached a epidemic stage where I except a massive armed confrontation or years-long stagnation until a new generation of leaders can be brought to power. Neither option is particularly nice.

In the US, my fear is that the WTC Massacre will look small in comparison to what comes years later. As weird and violent as America can be, we are generally a nation built on trust. We drive on the right had side and trust the guys coming from the other direction will follow the same rule and not smash into us. What happens if a Middle East style conflict comes here and people simply start fighting from the inside? I have the recurring dream some crazed soul announces his political agenda by showing up at Gatorland and without warning, throwing little kids into the Gator swamps. I don't want to be around for that.

I caught the Monica Lewinsky documentary on HBO and it was excellent. The filmmakers placed her on the stage of Cooper Union Hall and let an audience ask her questions (some very mean-spirited ones too). Sure, she cried a lot and there was obviously some showboating on her part, but I feel like it was the first time we heard the story from her side and I welcomed it.

Listening to her tale again, it's hard to believe it brought the nation to the brink of a constitutional crisis. On playback, it all seems sooooo minor. We were laughing about it then. I think Monica is close to laughing about it herself.

One more note. I hear conservatives pundits asking - Why didn't Clinton deal with terrorism when he was in office? The Lewinsky special quietly noted that at the same time Clinton was firing missiles into Afghanistan, he was knee-deep in Lewinsky Poop. Hey, the guy's only got so many hours in the day - do you want a defendant or a President? Maybe if he had been allowed to do his job, his response to terrorism would have been a bit different?

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