Saturday, September 30, 2006

Popular Wisdom

David Brooks' NY Times column on 9/28 is one of the things that irritated me enough to drive me back to blogging. [The link above will only take you so far if you are not a NYT subscriber. Now, I firmly believe that everyone should read a paper newspaper everyday and the NYT is an excellent choice but I remain bewildered by their insistence on keeping so much on-line content behind subcriber firewalls.]

Saturday, five smart, intelligent letters to the editor in response to Brooks' column were published. My favorite comes from Utah.

To the Editor:
David Brooks acknowledges that modern nations mark their greatness by economic wealth and that "Islamic extremists will continue to compete and grow until mainstream Islamic moderates can establish a more civilized set of criteria for prestige and greatness."

Why, then, does Mr. Brooks continue to support the violence of war as a means of ending the violence of terrorism? Given his reasoning, wouldn't it be far wiser to divert the billions of dollars we are spending on the Iraqi disaster into the economic development of Palestine?

Wouldn't viable ports, secure water sources, healthy agribusiness and manufacturing plants be more productive in the fight against Islamic extremists then military action?
Janet Ellington
Salt Lake City, Sept. 28, 2006

Yes, I can think of nothing that would reverse al-Qaeda's appeal than a strong economy with high levels of employment for young men. In the Arab world, young men without jobs face a future without marriage in a society where marriage and fatherhood are still crucial signs of maculinity and adulthood.

To the Editor:
If, as Mr. Brooks avers, Islamic extremism is not a result of "short-term historical circumstances, but of consciousness and culture," why did the Bush administration and Mr. Brooks believe that 150,000 Western troops, even with billions of dollars, chould change than in jig time?

Grand delusion, indeed.
William W. Goetz
Bedminster, NJ, Sept. 28, 2007
I would only add the political litmus tests that kept many smart, experienced, Arabic-speaking Americans from government positions in the occupation government destroyed any chance that we ever had of moving the consciousness and culture of Iraq in any particular direction.

To the Editor:
David Brooks says countries in the Arab world do not define their national glory economically. In fact, their arrogance stems directly from the money they receive from the West for their oil.

Without the petrodollars flowing into these regimes, they would find themselves quickly at odds with their people, who anger would be pointed at their leaders, resulting in the overthrow of these totalitarian regimes.

The "grand delusion" is that we can maintain our present level of oil consumption, attacke regimes that were contained (Iraq) and talk about attacking other countries (Iran) when we do not have enough troops to maintain order in a country previously defeated (Afghanistan).

President Bush siad he was the "decider"; I see him as the "delusioner."

Brian Gallagher
White Plains, Sept. 28, 2006

Mr. Gallagher does not mention that fact that most of the arrogant, petro-fueled regimes, encourage their populations to see "attacks on Islam" coming from the West as a way to divert their energies away from home-grown political change. Everytime, the western media, commentators, authors, playwrights, etc. carelessly criticize Islam, they play right into this dynamic.

All in all, these letters indicate to me that Americans deserve so very much better from the currrent administration.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Americans, indeed, deserve much better from the current administration. However, the reality is that the only way to effectuate change is to throw the bums out of office...