Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Dizzying world events, mixed emotions. A plane crashes in New York, one of the worst accidents in recent years. And we seemed relieved that it was an accident; we're so fatigued from agonizng over hijackers crashing into buildings that this fails to fully seize us with natural shock and grief. Meanwhile, Kabul falls. We're supposed to cheer, to be glad that the Taliban is disintegrating, that rebuilding can begin. And I am glad. I'm also confused, as is the government, over whether the Northern Alliance really are good guys or only slightly less evil, and whether we're ready to build a stable coalition. Maureen Dowd touches on this pretty well in today's NYTimes.
There's also a part of me that doesn't want us to get too excited about war and how well it works. The more war is made-for-TV, with rapid action and easy heroes, as with the Gulf War and (less so) now with Afghanistan, the less we are apt to hear the cries of the suffering civilians and to be self-critical in this and other situations. That was the only good part about Vietnam and America's response to it. It's been mostly lost in a flurry of patriotism of late. And oh by the way, anyone seen Osama bin Laden lately? He's still alive and well, and if he's not, how will we ever know?

Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin visits from Russia, and seems to have an awful lot of leverage with the leader of the free world for an average politician in charge of a limping country. Should be interesting to hear NPR's interview and call-in session with him tonight:
Dizzying world events, mixed emotions.

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