Friday, October 23, 2009

Writing More Often

I haven’t been writing often enough. I think about things I want to say and haven’t been saying them. I don’t tweet or use Facebook, so this blog is the best way for me to communicate. Rather than stay silent and be annoyed with myself I’ve found a solution – write. This is my first step on a new/old path.

If you haven’t read a five part series by David Rohde in the N.Y. Times this week, find a way to retrieve what you’ve missed. He’s a reporter who was kidnapped by the Taliban in Afghanistan and held for seven months. The story of his captivity and escape is chilling and compelling.

In recent months I’ve paid a lot of attention to Afghanistan and the question of what we should do there – and in Pakistan. For those of us who aren’t responsible for solving difficult problems it’s easy to come up with glib answers. Initially, my knee jerk reaction was to conclude that the situation was fucked, we couldn’t solve it, and therefore sending more troops was a mistake.

The more I learned and thought about it, the more complicated it became. If I were Obama what would I do? My glib answers were insufficient. It really is a demonic maze. Go one way and we hit a dead end. Go another way and we end up back where we started. Go a third way and we’re deeper into the morass with no way out.

We’re bombarded by answers and insights from the experts. Each is sure his way is the right way and/or sure what others are suggesting is a fatal mistake. If the decision were yours how would you sort it all out?

In the end I assume Obama will go with what he thinks are the best choices with no guarantee they’ll succeed. In the end he’ll have to trust his own instinct and his own judgments – and the rest of us can only hope that he chooses wisely.


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