May 26, 2005

It Is Time To Wander Again

I just finished watching the season finale of Lost. I thought that it was outstanding. I have a real appreciation for a fine story accompanied by acting. It left me a little revved up so I am taking a moment to sit down again and cry out to the faceless masses of cyberspace.

So I thought that I would share a few of the things that I have been thinking about. As I was cruising through the archives I came across a few stories that caught my eye. This USAToday article about the Iranian Hostage crisis really grabbed me.

"On a Sunday morning 25 years ago, U.S. diplomats in Tehran looked out the window to see hundreds of young Iranians, fired by a love of Islam and a hatred of America, spilling over the walls and through the gate of the embassy compound.

The Americans did not know it, but they were staring at the future — a militant Muslim fundamentalism that would one day replace communism as the greatest threat to their nation.

That was Nov. 4, 1979, the beginning of the Iran hostage crisis, and a date on a timeline that would stretch to Sept. 11, 2001, and beyond.

Fifty-two Americans were held captive for 444 days. Although none was seriously hurt, many were beaten, blindfolded, isolated and lined up for mock firing squads. Never had so many representatives of so powerful a nation been abused so flagrantly.

To better understand the impact of the crisis on the hostages and the nation, reporters from USA TODAY and Gannett newspapers around the nation interviewed more than half of the surviving hostages. Although they don't agree on everything, most have reached these conclusions:

The Iran crisis taught Americans little about Muslim extremists. “We don't understand how they think,” says Dave Roeder, 65, who was an embassy Air Force attaché. Several hostages recall that when they came home, people were more curious about what they ate than what the crisis said about the use of Islam to compel terror.

“The very people today that are standing up and saying, ‘We've got to do something about this terrorism,' are people that did not listen to those of us that had actually been out there fighting terrorists for the past 30 years,” says Alan Golacinski, 54, the embassy security chief.

•The crisis taught the extremists that terrorism works. When the crisis ended with the captors unrepentant and unpunished, “we were teaching the Middle East what could be gained through an act of terrorism,” says Rick Kupke, 57, who was an embassy communications staffer. The lesson was simple, says John Limbert, 61, an embassy political officer who later became ambassador to Mauritania: “You can break the rules and get away with it.”

As a result, many hostages say they expected a disaster like 9/11. Bill Daughtery, a CIA agent in the embassy and now a college political science professor, describes his reaction to the 2001 attacks this way: “ ‘What took them so long?' ”

For many former hostages, Sept. 11 was particularly difficult. “It made me physically sick,” says Paul Lewis, 47, a former embassy Marine guard. “I thought, ‘They finally found a way to get here.' ”
I read this and wonder what have we learned if anything and how are we applying it to the world around us. I think that it is fair to ask what we have to done to create problems but again will not stop stressing that wars of ideology are not always rooted in someone having done something wrong.

In simple terms, sometimes it doesn't matter what you believe when it is not in line with the ideology of another.

In different news I am still kind of smiling/chuckling over the discussion we had regarding Star Wars and the LOTR. Of course Haloscan shows '0' comments when we know that there were far more than that.

A house full of sick children is an excellent way to sow chaos. Somewhere I hear someone yelling unleash the dogs of war or maybe that is the sound of cranky children, I don't know.

Tomorrow night I promise to get to bed before 1 am or should I say that I am hopeful. I get up before six am so these late nights are beginning to catch up with me. At 18 I could live on 4 hours a night for months on end. At 36 I just end, or at least it sometimes feels that way. I can still go on less sleep than most people, but I certainly feel the difference.

By tomorrow afternoon I am going to be hurting at the office and may have to get the caffeine fed to me through an IV. And with that I am going to try and get some shut eye.

Lailah tov from Los Angeles.

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