thirst for knowledge

  1. I have developed quite the thirst for knowledge, about the war, that I can not seem to quench. I want to learn about our history. I want to learn about other countries.
    The discussions on this board are awsome. I enjoy sharing our views. If we were not passionate about our views, it would probably be boring. Somehow this war feels different. I have never felt such a need to educate myself, on what is going on, before. I wondered, do others feel this way?
    I have a pet peeve with the media. I do not like the American people being catagorized, in the manner the media does it. They pit Democratic against Republican, liberal against conservative. I do know these groups exist. I do know this is one of the things that makes America, America. I respect that. What I do not like, is they seem to assume we are not intelligent enough, to make our oppinions, based on our knowledge. When it comes to a topic, that is as important as war, I believe they underestimate our ability to step out of our roles, and use our intelligence and information to form our oppinions, not just what ever far left or right wing we may or may not belong to. We are Americans, and it is American lives, we all are concerned about. We are also concerned with the lives of many different people from many different contries. Am I alone on noticing this? Or am I just very naive?
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  2. 50 Comments

  3. by   Stargazer
    Well, you're asking a lot of different question in there. I believe we have a vicious circle going, in that over the last couple of decades, we have become accustomed to "sound-bite" news coverage. Our attention spans have gotten shorter, and thanks to entities like Headline News, we expect to have even complex isues condensed and spoon-fed to us in 30 - 60 second pieces.

    The media has contributed to this, maybe even designed it, but we've allowed it to happen. Just the other night, a friend of mine, an exceedingly intelligent and well-educated woman, confessed to me that she feels woefully underinformed on the war but knows that she's not doing the kind of reading she needed to be doing to keep abreast of all the issues. I hear that a lot from people lately.

    Think about it--this isn't the first major war with 24-hour news coverage, but it is the first major war with widespread internet access available to almost everyone. There are literally thousands of news organizations, think tanks, historical archives, government and informational websites available online. In the time it takes to ask, "What ARE the rules of the Geneva Convention governing treatment of POWs?", you can type it into Google and pull up the actual document, along with analytical sites that explain the history, scope, and controversies of the agreement.

    In short, there is just no damned excuse not to be informed. And yet, many people are not. As I said on another thread, it still does take some time and effort to expose yourself to a variety of sources, to ensure that you aren't relying too heavily on TV news, or on websites that echo your own personal bias, or US-centric magazines, or your hometown newspaper. I count myself as one who could do better. I know a number of people who read 10 international newspapers a day. They make me feel like an intellectual sloth. But they also inform me, challenge me, direct me towards articles of interest.

    I think we could all do better. And I don't think there's a better time to start than now.
  4. by   Brownms46
    I don't feel you are naive at all Chrissy. In fact I'm impressed by your very thoughtful, very honest, and insightful post! I sincerely applaud your desire to learn, and know more about the world around you. I would be interested in learning what conclusions you come to at a later time.
  5. by   eddy
    Originally posted by Stargazer

    I think we could all do better. And I don't think there's a better time to start than now.

    Why do you always have to be so darned right all the time?!?

    Yet again a great and well-thought out post. Thanks for sharing.
  6. by   Stargazer
    Aw, shucks. :imbar
  7. by   Mkue
    Chrissy excellent post. A good place to start with the history of this war is the site that Susy has posted www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/longroad/

    "The Long Road to War" by Frontline. There are several articles and documentaries on PBS.
  8. by   jnette
    Originally posted by Stargazer
    In short, there is just no damned excuse not to be informed. And yet, many people are not. As I said on another thread, it still does take some time and effort to expose yourself to a variety of sources, to ensure that you aren't relying too heavily on TV news, or on websites that echo your own personal bias, or US-centric magazines, or your hometown newspaper.
    I think we could all do better. And I don't think there's a better time to start than now.
    BRAVO.
    To be TRULY informed is to get beyond our fear of acknowledging the validity of sources other than our OWN... to have the courage to read and study other viewpoints and articles...broaden our scope of vision. THEN to sort through all the information and to intelligently and honestly consider and weigh all before coming to a conclusion.
    We must resist the temptation to garner infromation from our own perspective only, and attempt to avoid feeling "threatened" by anything that does not include what we know from "our" side... but give it equal study. We must be able to go beyond our own horizon to see that the world is indeed, not flat. It does not drop off as once believed.
    To study merely our own sources does not portray objective truth, but rather a tunnelvision on what we WANT to see as truth.

    Being informed requires seeing things through eyes other than our own.

    I'm not saying that we must then believe all that we read and hear from other sources, but without at least exposing ourselves to the information presented, we cannot be TRULY informed.

    Consider "informed consent". What constitutes being truly informed? If the patient is told only what he wants to hear? Does the doc include ALL in presenting his case for surgery? Does the patient take the time to get a "second opinion"?

    So... do we read history only from OUR books? Or do we attempt to go a little further in our quest for information. All these things are necessary to be truly informed, IMO.

    It's a great big world out there. I try to step out of my own backyard now and then to get a feel for what's really out there.

    There comes a time when we must be courageous enough to question, and delve a little deeper to acquire information. We cannot be onesided in our seeking, and to do this , we must be willing to overcome the "fear of the unknown".
    Last edit by jnette on Apr 1, '03
  9. by   cwazycwissyRN
    Thanks so much for the wonderful and insightful replies. I was listening to the radio the other night, while driving, for two hours.
    The first program was very slanted to the liberal side. The second talk show was very slanted to the conservative side. The name calling on both sides was rediculous. I came to the conclusion, that both "news ankors, were not capable of seeing America, as it is.
    Speeking of government, I have to go do my taxes now, I will write more later.
    Thanks for all of your responses.
    (Wrote this fast, sorry for spelling ect.
  10. by   Brownms46
    Here is some other links with bits of information for you to consider as you pay your....UGH...tax bill..


    http://www.againstbombing.org/

    http://iraqwar.org/morequotes.htm

    And I found this quote very interesting

    Beware of the leader who bangs of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a doubleedged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind.

    "And when the drums of war have reached a fevor pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind is closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and do it gladly so. "How do I know? I know for this is what I have done. And I am Caesar
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Apr 1, '03
  11. by   Q.
    Originally posted by mkue
    A good place to start with the history of this war is the site that Susy has posted www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/longroad/

    "The Long Road to War" by Frontline. There are several articles and documentaries on PBS.
    Thanks Marie and let me emphasize, with Stargazer's post in mind, that PBS is a good starting place. For the most part, PBS has archives of interviews from past administrations as well as other key people. So in the very least you can see what their views were. PBS also provides historical timelines, without any slanted interpretation. It has it's own search engine, so you could do a search on just about any topic of interest.

    PBS is also known to be neither liberal nor conservatively slanted. But it is American based, so keep that in mind.
  12. by   Brownms46
    http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

    a clear sign of plans to go to war with Iraq waaay before 9/11


    The Honorable William J. Clinton
    President of the United States
    Washington, DC


    Dear Mr. President:

    We are writing you because we are convinced that current American policy toward Iraq is not succeeding, and that we may soon face a threat in the Middle East more serious than any we have known since the end of the Cold War. In your upcoming State of the Union Address, you have an opportunity to chart a clear and determined course for meeting this threat. We urge you to seize that opportunity, and to enunciate a new strategy that would secure the interests of the U.S. and our friends and allies around the world. That strategy should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power. We stand ready to offer our full support in this difficult but necessary endeavor.

    The policy of "containment" of Saddam Hussein has been steadily eroding over the past several months. As recent events have demonstrated, we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections. Our ability to ensure that Saddam Hussein is not producing weapons of mass destruction, therefore, has substantially diminished. Even if full inspections were eventually to resume, which now seems highly unlikely, experience has shown that it is difficult if not impossible to monitor Iraq's chemical and biological weapons production. The lengthy period during which the inspectors will have been unable to enter many Iraqi facilities has made it even less likely that they will be able to uncover all of Saddam's secrets. As a result, in the not-too-distant future we will be unable to determine with any reasonable level of confidence whether Iraq does or does not possess such weapons.


    Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world's supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.


    Given the magnitude of the threat, the current policy, which depends for its success upon the steadfastness of our coalition partners and upon the cooperation of Saddam Hussein, is dangerously inadequate. The only acceptable strategy is one that eliminates the possibility that Iraq will be able to use or threaten to use weapons of mass destruction. In the near term, this means a willingness to undertake military action as diplomacy is clearly failing. In the long term, it means removing Saddam Hussein and his regime from power. That now needs to become the aim of American foreign policy.

    We urge you to articulate this aim, and to turn your Administration's attention to implementing a strategy for removing Saddam's regime from power. This will require a full complement of diplomatic, political and military efforts. Although we are fully aware of the dangers and difficulties in implementing this policy, we believe the dangers of failing to do so are far greater. We believe the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf. In any case, American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.

    We urge you to act decisively. If you act now to end the threat of weapons of mass destruction against the U.S. or its allies, you will be acting in the most fundamental national security interests of the country. If we accept a course of weakness and drift, we put our interests and our future at risk.

    Sincerely,

    Elliott Abrams Richard L. Armitage William J. Bennett

    Jeffrey Bergner John Bolton Paula Dobriansky

    Francis Fukuyama Robert Kagan Zalmay Khalilzad

    William Kristol Richard Perle Peter W. Rodman

    Donald Rumsfeld William Schneider, Jr. Vin Weber

    Paul Wolfowitz R. James Woolsey Robert B. Zoellick

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontl.../etc/cron.html
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Apr 1, '03
  13. by   Q.
    Originally posted by Brownms46
    http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm

    a clear sign of plans to go to war with Iraq waaay before 9/11


    Um, yeah, that is widely known.
    Remember Clinton's bombing campaign?

    This has been discussed to death. I urge people to really heed Stargazer's post: become informed.
  14. by   Q.
    Speaking of PBS, their website also has discussion forums and I found this statement written by a poster to be exactly how I feel about things:

    He writes after watching Frontline's presentation of the chronology of the Bush Doctrine:
    Such presumptions only cloud our discernment about the administration's motive. Is it realistic (or helpful) to argue endlessly between one extreme presumption (the Bush administration is all-pure and flawless in a righteous cause) and the other (it is hell-bent on subjugating the world out of a malevolent lust for power)?

    But our president isn't Mother Theresa, nor is he Adolph Hitler. I believe that an objective assessment of your report reveals the "Bush Doctrine" to be a well-intentioned attempt by flawed human beings (who struggle as we all do between good and bad motives) to come to terms with this critical "moment of truth" in world affairs. I acknowledge that the course is fraught with peril, and that we must be vigilant as to the motives of our leaders. But the administration's critics do a disservice to the debate (and marginalize their position) when they insist that the deep motive of the Bush Doctrine is only corrupt. (Have Tony Blair, Colin Powell, and so many other principled leaders also sold their souls to join this sinister cabal?)


    Paul Johnson
    carlsbad, ca

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