Okay, so I really just want to write about two particular New York Times op-ed pieces, but let’s go ahead and call it a roundup because that sounds more bloggy and professional.
The first article that all of you must read is Nicholas Kristof’s “It Takes a School, Not Missiles.” Kristof talks about Greg Mortenson, “a frumpy, genial man from Montana” who has made it his mission to build schools (mostly for girls) in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Mortenson is the author of the crazy popular book Three Cups of Tea, which I actually had not heard of until my grandma recommended it to me this weekend. I can’t wait to read it. I’ll give you one of the best excerpts from the article, and then I’ll let you read it yourself:
“I am convinced that the long-term solution to terrorism in general, and Afghanistan specifically, is education,” Lt. Col. Christopher Kolenda, who works on the Afghan front lines, said in an e-mail in which he raved about Mr. Mortenson’s work. “The conflict here will not be won with bombs but with books. … The thirst for education here is palpable.”
Military force is essential in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban. But over time, in Pakistan and Afghanistan alike, the best tonic against militant fundamentalism will be education and economic opportunity.
So a lone Montanan staying at the cheapest guest houses has done more to advance U.S. interests in the region than the entire military and foreign policy apparatus of the Bush administration.
Here’s a photo of Mortenson and some of the kids he helped:
The second article I want to share with you was written by this obscure guest columnist for the Times, a United States senator from Illinois named Barack Obama. Saint B’s article is about his plan for Iraq. The article is worth reading for all those people who say that Obama is just some young punk who has no idea what he’s talking about and is going to send the world spiraling into chaos. Again, take a look at an excerpt, then go read the whole thing:
As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.
Well put, Barry. Well put.
And I know I’m not particularly ahead of the curve in talking about these articles — they are the top one and two most emailed articles on the NYT right now — but in case you don’t frequent the Times, I wanted to make sure you could take a look. Happy reading!
[Posted by Mallory]