i'm doing my best at the moment to sift out the myriad issues in the middle east, and as an american, i believe that it is wise to make an honest attempt to understand the underlying concerns of the arab world, the u.s. stake in it, and the global perception toward our country. here are some of my questions, on all of which i have opinions but seek the truth: what is the difference between a shiite and a sunni? why is the united states so deeply embroiled in the mideast conflict? why have we largely ignored africa's recent crises? why is there a mideast conflict? can it be resolved and how? are we there specifically because of our interest in mideast oil? why do arab muslims hate america? why do they all seem to agree on nothing except that they want america out their political affairs? why does israel exist? why does america support that country in the face of such obvious overwhelming opposition? if america pulled its support of israel, would anti-american agression end? why did america invade iraq? why won't our government open a dialogue with iran? why is anti-american sentiment growing in all parts of the world? is our 'war on terrorism' really a result of manifestations of lunatic islamic jihadists' hatred of freedom and democracy? what kind of man is osama bin-laden? why is he considered a 'freedom fighter' and 'rock star' by millions of people? can the united states maintain its current position as sole world superpower and global police watchdog? when and how can we pull our troops from iraq? what kind of man is and what are the intentions and motivations of mahmoud ahmadinejad? does the arab world harbor resentment toward the american people as a whole or just the american administration? how can america resolve its bitter tensions with the people of the middle east? how can america rebuild its credibility with the rest of the world? how bad could it get if we do not? is this whole mess solely our fault? does our current administration ask and re-ask these questions? how many of us 'common' americans ask and re-ask these questions?
it's late, and i'm sure i've left many out. in reality, the list will never end. i'm on a quest, as i have been for a while, to find the naked truth at the bottom of these queries. i believe that it is the duty of the american people to ask these questions, it is our responsibility to do what is necessary to understand those with whom we share our lonely planet, and we must remind ourselves that "it is a misfortune, inseparable from human affairs, that public measures are rarely investigated with that spirit of moderation which is essential to a just estimate of their real tendency to advance or obstruct the public good. . .that the act of the convention, which recommends so many important changes and innovations, which may be viewed in so many lights and relations, and which touches the springs of so many passions and interests, should find or excite dispositions unfriendly, both on one side and on the other, to a fair discussion and accurate judgment of its merits." -- james madison, federalist no. 37