Friday, December 5, 2008
I just finished reading The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini last night. Overall, I thought the book was really well written and it was a pretty easy read. The subject-matter was interesting and relevant to our time, I think. And being the somewhat ignorant American that I am, I was really unfamiliar with Afghanistan's political and military history. I would venture to say that before September 11th, I probably hadn't really even heard of Afghanistan, and if I had, I definitely didn't pay much attention. While it is a fictional book, my assumption is that the author is either speaking from his own experience or did some research about how life was in Afghanistan in the 1970's.
Which brings me to the point about which I am conflicted. I do not think that the war we are fighting is just. My beliefs are that we went into the Middle East because of some wrong information and persistance from a group of national leaders who wanted to be there. I feel like there have been a lot of people killed for the wrong reasons. But reading this book made me start to think that perhaps the American occupation of Afghanistan to help remove the Taliban has made Afghanistan a better place.
I obviously have never been there. I am making this conjecture based on a piece of fiction writing. I live a "cushy" life in the United States. I have never been afraid of sleeping in my house. I have never been physically threatened by another person. I have never seen a gun, let alone been afraid that the person holding the gun would harm me in any way. I have never witnessed a murder. I have never had to return to a place from my past to find it riddled with mortar shell or bullet holes, or to find it reduced to rubble because of war.
If I had, would I be celebrating the arrival of a foreign military power that has helped establish a more safe day-to-day existance?
I am not sure that my views about the war have completely changed, but I definitely think that it was helpful for me to start to think about the situation from another point of view. If you haven't read the book, you should.