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How concerned are you about the escalating violence in the Middle East?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on July 18, 2006

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Photo of Marianne L. Curtis

“I think this has huge ramifications for the whole world. I think it plays into the Bush administration’s strategy in regards to the axis of evil and their desire to invade Syria and Iran all under the guise of supporting Israel.”

Photo of Eric Siegfreid

“I’m very concerned, because I think it gives our government an excuse to be where we are and to prolong our occupation there.”

Photo of Banaka Okwuone

“Since it’s been going on for so long, I think a lot of people, including myself, are desensitized to it. I’m concerned, but no more so than before the recent violence.”

Photo of Kim Coughlin

“I’m very concerned and wish more people were, but I’ve been concerned for a long time. I wish people were in as perpetual a state of concern and action as the Middle East is in a perpetual state of conflict and violence.”

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audvisartist 11 years, 11 months ago

This whole situation just pisses me off! Is fighting / killing really the only response to every little situation that happens in that part of the world? Seems to me that in this day and age there'd be better options than beating each other senseless. More level headed people, on both sides of the equation, just need to assert themselves and take control. Although for some reason I just don't see that happening, as the extremists on both sides would probably just wind up killing those that want to use other measures besides force to take care of problems. And the saga continues...

bankboy119 11 years, 11 months ago

Yes Marianne, Bush was really the one who attacked Israel from Lebannon so that he could have our troops stay over there.

jonas 11 years, 11 months ago

A couple heady conspiracy theorists speaking their minds today. I bet Bush stole their pictures too.

"I wish people were in as perpetual a state of concern and action as the Middle East is in a perpetual state of conflict and violence."

  • Kim Coughlin, organizer, Lawrence

Kim, I don't think that most people have that kind of energy. Must just be something in the water over there.

chzypoof1 11 years, 11 months ago

I agree Bankboy. I believe I saw a pic online of Bush firing rockets into innocent people's homes from Lebanon. What a jerk! It is SO his fault for other countries fighting.

enochville 11 years, 11 months ago

Yes. I am concerned. I'll tell you what also concerns me. Some Christian message boards have a lot of posters who not so secretly hope that the war will escalate so that they can have their long awaited Armegeddon which will usher in Christ's return.

I hope Bush is not one of those types of Christians. When will they see that God is not going to solve the world's problems. There is only us, so it behooves us to try to help remedy the situation. That is the problem with prophecies of war, too many want to make sure that prophecy is fulfilled.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Enoch, more thoughtful Christians would say the return of Christ can't be hastened by causing certain wars.

As far as God not solving the world's problems ... well, based on our own track record, I'm pretty sure we're not going to solve them.

hottruckinmama 11 years, 11 months ago

Sometimes it seems that making war is all they do well over there.

RonBurgandy 11 years, 11 months ago

Concerned enough to make sure pictures don't show up for respondents of the ots question.

Speakout 11 years, 11 months ago

I don't really know what is happening or who did what. Our press is so pro-Israel that I think we miss something. What about the women and children in Israeli prisons, is this true? This violates the Geneva Convention. Did Hamas steal the Israeli soldier to get the women and children out or for some other reason?

What is the truth. Why did Hesbollah get involved and why are they bombing Lebanon?

I think there are more questions about this than to say we should, to use Bush's words, "kick the s--t out of Syria".

avoice 11 years, 11 months ago

Ever noticed that when two people start fighting in a crowd, it's not long before there's a brawl? When the U.S. decided to retaliate for 9/11 by attacking Afghanistan, then Iraq, then threatening Iran while warning North Korea they are also on the "list," didn't THAT contribute a lot to the present situation? You've got tensions between lots of countries in the Middle East and parts of Asia. It doesn't take much to get them stirred up into escalating violence. Just the nervous tension of knowing war is close by is enough to prompt some of these terrorist groups into action. By going out into the world with a "Don't Mess with Texas" foreign policy, we've done nothing but make the hornets mad. And now they're swarming.

craigers 11 years, 11 months ago

Yes, I am watching it closely.

Prophetically, I agree with sgt and that Christ's return won't be hurried or ushered in faster with the actions of humans. Two different timetables.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

You see, if we get a good, interesting and important question, we get some thoughtful and thought provoking answers and comments. I have been very concerned about the action of the US government in various parts of the globe. With all the meddling in the affairs of others, what exactly has been accomplished. Is there less violence, less death, less killing? Is there more peace, more agreement? Have the insurgents been over come? Are the warlords in the East now peace lords? Are the people living better lives? Do Irag and Aphganistan have an improved infra-structure? Do their people feel safe and secure? Are Americans beloved in this world? Are your soldiers hailed as saviours?

OldEnuf2BYurDad 11 years, 11 months ago

All politics aside, the core problem here is that both sides have adopted a culture of hate. Each generation is taught, in school, to hate the other side. There is NO end to this. Therefore, there is no diplomatic solution. This is about people's hearts, not their policies.

betti81 11 years, 11 months ago


"I think there are more questions about this than to say we should, to use Bush's words, "kick the s--t out of Syria"."

I missed alot of the news yesterday, could someone help me out on this one. what happened here?

enochville 11 years, 11 months ago

sgt - we have solved some problems such as the Hitler Germany taking over the world problem at least for the time being. Granted there will always be a new "Hitler" coming up somewhere, but that is a fact of life. Like bills, new ones come in the mail from time to time and have to be dealt with. But, sitting on our hands and waiting for someone else to pay the bills or bring about peace only makes things worse.

Consider for a moment the possibility that God does not exist, then think how much fires we have let go or made worse waiting for this non-existent being who was going to make everything right.

We have been putting pressure on terrorist groups and the regimes that tolerate them or support them, but we have been giving Israel a relative free pass while they commit great atrocities that stir up the Islamic world to more anger. We must start putting real pressure on Israel (withholding financial aid, applying sanctions, etc). I am not talking about punishing them for defending themselves. I am talking about punishing them for illegally building settlements in the West Bank, suppressing the people of Gaza until those who fight back get a lot of support. Sharon pulled settlements out of Gaza because they were too difficult to defend, not out of a make peace gesture to the Palestinians.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 11 months ago

Avoice, I have lived a few years, and there has ALWAYS, throughout my entire life, been violence and uncertainty in the middle east. This isn't something that just suddenly appeared there a week or so ago.

It has happened many times, countless times, within my memory, and the memories of my parents and grandparents. It's nothing new. It's not Bush's fault, and "don't mess with Texas" (whatever you think THAT means) has nothing to do with it. Clinton had nothing to do with it. Bush Sr. had nothing to do with it. Hell, not even Nixon had anything to do with it.

I don't know what the solution is, or even if there IS a solution. I just know that I've heard about it so many times over the years that I fear there will never be peace in the middle east. Just when you think progress has been made, something flares up again.

acg 11 years, 11 months ago

Americans aren't beloved in this world, unless some other country needs a tyrant killed or a post disaster clean up or money, food, guns or medicine. Then, America is everybody's best friend. Foreigners like to spend a lot of time bitching about how Americans are fat, lazy and worthless, yet they flock here in droves every year, for school, to live, for tourism or just to have a little taste of democracy, freedom and fun.

As for the middle east, those people have been fighting each other for a few thousand years. Are we really naive enough to believe that this generation is going to be different? I'm tired of it all. For as long as I can remember, the news out of the middle east has been the same, death, bombs, guns, war and Allah. I say, screw 'em all. Pull all of our troops and let them sink or swim. They're tired of America getting involved? I can respect that. Let's not get involved, with any of it, including the humanitarian aid.

enochville 11 years, 11 months ago

Europe fought for thousands of years, too, but what do you know we don't have any wars going on in Western Europe.

Europe screwed up when they created Israel and sent the European Jews there making no provision for the Palestinians who were already living there.

You are right that Nixon, Carter, Regan, Bush Sr, Clinton, nor Bush Jr ever fixed the problem there despite all of the accords. No one seems willing to put pressure on Israel to clean up its act. The Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists will lose public support when Israel quits treating the Palestinians poorly.

We cannot do everything, but we can do somethings to make things better.

sgtwolverine 11 years, 11 months ago

Enoch, we dispatched with that specific problem of Hitler, but we haven't actually solved the underlying cause(s) of Hitler and his ilk. I do not advocate just sitting back and ignoring issues with a flippant, "God will handle it," but we haven't actually solved anything; we've simply put down some of the more obvious manifestations of our problems. It is good and necessary to do so, but it is not a solution.

Also, it's all well and good to consider putting pressure on Israel, but ultimately, as others have pointed out, instability, hatred and violence are long-standing traditions in the middle east. Whether it's Jew/Arab or Muslim/Christian or Muslim/Muslim, there's been that hatred for centuries. Believe me, I would love to see a solution to those conflicts, but it is so deeply ingrained that it is essentially a way of life there, in a way we just don't understand.

I don't mean to sound hopeless about all of this, because I'm really not. I just don't want to overestimate what we have done, or what we will be able to do.

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

Firstly, the children of Ismael and the children of Isaac are never going to be friendly. We count wars in years, those two count theirs in millennia!! The most we can hope for is that through negotiations we can keep them from destroying one another.

jonas: I loved it!! Sparked up an otherwise monotonous morning.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

OMB - of course I would not want Saddam back in power. What my concern is, is that the US has not finished the job. They have not given the people a better life. If the insurgents are to be overcome, the support of the people must be removed from them. People who have the necessities of life do not support rebellion. I remember when the League of Nations gave Palestine to the Jews and the Palestinians were put into refugee camps and they sat there for years and years. Did Jordan or Syria, or Saudi Arabia or Lebanon take them out of those camps and give them new homes? No, that would have been too easy and would not have created hatred for the Jews. There is no easy solution now. The hatred is too entrenched. And as someone has said, above, Israel needs to be stepped on by the west and made to give better treatment to the Palestinians, but not with guns and bombs. Economical pressure should work. I found a web site once that listed all the countries in the world and gave the percentage of freedom that the citizens enjoyed. And just guess which countries were the most peaceful and content. People will only take oppression for so long and then they rise up with or without outside help. Give people better lives and they will live in peace.

Linda Endicott 11 years, 11 months ago

I keep waiting for "Chickens With Choppers", but so far, nothing...sigh.

ms_canada 11 years, 11 months ago

Yes and TOB just supported my statement, people who have freedom in their country to pursue life and happiness, live in peace

optimist 11 years, 11 months ago

When a foreign entity that makes it clear they seek only to destroy you and people like you in a second holocaust while there are still many alive today who experienced the first and they enter your country unprovoked and kidnap your soldiers the only response can be a viloent one.

I only wish the American people had the same attitude. If we had responded against terrorists that blew up the Kobar tower in Saudi Arabia and the USS Cole with this level of vigor it is very possible that 9/11 wouldn't have happened and we wouldn't be in the war we are in today.

The Israeli response is the appropriate response. When the kidnapped soldiers are returned, the rockets stop flying into Israel and the terrorists are disarmed by Lebanon then and only then should Israel stop. Until then I say they should become increasingly more violent until their enemies sworn to destroy them are themselves destroyed down to the very last person.

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

enoch, I do sincerely respect your right to convert or revert regarding your spiritual beliefs. However, in such a short time you have seemingly redirected your zeal from convincing us of the existence of God and our need to seek His wisdom in our decision making to adamently denying His existence and in effect, telling us to pull ourselves up by the boot straps, take charge of our lives and this world, and work to bring about peace.

There are many people, of various belief systems, who strive daily, in whatever ways are available to them, to bring about peace among their fellow residents of this Earth.

Please remember, atheism is also a belief system, a religion. I must admit, I don't have enough faith to be an athiest. If there is no God, and no afterlife, I for one wouldn't care one bit about what people do to themselves and each other as long as it didn't affect me and my happiness during my very limited days on this planet.

Kontum1972 11 years, 11 months ago

Saddam was the control point in the area, the Admin., did extactly what Iran, Syria wanted the took him out of the arena, he kept "them" in check and now they are running wild and the bonus of the huge US airbase being built in iraq which give the admin., strike capabilities anywhere in the area in a moments notice, no more long trips for the B2's. Its the perfect DEATH STAR for the Dark Lord Cheney...he is running the show the cowboy is the puppet. No one knows who is on the VPs staff and they cannot interview any of them or are they allow to talk to press...its a very tight circle.

It is like Pres./Gen. Eisenhower predicted, fear the Military Industrial Complex....he knew, he warned...but no one listened. The video Lord of War hits the nail on the head...

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

Whether or not you agree with Israeli policy, they have been consistant in following their publicized response to any form of aggression. They have zero tolerance when attacks of any form are made. They have said so from the beginning.

When I heard that 2 Israeli soldiers had been kidnapped I immediately wondered what the response would be, how long it would last and what degree of force would be shown. Surely those who live in the region and deal daily with the Israeli - whomever attacks her - scenario are just as aware of the consequences as a middle aged woman sitting at her desk in Kansas.

For whatever purpose, the kidnappings were intended to bring about a reaction, and they did. How can we tell Israel that they cannot defend their military and citizenry? Could anyone have told the United States that they should not retaliate when thousands of our fellow Americans were killed on September 11th? or December 7th?

MomMeg 11 years, 11 months ago

Great posting today. I have to agree with acg -- the middle eastern countries have been fighting with each other for thousands of years. They don't want our help, I say fine -- just keep blowin each other up and leave the rest of us on the globe alone!! As far as concerned, I would have to say that with so many friends and family serving in our military I am very concerned -- lots of special people in my life being sent over to fight or "aide" in these conflicts.

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

I think countries such as ourselves, Canada, Spain, England, and the others we see in the news everyday, have discovered the hard way that they will not "leave us alone." Spain thought that capitulating to the terrorists would put her out of harm's way, but that hasn't proven to be true either. I too wish our military could come home, or at least be deployed to safer turf, but I don't think that will happen in the near future. The middle east will always be on people's minds and I don't think anyone has the answer. When hatred is so engrained on both sides there seems to be no desire to co-exist. Unless that desire develops, there will be no peace, just pauses to reposition.

Larry 11 years, 11 months ago

Good post Das_Ubermime.

I have been following the crisis very closely. I don't think it will matter what Israel gives up or does to promote peace in the Middle East. The violence, hatred and attacks will not cease until Israel doesn't exist.

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

Das: You are absolutely right. Thanks for pursuing it further. Your points are valid and well written. Extremist never have enough power. You know the old saying, "Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts, absolutely."

Fangorn 11 years, 11 months ago

First, it's nice to have a substantive question. Second, I excepted a very acrimonious debate. I'm glad I was wrong. In spite of sharp disagreement, everyone seems to be advocating their viewpoint rather than attacking other posters. It's days like this that remind me why I enjoy coming here.

Regarding the question, I agree with Banaka Okwuone and with several other on the board this morning. It's been going on a long time. It's going to continue going on. I'm no more concerned about it today than I was last month. Now, that's not to say that I'm unconcerned, just no more than before.

Also, when the nation of Israel was created, they also tried to create a Palestinian state next to it. It was the Arabs/Palestinians who rejected this. Just like 8 years ago when Barak offered Arafat 95% of what he wanted, including East Jerusalem as the captial of his Palestinian state, Arafat responded by launching an Intifada. These terrorist groups do not recognize Israel's right to exist. Until they can do that, there will always be war. I believe they will never recognize Israel's right, therefore there will always be war in the Middle East.

And for those who seem to intimate some moral equivilance between the actions of Hamas and Hezbollah on the one hand and Israel on the other, do you think these Qassam rockets launched from southern Lebanon would even have made the news (for more than one cycle) if Israel hadn't responded? We don't even notice anymore when some zealot blows up some Irsaeli schoolchildren or diners at a deli, but oh no! let the IDF respond and we're all crying for "restraint".

jonas 11 years, 11 months ago

Ceallach: Das's posts sound reasonable, sane, and even productive until you see his picture:

RonBurgandy 11 years, 11 months ago

I could be wrong on this, but I believe that I learned that muslims (maybe not all, maybe all) believe that all land that once belonged to Allah will always belong to Allah. So, taking the land that created the nation of Israel from the Palestinians was taking land from God. If this is true, then I think it will be a long time until there is peace in the region. When someone believes something so much that they are willing to die for it, it is very hard to change their mind or hope that they compromise.

avoice 11 years, 11 months ago

Yes, Middle East wars have been going on for thousands of years. What concerns me in the PRESENT situation, is the potential for this all to escalate into World War, not just territorital war. The U.S. presence in the thick of it all raises the antennae of countries throughout the world. Violence leads to violence. Let's not forget that there were 3 incendiary incidents in about a week's time:

  • North Korean missile tests (flexing their muscles)
  • Bombing of commuter trains in India (and Indian posturing to blame Pakistan for it)
  • Hezbollah/Israeli attacks

These incidents, in combination, point to an increase in world tensions. People worldwide are becoming very tense. Now is the time for powerful countries such as the U.S. to advocate for calming of tensions. Yet, here we are in the thick of the fight and pulling no punches.

Mark me, THIS time escalating violence in the Middle East could tip the scales toward more blow-ups. Look at how World War I got started. Politics may be regional, but consequences may be broader. Ever hear of the butterfly effect? *

YourItalianPrincess 11 years, 11 months ago

I think its sad that these two countries have nothing better to do but blow each other up.

I feel for the children who have to go through this on a daily basis.

BunE 11 years, 11 months ago

Wow, I had no idea so many of you suckled your information about the middle east from Fox News.

Ceallach 11 years, 11 months ago

Now BunE, this is play nice day. Otherwise tomorrow's question will be something like . . . "What do you think of while watching paint dry?" . . . and I don't EVEN want to read some the answers that could bring about :)

yovnoc 11 years, 11 months ago

On cable news they keep interviewing a woman that is living in Lebanon with her husband and 13 month old child. Why, pray tell, would an American live in that part of the world with a child. The mother doesn't understand that U.S. evacuation is not as immediate as ordering through drive thru. Her kind of "I want it now" thinking doesn't help. Feel bad for the kid, but for the mother and father I've got a nice little hut in the Sudan with their name on it.

BunE 11 years, 11 months ago

I guess that liberal bias in the media is no longer a problem eh?

I am even more impressed with everyone's simplistic view of the mideast too.

Steve Jacob 11 years, 11 months ago

Notes... Heck, how fast can we evacuate americans in Lebanon when it takes days to evacuate the Superdome.

And the Iranian president was elected, unlike our friend, the King of Jordon.

Charles L. Bloss, Jr. 11 years, 11 months ago

Marion, that was outstanding! I agree completely. That should be done in our, or Israels battle with any terrorists. I think our military situation would improve if we put pig fat on all our ammunition, shells, missles and made it well known. We should have press conferences in every language in the areas of conflict, stressing what we did. Then stand back and see what happens with regard to the military situation in Afganistan, Iraq, and any other country where we use military force against terrorists. Thank you, Lynn

BunE 11 years, 11 months ago

Oh righty, you silly nut, there is not liberal bias unless it counters the right wing talking points. You know: 1. Terr 2. Jebus 3. Moral decay 4. 'bortion 5. the belief that inside every feriner is an american dying to get out. 6. Bill Clinton is the anti-christ 7. france is bad So, that being said, I must reiterate that it astounds me how ignorant americans are when it comes to the middle east. Do any of you know what a maronite is? A druze? Do you know who Emile Lahoud is? What about a shiite? What about a Katyushka (where did that term come from). Oh well, ignorance is bliss and given the commentary that I see on this board, We's happy!

Jay_Z 11 years, 11 months ago

Ok BunE, how about you educate us dolts on that "mideast" region?

sunflower_sue 11 years, 11 months ago

Am I concerned? Yeah. Will I lose any sleep? Probably not. This has been going on for as long as I can remember and my most optimistic self doesn't ever see an end to it.

I'm at a point where I agree w/ acg. I'm so sick of the USA not getting recognition for doing anything good. I say we stay the he!! out of other people's problems and keep our $ here at home. Then, we would have more resources to bomb the crap out of nations that tick us off. :oP

Seriously, I think if our own national security is treatened, we need to respond. We have to respond. Otherwise, leave the "idiots in action" to themselves.

Ms_C, If for some unforseen reason, Canada had some great natural disaster, or some "crazies" decided that Canadian soil looked pretty good to them, would Canada expect support from the USA? Maybe then our soldiers (and our dollars) would be hailed as saviours.

hottruckinmama 11 years, 11 months ago

i agree with sunflower we need to just stay out of it unless they threaten us. if there is one thing that those countries really excel at it is bombing the h*ll out of each other. i won't even pretend to understand middle eastern politics but as near as i can tell they have been killing each other off since at least bible times. it seems to be kind ingrained in their nature. i doubt we can do much to change it.

BunE 11 years, 11 months ago

Excellent Rightyoh, nice use of Wikipedia. Fine generalizations. One thing, Lahoud is Syrian Lackey.

At first I was pleased that you took the time to look ups some simple terms and some of the players in Lebanon. But then you called me a name. Typical right-wing ignorance, when you have no argument you call names, you, rush, hannity, etc...when you have nothing you call people names.

At any rate, Iran and Syria are the criminals here, Lebanon is caught between them and Israel. Israel, taking a page from American Foreign Policy, pulled out of Southern Lebanon with no plan other than telling the Lebanese to disarm Hezbullah. Syria, having been in the country since the civil war kept Hezbullah around empowering them to run the south. Social Services, police and border patrol, unfortunately, no disarmament. Finally, the Lebanese people had had enough and after the assasination of former PM Harriri, the Syrians were forced to deaprt, leaving a weak and ineffectual government.

Flash to today. Syria wants back into Lebanon, Iran is looking for a second front, and Israel took the bait. But I guess the lives of the Lebanese don't mean much to someone like you rightyoh. Not Americans, what do you care?


mommy3 11 years, 11 months ago

You all need to read Revelations in the talks about the current war. It talks about the nation of Isreal being at war, and only one nation will stand up for her. Then the whole world will look at that one country and get angry. because it's precious Jewels (Oil) will be dried up. It also says that the "Lady (Israel) will be carried to safety by an EAGLE! (America) I know I am not saying it word for word, but it sure makes me think!

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