My favorite columnist, Jon Carroll, wrote a column on Wednesday that I thought was a good start toward a sane discussion of Tuesday's events. He talks about patience, guerilla war, rage and wisdom, and why comparisons to Pearl Harbor aren't really apt. He says: "We have now officially joined the global village. It doesn't look a lot like those Intel ads, does it?" Some of what he said then hasn't turned out as he predicted—in particular, at least according to official reports, we're already beginning to get some ideas on who was behind it (though I haven't yet seen any evidence that it's anywhere near as clear-cut as many people make it out to be; there seems to be a general sentiment that Osama bin Laden sat in the center of his spider's web and masterminded the whole affair personally, which seems awfully unlikely for all sorts of reasons). But his general points are still valid and important. In Thursday's column he went on to discuss some possible scenarios of where we go from here; events have again overtaken a few of the things he said (I gather that Pakistan has expressed willingness to help the US in attacking Afghanistan, though I'm not sure of that), and I think he misses an important point (made by Mary Anne) that an attack on Afghanistan will likely involve an enormous amount of suffering on the part of the ordinary non-Taliban citizens of what's left of that country, particularly the women, who have no say in the government at all. But still interesting ideas. And in Friday's column, he followed up with some more personal thoughts, including pointing out that politicians have lied to us in the past many times, and that tragedies on much vaster scales happen regularly without much notice by Americans. (I'll talk more about this later; one question to consider involves the differences between natural disasters, wars, and terrorist attacks.)
Mary Anne made similarly good points in her journal entry on Wednesday. (She also had a couple of particularly worth-reading comments at the end of her Tuesday entry, including describing coming home on a bus in Salt Lake City that day: "[T]hey looked at my brown skin, and they didn't know what it meant -- they couldn't tell a Sri Lankan from an Indian from an Arab on a good day. And today was so not a good day.") She too continued on Thursday with good discussion about fears of what we might become if we get carried away.
...I'm not sure whether it makes sense to provide URLs inline in my entries or to list them all together at the end of an entry. I think I'll do the latter mostly for "related reading" kinds of things that don't have an obvious linking point in the text. I'm sure I'll figure out what works best for me over time.