Monday, November 3, 2008

Two Book Recomendations

As some of you know, Thomas Friedman, is my favorite columnist/commentator/non-fiction-writer. I have been reading his column since high school. His political stance on the Middle East is like mine. Last week, I checked out From Beirut to Jerusalem from the college library. I am just amazed by the number of insights this guy has about Israel, Lebanon, and the Middle East in general. I think this book came out in the early 90's but this book is still relevant today.

One of the major themes this book is about is the myths that people in the US and Israel have about the Middle East. This reminds me of a more recent book Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East - 1776 to Present by American-Israeli historian Michael Oren. Oren's book is more like an historical narrative while Friedman's book is more about his experience in Lebanon and Israel as a NYT's foreign correspondent. Both books are really easy to read.

One of the major events Friedman covers in his book is the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in the early 80's. While I was reading his analysis of that war, I kept thinking of how similar it is to America's war in Iraq. Oy, if only our American leaders had read this book and learned from Israel's mistakes. My dad, who served in the IDF and fought in Lebanon in the early 80's, was against the war in Iraq from the start. He used the Lebanon war as a reason not to invade Iraq. He knew that the American Armed Forces would be unprepared to deal with the different factions in Iraq and bring security to the locals, just like Israel failed in Lebanon.

I just hope we in the US can learn from our mistakes faster than Israel has learned from the first Lebanon war. We don't want to be in Iraq for another 13 years.

While I'm at it, I recommend all of Friedman's books. I read The Lexus and the Olive Tree which is about globalism, and The World is Flat which is about the 21st century economy.

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