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think small-what constitutes a crisis

Reader comment on item: The Middle East and Islam Dominate U.S. Public Life

Submitted by j (United States), Jan 2, 2007 at 08:47

In the little world of families, human drama, catastrophe and crises arise each day and each family must react to the crisis and choose how its resources, members and day to day operations will proceed during the crisis. In my family, illness has demanded the adjustments of the above criteria and the aftermath of such events requires that the family reorganize, recalculate its remaining resources and adjust to the new circumstances created by the crisis. The stress, the challenges, the relentless attention required by crisis takes its toll, and other issues, needs and problems are often ignored, neglected or put off because of the crisis. The US has its own crisis, Iraq. Of course it dominated the "news."

However, the fact that a crisis got the most attention is not meaningful of anything besides the fact that as a crisis, of course it dominated our thoughts and actions. The issue is that in the absence of weapons of mass destruction, it became clear that the US chose to make Iraq our crisis. That choice also influenced the other issues, need and problems that might have been addressed while the US focused on its "crisis."

The other top stories including, nuclear standoffs in Korea and Iran, illegal immigration, scandals in Congress and the Israel Lebanon war that resulted from the continued expansion, popularity and legitimacy of the terrorist Hezbollah group, and the continuing human catastrophe in Darfur are also attributable to the fact that by committing our resources to the chosen Iraq "crisis", we diverted resources, personnel and day to day activities that could have and probably should have been addressing other situations. Like the family in crisis, we neglected other things while we addressed the "crisis".

Perhaps like a family, a country cannot prepare for every crisis, but the choice to make a situation a crisis, and all that such a label means in terms of commitment of resources and time, should encourage us to check, re-check and check again before we allow ourselves to be sucked into the draining, traumatic, drama that any crisis creates.

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