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Peace Through Education

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with humanitarian Greg Mortenson, best-selling author of THREE CUPS OF TEA and STONES INTO SCHOOLS, about his work promoting education and building schools in remote areas of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mortenson said:

"I really think that fighting terrorism is based in fear, but promoting peace is based in hope... Peace is about hope, it's about compassion, it's about love. It doesn't mean we just go around the world holding hands and drinking tea and having peace. But I really do believe that there's a lot of power behind love and compassion and respecting and listening to people. Obviously there are atrocities happening, and we witness and hear about them daily. One thing I noticed, having met some former Taliban, is even they as children grew up being indoctrinated. They grew up in violence. They grew up in war. They were taught to hate... One thing we do is hire former Taliban to teach in our schools... They've become now our greatest advocates for education. They're willing to go out into the most volatile areas and promote education."

Other voices have emphasized that the Taliban still represent a dangerous threat to the region. Another humanitarian working in Afghanistan, Sarah Chayes, told Bill Moyers a year ago that she believes many troops are necessary to protect Afghan civilians and maintain stability. She said:

"At this point the Taliban kind of military campaign plan is effective enough that you do need troops to prevent them from making military encroachments that are really dangerous. You also need troops to protect the population from the Taliban. There are people who don't like the Taliban but may kind of knuckle under to them because, on the one hand, the government isn't doing anything better for them. And the Taliban are going to kill them if they don't visibly divide themselves away from the government. So you need to be able to protect people from that kind of an intimidation campaign, and that takes troops."

What do you think?

  • Do you believe Greg Mortenson's work building schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan will contribute to achieving peace in that troubled region?

  • Do you think that missions like Mortenson's to promote education can affect other problems elsewhere in the world? Explain.


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    Comments

    h. beasley wrote, in part, "I have always been aware that wars are instigated by the extremists few and that the majority of the people only want peace and prosperity for themselves and their children."

    War is always about the booty. Thieves launch pre-emptive wars. Everybody else then responds with a "Just War".

    And so it goes...

    Last night, I was in a place and time where there were two world's fair parties going on at the same time - one was a broadcast from Vancouver, Canada and the other was outside the window at the City Park where fireworks manufacturors gather every February to show off their new stuff...

    "Normal people" and "extremist few" both have to access the "material world" for life maintenence.

    Funny how "education" is hailed as a "new approach" in a land torn by war for 30 years, and from the same "strategists", a country NOT recovered from a war half a century ago signed on as a proxy "weapons" holder for a super power...desperation?

    Kids start out shooting potatos, and they end up shooting billions of $$$ off somewhere or other on the planet...go figure about "edjewkashun"...

    There is a lot more $$$ to be made from peaceful world's fair parties for the MAJORITY of the people of earth.

    Time to really get serious about having that Just War.

    The back-to-back snow storms in the D.C region afforded me the opportunity to read "Three Cups of Tea." As an active duty military officer, Mr. Mortenson's narrative is powerful and reinforces one of the most salient take aways from US Military's experience in Counter Insurgency conflicts: "sometimes the best weapons for counterinsurgents do not shoot." While security is essential to setting the stage for progress, lasting stability will only come through non-lethal (and far more affordable) initiatives such as Mr. Mortenson's. It’s encouraging to see our senior military leaders understand this too and are embracing Mr. Mortenson’s approach.

    I was strongly inspired with your interview with Greg Mortenson and immediately purchased his books and read both nonstop. I am encourage that their is hope for reasoned thinking about war and peace. I have always been aware that wars are instigated by the extremists few and that the majority of the people only want peace and prosperity for themselves and their children. I have been telling everybody I know about Greg's work and books. If we only had an army of Gregs what a better world this would be. Thanks Bill Thank you Greg. H.Beasley

    Every show I watch strengthens my conviction that our public airwaves should be required to broadcast campaign content, whatever the election, free of charge.

    Outside local nation contractors only builds in huge profit margins or high risk salaries and reduces the VFM ( value for money) of each $ or Pound or Yen.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    USA is in need of "Nation Building" from the wreckage of "contractors" - the enronistas who went from energy to real estate and finally got stopped at the really BIG piece of the pie, health care.

    Afghanistan has been a war zone for over 30 years.

    Look to Japan and Germany and "Marshall Plans" - stop re-inventing the wheel.

    LABOR in Haiti isn't getting "paid" to rebuild and neither does your plan allow currency to flow to the "individual" because the individual is "labor" without "permission" to CREATING a currency from its labor. Big difference, no? The "currency" still comes from a "master" who, at will, can decide that the "entitlement" is too much. And there is NO historical record to show that the "contractor" isn't still the "master" because they're the ones who walk off the war field with the booty...

    Another big bowl of crazy...

    USA is the case history example for what "globalization" was REALLY all about...cut and pasted - again - about what "education" wrought in USA...

    "....It's a wrenching description of how "educating" people who have been self-sufficient for thousands of years turns them into dependents in a money economy, and actually creates poverty where none existed before...."

    New Jersey congressman has it straight that he PERCEIVES the USA to be in need of nation re-building. Clear thinking, imo.

    What USA and Afghanistan DO have in common is the "black market" economy of a narco state.

    USA has succeeded in exploiting "globalization" to grow the "black market" at the expense of a SUSTAINABLE CIVILIZATION where people had a value system that was HOME-BUILDING and not swinging through the trees wacked out on hallucinogenics.

    I have just a few
    observations.
    Yes to Education as a primary need internationally especially in Nations where they cannot afford, much more money is needed on this in Afghanistan in particular, but all nations who provide funds must forego any specific religion requirement to thier funding and let each nation decide which religion is taught.
    Second why cannot we learn from the historical development of todays so called developed nations. It was a transition from feudalism (tribalism)thru agriculture reform to industry and infrastructure Improvement, roads, rail dams electricity etc.,
    So education first then the order as above money spent on Agrarian reform and food independence ( interim aid if needed) as far as possible, infrastructure spending etc and On top of that the UN aids a governance system under a codified Law system ( sharia) if that is the local nations preference.
    What you need is to have a system that ensure most of the money goes directly to individual local people for whatever purpose.
    My point supply the materials and advisory expertise. They provide the labour to build schools, write books or buy books, teachers or people for teacher training.The people for agricultural labour/training the seed planting / crop change/ harvesting and are paid during the crop transition directly individually so they can contribute to the cost of interim food aid without corruption.
    Businesses will develop around all that and must pay taxes on profits which can be used government centrally for investment in security, police and Military. There is too much emphasis on this latter as it will come naturally if people have an education,food on the table and the assurance of an initially somewhat feudal justice system until a national effective system is in place.
    Call it counter insurgency , nation building whatever, it has to be aimed directly at individuals, passing it thru government departments only lead to corruption, and using Outside local nation contractors only builds in huge profit margins or high risk salaries and reduces the VFM ( value for money) of each $ or Pound or Yen.
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    Just want to say your article is striking. The clarity in your post is simply striking and i can take for granted you are an expert on this subject. Well with your permission allow me to grab your rss feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please keep up the ac complished work. Excuse my poor English. English is not my mother tongue.

    I love the ideas of splitting the Dept. of Defense to create a Department of Peace!
    Posted by: Ted N.

    It would a nice if our justice system would have the power to correct social injustice instead of just punish people for crimes. There are so many laws on the books now at all levels of government that it is impossible not to commit a crime.

    The work that Mr. Mortenson has been able to do in central Asia has been phenomenal. Think about what could be accomplished if the resources of the federal government were at his disposal! I love the ideas of splitting the Dept. of Defense to create a Department of Peace!

    If you doubt it, spend one week in India, Pakistan or Afghanistan and watch the women carrying fire wood and water on their heads EVERY DAY. When they work on construction sites, they even give them special hard hats with a round disk moulded into the top so they can carry heavy pans of dirt on their heads.

    Posted by: jake hawkes

    I don't doubt you, Jake.

    You should see how I pack the horses :-)

    I am just baffled at how people are forgetting the EIGHT YEARS OF NIGHTMARE, the Bush Administration imposed on the electorate.
    Posted by: Dandi Phil Kastel

    No one has forgotten the eight year nightmare. They are just disgusted with the fact that President Obama has forgotten his promises and is carrying on the same failed agenda of the Republicans.
    He needs to get us out of the Iraq wrong war and deal with the terrorists.
    He never did learn that sucking up to the Republicants will not work.
    He loves the Republicans and they are making him look like an idiot.
    If he wants to be a lion he is going to have to find some courage.

    I have been working in rural India for some time now and to me the evidence is pretty clear that a lack of education for everyone but especially women is one of the critical issues related to poverty.

    I think Mortensen should be nominated as the Presidents Man of the Year

    If you doubt it, spend one week in India, Pakistan or Afghanistan and watch the women carrying fire wood and water on their heads EVERY DAY. When they work on construction sites, they even give them special hard hats with a round disk moulded into the top so they can carry heavy pans of dirt on their heads.

    I am just baffled at how people are forgetting the EIGHT YEARS OF NIGHTMARE, the Bush Administration imposed on the electorate. These are years when it was not important to defend the people's rights by torturing for offenses against the state, a time when our billions of dollars went to support a bogus war based on bogus evidence cooked up by the then govt. This is a time when the war in Afganistan was completely ignored as secondary and most military and financial resources were directed to fight a bogus war in Iraq. This was a time when the United States lost a lot of trading benefits with other countries of the world because our leaders spoke condescendingly to those world leaders who did business with China instead of the USA. This was a time where the United States became less respected by other countries because of speaking 'demeaningly' about the other world leaders.

    This was a time when President Bush pleaded with other countries to join him in the Iraq war at the United Nations on more than one occasion and they refused to support the US. This a time when unemployment soared. This was a time when the largest companies in the US including Enron went bust.

    This was indeed a time of one of the largest financial disaster to the US economy in the history of this country and now the Republicans have masterfully spinned it to blame their monumental failures on President Barack Obama.

    This is definitely a case of national amnesia. this is baffling me, unbelievably. It is beyond comprehension that after one year in office, its Obama's fault. I believe that the democrats is so consumed in solving the countries problems that they can hardly defend themselves from the smear campaign that the republicans have so masterfully engineered. It seems to me that their propaganda machinery is unexpectedly effective. Wake up democrats. You must launch a counteractive propaganda campaign to shoot down the republicans lies. Not doing so will lead to your short lived domination of the senate and your defeat in the next election. If you listen you'll learn.

    Douglas Kay wrote, in part, "This of course is the long term solution to replace the failed military solution since indocrtinating a girl has a much greater effect than a boy."

    Did you write a book promoting this delusion about "indoctrination", or are you parroting someone else?

    There is little hope for peace through education when children are being taught that people are no more than wild animals with a big brain and then supply them with killer toys for them to cut their teeth on.
    To make things worse; entertainment is based on violence and sexual aggression. Then there are the malicious blow things up videos when they get a little older.
    Add to that the "its all about me" advertisements pushing drugs, sex and greed. No wonder we have people obsessing over trivial matters while ignoring real threats.
    Why would we want to push our failed culture on other people?

    This man is awesome! Keep up the good work!

    I'm all for educating people but I have my doubts about the motives of some people. Religion should never be allowed as a subject in any school but i suspect that many of these schools in Afghanistan are religious based. This of course is the long term solution to replace the failed military solution since indocrtinating a girl has a much greater effect than a boy.

    leave the Afghans alone to live like they've always lived, after all western society is no advert for good government or sensible solutions.

    Sarah Chaudhary wrote, in part, "So of course they will rejoice at the sight of a swing set."

    Yup, typical "stoner" activity :-) - very dark Cheech and Chong humor - my apologies to the war lords and drug lords with "sensitive" religious beliefs...

    Thanks, Ms. Russell, for sharing your information. With a completely different set of "words" identifying the same issue, many others are arriving at the same point in time of agreement - up to and including, possibly, what has been identified as an "unease" with "modernity" among the "religious" in the "middle east".

    In other words, I agree with your line of thinking about "education" :-)


    Harriet Russell wrote, in part, "It's a wrenching description of how "educating" people who have been self-sufficient for thousands of years turns them into dependents in a money economy, and actually creates poverty where none existed before. In the process, a rich culture, a peaceful and harmonious community profoundly connected to the land, is being replaced by sprawling slums, crime, religious intolerance, and pollution."

    I used to think that educating people in "developing" countries was all good, but I'm beginning to learn about the dark side. I'm now reading "Ancient Futures: Learning from Ladakh", by Helena Norgerg-Hodge. It describes in detail the life before and after western-style development, including education, arrived in the trans-Himalayan region of Kashmir.
    It's a wrenching description of how "educating" people who have been self-sufficient for thousands of years turns them into dependents in a money economy, and actually creates poverty where none existed before. In the process, a rich culture, a peaceful and harmonious community profoundly connected to the land, is being replaced by sprawling slums, crime, religious intolerance, and pollution.
    I admit, I haven't read Greg Mortenson's books, but several articles about them. One says: "According to the World Bank, a single year of primary education can increase a woman’s income 10 to 20 percent later in life." and: "Almost no jobs exist for rural women in these developing countries."
    These quotes make me uneasy. One of the problems described in "Ancient Futures" is just that; people educated for jobs that don't exist, who have, meanwhile, not learned the skills needed to participate in their old communities, end up isolated in desperate slums.

    If this has sparked your interest, you can find out more at the International Society for Ecology and Culture: http://www.isec.org.uk/

    I applaud Greg's efforts, and many thanks to Bill for having him on the show. Imagine if we split the Defense Department into two - a Department of Peace, and a Department of Defense. Spending 10% of the budget on Peace - for roads, water systems, solar electric, schools, medical assistance, disaster relief, and real jobs, plus business opportunities for people in Afghanistan and elsewhere, we would be helping to end poverty & empowering people to build lasting prosperity, while simultaneously reducing the need for military actions. From poverty, inequity, limited educational opportunity, and our lack of understanding, the problem grows; in the long run helping citizens of other nations to climb out of their own poverty & sincerely listening to them is the only way to reduce the violence and tensions. Hats off to Greg Mortenson for achieving what seemed impossible, and to Bill Moyers for bringing such hope to us. Keep up the good work!!

    I applaud Greg's efforts, and many thanks to Bill for having him on the show. Imagine if we split the Defense Department into two - a Department of Peace, and a Department of Defense. Spending 10% of the budget on Peace - for roads, water systems, solar electric, schools, medical assistance, disaster relief, and real jobs, plus business opportunities for people in Afghanistan and elsewhere, we would be helping to end poverty & empowering people to build lasting prosperity, while simultaneously reducing the need for military actions. From poverty, inequity, limited educational opportunity, and our lack of understanding, the problem grows; in the long run helping citizens of other nations to climb out of their own poverty & sincerely listening to them is the only way to reduce the violence and tensions. Hats off to Greg Mortenson for achieving what seemed impossible, and to Bill Moyers for bringing such hope to us. Keep up the good work!!

    In regards to the piece on Greg Mortensen, I think the unexpected reaction of the southern Afghan tribal leaders to the sight of the school playground says it all....They dropped their weapons and started to play! These men were never given the chance to be children. They endured an all encompassing deprivation that I cannot even begin to imagine. So of course they will rejoice at the sight of a swing set. Of course they will rejoice at the thought of the next generation getting the simplest of pleasures they never had. And I rejoice at the integrity, brilliance, and compassion of Mr. Mortensen for reminding the world that the ink of a scholar is truly greater than the blood of martyr.

    They don't call it the River of DaNile for nothing :-)

    "....The NGOs fighting the phenomenon say Israel Police flatly denies the existence of domestic sex trafficking. These groups are outraged at the perceived lack of police action against the people behind the classified ads.

    The U.S. Trafficking In Persons Report, issued in June 2009, states: "Police did not initiate any investigations into the trafficking of Israeli citizens within the country and generally did not recognize trafficked Israeli women as such."

    "They [the police] deny the existence of this phenomenon," says Willinger. "They claim there is no such thing as internal trafficking in Israel." Wolfe notes that when women from the former Soviet Union were first trafficked into Israel, police also denied the occurrence, but later estimated that 3,000 foreign sex workers were trafficked into Israel from the region annually...."

    Slavery - what's old is new again...

    The Israeli neocons are at it again:

    Israel accused of silencing political protest
    ...Israeli police as they detain a left-wing activist during a demonstration in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Israel is arresting a growing number of prominent opponents of its policies toward the Palestinians, spurring accusations that it is trying to crush legitimate dissent.
    ...
    Since the summer, dozens of Palestinian and Israeli activists have been picked up, including those organizing weekly protests against Israel's West Bank separation barrier as well as others advocating international boycotts of Israeli goods.
    Some of the Palestinians were released without charge only after weeks and months of questioning.

    D.Kay 1-19 9:59am so illiterate is better than learning from missionaries?

    Read for a man & he knows what he is told, but teach a man to read and his horizons expand--unless you think it best to burn all books you are not in agreement with.

    There is a local church that has members go to poor countries and build houses--no joke! so, don't give to that church and you are not helping to build houses.

    Some commenting here seem to have negative issues with religion & given man's involvement, I'm sure there are faillings deserving rejection, but religion has positive impact for many. If you reject religion do you rise up so you become a judge of benefits others may receive? No!

    Billy Bob Florida

    DCEddy: There is a big problem when a doctor is removing good organs and leaving in the bad organs.

    AD - Nope, that's "capitalism" - harder to sell a bad organ.

    DCEddy: Sometimes we have to turn reality in side out to see what it is all about.

    AD - The track record is 100% accurate as I see it - the "light" is always "neutralized". The "evil" afoot in the world today is one busy busy little bee - NOTHING stands in the way of ME ME ME.

    I'm all for schools being built for young inquisitive minds but what worries me is what is taught in these schools. Mr Mortenson comes from a background of missionaries so I suspect this insidious religion which abounds in the USA will be stuffed down those poor childrens throats and they will become champions of all things american.

    I was about to send some money to a charity the other day until I discovered they too went around the world building churches instead of houses

    Mr Moyers,

    Thank you for another informative program. Greg Mortenson has already achieved something significant and self-sustaining that will redound to the benefit of all for years if not generations to come. He is to be commended. He obviously seeks and needs to maintain neutral standing with various factions. But, I would have liked it very much if you had asked him how he would advise the US proceed in Afghanistan. He obviously prefers peaceful options. Would the question have been impolitic?

    In the beginning was the word...
    The light of the word shines in the darkness yet the darkness did not comprehend it...
    We have a big problem in that we have too much knowledge and not enough comprehension of how we should apply that knowledge. Without wisdom knowledge is dangerous.
    Sometimes we have to turn reality in side out to see what it is all about.
    We have all of the necessary pieces to create a better world reality yet we fail to put the pieces together.
    Without a comprehensive plan and an efficient system of management we are doomed to destroy our own reality. We need to see the light before the darkness consumes us.

    Thank you Mr. Moyers for all that you do to inform us of the Good that is being done by Americans in other parts of the world as well as this part. We so often are viewed (for good reason) as arrogant know-it-all's that push our version of Right on others without asking anyone what They think. Mr. Mortenson gives me hope that maybe I don't HAVE to be ashamed to be an american.
    Thomas Frank, like the men from Mother Jones made me understand why the vast number or americans berry their heads in the deepest sand they can find and allow the thieves to not only develop the game but run the game too. I really try hard to Listen, but try even Harder to not get depressed and give up HOPE!
    I love your show!!

    The interview with Thomas Frank was almost too comical to be believed. Was it a farce? It was like my far left wing nutty sociology prof. was chatting with a TA. It was each testing the other too see who could go off the deep end first. What a joke. As far as the analysis, it isn't the right wing Rush crowd that is disappointed in Obama it is everyone who is a moderate common sense voter who thought Obama would take his own campaign advice. In 2008, he beat all the long time career politicians over the head for spending out of control and ear marks and Washington politics "as usual". Today that has NOT been forgotten as Frank would suggest. We remember all too well. Moyers knows too - he has outlined the very disappointing politics and lobbying that has gone into the health care reforms and the illogical spending. Moyers can act like he hasn't done those shows on the Journal, but we have not FORGOTTEN.

    RE: Thomas Frank; Let's face it, Democrats - and especially black Democrats - are judged far more harshly than Republicans. Obama has been in for barely a year, yet it took 6 years for most of the country to wake up to the fact that George W. Bush and the Republican congress were an utter disaster. Yet, a year later all is forgiven and the Republicans are ready to return. After the Great Depression the Republicans were sent packing for a generation. But since the Civil Rights movement, race trumps all (even for white Democrats, who are perceived as too sympathetic to minorities).

    Bill Moyers-------------thanks a million for bringing to our attention this marvellous apostle of peace.

    Mr Moyers seemed to agree with Mr Mortenson, that we should "listen" to the other side. I think that Mr Moyers, and Thomas Frank should take that advice and " listen to the other side". Mr Moyers seems to be totally confused about what conservatives have to say. I don't think Mr Moyers has "listened" to anything conservatives have said. If he did, he would have to kill some of his "sacred cows". Mr. Moyers, if you don't want to be totally confused about conservatism, sit down and have an open minded discussion with someone like Mr Mortenson. For more than 15 minuets. I hate to say it, but it's obvious to conservatives that Mr Moyers has NO idea what conservatives realy want and stand for. Both sides need to accept that the other side does not have the perfect answer, and that his own side has problems that need to be looked at and addmitted to.

    One would think after all the centuries of education the human race has had, it would be passe to discuss subjects like this.

    Posted by: Michael Legnon

    Ah, but you are dealing with a generation that is so narcissistic (and worse) that when they notice a fully functioning wheel whiz by, they MUST pretend they discovered it.

    Then they write an SOP, copyrite it and call it "Square Circle" and create a system of worship around the square that does not move like a circle, but is "spiritual".

    Tweet version - "sqcrl" - we're so smart...

    I hate war, but it is better than letting someone kill your children. I wonder if the people who condemn war, would advocate to take away all weapons from the law enforcement officers in their city.

    I wonder how hard it must be for any TV personality to say, "hay that makes sense, but it goes against everything I have been advocating all my life."

    Mr Moyers seemed to ask Mr Mortenson, what it was that led him to do his exceptional service for the Afgans. Basically Mr Mortenson said because he believed in Jesus Christ. I don't think Mr Moyers liked that answer.

    Mr Greg is a real hero, up there with the rescue squads in Haiti that crawl into little spaces in a dangerous tremor enviroment just to see if anyone can be found!

    Hard to put it together with bankers' fradulant values, & the treasonous
    deriliction of duty our Congress is guilty of!

    It is awful that it takes a terrible tragedy to highlight the great character of Mainstreet!

    Praise God for Heros and those that give till it hurts!

    Billy Bob Florida

    Mr. Moyers,

    Sometimes you are very inciteful. Most times your views are so liberal I get stomach pains

    Can't say enough in praise of Bill Moyers' distinctive programs. He brings inciteful and mostly unknown information to us each Friday night. A group of friends and I read "Three cups of tea" but the interview with Mortenson enlarged the picture. Thanks to PBS and Bill. Don't forget to contribute to support this program.

    One would think after all the centuries of education the human race has had, it would be passe to discuss subjects like this.

    Anna D
    Thanks

    But then in Toronto we have the trial of the "Toronto Eighteen" Muslim terrorist group.Who to believe? Who? Confused? Yessir!

    Posted by: A T Grate Pickle Lake Ontario

    Hello to "confused" in Lake Ontario,

    Back in early June 2009, the author of the book "Crazy for God" was out and about on the propaganda waves saying, "I'm sorry" for what he and a few other men did to "religion" in the USA.

    The book is good reading and it might help you understand the "details" of what happens all over the planet when "religion" is corrupted by "politics"...basically, all hell breaks loose :-)

    In reference to the Thomas Frank interview, there was a blatant attempt to push all of the country's current ills back on the Bush Administration. I'm no Bush fan and there's no doubt that his administration perverted and generally stretched the Constitution to its outer limits. However, if you remember early last year president Obama was urged to hold hearings to at least consider the matter of various illegal and unconstitutional actions by the previous administration. His response was, "we are going to move forward and not look back".

    Most people see this action as essentially a presidential pardon that absolves the previous office holder from any responsibility for past actions. This reminds me of the action taken by the Ford administration in the 1970s, pardoning Nixon for illegal actions while in office. At least Ford had a partisan motive for his actions. Many historians see this as the point in time when the slide started toward a Unitary Executive who was untouchable under any circumstance. Isn’t this the essential definition of a Dictator?

    Obama’s bipartisan actions have only fostered a common belief that Washington has morphed into a 2-party duopoly that works solely for the benefit of the same financial and ideological special interests. His reversal of almost every one of his previous campaign pledges as well as his almost total continuity with the policies of the former administration only lends credence to this common belief.

    I found your interview with Greg Mortenson to be very compelling for the insights he offered and your desire to understand a culture that seems incomprehensible to our western culture. For you and others who seek some insight I would suggest reading the works of Sir Richard Francis Burton, best known as the original translator from the arabic of 'The 1000 & 1 Arabian Nights'. The Original edition is in 10 volumes with most of the text as footnotes offering insight into the culture. He also wrote a 'Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to Al Medina and Mecca', should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand Islamic culture from a more anthropologic point of view. Burton also wrote 'Sind the Unhappy Valley' which explores the tribal region of Afghanistan/Pakistan as a Capt. in the British Army in the 1850s. Burton could learn a language in 2 weeks and spoke over 30 dialects of Arabic.
    I trust this will be of interest to viewers who understand there is no prefered frame of reference and interested in other frames of reference to increase there own understanding.

    So far in Iraq and Afghanistan we have been a part of the problem instead of part of the solution...
    We need to pin point where we can help the situation and where we are causing big trouble.
    We cannot "fix" the problem by killing the people we are trying to help.
    There is a big problem when a doctor is removing good organs and leaving in the bad organs.
    We need to know what is the best solution to the problem before we take action; not start a war and then try and figure out what we need to do.
    Preemptive war with no solution in mind is madneess.
    My father used to tell a story about when he was a teenager in Cornwall England. He and some of his friends were walking down the street and a Bobby (policeman) came up and hit one of the boys in the head with his nightstick. My dad asked the Bobby "why did you do that". The bobbie replied, "Just incase he were goiner do something".
    We have the weapons of mass destruction and we need to not use our destructive capabilities unless we are protecting human life.
    It is a tactical error to start trouble and then not be able to finish it.
    Our survival depends on the right action for the situation.

    I watched Bill Moyers again today and I am still confused. One faction made of of what I consider to be moderates tells me that Islam is a violent, hate driven blight on humanity with Muslim mothers encouraging their sons to jihad.I am told that in Europe the sky is falling and that Muslims will be in the majority by 2025 and are already planning the imposition of Sharia. Then along comes Mr Mortenson who makes Afganis and Islam both sound benign. But then in Toronto we have the trial of the "Toronto Eighteen" Muslim terrorist group.Who to believe? Who? Confused? Yessir!

    Thank you for the hope this morning with your wonderful inspiring interview with Mr. Mortenson. Let's hope that one day Governments and Military will "get it" as this kind and gentle man who is inspiring.

    Thank you Bill Moyers for interviewing Mr Mortenson. I am so impressed and heartened by Mr Mortenson's contribution to real peace through building schools in Afghanistan. The most thoughtful thing he said is that he asked people what they wanted. As dixo says, we often blunder in and do it our way, but where he got it wrong is Mortenson is the real thing. He treads softly, seems to want to involve all parts of the local society from the black-turbaned thugs to the little children and integrating his approach to fit the reality on the ground. This is the kind of person I want in government, the kind who doesn't want the job. Thank goodness our warrior class is speaking with him. A military solution is short term. Our own education system could use some of his philosophy too.

    ...we need to make sure that the aid that goes to Haiti is, one, grants, not loans. This is absolutely crucial. This is an already heavily indebted country.

    Naomi Klein: Don't Let The Disaster Capitalists Get Their Hands On Haiti
    http://crooksandliars.com/susie-madrak/naomi-klein-dont-let-disaster-capital

    Thank you for this interview w/ Greg Mortenson. It gives so much hope, when it all seems so hopeless.

    I have read both of Mortensens books and was pleased to see him on your program. I will suggest to the Congressmen from this area that the education department require such programs in government classes around the country. Both progams today just reinforce my position that I do not have any representation in our government. In addition to the education of others, we should strive to education our own citizens and perhaps this will shift the decline of America. We are just beginning to shed some of the fear and ignorance of the Bush Administration.

    Superb Journal, Bill and thanks for having Greg Mortenson on! Please consider a repeat visit, to keep us updated on the work of the Central Asia Institute. I was particularly heartened to hear of the growing loss of acceptance of the Taliban by the people of Afganistan. Mr. Mortenson's message makes clear that the US war with the Taliban is not a war with Islam. We share a common enemy in the radical Islamic terrorists, with the peaceful Moslem citizens of Afganistan. Thankfully, the leaders of our military are learning from Greg's experience. The words of women, shared by Mortenson, who ask for life and education for their children brought tears to my eyes. I want exactly the same thing for my child and grandchild. We are basically more alike than different, aren't we?

    Mr. Moyer,

    The discussion you held with Mr. Mortenson was nothing short of inspirational. I certainly hope the Nobel organization is considering his work for more serious and worldwide recognition. There is so much yet to be done. Mr. mortenson deserves all the help and recognition he can get.

    bill,
    thanks for your program. programs like yours and forms like this are what salt of the earth means to me.

    in 1956 it was obvious to some that following the french into vietnam would end in military disaster and financial ruin.

    both of which came true.

    however, you could argue that in the end vietnam is ok and though our finances are a mess we will get through.

    try this: in ten years, the poppies will still grow in afghanistan; terrorism and the afghanistan-pakistan border and the u.s.= mexican border will each be a little better, a little worse. no weapons of mass distruction will have gone off, barely.

    these are problems of world governance like finance, like green stuff.

    thoreau said he liked the result of revolution but not the process.

    your work represents the process, god bless the process, god bless our/the revolution. thanks.

    This is how it has always been with a drowning man...we save ourselves first and others second. And if we balk at natures way...both men drown. It is part of natural law as well and is imbedded in our instinct.

    Posted by: allenwrench

    Oh puhleeze :-)

    Used to be you couldn't get a diploma in USA without passing the swim test...

    Three big natural disasters - and the protocols being written make sure you follow a checklist designed to slow you down so you get to the house AFTER it has had time to burn down....do a "saudi" next time, Allen, and just stay mum with excuses and platitudiousness fishing for "natural" excuses...

    Ann McElligott wrote, in part, "Yes, I deeply trust that the most effective way we can bring peace to this region is through education -- slowly and steadily, one school at a time."

    I don't even know where to begin with this idea...how about a question to you, Ann?

    Do you know how long there has been continuous, all out WAR in Afghanistan...? Maybe even longer than you've been alive...

    So what education do you give...?

    What would happen if the women started to get "symbolic" in Afghanistan and instead of tea bags, they picked a poppy and ground it to mud?

    Afghanistan is a narco state and USA has no "education" to offer in winning that kind of asymetrical "war".

    Read up on what Afghans did teach BEFORE their 20th century battles...you might learn something from them.

    Even though educating yourself about anything you want to any degree of specialization you want is completely available to USA women, too many women still show up on Jerry Springer-like shows, don't they?

    Thanks for all you do Bill! I wouldn't miss a show if possible. I am never disappointed and always learn something important I need to know about. Thanks again! Rosemary

    'Survivalists should understand that no ones head is bullet proof and we all have to go outside some time. "

    I originally wrote the above quote in another a thread I participated in on a Peak Oil forum. A member there said he did not have tons of ammo stockpiled - maybe a thousand rounds. He then bragged how that amount would allow him to 'get more,' implying he would get the supplies by force or killing.

    If society would decomposes to that threat level where as soon as one steps outside one would be shot, robbed, raped or even cannibalized. The burning question in one's mind would be - is such a world is even worth living in?

    In Richard Heinberg's book 'Power-Down' he contrasts the survivalist mentality with that of the preservationist.

    The wiki on this topic:

    "A survivalist is a person who anticipates and prepares for a future disruption in local, regional or worldwide social or political order."

    "Preservationism...as a term distinguishing between survivalist groups who wish merely to survive a collapse of civilization, and communities who wish to preserve as much of human culture as is possible in the event of collapse."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Survivalist
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preservationist

    Mr. Heinberg talked about a gene bank founded by Nikolai Vavilov in Russia and the dedicated preservationists that guarded the seed and gene pool. He went on to say how 9 of the scientists and workers starved to death because they refused to eat the seeds and tubers in the gene bank.

    Now, I don't know if a few seeds or tubers would have made much difference in their surviving. But I can say a survivalist would have eaten the first one to die. While their efforts were most admirable, we can say their life was not an enviable one for us to emulate. And in the end they failed miserably at self preservation and survival.

    Mr. Heinberg brings up a good point though, balancing the two areas of survival with preservation. For we may well survive, but if we do not preserve a semblance of a somewhat livable world to survive in, we may not wish to survive in what remains.

    There is a famous saying: "First you get rich...then you get holy."

    This applies especially to our topic at hand. Our first instinct is to survive. The foundation of our survivalist attitude is grounded in mental preparedness, knowing we have the tools and skill to survive. Then, once we have a semblance of peace, knowing we can survive with our skill level and necessities of survival, we can work on community and preservation.

    This is how it has always been with a drowning man...we save ourselves first and others second. And if we balk at natures way...both men drown. It is part of natural law as well and is imbedded in our instinct.

    Dear Bill,

    Many thanks. I have read "Three Cups of Tea" and was amazed at what Greg Mortenson had accomplished on a wing and a prayer [if you will excuse the metaphor]. He had no experience in attempting anything he was doing in the harsh world of the remote mountains of Pakistan -- building a school, raising money or organizing a charitable organization. What he had was the integrity that would not allow him to go back on his promise to provide a school for the remote villagers who had saved his life. I was deeply moved by his book, but even more moved by hearing his story in person.

    He shared both the statistical background and his own experiences to confirm that education, especially for women, makes a difference in the fabric of a society. I shall never forget the picture of the black turbaned men -- the very image of "Islamic evil" -- swinging joyfully in the childrens' playground.

    Yes, I deeply trust that the most effective way we can bring peace to this region is through education -- slowly and steadily, one school at a time. Another important book I have just read is "Half the Sky: : Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide" by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. They affirm the power of educating women in breaking the stranglehold of their oppression and through them of their children. Further they emphasize the importance of the methods Greg described. He works with the local community, engaging them in the building of the school so they own and support the project long term.

    Greg Mortenson is an inspiration to us all.

    I knew becoming President was a terrible thing for Barrack Obama's mind...! Because if he had a 1 Hr. conversation with Greg, he would immediately reverse his Policy in Afganistan. Barrack is a smat man who respects the elders, here there and in Afganistan! However Greg had no access to our President! What a sad state of affairs!
    Our president needs to disconnect from the capital who put him in office and listen to his conscience and his millions of idealogically starving followers, who believed in him for the first time, after the most desastrous 25 years in the history of this nation.

    I do believe Barrack Obama is still the best President in Washington since Jimmy Carter, (and I'm not a Democrat), but he needs to listen to the voices of wisdom like Greg's and to all the many marginalized opinions that are not getting to the White House, to get a fair representation of all the points of view.

    Obama, a Constitutional Lawyer who believes in Democracy needs to realize that it's up to him to start preserving it, before it gets further washed away by the policies initiated during the Reagan years, that are culminating now in the crumbling of the press as we know it. The USA is already a de-facto PROPAGANDA State, controlled by Corporate Interests of every color and kind.

    Barrack Obama needs to become aware of this Bill; with your outstanding programming, please help our president understand what's at stake.

    Respectfully,
    Fernando Seisdedos
    California.

    Dixo, I think Greg Mortenson was raised in a cross cultural kind of school with other Tanzanians. So what you are saying is Greg should return to Tanzania and reform their institutions??
    I am all for Cross cultural communication and understanding rather than "isolating" ourselves
    in one country with one political party, or one homogeneous view or one language or one religion or one culture.
    That view is just not workable these days.
    A former Peace Corps Volunteer.

    The U.S. government funds a scholarship program called Youth Exchange and Study (YES) for high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations. The program was created in response to the tragic events of September 11th as a way to promote mutual understanding between the U.S. and these countries. This year there are nearly 1,000 students from approximately 40 countries in the U.S. on this scholarship. This is the sixth year that teenagers from Afghanistan have come to the U.S. to live with host families and study in U.S. high schools for one academic year. This is an incredible way to invest U.S. tax dollars in a non-military, grassroots effort. The goals of the program help these young scholars to develop leadership skills and learn about civic responsibility and volunteerism. As Mortenson said, "there’s a lot of power behind love and compassion and respecting and listening to people" and that's what this scholarship program creates. The young Afghans brought into our communities and into our families for this one year exchange are empowered. They become agents of change when they return to their beloved homeland. If you want to make a difference, consider hosting one of them. Each one of us has the power to affect change.

    When confronted with the reality of man to land ratio, knowing that the power of one person (shamanism) can be exxploited for political causes is definitely a double-edged sword.

    Who hasn't seen footage of the landing on the Normandy Beaches in WWII...?

    (...Okay, so we don't know what politicians do in Alaska during the long winter - uh, never mind...)

    It's NEVER one versus another - landing on the beaches of Haiti, for instance, with super-human efficiency can do as much to promote peace as the reminder that education will always matter.

    Olympia -

    the website is nationalpriorities.org

    search for that. look for the 'cost of war' link on the 'quick hits' section on the right side of the page.

    This program was exquisite. I was so drawn into the interaction between Mr. Moyers and Mr. Mortensen. We should hear more stories like these. At the end of the program there was a reference to a link that described what "X dollars could do" such as 1 million dollars could build 200 schools. Please remind me what website that was. I couldn't find it on the program website.

    Greg is in no way 'holier than thou' or pushing Jesus on anyone! He is very respectful of the Afghans, not forcing his views on them.

    I don't know where you guys saying these things are coming from, but it seems you know little about what Greg and others like myself are doing there. It is not what you claim!

    Having read 3 cups of tea last year, hubby & I waited 2 weeks for your interview with Greg Mortenson and we were not disappointed. The man is a giant. He's humble, he gives others credit befoe himself, he listens, he doesn't push his religious beliefs down anyone's throat. He grew up buddying with kids of every colour & culture in Africa. I am puzzled by the comments in this blog from people who rail at him for being 'holier-than-thou", "superior white" etc ; these people should get over themselves and their bitter agendas. It has nothing to do with Greg. He stands for every practical thing which will help rid the world of such anger & hatred. Bravo!!

    I had hoped to find a comparison of cost of all wars/conflicts the US has been in, to do a comparison in 2010 dollars – Disappointed to see only 2001 forward. Many people do not realize that conflict has cost more that WWII and lasted longer. The WWII generation does not see this conflict as more that a minor irritation, they do not realize that the cost exceed WWII in 2010 dollars because the have not been asked to make the sacrifices they made in WWII, future generations have been strapped to pay the bill for our mortgager the Chinese

    What Greg Mortenson is doing seems to make so much sense it begs the question...why isn't our foreign policy based on the model he uses? One million dollars to build 30 to 40 schools as opposed to one million dollars to keep one pair of boots on the ground sounds like a no brainer.

    In the midst of reading 'Three Cups of Tea' I heard this interview would be aired. I spent the week in hopeful anticipation and was not disappointed. Thank you both. While the conversation was mostly about Afghanistan, I couldn't help wondering how the schools in Pakistan are faring these days. And I took to heart the one forceful statement Mr. Mortenson made - that the mothers of these beautiful children would be of one mind in saying 'Please do not bomb our babies!'

    My prayer is that there shall be no more bombs, only schools.

    I read Three Cups of Tea about a year and a half ago and was terribly moved and impressed by what he had been able to do. I have, until your program last night, been assuming that the Taliban had probably been destroying the schools that have been built.
    I was so pleased to learn that the Afghan schools have not been destroyed; instead more have been built!
    I was hopeful when you and Gregg Mortenson talked about the military leaders who know about his work and the schools.
    What seems so obvious to me is why doesn't our military objective in Afghanastan become that of assisting in the building of more of these schools?
    Gregg's comment at the end of the program about how many schools could be built by the cost on one soldier in Afghanastan for a year was staggering. Having our (and the other nations who have soldiers there) building schools side by side with Afghans would begin to build solid relations and friendships, our soldiers would begin to learn the rudiments of the language and vice versa and could share three cups of tea (and meals) together.
    I'm a former Peace Corps Volunteer (Liberia, 1963-65) and am getting on to be an old woman, but I know what I learned from living with the people of another culture for two years.
    Can't you do another program that would involve interviewing some of our military leaders about why they can't (or won't) advocate for such a switch in policy? Thank you, Jane Weil, Steuben, ME


    For starters, I want all of my foreign policy tax dollars diverted into Greg's bank account. No more military bases (Japan, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Fort Hood...) how about schools? More important than the school's is Greg's willingness to listen/honor/love our fellow humans. To respect them and work with them. Think of that raw fundamental union build when we work together with our bodies (building with stone and mortar is great), hearts and minds to create something so beautiful as a school in which to educate our children. Not for $$$$, but for love, the future. Yes, the atrocities are there, but what are the root causes of the atrocities... Greg gets it. Let the healing begin, ours and theirs, let's listen/honor/love our way to global PEACE! Yes, we have security issues there, but I agree with Greg's approach to honoring and working with the elders, giving them a voice and hand in the solutions. Greg gives me hope, I'm going to support his efforts from today forth. Take care all.

    good talk The democrats have no spine that is old news. They are a so called liberal party that will not stand up for humanity. The Republics are neo Nazis. We need a third party interview Nader next time, Bill.

    Mr. Mortenson is a great spokesperson for the US war machine. He makes the white-male christian look and sound like the great educator and white hope for Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Pakistan and soon Iran, all while carrying out the endless crusade. Good thing the generals are listening to him - a man with Jesus on his side just can't be wrong - can he???

    Thank you Bill,

    Through the terrible darkness of war shines the briliant light of Mr. Mortenson's goodness, and the dawn of a beautiful new day. Thanks you so much for the light that is making dreams like Dr. King's as well as my own really come true.
    Shine on like the Sun, forever!

    =
    MJA

    Outstanding job this man is doing Moyers. Thanks for the inspirational show.

    Now on to some disturbing news that confirms the zombie theory.

    Was watching the 1/15 show of 'OnQ' from WQED Pittsburgh. The discussion was around the Haiti tragedy and how desperate people do desperate things. One frumpy, middle aged lady who was a lawyer told the lady panelist across from her that "she would take her out to get some water for her kids' if it became necessary.

    I thought to myself, WOW, if someone like her would resort to such tactics, how much more uncivil will the lower dregs of society be is such an emergency?

    My own philosophy is this...If I have not prepared or my preparations become unusable...then too bad for me. I would not plan on killing others or robbing by force. Survivalists should understand that no ones head is bullet proof and we all have to go outside some time. I would accept that is how things are and try to 'pass on' in peace.

    PROOF OF PEACE

    There is a cultural whisper that answered my first wonderings about peace as a young girl. By age twelve I had encountered the subtle but powerful conditioning that Peace, while a grand ideal, was not possible for humans. I saw firsthand, Peace being dismissed and those who believe in it being patronized as delusional idealists.

    I’m glad I never stopped believing and I’m glad Greg Mortensen never stopped believing. He is proving that not only is peace viable but, it is so obviously preferred. In order to have peace we have to be able to envision what a peaceful human existence would look like. Greg Mortensens work demonstrates that it includes the DIGNITY espoused when humans are literate and have the power of the written word at hand. A peaceful human existence is a dignified human existence.

    The 250BOYCOTT, a movement of peace and love, was born out of a vision of what a peaceful human economy would include. This peaceful movement is unfolding in the western U.S. as we speak and promoting the sanctity of human life, equality and freedom.
    The “Max Trinity Trickle UP Global Economics” video series describes the new HUMAN economy and how to bring it into being in a series of 6 political shorts.

    Every week I post here and invite you to join this peaceful movement. All you have to do to join is put a homemade 250BOYCOTT sign on your door or in your window and then, just talk about it. Spread the word. When you make that sign and put it in your window you are instantly a HERO FOR PEACE and I promise, you will feel EMPOWERED!!

    Use these links to view the videos and learn how the boycott works.

    “Max Trinity Part 2: The 250BOYCOTT”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bYbbu-9oYZk


    “Max Trinity Part5: The Peaceful Engines of the New Human Economy”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rGbjX9uSbg


    and “Part 3: Democracy Tax”
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zbq4yEKwUbE
    Peace to you my Friends
    ‘Til we meet again,
    Rev. Kelly Florez
    Aka Max



    I immediately ordered Reverence For Life and will have my sons read it. If that book produced this mans thinking process, it's powerful reading. Thanks Bill for arranging Mr. Mortensons visit with you. Great man.

    I can't help but smile at the goofy idea of winning "hearts and minds" by airdropping swing sets across the country instead of billions of dollars of bombs. Those images of the elders enjoying one of the smaller pleasures in life, having thrown down their arms at the sight of a playground, gave me a big goofy grin! Kicking higher and higher on an old and rattling metal contraption is such a simple joy, one so easy to personally recollect. Absent of any real knowledge about these people I feel an instant connection with them due to the shared feelings that arise when, for a brief moment, we pretend to soar above the dirt that grounds us all.

    Education is absolutely the most fundamental service to provide all people, domestically or within our foreign imperialistic stomping grounds. It makes me depressed to think that so few of the people in power are truly willing to back a proper campaign for funding centers of learning, simply because such efforts would largely produce the type of long term benefits that can't be effectively exploited during the next ballot box circus.

    Greg Mortenson is one of the most spiritually enlightened people in the world.

    Thank you for another wonderful show, Bill.

    Thank you Bill, once again for an excellent program. I am always grateful for your commitment to such valuable & indepth interviews.
    Thank you and God bless.

    Very briefly the Nobel Peace Prize being prsented to Barack Obama in 2009 in the face of the reality the Greg Mortesen has been involved with for decades given the end results of each leaders accomplishments toward true peace and humanitaritan needs is beyond any attempt at some clever metaphor or cynical historical comparison. regardless of any political perception of Obama's short presidency, he is and always will be a politician with an agenda based on political elements that are often in complete contrast to the honest,courageous passionate and mainly humane work of a man such as Mortesen or Paul Farmer and his work in Haiti for the past 20 years. The Nobel Peace Prize similar to so many other large power based institutions is simply an empty, souless, shell and will remain so until it tryly recognizes and provides the noterity of such people as Mortesen or Paul Farmer. Men and women such as them should be our cultural heroes. they are in my mind and in this family.

    thank you Greg for being who you are. You truly do embody HOPE to even a cynical frustrated being such as myself.

    "It costs 1 million dollars a year to keep an American soldier in Afghanistan...that same money could build 30-40 schools and educate 22,000 kids." WOW !

    This was really amazing to watch. So many Muslims are pessimistic about the USA, but Mortenson is a huge reason to have hope. Here is a man of true intelligence! Bravo!

    If the USA wants in any way to 'conquer' or succeed in Afghanistan- something no army has ever achieved- then they should realize, education is the way to go about it. There can be no doubt, he has the wisdom Lawrence of Arabia had and I can tell you, myself, this man is a bigger threat to terrorism than the entire US military.

    Muslim ignorance of Islam is one reason why terrorism has succeeded and Muslims are making efforts to educate each other about their own religion, the restrictions it has built-in against extremism, and thereby prevent unjust killing. Education (including non-dogmatic religious education) is the best and most effective thing Muslims can do to eliminate terrorism. And its great to see Americans, especially McCullen and the other senior military staff have realized Greg Mortenson's teaching efforts are well worth the investment.

    One reason Afghans give sympathy to OBL is because of his humanitarian work in his earlier days- but if people like Mortenson exist in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda's days are numbered. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said in a Hadith: 'jubilatul qulub min ahsani alayha- hearts, by their very nature, are inclined to love those who do good to them.' And I think with Greg's demonstration of this age-old wisdom, good days are soon to come!

    P.S. Its sad to note, this same mentality of understanding communities, cannot be applied to the impoverished sections of the United States. And as a Canadian (a Muslim nonetheless) I can't help but draw parallels between the Elders and the Shura/Jurga in Afghanistan and the Chiefs of the First Nations/Native people's. Yet I worry, if so few listen to the Tribal leaders native to North America, than how realistic is it to expect Afghan Tribal Elders to be respected and heard, as much as is so desperately needed?

    Thank you, Bill. I am so glad you decided to come out of retirement to do great works!

    Great interview with Mortenson. To see people work out their passion slowly, with great care and understanding, and a solid courage is very heartening.

    Thanks for all you do! And thanks to Greg for his quiet, steady work.

    It is heart warming that Afghanistan women's main concern is that their children survive birth and that their children get an education.
    It is sad that a large percentage of US women get abortions and many US women are more concerned about the "glass ceiling" and their next raise than whether or not their children get a good education.
    These observations beg the question, "which nation is most culturally advanced"?
    Maybe technological advancement is a poor indicator of how civilized is a nation.

    Bill Moyers asks Greg how, given the violence in the world, he could be a happy man.

    The answer is clear: Greg gives himself away. Recall that the book "Gross National Happiness" make the clear point that money can buy happiness, but the key is that you have to give it away. Greg does that and more: he gives himself away. He patterns his life not on acquiring more, but on giving away more. He's accepted by the villagers because they know he doesn't pursue personal gain -- he pursues what's in their interest by asking and listening to them and then delivering on his good word.

    How can such a person not die as a happy person?

    I look forward to reading Greg's new book.

    Thank you so much Bill for interviewing one of my big time heroes, Greg Mortenson. It’s a great opportunity to be able to hear Greg's insights on an area where we as American's have invested into so much yet understand so little. His compassion for helping the people in Pakistan and Afghanistan is truly inspiring.
    I had the opportunity recently to briefly meet Greg and hear him speak about his work. In that brief time I could tell that he was honest and sincere about every word he spoke. He is truly a remarkable man, and I hope people will continue to catch on to his message.

    Bill Moyers, you are the best!

    Thanks for another great show. Both of your guests were terrific. I'd love to see your show franchised out to other networks so that more people would have the opportunity to see it and learn.

    The secret to helping any 3rd world country is to educate and empower the women in that country. Women primarily are the ones who raise and educate the next generation. This is the best way to bring a country out the dark ages.

    PLAYGROUNDS FOR PEACE
    Wouldn't it be wonderful if instead of rows and rows of G.I. Joes on the toystore shelves, we had the Greg Mortenson action figure?

    Another great show, Bill. I’m going to miss the incredibly interesting people you interview. Am I the only one that caught the irony of this program? The hawkish, conservative, anti-government people that started this war in Afghanistan IS trying to built a strong, centralized government? So that, eventually a strong free market, full of McDonalds and Coca-Cola, can be established to demonize a centralized government? My head is spinning…

    Thanks so much for presenting the interview with Greg Mortenson. I have recommended Three Cups of Tea to many friends. I have just finished reading Stones Into Schools which is written in the first person and is even more powerful! Why? I think that Mortenson embodies the true quality of leadership. That is, he recognizes the importance of RELATIONSHIP in bringing people together to promote change. Here is a man who encountered his life's work by accident or perhaps synchronicity. He continues on his path with openness and integrity. He respects the individuals he meets and works to learn their views. In doing so, he adds their experiences to his own.

    He has accomplished much in the face of long odds. Or perhaps the odds are in his favor due to his personal values.

    I am happy to join the ranks of others (as mentioned in Stones Into Schools) who have chosen The Central Asia Institute as their charity of choice.

    Thanks so much for this program!

    Greg's books and his actions in Afghanistan are of monumental significance. He has singlehandedly changed the way that our military views its present role in this conflict. What is the backbone of our democracy? A public education for all. He asked the mothers in this war-torn country what they wanted and they said healthy babies and then an education for them. We cannot force our democratic ideologies down people's throats. We can help by listening and meeting their basic needs, just like Greg has done. We all can learn so much by following his lead. Books, not bombs, will change things for the better.

    In some ways Mortenson seems dumb, or at best naive, for there are many disconnects, contradictions in what he has said and advocated. On the one hand he says that the Taliban do not want their people educated, that they are inveterate violent, ignorant, religiously intolerant people, but on the other hand he said that he was able to get them enthusiastic about his girls schools, and he was able to work with them, to in a sense turn them around. On the one hand he praises the work of our military commanders, Mullen, McCrystal et al, the latter well known to have carried out special forces murderous operations in Iraq (and Afghanistan?). Evidently, these guys now see the virtues in understanding and living among the Afghans. One of course wonders if that is only a ploy to accomplish the success they strive for—a land compliant with U.S. imperial objectives. He implicitly praises our occupation forces and the billions of dollars that are needed to maintain them, although admitting "mistakes" have been made (as in Iraq?). On the other hand, he advocates building schools and getting along with the tribal elders, which cost minimally compared to the billions militarily we spend. It does not seem to occur to him that perhaps if the U.S. spent those billions on improving the lives of Afghans, without military intervention, drone bombings drones, firefights, breaking and entering, and whatever else our troops and their hangers on do there, it would be far better, less disastrous, more effective in establishing a secure and viable Afghan society. Finally, he never really confronts the issue of why the U.S. has invaded that country and expands its presence there. Was he afraid (?) to say that the U.S. invasion and occupation was/is a terrible tragic mistake.

    I now wonder in view of all this if he has connections with the CIA? He seems to be a goodhearted guy, effective in getting schools built, but otherwise blind to what his own country is up to there.

    Bill Moyers has been so important in my life and tonight I have a new hero, Greg Mortenson. Thank you Bill and Greg for all you do.

    Bill: Tonight's show was entrancing. You ask if Greg Mortensen's efforts to build schools will help promote peace. It seems to me that they already have. What one man has accomplished! Just think if we all pitched in to help.
    Thomas Frank was delightful as well as thought-provoking. I don't know whether conservatives actually try to destroy government but the evidence suggests that is so. Bring him back to discuss what can be done about it.

    Bill,
    Thank you for having Greg on your program tonight.
    When I first read "Three Cups of Tea",I wanted to know more more of Gregs' experience.
    After reading it I felt it should be requiered reading for our military,congress,senate and administration.
    Education/knowledge, empowers you,and we need to understand and respect the culture and religion of countries we are guests in.
    I am now reading "Stones into Schools",it is just as interesting and informative.
    I have a daughter living in that part of the world,as soon as I finished "Three Cups of Tea" I mailed it to her,I hope she enjoyed it as much as I did.

    Our family participated in a mission in Tanzania, where Greg Mortenson grew up. Many in our group read Three Cups of Tea and we drew parallels with Greg's calling to build schools in Afghanistan and ours to build a birthing center in Tanzania. Mr. Mortenson's work is to be applauded and replicated--not denigrated.

    I am watching your show with Thomas Frank, who seems to have some caricature idea of conservatives, I am not that familiar with you, but I had no idea you were as naive and as gullible as you seem in that you are agreeing with everything he says as gospel truth.

    Do you really think that conservatives "hate" government employees?

    Dear Bill,
    Thank you so much for what you do. Your program about building schools in Afghanistan has inspired me. I can see that finally, we must evolve past the need for war and opt for a new and more productive way. We cannot continue to allow the world corporate greed system to dictate where wars are fought and for what reasons [what monies might be made]. Please continue to try to wake people up because real change...a change we can believe in...must come from the ground up. We must become active participants in what is allowed to happen or not. Thank you Bill Moyers for leading by example. We need you. susan j packer

    Greg Mortenson is putting his life on the line in going into these areas of Afghanistan (a little into Pakistan) to bring hope where there is no hope. Because he knows the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan so well, he is able to promote a stronger bond than any bullet or bomb can provide. We've tried bullets and bombs and they don't seem to work... so I choose this path he is taking. Isn't it interesting the military is relying on his consultation?

    The photograph of the Taliban elders on the swings brought joy to my heart and tears to my eyes. Mortensen's work is a real testament to the combined power of courage and love.

    Bill,

    Thank you for this episode.

    Our community has just chosen to read Three cups of Tea as a "community read". Greg's appearance at a CT college is already SOLD OUT...I am now reading Stones for Schools. Seeing Greg on your show makes me feel happy we will be mulling over this man's words of peaace and education.

    Now I hope our own cities can find a way to build relationships between generations. Mortensen's words work world wide, including here at home.

    First time visitor to your blog. Thanks for the Mortenson show. As A retired teacher of 30 years I have great respect for Mr. Mortenson, what he does, what he has accomplished and may the platform of the Bill Moyers Show shine light on his type of educational effort. A fellow east texan in Cherokee County.

    Bill, you need to listen better yourself. After supposedly listening to Greg describe why he is there, why it makes him happy to do what he does, you ask him, "Why do you keep on?" Duh, he's made it clear as day in everything he said tonight! He gave examples of how listening to the elders and risking his own safety to show his commitment has paid off. He gave examples of how our military is learning from him how to be humble (Dixo, you could try listening yourself instead of braying your own ideological screed!)and forge connections that show respect and true concern. We have abandoned the Afghan people twice int he last 25 years to their and OUR detriment. How will rushing to pull our troops out again have any different result than before: leaving a vacuum for the corrupt elements of the taliban and Al Quaeda to fill. We in this country cannot seem to ever take the long view, to see beyond the immediate. Yes, more troops will die in the short run as we risk more in doing the right thing. BUT if in the long run we leave a country more stable and secure, we create a more stable and secure future for ourselves. Ending your show with how much could be done with the money spent on the war spent here at home is an example of the worst isolationist tendencies often holding sway in the US. You should be ashamed of yourself for fostering such views.

    Bill,

    Tonight's show with Greg Mortenson was the very best news I have heard in a very long time..... It brought tears of delight to my eyes..

    Thank you so much,
    Edwin L Frost

    I love the show but not enough people see it. Why can't some of the authors that are interviewed by Moyers go on Oprah and get a bigger audience? They could go on morning tv news shows and get a better boost. Moyers is preaching to the choir.

    I cannot thank you enough for inviting Greg onto your show and exploring more about Afganistan beyond the political sound bites or the mounting body count details. I am a great admirer of Greg and his work, but also of the knowledge he has attained by meeting face-to-face with Afgan's and listening. He seems to be the only voice in America (including past and present executive office holders in my opinion) who seek a dialogue with those cultures between which there is a conlfict or misunderstanding. It is only through conversation, the real diplomacy, that our issues can be explored and differences accepted.

    It is my belief that only though education and understanding that issues can truely be resolved. This was what was so adamantly missing just after 9/11 and hence.

    After watching this segment it seems to me that it's high time for President Obama to go and meet with the tribal elders (and not with Karzai). It's the kind of "engagement" I thought he was talking about in his campaign. It might just be what's needed to bring about a "have you no shame?" moment that could turn the whole tide against the Taliban. Who knows? It might just be that easy.

    Bill:

    Thank you so much for the interview with Greg Mortenson. I have long been a fan of his, and completely agree with his belief that education, especially for girls and women, is of paramount importance in the world, per this statement from the Baha'i Writings:

    Daughters and sons must follow the same curriculum of study, thereby promoting unity of the sexes. When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without equality this will be impossible because all differences and distinction are conducive to discord and strife. Equality between men and women is conducive to the abolition of warfare for the reason that women will never be willing to sanction it. Mothers will not give their sons as sacrifices upon the battlefield after twenty years of anxiety and loving devotion in rearing them from infancy, no matter what cause they are called upon to defend. There is no doubt that when women obtain equality of rights, war will entirely cease among mankind.


    I am so grateful that Greg is carrying on this work in spite of all the setbacks, challenges and criticism, and hope I will get a chance to meet him in person some day.

    Bill:

    Thank you so much for the interview with Greg Mortenson. I have long been a fan of his, and completely agree with his belief that education, especially for girls and women, is of paramount importance in the world, per this statement from the Baha'i Writings:

    Daughters and sons must follow the same curriculum of study, thereby promoting unity of the sexes. When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without equality this will be impossible because all differences and distinction are conducive to discord and strife. Equality between men and women is conducive to the abolition of warfare for the reason that women will never be willing to sanction it. Mothers will not give their sons as sacrifices upon the battlefield after twenty years of anxiety and loving devotion in rearing them from infancy, no matter what cause they are called upon to defend. There is no doubt that when women obtain equality of rights, war will entirely cease among mankind.


    I am so grateful that Greg is carrying on this work in spite of all the setbacks, challenges and criticism, and hope I will get a chance to meet him in person some day.

    Dixo: If it was so horrible, why did you watch? The point you seemed to have missed is that Mortenson said, "I ask them what they want." If you would read Three Cups of Tea, you would know that Afghans took him in and saved his life when he got lost descending from K2. In gratitude, he asked them what they wanted. The Afghans said, "We want to educate our children." What could be more simple? Obviously, you missed his obvious humbleness.

    Mortenson's work and his opinions dovetail perfectly with those in, "Horse Soldiers: how a few Americans defeated the Taliban"

    You may as well ask instead if his work compromises the war effort, because it is not likely going to win a war, anymore than the military can remake a country, but the admin has decided to that we cannot afford to remake the country in our image, and Obama said so plainly at West Point. That is why I think this adventure is fairly useless unless we can do enough of both to get out asap, and that means we are not going to be going around like missionaries and Peace Corps volunteers.

    Greg Mortenson is an example of the White superior condescending racist attitude that makes things worse. Everything he said could be applied to White-Euro-American culture and even more effectively. He needs to apply his efforts to his own culture and work on its/his culture of institutional and systemic racism that uses capitalism and religion to justify oppression, occupation, invasion, illegal intrusion, exploitation and genocide of the lands, resources of people of color. This was a horrible show that reinforce a White-holier-than-thou attitude that never examines or critiques itself. This was painful to watch.

    Bill:

    You asked a great question about manipulating the public for their own ends. However, if you focus on the "Conservatives" you will play right into the hands of the manipulators.

    Both parties belong to the same people, they care not who is elected, Republican or Democrat, because they own both candidates in every election. They may take turns wearing white hats and loosing issues to the money masters, but both belong to the same masters.

    They all only feign opposition to their masters to keep themselves electable in the next election. There may actually be a handful of people representatives in Washington but all the others must go in their next election if we ever hope to regain the country for the people.

    As for government being good or evil, if we were a Constitutional Democracy the Government would be "of", "for", and "by the people". Unfortunately, until we throw the money changers out of the temple of democracy we will be more like a banana republic as Dick Cheney said. But then he wants us to be a banana republic because he knows how to run one of those, like he ran this one before Obama, the third Bush, took the baton to continue in the same mode for the same two party team.

    Charles Michael Couch

    Its blinding to be so poor. You see nothing. You have no hope. Change is unsettling, but Greg Mortenson understand the paradim of the future. He also understands the need for women of the middle east and asia to finally have a voice in their own destiny and the destiny of their country. It can't come soon enough.

    I completely agree that providing education and the opportunities that it provides will help promote peace.

    When you have such a poor nation, that has so few literate adults, the only chance they have for any progress is if they educate the children who will then have the skills to make things better.

    I volunteer for an organization that like Mr. Mortenson's provides education to Afghan children; boys and girls. I have seen the benefits of this with my own eyes. I have seen the appreciation and desire of the children there. They want to learn more than any group of kids I have ever met before!

    I agree that there are Afghans who only end up 'with' the Taliban out of desperation or fear. And when the Taliban pays more than the police force, and you have 5 kids to feed, well...what are you to do?

    The Afghans have been used and abused by other countries for centuries. This does not mean they are not a real nation and that they are not able to govern themselves. But after decades of war, it is going to take a lot of help, for some time.

    I worry that the United States will tire of helping and walk away, again.

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