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November 16th, 2012
06:42 PM ET

Letters to the President #1397: 'Trouble overseas'

Reporter's Note: The White House is monitoring events in the Middle East, and…presumably…reading my daily letter to the president.

I’m sure that you are watching the developments between Israel and Gaza right now, because any hyperbole aside, it really does look like all out war is possible. Such is the state of things there, I guess. No matter how many times we think or hope that some sort of lasting peace might take hold, the situation flares up again.

I know, as always, that both sides find ways to accuse each other. I also know that America’s official stance on all this is that Hamas started it with those rocket attacks. The Palestinians blame it on Israeli airstrikes. I’m glad you have to sort it all out and not me. It’s a mess to be sure.

It’s hard to imagine how difficult it must be for civilians in that situation. The idea of living day by day, hour by hour with the threat of a massive explosion ripping through your neighborhood or house is daunting. We've never really dealt with anything like that here. 9/11 was terrible, to be sure, but it did not involve a successful, sustained bombing campaign over months or years. The Civil War certainly lasted long enough, and I suppose some people lived in areas where they had to constantly fear the combat coming to their doors. Pearl Harbor scared a lot of us, but the follow-up attacks we feared never materialized.

Anyway, like I said, I can’t imagine living for so very long amid such fear. I don’t know what you can or can’t, or will or won’t do in relation to this latest clash. Americans don’t have much appetite for engaging in military conflicts at the moment, that’s for sure. On the other hand, we've always been a nation that has stood for justice, and we've stood behind our allies.

So like I said, I’m glad you’re the one who has to sort out our response to this situation…and not me.

Best of luck. Call if you can.

Regards,
Tom

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