Three Cups of Tea

For several years, I overlapped on the Board of the National Venture Capital Association with Jim Breyer of Accel.  And Jim has been kind enough to send me a book each year that bears on the world.  This year he sent me Three Cups of Tea, about one man’s mission to fight terrorism in Pakistan and Afghanistan, one school at a time.

Three Cups of Tea is a phenomenal book, and something I’d recommend each of you read.  I’ve been reading over the past couple of weeks as we travel, and then I summarize and re-tell it to our family each morning over breakfast.  Every morning, my children say, “Daddy, what’s happened to Greg?”  Greg is Greg Mortenson, the entrepreneur who started the Central Asia Institute, whose mission is to provide schools and educational supplies to poor children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, who are so hungry for knowledge. 

I would love to see this book be mandatory reading for any U.S. citizen prior to voting, or any U.S. Senator, Congressman, or executive branch member.  Anyone who has read this will better appreciate the magnitude of the U.S. errors in Iraq, and question the judgment of any U.S. politician who supported this ill-conceived initiative.   Our continued disgrace in Afghanistan is a mistake we’ll regret for decades to come. 

Among many favorite sections of the book, I particularly liked a quote of Greg Mortenson’s about Afghanistan.  He said, “But as best I can tell, we’ve launched 114 Tomahawk cruise missiles into Afghanistan so far [2002]. Now take the cost of one of those missiles tipped with Raytheon guidance systems, which I think is about $840,000.  For that much money, you could build dozens of schools that could provide tens of thousands of students with a balanced nonextremist education over the course of a generation.  Which do you think will make us more secure?”  Other than his conservative math ($12K per school means each missile is equivalent to 70 schools, and 114 missiles is about 10,000 schools!!), he couldn’t be more correct.

We have spent billions of dollars in Iraq to create millions of people who hate us far more than when we started the folly of Iraq.  The architects of this initiative (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and others) will carry the responsibility for this fiasco to their graves, which will be long past the time tens of thousands of innocent people paid with their lives for the Bush Administration’s mistakes.

One Response to “Three Cups of Tea”

  1. Christi Bodell Says:

    Dear Ted,
    Robin just gave me your web site address (I have passed it on to JJ and all my girls) and I am so impressed with all you and Elizabeth are doing with and for your children. The 3 cups of tea is truly one of the most eye opening and heartening books I have ever read. I wish schools would bring a broader current events back into the classroom. This book would perhaps catalyze our youth in making and recognize that they can make more conscious decisions. I was sadened to hear, when I tried to sign up to volunteer, that it is (within the context of Greg), no longer a possibility.
    Love to you all Christi

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