God’s Way of Teaching Americans Geography

With all the talk of Iran and Israel among the GOP presidential candidates, it is worth remembering that in this poll of a few years ago, three quarters of Americans could find neither Israel nor Iran on a map. Despite the US being at that time the occupying power in Iraq, some two-thirds couldn’t recognize that one, either.

A few more did recognize Iraq than the others, reminding one of Ambrose Bierce’s dictum that “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.”

I suggest a new regulation on war. If a majority of your country cannot find the enemy country on the map, they aren’t interested enough to justify making war against it.

As for why Americans cannot find countries on the map, I personally think this unfairly maligned contestant got it right:

22 Responses

  1. I wonder how many could find Malta. Since moving here, I got so fed up with the constant question “where is Malta?” that I now just copy and paste the following link into my e-mail replies to my friends: link to andreasmoser.wordpress.com – But I have to say, the question comes equally from Europeans as it does from Americans.

      • Judging from Cynthia McKinney’s pathetic performance as a former Congresswoman (she was a pretty dim bulb), I don’t doubt she came up with something like you suggest.

    • European smartass replies – Do you mean the Mediterranean island or the village in Carinthia, Austria?

  2. Imagine how much lower the numbers would be if we hadn’t fought wars in those places.

  3. Unfairly Maligned.

    *falling off chair*
    *laughing*
    *gasping for breath*
    *laughing more*

    I personally think that it’s because conservatives have been defunding education for years. Like such as for the children USA Americans.

  4. “…reminding one of Ambrose Peirce’s dictum that “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.”

    I believe your are referring to Ambrose Bierce (not Peirce), who wrote, among other works, the Devil’s Dictionary.

  5. Juan, I laughed my way through your post, but the level of ignorance in the US is not funny. It’s tragic. I’m much in favor of your new regulation on war.

  6. The laugh is on me. I just tested myself with a blank map of the Middle East and North Africa, and I am ashamed. My confession of the day…

  7. I propose a new rule: if you can’t find it on the map, you don’t get to have a view about it – especially about bombing it.

    Wonder how many Americans can find Canada on a map? Or their own state?

  8. An American friend pointed out to me that as citizens of the greatest country in the world, Americans are not interested, nor do they need to be, in what goes on anywhere else. I guess if an American wants to learn geography, he/she joins the military.

  9. It is worth visiting the site capitolsteps/lirty dies to hear comments on US leaders eg “Gush and Bore. Gush couldn’t frick Pants on a wap of the murld”. His QI is in the dingle sigits.

    I don’t know what treatment the present GOP candidates wouldget, but one has a great name to flip : Sick Rantorum.

  10. Hi,

    And soon now, South Carolina, the state she represents, and where she was “educated” will choose the next GOP presidential candidate for the entire US of A. Is there some place safe we can all go hide in shame?

    Have a nice day,
    Antti

  11. it was very difficult to listen to what that young girl said or what was coming from her lips. my, my. hard to tolerate such mental and verbal abuse.

  12. In his trilogy, Future Shock, Third Wave’& Power Shift, Alvin Toffler predicted the USA as the Lone Super Power after the end of the Cold war, policing the world against a faceless enemy, mainly fundamentalist Terrorism.
    Youth with homespun values are discouraged by the all round negative response. Battle lines are blurred; every citizen has a gun; hostility is all around them.
    ‘In an intriguing global triangulation, the globalization of terrorism now links Colombian FARC with Hezbollah, Iran with Russia, elected governments with violent insurgencies, uranium with AK-103s, and cocaine with oil. At the center of it all, is Latin America-especially the countries under the influence of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.
    Meanwhile, Iran Air, the self-proclaimed “airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” operates a Tehran-Caracas flight commonly referred to as “Aero terror” by intelligence officials for allegedly facilitating the access of terrorist suspects to South America. The Venezuelan government shields passenger lists from Interpol on that flight.’
    This will give rise to the mercenaries who will not hesitate to change sides.
    A prominent mythological mercenary, Vibhishan, is the brother of the mythological Ravana who switched sides and helped steer Lord Rama to victory.

  13. Despite how hilarious such poll and results are, I do believe that the essence of American way of life would feed the teenager with tools to do better in times of responsibility.. Americans are commonly known for being bold, adventurous and resilient, which are the basic tools to be creative, innovative or a contributor in an urban society.. Despite the ill-attributes of market-economy; the challenge-readiness is what is needed when opportunities are short against rivals..
    It may sound odd, but among my natives in Sudan, people would encyclopedically compete to show awareness of world orders, geographies and cultures.. This goes back to times where they had to imagine the world through the broadcast of BBC in their rural communities.. On parallel; they commonly lack the tools and skills to improve, renovate, or sustain their lives..
    The same applies in many countries, showing a relation between domestic fulfillment and global awareness.. When people have their own rich and fulfilling domestic environment, they care less for the outsider others.. Rationally, when their domestics are short to response to their ambitions and wishes, they seek those imported images and perceptions to fill the gaps..
    I guess the question is about how to minimize the ill-attributes, while growing further the positive ones, in order to make the universe a better place to live and share..!

  14. Newsweek gave the US citizenship test for immigrants to people born in the US and found that only 38% could pass.

  15. For the past eight years I have participated in what is called an AOL Message Board primarly dealing with the US invasion of Iraq.

    link to messageboards.aol.com

    I have been conducting a self-prescribed study of the lack of concern with being informed and the flagrant and open disregard for reality and facts by those who pursue such right wing American fantasies and myths as “it was a good idea” to invade Iraq and “Bush won Iraq in 2008 but now Obama has lost it” for failing to negotiate keeping a residual force of U.S. troops there for some kind of McCain/Lieberman paranoia induced eternity.

    There are some interesting noticeable and predictable traits or patterns of righties that I have collected over the years that clearly show a near ‘cult-like’ or tribal way with dealing with the world.

    The trouble is, AOL has notified all that the Message Board Format is to be shut down on February 20 to go to some ‘facebook’ style of some sort.

    I would like to know if there is some way to set up a daily discussion for news concerning war and the economy where the long running debates on the AOL Message Board could continue.

    There is constant group split along left/right lines going back eight years that have discussed matters of war and politics both civilly and not.

    It would be great if some major University could produce a set up as the current AOL Message boards… and archive these ‘discussions’ for research and tracking trends in the way Americans thing along ideological lines.

    Any thoughts?

Comments are closed.