Just One Idea, |and a Bad One

     There are 1.8 billion Muslims on Earth – 28% of the planet’s population.
     Let’s see how the Muslim world threatens the United States.
     Do the Muslim nations have an overwhelming superiority in science and technology?
     Is it their military forces? Are Muslim nations’ armies, navies and air forces better than ours? Do they have bigger weapons stockpiles, more highly trained troops and leaders and a greater power to make war?
     Education, then. Are Muslim colleges and universities churning out engineers, scientists, factory managers, doctors and other professionals at such a rate that soon the United States and Western Europe will not be able to compete?
     No, that’s not it.
     Maybe it’s economics. Are Muslim nations’ manufacturing base, their factories and research facilities, their societies’ overall productivity so great that soon the West will be buried ‘neath an avalanche of Muslim-produced goods?
     I don’t think so.
     How about social mobilization? Do the Muslim nations incorporate such a high percentage of their population into the productive work force – women, for example, and people with physical disabilities who are otherwise able to work – that they have an unfair advantage over the West?
     Actually, not. Millions of Muslim women are not allowed to go to school, leave their home, or even talk to a man they are not closely related to. So that’s not it.
     Are Muslim art and culture so dominant, so powerful, that if the West doesn’t watch it, soon we’ll be sending billions of our hard-earned dollars overseas, watching Muslim movies, reading Muslim books and looking at Muslim art?
     Probably not. By nearly every serious estimate, most of the world’s Muslims are illiterate.
     Well, then, what is it?
     Is there any aspect of life in which the average Muslim nation today can compete against the average – Christian, infidel, Jew, unbeliever, secular nation – call us what you will?
     Stick a gun in his hand and the average Muslim can fight just as well as a Christian, Jew, Hindu or atheist. Or an agnostic. Probably better than an agnostic.
     Give him a gun in his homeland and the average Muslim will probably fight even better than a Christian – just as you or I would fight better in our homeland, if we had to fight.
     This being the case – and all of this is self-evident – why has the United States spent much effort, so many trillions of dollars, so much blood, so many human lives in trying to compete against the Muslim world – in the Muslim world – in the only way in which Muslim nations could possibly defeat us? Or even come even?
     It seems a dumb thing to do.
     You might say: But they started it. And that’s half true.
     The late, great Mike Royko used to say that the only thing the United States government was good at was making war. That’s half true too.
     The United States is very good at the first part of a war. We’re like the young Mike Tyson. We can knock the bejeezus out of anyone who steps into the ring with us. But after we have knocked them down and hurt them bad, the United States government today is no better than Mike Tyson ever was at what to do next. We’re just as dysfunctional, just as shortsighted, just as deluded – just as stupid.
     This does not bode well for President-elect Barack Obama’s announced policy in Afghanistan, any more than it did for the departing President Bush’s boneheaded policies in that country and Iraq.
     So what’s the answer?
     The answer is that we should do what we’re good at, not what we’re bad at.
     Instead of spending trillions of dollars trying to compete with the Muslim world at the only thing in which they could possibly beat us, we should spend the money on our own science and technology, our own colleges and universities, our own factories, our own work force and cultural institutions.
     And we should offer help with those things to any Muslim country that wants it, so long as they refrain from senseless things, such as making war against us or our allies.
     If people from a Muslim country attack us again, as they did on Sept. 11, 2001, we should knock them on their ass, like we did to the Taliban. We should knock them out, hurt them bad, and stop the war after we’ve done the only part of it that we’re good at.
     Then we should return to our science, art, technology, culture and education, and making as many people in our country productive as possible.
     That’s what we should have done in Afghanistan, and it’s what we should have done in Iraq, had that country actually threatened us.
     We should do what we’re good at, instead of what we’re bad at. We should not try to run anyone else’s country when we’re doing such a poor job of running our own.

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