idiots for intervention?

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Scott Ritter calls out the members of "Idiot America" at TruthDig for our lack of understanding Islamic factionalism while insisting that we continue to occupy the nation currently at the center of the Sunni/Shiite religious conflict. Ritter sets up a question for us by framing it as our civic responsibility to understand the parts of the world in which we project our power:

The task of holding Congress to account is a daunting one, and can be accomplished only if the citizenry that forms the respective constituencies of our ignorant congressional representatives are themselves able to operate at an intellectual capacity above that of those they are holding to account. So rather than issue "pop quizzes" to our elected representatives, I've designed one for us, the people. If the reader can fully answer the question raised, then he or she qualifies as one capable of pointing an accusatory finger at Congress as its members dither over what to do in Iraq. If the reader fails the quiz, then there should be an honest appraisal of the reality that we are in way over our heads regarding this war, and that it is irresponsible for anyone to make sweeping judgments about the ramifications of policy courses of action yet to be agreed upon. Claiming to be able to divine a solution to a problem improperly defined is not only ignorant but dangerously delusional.

So here is the quiz: Explain the relationship between the Iraqi cities of Karbala and Baghdad as they impact the coexistence of Iraq's Shiite and Sunni populations. [emphasis added]

My own answer was less-than-satisfactory, as yours likely was.

We are long past the time where one could be intelligently conversant about Middle Eastern geopolitics without at least a basic understanding of Islamic history, much as one cannot comprehend Western--or American--history without knowledge of Christianity, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment. As Harold Bloom wrote in his 1994 book The Western Canon:

Whether for its aesthetic and spiritual power or the influence it will have upon all of our futures, ignorance of the Koran is foolish and increasingly dangerous.

This observation is truer than ever, as Ritter indelicately points out.

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This page contains a single entry by cognitivedissident published on March 24, 2007 8:13 AM.

support our troops in reality...not just in rhetoric was the previous entry in this blog.

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