We're at war, right?

Yes, it is a question I feel forced to ask from time to time.

Reading about horrors like this make me wonder whether the United States government has become almost as dysfunctional as the Saudi government. The latter has a well-known penchant for paying their dysfunctional children go and make trouble all over the world, while our government (if Stanley Kurtz is right) helps ensure that the Saudis indoctrinate young Americans with their hateful Wahhabist bile:

Unless we counteract the influence of Saudi money on the education of the young, we're going to find it very difficult to win the war on terror. I only wish I was referring to Saudi-funded madrassas in Pakistan. Unfortunately, I'm talking about K-12 education in the United States. Believe it or not, the Saudis have figured out how to make an end-run around America's K-12 curriculum safeguards, thereby gaining control over much of what children in the United States learn about the Middle East. While we've had only limited success paring back education for Islamist fundamentalism abroad, the Saudis have taken a surprising degree of control over America's Middle-East studies curriculum at home.

Game, Set, Match
How did they do it? Very carefully...and very cleverly. It turns out that the system of federal subsidies to university programs of Middle East Studies (under Title VI of the Higher Education Act) has been serving as a kind of Trojan horse for Saudi influence over American K-12 education. Federally subsidized Middle East Studies centers are required to pursue public outreach. That entails designing lesson plans and seminars on the Middle East for America's K-12 teachers. These university-distributed teaching aids slip into the K-12 curriculum without being subject to the normal public vetting processes. Meanwhile, the federal government, which both subsidizes and lends its stamp of approval to these special K-12 course materials on the Middle East, has effectively abandoned oversight of the program that purveys them (Title VI).

(Via Stop the Madrassa.)

Read it all and weep. I'd like to ignore the whole thing (and I'm sure a lot of people would label Kurtz an Islamophobe), but there's a real Saudi madrassa in my neighborhood, and there's just something about seeing that the majority of Iraqi suicide bombers still remain Saudi Salafists (as were the 9/11 gang) that I find more than a little unsettling.

What kind of war are we fighting if young people are being systematically taught that the Wahhabist/Salafist enemy is good, but that we are bad?

I know there are many truly moderate Muslims, including patriotic Americans, but there is nothing moderate about Wahhabism. Why spend tax dollars promoting the philosophy of the enemy in American schools?

Wouldn't it be cheaper to just not fight the war, and give them everything they want?

Maybe we already are, but we're still pursuing the war because we imagine the enemies don't realize we've largely defeated ourselves at home. In an interesting piece Glenn Reynolds links, Michael Burleigh asks a good question of England, which might as well be asked of the United States:

Why is foreign aid not contingent upon warning recipient states that they will forfeit it if clerics they subsidise preach hatred of the West?
Because we can't hold the recipient states to a higher standard than we hold ourselves, that's why!

posted by Eric on 07.27.07 at 07:27 PM


To answer your headline -- no, we are not at war. Congress sort of (but not quite) declared war to authorize the use of force against Saddam's regime. Regime gone. Saddam dead. Mission accomplished.

Whatever it is we are doing there now is not that war. And that war was never against Saudi Arabia. Remember -- we put troops in Saudi Arabia, not to occupy them, but to protect them. And bin Laden's initial beef against the US was that we dared to have those troops on sacred Saudi soil to protect them. And we are about to sell lots more weapons to the Saudis.

Go figure.

Fritz   ·  July 28, 2007 1:29 AM

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