War: God’s Way of Teaching Americans Geography

Posted By Levi

January 22nd, 2012 4:48pm

Category: Uncategorized

In the various Republican debates so far, the candidates have been talking a lot about Iran and Israel. Juan Cole reminds us how little Americans know geography by pointing to this National Geographic-Roper Survey of Geographic Literacy which surveyed geographic knowledge of 18- to 24-year-olds across the United States. Respondents were shown a blank political map of the Middle East and asked to identify four countries: Israel, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Iran. These were the results:

I’ts amazing that so many Americans support dropping bombs on Iran yet three-quarters of us do not know where to drop those bombs.

We did somewhat better on Iraq; a little over one-third of Americans could locate the country on a map. This, of course, was some years after we invaded and occupied Iraq reminding one of Ambrose Bierce’s dictum that “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.”

Cole suggests a new rule for 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.

But forget about foreign countries. Why can’t so many Americans find the United States on a map? Watch:

You can test your knowledge here:


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