Almost half of Americans support the airstrike that killed Soleimani in Iran. However, three-quarters of Americans cannot find Iran on a map.
Fewer than a quarter of registered voters were able to identify Iran on a world map in a survey conducted by Morning Consult over the weekend. Just 23 percent of poll respondents were able to properly pick out Iran; When presented with a smaller map, showing just the Middle East, the number rose to 28 percent.
Morning Consult’s Joanna Piacenza tweeted a map of the world showing where people think Iran is located.
Men, wealthy people, and those with more education were more likely to correctly label Iran. But it’s clear that some of the answers are not serious. No one thinks Iran is in the middle of the ocean or the middle of Kansas. Right?
Piacenza tweeted that she was inspired by a similar survey conducted in 2017 that asked Americans to try to find North Korea on a map. Thirty-six percent were able to meet that challenge. (source)
It is long known that Americans have a history of declaring war and, without using the term or thinking that they are supporting it, genocide against other nations, yet they know almost nothing about that nation or its history.
The “Orange Man Bad” and NPC meme that emerged during the Trump years has much truth in it, criticizing those on the political left who blindly repeat mantras that Trump is bad and whatever other political or social position that somebody in the television tells him to repeat.
However, the NPC meme is not just defined by “the left”. The right has a lot of this as well, and this manifests in the form of “Trump worship” where people will support Trump’s policies and give open license to his immorality regardless of the nature of the offense when one can say with reasonable certainty that the same treatment would not be extended to Obama. This is the “cult of personality” that I have warned about, where critics of Trump become targets such as Christianity Today magazine, who made the same observations and was directly attacked by Trump.
Going to war is a very serious matter, just as it is with bombing any “target”. People are not “targets”, but human beings with families, lives, communities, no matter how small or wherever they are. Likewise, places are not just “targets”, but have histories, cultures, and people who live in them with economic and political networks. It is true that the military uses such language and all militaries have throughout history, and with clear reasons why. Nevertheless, military action is not something that is a small thing because of these reason. At times in a sin-afflicted world it has to be used, but the principle always should be to use it as little as possible and for the greatest effect, not a a bludgeoning tool of policy so that people who are rich and powerful can force other people to hand over their wealth so they can become more rich and powerful. This is just legalized robbery, for the difference between (proverbially speaking) a Jatavious “Skillet” Washington in New York, a Travis Earl Smith in a rural Oklahoma county, and a Hector “El Pequeno” Gonzalez in Los Angeles knocking over a corner store for some quick money is that they are poor and powerless, while governments such as those of France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, the UK, and the US have power, money, and if one does not choose to submit to a set of morality, no authority by which to conduct themselves other than their own self-imposed will-by-force, thus making themselves into a standard of truth rather than abiding by it.
However, countries are made up of people, and rulers cannot just act by themselves. They need the support of the people many times, even if they would rather not care at all for the people which they are supposed to govern, and which tells one something about the nature of a society, for if a society is a reflection of its members, it means something when the government doesn’t care about anybody it it.
That said, the fact is that America is a very powerful place, but Americans tend to live in a “bubble” of information, being geographically and politically isolated from the rest of the world yet having all of the resources to care for her own needs. The US has and continues to so many great things, but not all that she does is good. With the increased politicization of public rhetoric and the possession of many powerful weapons, the tendency to “bomb” people first and ask questions later has grown. This does not mean there is not a need to respond quickly to crises and problems, but that people tend to shoot first and ask questions later, even if it means killing an innocent person.
All people (nobody is exempt from this) make prejudgments, and there is a need to do this to some level in order to function in society because one cannot just think through the consequences of every single decisions, but needs to make fast and generally accurate decisions. The trouble comes when this mindset, as good as it can be, is applied to whole countries, and especially when people know little more about them than something that one heard about on TV.
Ask yourself, on New Year’s Eve, if you walked up to an average American- doesn’t matter who or where he is -and said “what do you think about Soleimani”, most would have no clue what one is talking about. However, less than a day after the Iran incident started, Soleimani has become a household name just like how nobody knew what a “hadith” was before 9/11 but a day after 9/11 they knew, and then almost twenty years later, have either mostly or completely forgotten about it to the point they have no memory of their previous statements. In the meanwhile, practically the entire Middle East has been destroyed as a result.
This is the problem with having such a mindset on major decisions, because people are riled to anger quickly with a feeling of knowledge and then go out and attempt to support dangerous or destructive policies, only to forget what they were later, and by that time it is too late because a lot of people are already dead, and the same people who did the previous act of deception are preparing another one.
If one cannot find where a country is on a map, and one’s knowledge is generally limited to what one heard on television but would not have known about the previous day before the incident, it is generally a good idea to reconsider supporting militarism until one know what is happening.