Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid | AspenTimes.com

Todd Hartley: I’m With Stupid

Todd Hartley
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

Some jerk in California with an anti-Muslim agenda puts out a trailer for a movie mocking Muhammad and making the case that Muslims are violent, and Muslims around the world respond with violence, leading to the deaths of 30 people (mostly Muslims), including four Americans in Libya who had nothing whatsoever to do with the movie. How utterly predictable – and what a great way to make the jerk in California look right.

As I’ve said before, I understand that the violence is being caused by a small minority of extremists, but what troubles me is what seems to be a tacit acceptance of it by the masses. It could just be the media coverage of it that I see, but I really get the sense that a lot of people in the Middle East don’t seem to care that terrorists are trying to kill U.S. and European citizens. I hope I’m wrong about that, but that’s the way I perceive things.

With that being the case, I think the U.S. should re-examine its relations with any nation with which we have a questionable alliance. I think we should take a portion of next year’s foreign aid and arrange for a one-question election in each of those countries. We can be like fourth-graders and give them all notes that say, “Does your country like America?” And we’ll give them two boxes to check: yes or no, easy as that.

If the country votes “yes,” we’ll continue giving them foreign aid money; U.S.-based charities will continue to operate there to improve people’s lives; we’ll contribute mightily to disaster relief; we’ll step in and help mediate internal conflicts if we’re asked; and we’ll aid in that country’s defense if it is threatened by external forces, kind of like we do now.

In return, I would hope that any recipient of American largesse would help fight extremism and make an effort to tone down the anti-American hatred a little bit. At the very least, they could stop teaching it in their schools. We’re willing to help. A modicum of appreciation would be nice.

If, however, the country votes “no,” it gets nothing. I say we sever diplomatic ties, shutter our embassies and do everything in our power to isolate that nation while encouraging our allies to do the same. The extremists declared war on us; if the majority of people in a country side with them, then I consider that country our enemy.

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And if you think there’s not a compelling financial reason to drop some of these countries from the U.S. bankroll, think again. In 2010, in combined direct economic and military assistance, Afghanistan alone cost us $11.4 billion. Pakistan cost us $2.9 billion, Iraq $2.1 billion, Egypt $1.7 billion, Sudan, $976 million, the West Bank and Gaza $693 million. The list goes on and on. It’s amazing what we shell out to people who hate us.

If the people in certain Middle Eastern and Asian nations really don’t want any American presence or influence, I think they should say so. We should cut off any official dealings with them, discourage tourism and charity work there and fine American corporations that do business there. In short, we should leave those countries to their own devices and let them evolve as they will.

I would hope they would become tolerant nations that respect human rights and live in peace, but I think a more likely scenario is what’s going on right now in Syria. The whole country is going to hell, and we aren’t stepping in to do anything about it. Do you know why we aren’t stepping in to help? Because Syria doesn’t like us, so we don’t care what happens to it. It’s really that simple.

Of course, if terrorists think a lack of American involvement gives them carte blanche to operate in those nations, I would caution them to think again. I say we make sure that CIA informants are the highest-paid people in those countries, and then let’s launch a million more drones. I see no reason to put our troops in harm’s way when we can just kill extremists remotely.

Finally, I think we should make an official statement to all citizens of the world telling them that if their governments are unwilling or unable to deal with the would-be terrorists within their borders, we will do it, and we won’t ask for permission. So if you live in a village, and there are extremists plotting something evil nearby, it might be a good idea to keep your distance until the drones are done with them.