An Oldie But Goodie

This is from 3 years ago. Read it this morning and still think it applies:

In 1961, William J. Lederer published a book titled A Nation of Sheep. In this book, among other interesting ideas, he suggested a group of questions every civic minded organization in the country should ask their Senators and Representatives. What follows are his questions with one substitution. Lederer wrote at the time when the enemy was Communism. I am writing at a time when the enemy is Al Qaeda. So, I substitute Al Qaeda for Communism in the questions.
First, pick a country you may be interested in. Then,
1. Has Al Qaeda been active in —- (name of country)?
2. Has Al Qaeda influence increased in —- in the last year?
3. What is the reason for the increase?
4. Has Al Qaeda trade increased in —- in the last few years? Why? Has U.S. trade increased or decreased there?
5. How many U.S. citizens are officially stationed in —- including all members of Embassy, ICA, USIS, and the military? How many dependents are residing there?
6. How many read, write, and speak the language of —-?
7. Why such a small number (if the number is less than 60%)?
8. What is being done to properly train our people for serving abroad in the way of language, customs, culture, religion, etc.? If there is a school, how many have attended it and for how long? What is the curriculum?
9. How many are attending school while living in —- and for how many hours per week?
10. How many foreign nationals are employed by the United States in —-? Give a breakdown of their positions.
11. How much does it cost to support one U.S. citizen in —-? This should include all the funds required to maintain that citizen. It should include transportation to and from the country, the cost of maintaining PX and the commissary, the cost of transporting the supplies to the commissary and PX from the U.S.A., pay, extra ‘hardship’ allowances, housing allowance, cost of supplying local transportation, and any other costs associated with their presence.
12. What is the total amount of money spent in — per year? This should include foreign aid, military aid, grants, education, and cost of maintaining our people.

Lederer then wrote that we might get a reply from our Congressperson that this information is classified. If so, he advised, raise the roof! Al Qaeda knows exactly how much we are spending. Amazing how the same questions are applicable half-a-century later.

I wonder how many of our Congresspersons have any idea of the answers to these questions for any given country. For example, try Yemen. Try Pakistan. For that matter, try Afghanistan. If there was a country they ought to be familiar with, you’d think Afghanistan would be such a country.

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