5 Falsehoods and Fantasies in Obama’s West Point Speech

5. “We have to focus not just on rescuing those girls right away, but also on supporting Nigerian efforts to educate its youth.”

This proceeds from the common assumption that only ignorant people engage in terrorism, and so all that anyone needs to do to stop terrorism in its tracks is to provide educational opportunities for terrorists. This goes hand-in-hand with the equally popular dogma that poverty causes terrorism, which Barack Obama has also retailed, saying that “extremely poor societies… provide optimal breeding grounds for disease, terrorism and conflict.” That’s why we see so many Haitian suicide bombers.

The only problem with the idea that terrorists are poor and ignorant is that it has been shown to be false again and again. The Economist reported back in December 2010 that,

the ranks of high-profile terrorism suspects also boast plenty of middle-class, well-educated people. The would-be Times Square bomber, Faisal Shehzad, boasts an MBA and is the son of a senior Pakistani air-force officer. Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who stands accused of lighting a makeshift bomb on a transatlantic flight in the so-called ‘underwear plot’, had a degree from University College, London, and is the son of a rich Nigerian banker. The suspected suicide-bomber in this week’s attacks in Stockholm had a degree from a British university.

And indeed, “social scientists have collected a large amount of data on the socioeconomic background of terrorists. According to a 2008 survey of such studies by Alan Krueger of Princeton University, they have found little evidence that the typical terrorist is unusually poor or badly schooled.” Likewise in March 2014, “new research from Queen Mary University of London has found youth, wealth, and being in full-time education to be risk factors associated with violent radicalization.” And a Danish study in May 2014 found that “radicalized young Muslims are often what one would consider well-integrated: They are better educated than average and also perform better economically and socially, and will therefore be largely able to maintain a double life.”

So we will send a few taxpayer billions to Nigeria to build schools and buy the locals a few houses and cars, and the jihad terrorists will keep coming – and in response, we will send more billions. Because the only alternative would be to reexamine its cherished dogmas, and the State Department establishment never does that.