The state of the world got more gruesome yesterday with the barbaric killing of Lieutenant Muath al-Kasabeh. In a video released by the terrorist group ISIS, the 26-year-old Jordanian pilot can be seen dressed in an orange jump suit and locked in a cage, where he was burned alive.
I believe that world peace can be achieved through two simple things; education and opportunity. It is much harder to commit such heinous acts of terror when you have a way out. Education provides a path out of the killing fields of ignorance and despair, and all the horrors that go along with them. Opportunity provides all of us with the means to build a better world. "Education can help children see beyond a world of hate and hopelessness to one of unlimited opportunity," said Laura Bush at the World Economic Forum in Jordan. "Education helps free the mind from ignorance and bigotry. Education unleashes the creative contributions of every citizen, to improve their own lives and to build the common good. Education benefits all and education should be available to all."
While we know that education is a great driver of social, economic and political progress, most of our leaders think they know better. According to the United Nations, today 69 million adolescents are receIving no education at all. And in our own country, the U.S. spends $814 billion on defense annually and only $149 billion on education. Imagine if we flipped those numbers and if all the governments of the world followed suit. How much more unified and thoughtful would our civilization be?
I've shared my views with senior intelligence officials in Jordan, government and military leaders in Israel, and politicians in the U.S. All of them have told me that I'm hopelessly idealistic. "You're being simple-minded," one Israeli Major said. "There will always be bad guys and we have to fight them." Education isn't simple-minded, I say. Running the world like two boys duking it out on the playground is what is simple-minded.
We've always fought terror with terror, whether it's ISIS, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda, or the Taliban. Each time, the terror groups come back stronger. When are we going to wake up and realize that military force does not work? It only enflames the terror groups more and gives them a cause and a mission.
For the sake of the Jordanian pilot's family, for all of our sakes, it's time to shift our flight path. The course we are on will surely send us all down in flames.