Unfit for service

Some 72 percent of Americans 17 to 24 years old are unfit for military service due to academic, fitness and behavior deficiencies.

Most of today’s youth are not eligible for military service because they are too fat, too weak, not smart enough and prone to drug-use and criminal behavior, according to a panel of senior military officers.

About 30 percent are ineligible because they haven’t finished high school.

I’ve been working as a temp editorial writer for the last week at the San Jose Mercury News, my old employer. (Every time I do this, they lay people off. By July, the editorial staff will be at 200, about half what it was when I left in 2001.) I walked into the editor’s office and saw a picture of his 18-year-old son, who’s serving as a cavalry scout somewhere near Baghdad. Every time I read the war news I wonder if Steve’s son is OK. We rely on young men like this.

On Quick and the Ed, Chad Alderman suggests recruiting and training teachers the way the Army recruits and trains soldiers.

About Joanne


  1. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Back in the draft, the army had jobs for lots of non-warriors. Now they job those out and reserve the luxury of service to those fit for the line. No more yardbirds or Beatle Baileys. They ease them out quick, and concentrate on the non-civilian specialties like killing people.

  2. I have a friend–I’ve known him since he was a high school freshman–who’s served one tour in Iraq and is now in Afghanistan. His younger brother is getting ready to head to Iraq.

    They are from reasonably well-to-do, college-educated parents in Oakland. Neither parent ever considered or wanted the military for their sons, but both headed off to West Point.

    Yes, we need citizens like those. I honor their service.

  3. Walter E. Wallis says:

    And you don’t treat them like cannon fodder!

  4. You’re right, I don’t.

  5. We rely on young men like this?

    For what?

    To occupy a foreign country so even more people will hate us?

    To protect us from weapons of mass destruction that aren’t there?

    Honor his service?

    Who is he serving by being in Baghdad?

    There’s no service and there’s no honor when the war happens to be one huge mistake.

  6. Twill00 says:

    Maybe I don’t understand the term “editorial staff”. What does it include?

  7. Twill00 says:

    Robert Wright.

    You are entitled to your own opinions, but you are not entitled to your own facts. Try to see the whole picture, not just the Times view.

    Lots of people in the middle east respect us, lots hate us. People in the Arab world have hated the U.S. right through from the 1950’s, at least. Before then they were too busy hating the colonial powers to think about us.

    The acute geopolitical situation that led to the second invasion of Iraq came out of Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, and the ten-year cease-fire that Hussein violated every week. Our soldiers were camped in “the Holy land” to protect Saudi Arabia from Saddam — one of the reasons that Al Qaeda gave for their attack on Sept 11.

    It is *way* more complicated than you present it. The war has had both negative and positive results for American international relations. One of the positive: when Muslim insurgents are blowing up innocent Muslims, it breaks down their existing narrative about “Zionist oppressors” to the real case — nasty people killing others for their political and religious beliefs.

    That breakdown is the most hopeful thing I’ve seen in the middle east in the last forty years, and that’s because of the war.

  8. “Seventy-two percent of American youth between 17 and 24 years of age are not eligible for military service for fitness, academic and law enforcement deficiencies, Cotton said, citing national statistics that some 30 percent of male youths drop out of high school.”

    He cites a national statistic about dropouts, but does not cite a state for his statement, which is purely nonsense.

    He’s certainly wrong about the dropout rate:

    NCES: Event Dropout Rates for 2004:

    “About 5 out of every 100 students enrolled in high school in October 2003 left school before October 2004 without completing a high school program (table 1). Since 1972, event dropout rates have trended downward, from 6.1 percent in 1972 to 4.7 percent in 2004 (figure 1 and table 2). This decline occurred primarily from 1972 through 1990. Despite year-to-year fluctuations, there has been no overall pattern of increase or decrease in event dropout rates since 1990. ”

    NCES: Status Dropout Rate for 2004 (regardless of when they dropped out):

    “In October 2004, approximately 3.8 million 16- through 24-year-olds were not enrolled in high school and had not earned a high school diploma or alternative credential such as a GED (table 6). These status dropouts accounted for 10.3 percent of the 36.5 million 16- through 24-year-olds in the United States in 2004.”


    “In 2004, Asian/Pacific Islanders ages 16–24 were less likely to be status dropouts than Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics in this age group.13 The percentage of Hispanics ages 16–24 who were dropouts was consistently higher than that of Blacks and Whites throughout this 32-year period (1972–2004; figure 2 and table 8). White and Black status dropout rates have fallen by about half since 1972; the rates for Whites fell from 12.3 to 6.8 percent and the rates for Blacks declined from 21.3 to 11.8 percent. Between 1972 and 2004, Hispanic status dropout rates have fluctuated considerably but also have demonstrated a long-term decline, falling from 34.3 to 23.8 percent.14 Hispanics also experienced a downward trend in status dropout rates in the more recent period between 1990 and 2004.”

    Non-native Hispanics are status dropouts to the tune of 38.4.

    So unless this guy was talking only about non-native hispanics (who are almost certainly illegal), he has absolutely no basis for his facts.

    I can’t believe anyone could seriously accept his statements without challenge. What, everyone believes him because it’s on the Internet?

  9. Editorial staff includes editors, reporters, photographers and page designers. It peaked at 400 in early 2001 and will hit 200 after the next wave of layoffs (40 people) on July 1.

    The “event dropout” rates are inaccurate. The four-year graduation rate is estimated at 70 percent; it’s lower for males, blacks and Hispanics.

  10. Walter E. Wallis says:

    How many Americans are unfit for service in Professional Football? Besides me, I mean.
    Robert, this is an educational blog. Go back to sign in, turn left, then further left, then lefter until you come to KOs, right next to KKK and the Jew killers. Please don’t look back.

  11. We rely on young men like this?
    Uh, yeah. Why? Is there some other bunch of young men we ought to be relying upon?

    For what?
    Oh that’s easy. So that people who think that the solution to every problem comes from the barrel of a gun are made to understand that the solution to them also comes from the barrel of a gun.

    To occupy a foreign country so even more people will hate us?
    As long as all they do is hate us, why should I care? If they want to do something more then seeth with hatred, well, see above.

    To protect us from weapons of mass destruction that aren’t there?
    One word: Haditha

    Honor his service?
    Sure. Or do you figure you’re important enough that you’re above honoring the service of someone who’s willing to lay down his life to protect your freedoms?

    Who is he serving by being in Baghdad?
    Everyone who’s willing to accept a irritating, even unfair, compromise rather then take what they want with a gun.

    There’s no service and there’s no honor when the war happens to be one huge mistake.
    If it were a huge mistake you’d still be wrong but as Twill00 already pointed out all Saddam had to do was abide by the agreement he made to stay in power. He didn’t, we enforced the terms of the agreement. Where’s the mistake in holding someone to an agreement he signed and we let him sign?

  12. Walter, did you read this blog back in the day when the drums were beating just prior to the invasion? It was a pro war blog and it was even labeled as such.

    Critics like me were called unpatriotic–and worse.

    But now that the weapons haven’t been found and that Iraq is worse off than before and that American soldiers die ever day because they’re stuck in the middle of a civil war, well, now this blog has returned its focus on education.

    I’d be happy to keep my comments limited to education

    But when there are comments like “we rely on young men like this,” I’m moved to ask, for what? And when their activity is characterized as service, I have to ask for whom?

    I’ll keep quiet about the war, but if your forget that it was wrong, I’ll remind you.

  13. Allen, American soldiers in Iraq are not protecting my freedom.

    The fact that they are willing to lay down their lives doesn’t make them right any more than it would make a suicide bomber right.

    They are not in service to America. They’re occupying a country that never was a threat.

    They’re doing more harm than good and I wish they’d all return home.

    Show honor? Under the circumstances, the honorable American soldier is the one who deserts.

  14. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Some people criticize my war, Korea, but I just point to the night photo of the lights in the South and the dark in the North I helped save the people from. The WMD were not the only reason we went into Iraq, as has been explained above.
    My grandson did two tours in Fallujah as a mud Marine, and I am proud of his service.
    I call you worse than unpatriotic because you are rationalizing
    Saddam and Jihad. That is contemptable and swinish.
    Disconnect as you might your interests from those of your country – frankly if your house were to catch fire and I knew it was yours I would encourage the firemen not to sweat it.

  15. Art Stone says:


    You overlooked one very important word… The article said 30% of *Males* are dropping out of high school. The statistics you cited are for the entire population.

    Here are statistics from 2007:

    69.9% of students graduate, but 66.6 of males, and 73.6 of females.

    Also, according to these statistics:

    56.8% of the people 15+ enrolled in college are female.

    Perhaps we should do some research into why the male children seem to be failing in our schools?

  16. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Another survey to learn what we already know? Just because you reject the cure doesn’t mean you have to continue repeating the disgnosis.

  17. Background checks aren’t really done on individuals before entering the military in many countries. I truly believe ours are the best and brightest!

  18. Catch Thirty Thr33 says:

    Robert Wright – You whine that Americans in Iraq are not protecting your freedom. JFK would disagree, I am sure, as he once said “When we protect the freedom of Berlin, we protect the freedom of London and New York as well”. Doubtless you also disagree with the rationale behind the Incheon landing, and Operations such as “Vittles” and “Overlord”.
    You also whine that “we are in the middle of a civil war!” Really? I hear the media cry all the time that we are on the verge of a civil war in Iraq, and they have been doing so for at least two years. So, which is it?
    This war was absolutely correct. I’d much rather be taking out the terrorists in downtown Baghdad, facing America’s finest, rather than have them in downtown Houston, shooting up American civilians (Wait! I can hear you crying already: “But we are making more terrorists in Iraq!!! WAHHHH!!!” Outstanding, Robert. Using that logic, why isn’t mayor Bill White announcing that the Houston Police Department is being disbanded, as the existence of a police department is only creating more criminals?).

  19. Allen, American soldiers in Iraq are not protecting my freedom.
    Sure they are.

    The fact that they are willing to lay down their lives doesn’t make them right any more than it would make a suicide bomber right.
    Sure it does.

    They are not in service to America. They’re occupying a country that never was a threat.
    I thought I already answered that. Oh yeah, I did.

    They’re doing more harm than good and I wish they’d all return home.
    By being an irresistible magnet for the world’s jihadis? Seems like bunching the jihadis all together in place where the Americans they have access too are smarter, better armed and better trained then the jihadis is clearly doing more good then harm.

    Would you rather have those jihadis running around the world killing Americans and anyone else it strikes their fancy to kill, knowing most of the people they will kill will be unarmed and helpless to resist? Maybe our definitions of “harm” and “good” are significantly at variance.

    Oh, and I wish they’d return home as well after making it clear that praying to Allah for the demise of the Great Satan America is altogether a better course of action then taking matters into your own hands.

    Show honor? Under the circumstances, the honorable American soldier is the one who deserts.
    I heard it all before and it was as untrue then as it is now.

  20. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Perhaps some of the dedication of the military will seep down to our diplomats, and have them start representing US interests again, making it nice to be nice and unrewarding to be naughty.

  21. Robert Wright,

    “the honorable American soldier is the one who deserts”

    I am always appalled when someone who risks nothing
    enourages another to commit a criminal act.

    What do your risk to end our involvement in Iraq?

  22. Richard Aubrey says:

    When the bad guys are coming through Wright’s door, he’ll be looking for somebody who, a, is capable, and, b, has no idea of what Wright’s been saying, to protect him.
    When the fighting is far from his own door, in order to insure it does not reach his door, he will be indulging himself in risk-free snarkiness and holier-than-thou faux thoughts.
    He needs to have the equivalent of the “No guns in this house.” sign on his forehead, so the bad guy will know where to go and the honorable will be know where (not) to go to protect him.
    Economists speak of the free-rider problem. Nowhere is it more obvious and annoying than in matters of national defense.
    By defending the country, we defend Wright, although many would rather not.
    But it’s unavoidable, a fact which Wright no doubt has at the front of his mind.

  23. Bill Leonard says:

    Well said, Mr. Aubrey.

    I served in the U.S. Army from 1966 through 1968. I remember all the enlightened young snots who sneered and snickered at me while I traveled in uniform, in my own country.

    Well, Mr. Wright, they had their opinions, you have yours. Indulge them. Far better men and women than you have served and are serving so that you may enjoy that indulgence.

    Free riders, indeed!

  24. gbl3rd, I don’t risk much. But if we are going to judge a person’s opinion by how much risk he takes, then the U.S. soldier is more right than me, and the suicide bomber is more right than him.

    Catch and allen, you both seem to believe that Iraq is full anti-American terrorists who we need to fight over there before we need to fight them on our own soil.

    You see the truth of that to be obvious. I see it is a myth so far from reality that I find it frightening that anybody could actually believe it.

    Berliners cheered JFK, you know. But in Iraq, there’s no cheering. Even those who suffered under Saddam now find “life there never as miserable as it has become under the daily cycle of suicde bombing and death-squad killing and the the deprivation of basic public services like electricity, hospitals and schooling.”

    It reminds me of the boy scout who helped an old lady cross the street.

    It turned out to be more work than he thought because she didn’t want to cross the street.

    The invasion of Iraq was a huge mistake. Those whose love for America translates into “America can do no wrong,” have to close their eyes and cover their ears when faced with the reality of Iraq and chant, over and over, “Osama is Saddam, Osama is Saddam, Osama is Saddam.”

    Well, he’s not. And such blind love for one’s country, a love that refuses to see mistakes, is ultimately destructive.

  25. Mr. Leonard, when soldiers serve in defense of their country, they get a better reception.

  26. Robert Wright

    I do not judge your opinion about the war. I do not judge people by the risk they take. A sucide bomber has no risk. He knows he will die and go to paradise. I only object to those who counsel desertion. You encourage men to desert. They will face a court martial, prison time and the remainder of their life as a convicted felon. Why would you desire this?

  27. Richard Aubrey says:

    Even as a civilian, I have, accidentally, had occasion to hang it out to protect others.
    If I were the last thing between Mr. Wright and trouble, he’s screwed.
    If the country can’t manage the free rider issue, I could, if my luck was in.

  28. gbl3rd,

    I encourage American soldiers to desert because the war is wrong.

    Yes, they will face court martial and prison time, and that’s a great sacrfice, I know, but sometimes following your conscience is better than taking the path of least resistance.

    Camilo Mejia and Kevin Benderman refused to fight in Iraq, they were prosecuted, and to me, they’re American heroes.

    Mr. Aubrey,

    To the extent my country defends me, I’m in it’s debt. To the extent my country bullies weaker nations to enslave its people and steal its resources, it’s my obligation to protest.

  29. Robert Wright

    Wouldn’t it be less hypocritical and more effective for you to enlist, foment a mutiny and lead your fellow resisters to the gallows?

  30. gbl3rd,

    I’m struggling to understand your logic.

    Your statement is like saying I’d be hypocritical if I enouraged a friend to attend AA meetings without first becoming an alcoholic myself.

    Geez, somebody wants to see my house burned down, see me harmed without intervention and now sent to the gallows.

    I’m reminded of the time that Spiro Agnew (I think it was him) snarled at congressman who opposed the war and said, “I don’t know about you, but I am not about to tell the grieving mothers of our fallen soldiers that their sons died in vain!”

    He was right. He never did.

    I think we’d all prefer to tell a grieving mother that her son died for a good cause. It would be heartless to want to tell her otherwise.

    But then again, there’s the truth.

    I suspect that many still support the war for a similar reason, an emotional reason; the desire to believe that America is always right and that those thousands of Americans who died did so in service to America and weren’t simply dupes.

    The truth is pretty ugly. The myth is a lot easier to take.

    Yes, sending me to the gallows would certainly keep my mouth shut.

  31. In a comment to one of my blog postings, my good friend Michael summed up the war this way (I assume this was the math at that time, around mid-January):

    “Still, even if we end up losing this war, hopefully ordinary Muslims will get the message: Kill 3,000 Americans and America will sacrifice 3,000 soldiers to kill 300,000 Muslims without even bothering to fulfill any significant objective. We have 2,000,000 men and women in uniform. The math gets pretty ugly.”

    Personally, in many respects, I would rather we become isolationists. We leave you alone, you leave us alone. As this clearly is not the case, I can live with this as an unspoken goal of the war effort.

  32. Robert Wright

    … and I am struggling to understand yours too.

    Joining the armed forces is nothing like joining AA. However I think the example is more like counseling people to leave AA because you don’t like the AA process (for some reason) without considering the people who would be damaged when they leave AA.

    The point I am trying to make is: a few people deserting cannot not end a war. An organized mutiny can. Consider WWI. This can’t happen unless you get in and cause it to happen.

    I desire no harm should be inflicted on you, but you wish for others to face a general court marital and a death penalty at your whim.

  33. gbl3rd

    Thank you for taking the time clarify.

    I think I better understand what you’re saying.

    Yes, the consequences for desertion are serious and perhaps there’s a line between the practical and the rhetorical that I was ignoring.

  34. Richard Aubrey says:

    Robert Wright.
    You are correct about being in debt. However, the point is that the fighting prior to the bad guys crashing through your very own door is better for you–not that I care–than waiting until you are, say, dead because we listened to you providing us with evidence of your moral superiority.

    Yup. Stealing their resources. Up until that point, I figured you were merely–wrong. But that is such an old and discredited hippy talking point (did you know we fought in SEA to secure the tin mines in Malaysia? Hippies said so.)that you are not merely wrong, but lying. Nobody is still stoned enough to believe that.
    What makes you think this board, instead of, oh, a group home for the moderately non-functional, is a good audience for that tripe?

  35. Richard,

    I didn’t know about the tin mines in Malaysia, but I’ll take your word for it.

    What I’m saying is, like Henry David Thoreau and Supreme Court Justice Abe Fortas, that when the military is wrong, it shouldn’t be supported.

    There are those who believe the U.S. military is always right. I’m not one of them.

    It doesn’t have to do with wanting a “free ride” or feeling morally superior.

    There are those of us who believe Thoreau had a valid point and that that point applies now just as it did during the war with Mexico, a war, if you’ll recall, Abraham Lincoln denounced.

    And then there are those of us who want to be “Good Germans.”

    Well, not me.

  36. Walter E. Wallis says:

    Robert, Had we listened to the better red than dead heads we would all be comfortably ensconced in our allotted room, working in our assigned job and lining up for our quota of eggs and milk. Some of us would even be benefitting from the free educational institution, gulag.
    A holocaust survivor was asked if he learned anything. He responded “When someone says he is going to kill you, believe him.” If you deny the threat of international Jihad to the United States, you are a fool. If you impede the war against Jihad you are a fool, a traitor or both. If you suborn others to break the law you are Jihadist. If you teach, I pity your students.

  37. Richard Aubrey says:

    Robert. By this time in our history, nobody is stupid enough to believe your schtick. Not me, not you, not anybody.
    Therefore, it is silly to engage you on the stuff than which you know better.
    Adios, my friend.

  38. Richrad,

    By this time in our history, nobody is stupid enough to find value in the writings of Henry David Thoreau?

    At this time in our history, all the Democrats running for president are saying that the war in Iraq was a mistake. They either didn’t vote for it or they wish they hadn’t. The Democratic Party is the majority in the U.S.

    You may believe I’m wrong, which is fine, but when you say I’m in the minority, it’s just not so.


    After reading more about the 1950’s, I’ve changed my opinion about how serious the threat of communism was. I’m not convinced, however, that Viet Nam was part of that threat.

    As for the threat of international Jihad, I think that’s real. I think that thousands of babies are born every single day in the Middle East with prayers that they’ll grow up to kill a lot of Americans one day. There are more individuals than ever before who dream of coming over to America to kill us and our children. I fear that before I die that the Golden Gate Bridge will be destroyed and that most of San Francisco will be contaminated by the fallout from a Jihadest’s backpack dirty bomb. Hatred for the U.S. is increasing every day. Hatred that moves thousands upon thousands to love nothing better than the thought of killing American men, women and chilren. I think that threat is real and that it grows by the day.

    And I think that invading Iraq, a country that wasn’t linked to terrorism, has been like throwing gasoline on a fire that now threatens us all.

    We agree on some things, Walter, but not all.

    I don’t think I’m a fool and I don’t think I’m a traitor–though I guess that’s a matter of opinion.

    I am a teacher, and I think I’m a pretty good one. (Very few people at school know my political views. For years, it was assumed I was a conservative Republican because I’m a born again Christian and I was the county chairman for the Sonny Bono run for the U.S. Senate.)

    And at my school if there’s a fight, the student who hits first is the one who’s wrong. It they claim it was a preemptive strike, that doesn’t wash.

    Something else. In my classroom I stress that there’s better communication if people refrain from name calling.

  39. Catch Thirty-Thr33 says:

    It is so hilarious to see the Leftists whine and cry about “name calling” when that is ALL they do.
    It is also sad that you see nothing in life that is worth fighting for.
    By the way, if we aren’t being cheered in Baghdad, can you explain to me the reaction of Iraqis to the toppling of Saddam’s statue in 2003? Or why ONLY 125,000 or so troops are over there – a fraction of those who went in 1990 for Desert Shield/Storm?
    One more thing before I drift off into the night: I would suggest to you that violence WORKS every time it has been tried whenever a problem needed resolved. You may want to think very carefully about that…

  40. Catch,

    On the contrary, one of my favorite quotes from Martin Luther King is, “If you have nothing to die for, you’re not fit to live.”

    There’s are a lot in life that’s worth fighting for. Like, well, defense.

    How do I explain the reaction of the Iraqis to the toppling of Saddam’s statue? Well, don’t take my word for it. Google it and you’ll see quite a few people have written about it. The majority of Iraqis who gathered to watch the U.S. Marines do what the network news cameras were hoping the Iraqis would do themselves were not cheering at all. The majority, according to newsmen at the scene, looked either nervous, embarrassed or sad. I wasn’t there, so goole it yourself and read what the cameras didn’t show according to poeple who were there.

    I don’t think that even Fox News is disputing now that the majority of Iraqis oppose American’s invasion and occupation. They don’t want us there and they wish we never came. Again, don’t take my word for it. Look at the polls.

    It’s interesting — your comment that violence works every time.

    That seems to be a belief held by the current administration and it might be the reason things just aren’t working out.

    It’s not just Michael Moore and people like him who are against the war right now. It’s 2/3 of Americans according to the latest polls.

    If violence worked every time, the mission would have been accomplished by now.

  41. Richard Aubrey says:

    Jeez, Robert.

    Did you live in the Sixties: I don’t know your age.
    If you did, you’re stuck there, with the crap the stoners emitted.
    If not, you got one of the memos they left around.

    As I say, nobody’s stupid enough to believe you. Not even you.

    If killing Muslim terrorists breeds more, how about Muslim terrorists killing Muslim civilians? Thirty, forty, fifty a day, each with relatives. Man, the al Q guys in Iraq are building up a blood debt they couldn’t pay if they owned a slaughterhouse.

  42. Walter E. Wallis says:

    “Something else. In my classroom I stress that there’s better communication if people refrain from name calling.”

    Except when you are issuing blood slander about the military?

    “And at my school if there’s a fight, the student who hits first is the one who’s wrong. It they claim it was a preemptive strike, that doesn’t wash.”

    Unless the student is Saddam?

    Robert, your time is gone if it ever was here.

  43. Catch Thirty-Thr33 says:

    Robert: If we aren’t being cheered in Baghdad as you whine, whine, whine, explain this to me. I am horrible at math, but even some things I understand.
    There are 125,000 of US in Iraq right now, surrounded, for all intents and purposes, by 25 MILLION or so Iraqi civilians. So, if our presence is so HATED as you whine that it is, how come it isn’t a complete bloodbath? Why aren’t we taking about our 100,000th casualty right about now?

  44. Catch Thirty-Thr33 says:

    And violence DOES work every single time, Robert. Why are we an independent nation? Why, did Benjamin Franklin ASK King George III’s permission, and then heard him say “You know guys, we would really like to keep you as colonies, but OK, we’ll let you go.”?
    Did Hitler just stop subjugating Europe because he was told “STOP THAT!”?
    Did Tojo stop construction of the “Greater East Asia Co-Porsperity Sphere” because FDR said “Play nice!”?
    Did Kim Il-Sung say to himself “Gosh, the South Koreans don’t want any part of my worker’s paradise! I’ll just go home then…”

    Violence ALWAYS works. I would submit that if we REALLY wanted to end the war in Iraq very quickly, we can. But since you are squeamish of anyone even getting a hangnail in the name of the Constitution, and since there are too many others like you running around, the suggestion I am going to make to you will make you VOMIT and CRINGE. And it is simple: read very carefully about how the Assassins were defeated by the Mongols. The United States Armed Forces that you so hate are behaving like Sunday Schoolboys by comparison.
    Of course (in a huge hat tip to Robert Heinlein), if you are sold on the idea that violence doesn’t solve anything, I will happily pay for your airfare to Carthage so that you can explain this to the Carthaginians, who can doubtless use your wisdom. I will also follow this with a side trip to Constantinople, and you can tell the Byzantines the same thing.