Thursday, 12 March 2009

Clash of cultures

With President Obama recently declaring his intention to begin a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, I was having a look at some of our Iraq war items. One is a primer for U.S. military personnel deployed to Arab countries, "Through the lens of cultural awareness"*, which lists the various "cultural" mistakes made in their dealings with the Iraqi population, such as: "Soldiers have shown ignorance of Islamic religious practice. For example, Iraqis arrested by US troops have had their heads forced to the ground, a position forbidden by Islam except during prayers. This action offends detainees as well as bystanders . . . the military has enough to worry about without alienating the local population.”

Interestingly, it also includes T.E. Lawrence's 27 articles on working with Arab armies.

You can read it here in NLS* or online.