Friday, July 10, 2009
Clash of Cultures [Fred Schwarz]
Elsewhere on our site today, Gabriel Ledeen reviews Marine lieutenant Wesley Gray’s Embedded: A Marine Corps Adviser Inside the Iraqi Army. The book recalls Gray’s 2006 tour of duty in Haditha, training an Iraqi Army unit to take responsibility for protecting the nation. One point that Gray makes is that Iraqi attitudes and beliefs are very different from those of Americans:
The conversations Gray recounts are priceless and make a fascinating study for anyone trying to understand the war, the Iraqis, or Iraqi society. Here are a few excerpts from Gray’s conversations with Iraqi soldiers:
“In Iraq, it is mandatory to beat your wife! To not beat your wife is considered unmanly. Men who do not beat their women allow their women to take advantage of them through their powers of seduction. I think Western pressure to stop wife beating will only lead to a systematic weakness in Iraqi men.”
“First Division is paid at a higher rate than everyone in our division because their pay officers know even more people than Captain Tseen does at the Ministry of Defense. Americans like to call this corruption. We call this getting things done. . . . All pay officers skim pay. Why do you think being the pay officer is such a highly regarded position in the Iraqi Army?”
And the culture clashes continue today. A few days ago, an Army logistics officer posted this list:
Things Some Iraqis Believe
1. Scorpions eat sand.
2. Sand storms are caused by Americans driving their vehicles in the desert to kick up the dust.
3. We take pills in order to be able to walk around with all of our equipment on.
After which a security contractor in Afghanistan came up with the following:
Things Some Afghans Believe
1. US and ISAF forces are here to conquer Afghanistan and steal the oil.
2. The ICRC is actually a front for Christian crusaders, and they force locals to convert to Christianity in order to receive medical treatment.
3. There is a brothel on every US base, staffed by local girls kidnapped by US forces.
07/10 02:32 PMShare