“U.S. Army struggles to grasp foreign cultures,” from Reuters, with thanks to Sparta:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Army plans to train its officers to think like their enemies and better understand foreign cultures after an Army report found that no one could have envisioned the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Think like their enemies? Really? So they will be undertaking in-depth studies of jihad theology and ideology? Somehow I doubt it: if they really did this, it could lead to conclusions that will be at odds with fundamental dogmas that currently go unquestioned in the military and the government.
Small groups of officers soon will take classes in cultural anthropology and cross-cultural communication as U.S. troops continue to battle insurgents daily in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Who’s teaching about Islam? John Esposito and Karen Armstrong?
Academic experts welcomed the move, but said reshaping the U.S. military would be difficult, given continuing reports of religious intolerance at military institutions and charges of detainee abuse abroad.
The Army’s report, released last month, concludes that even seasoned analysts failed to predict a strike of the magnitude of the 2001 attacks because they based their assessments on U.S. culture, values and reasoning….
That continues to be a fundamental problem. Witness this clueless head of Army Intelligence:
Lt. Gen. Keith Alexander, head of Army intelligence and President Bush’s nominee as director of the National Security Agency, recently highlighted efforts to improve Army intelligence through better technology and improved training.
After spending time in the Middle East, Alexander told reporters he concluded that anti-U.S. sentiment in the region was complex and cumulative after years of negative perceptions, some dating back to the creation of Israel in 1948.
Alexander, if you don’t know by now that they’re a lot older than that and arise from causes that have nothing to do with Israel, I doubt you will ever learn.
“This is going to be a war not of technology, but of people,” he said, adding, “Most of the Arabs that I talk to really want to forge a friendship.”
I doubt the Lt. General is familiar with Qur’an 5:51 (“take not the Jews and the Christians for your friends and protectors”) or 3:28 (“Let not the believers take for friends or helpers unbelievers rather than believers: if any do that, in nothing will there be help from Allah: except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them” — in other words, pretend to be their friends to gain an advantage over them). And that’s not all he’s unfamiliar with:
Even as Alexander cited the need for better cultural understanding, he called the language spoken in Iraq “Iraqi” instead of Arabic, and repeatedly called potential suspects “Abu,” a honorific title meaning “father” in Arabic….
Yvonne Haddad, professor of history at Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding, faulted U.S. officials for alienating people in Islamic countries with speeches geared to appeal to the U.S. Christian right.
“Every time President Bush speaks, he creates more enemies,” she said. “People think he has declared a war on Islam.”…
It is breathtaking that Bush could take such pains to emphasize that he has not declared war on Islam, and people like Yvonne Haddad and Zarqawi can brush it all aside and maintain that he has declared war on Islam. How? By pandering to shady American Muslim advocacy groups? By having CAIR give sensitivity training to FBI and DHS?
And CAIR has made it known that they are still watching:
The Council on American Islamic Relations welcomed efforts to better understand other cultures, but said it was continuing to monitor the U.S. military after reports of inappropriate proselytizing by evangelical Christians at the Air Force Academy, said spokesman Ibrahim Hooper.