I received this email this morning from an American military officer in Iraq. I have removed various specific references to location etc.
Greetings again from [Iraqi location]. I am a daily reader and just wanted to share an experience I had yesterday at a weekly meeting given by the [military] staff to the [military officers].
I arrived in typical fashion, early to get a seat and grab a beverage prior to the rush. When I approached the small fridge to grab a soda, I was told by another staff officer “sorry, no drinks, it’s Ramadan”. Incredulously, I replied, what!!!?. Turns out, we had 2 visiting Iraq Generals briefing a future operation, and in an effort to be culturally sensitive, the order was put out there would be no drinking in the presence of the Iraqis.
Greatly displeased, I drove on and found my seat. This Major was on a mission, there would be no drinking as I watched her chastise numerous officers. She then came to a man of Middle Eastern appearance in civilian dress who took up a seat behind the yet to arrive Iraqi Generals. He pulled out a cranberry juice from his pocket, and was quickly told he would not be aloud to drink anything during the meeting. He was clearly agitated, but put the juice away. It apparently slipped by the dutiful Major that the man she was correcting was an Iraqi translator who was Muslim! He was the Iraqi Generals personal translator.
I took a moment to ponder what I had just witnessed. An American infidel enforcing Islamic tradition on an apparently secular Muslim! I was truly in bazzaro world.