Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A short guide to Iraq

In 1943, some American troops were stationed in Iraq. Here is a PDF of a War Department handbook introducing them to the country, and providing some dos and don'ts when interacting with the Iraqi people. Some highlights:



  • NEVER discuss religion or politics or women with Moslems.
  • Don't stare at anyone. Remember the fear of the "evil eye".
  • Knock before entering a private house. If a woman answers, wait until she has had time to retire.
  • If you see grown men walking hand in hand, ignore it. They are not queer.
  • You can usually tell a mosque by its high tower. Keep away from mosques. [Emphasis in the original] If you try to enter one, you will be thrown out, probably with a severe beating.
  • There are four towns in Iraq which are particularly sacred to the Iraq Moslems: Kerbala, Najaf, samarra, and Kadhiman. Unless you are ordered to these towns it is advisable to stay away from them.
  • Moslems here are divided into two factions something like our division into Catholic and Protestant denominations -- so don't put in your two cents when Iraqis argue about religion.

  • There are also political differences in Iraq that have puzzled diplomats and statesmen. You won't help matters any by getting mixed up in them.
And then there's this:
  • American success or failure in Iraq may well depend on whether the Iraqis (as the people are called) like American soldiers or not. It may not be quite that simple. But then again it could.

Amen, brother!

3 comments:

John Gorenfeld said...

Really amazing and heartbreaking find.

Sanjay said...

You forgot the best part:

"The tall man in the flowing robe you are going to see soon, with the whiskers and the long hair, is a first-class fighting man, highly skilled in guerilla warfare. Few fighters in any country, in fact, excell him in that kind of situation. If he is your friend, he can be a staunch and valuable ally. If he should happen to be your enemy — look out!"

123 123 said...

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Joan Stepsen
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