Don’t Know What to Say

All of our efforts in Iraq, military and civilian, are handicapped by Americans’ lack of language and cultural understanding. Our [Baghdad] embassy of 1,000 has 33 Arabic speakers, just six of whom are at the level of fluency. In a conflict that demands effective and efficient communication with Iraqis, we are often at a disadvantage. There are still far too few Arab language–proficient military and civilian officers in Iraq, to the detriment of the U.S. mission.

Iraq Study Group Report, p92 (emphasis added)

Six people in the embassy can speak the language. Six. I sure hope they’re all straight…

But the GAO also noted that nearly 800 dismissed gay or lesbian service members had critical abilities, including 300 with important language skills. Fifty-five were proficient in Arabic, including Copas, a graduate of the Defense Language Institute in California.

Army dismisses gay Arabic linguist, AP (via MSNBC, emphasis added)

4 Responses to “Don’t Know What to Say”

  1. The Boy Saunders Says:

    Not relevant to the post, but good to see that the swank JSP Xmas logo is back. Big barrel of hurrah!

  2. Joel Says:

    Why are you Team Pinkers so good at speaking Arabic?

  3. jsp Says:

    من يدري

  4. Go My Brother! Says:

    John, while I definitely heart this post, I am thinking I could do with an update. I miss my daily updates!

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