Giving Iraqis the Middle Finger
The pointing and the thumbs-up and all the usual crazy-man hand gestures Rumsfeld performs whenever he drops in on Iraq?
Deeply offensive and vulgar displays, no different from flipping the bird or "the shocker."
That's what U.S. troops are now learning before they're sent to Iraq, the Marine Corps Times reveals this week. Dirty details are after the jump.
"The Internet has made the world a global village, but culture still can leave people centuries apart," says the article before explaining that a friendly hug is a traditional male greeting in Arab countries. OK, we've got that: Global variations in greetings are proof that Muslims are primitive subhumans.
It is nice to know the soldiers are learning a little about the land where they will soon blow people up or be blown up themselves. The curious part is how the military is using the examples of Rumsfeld and disgraced economic hit man Paul Bremer.
Antar flashed a color slide of Paul Bremer, the first U.S. official to oversee Iraq's recovery, on a screen. Bremer was pointing a finger while answering a question. "I wouldn't do this if I were you because Arabs point at things and at animals, not people," he counseled. "Mr. Bremer clearly missed his cultural orientation class."Here's the funny part: Bremer is no rube. He was the Foreign Service chief in Kabul in the 1960s. He's fluent in Persian and Arabic. He's been running State Dept. and Kissenger operations around the Muslim world for decades.
Then, Antar flashed up a photo of a smiling Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld making a "thumbs up" gesture. "And this particular gesture is very rude to Iraqis - it's like giving someone the middle finger," Antar said, drawing laughter from the soldiers.
While Rumsfeld has spent most of his 96 years plotting various coups and wars from a Washington lair, he should also know better. After all, Rummy's the guy who personally delivered the chemical weapons and sacks of cash to Saddam Hussein. He was Reagan's "Middle East Special Envoy," fer chrissakes.
Thumbs up a no-no; soldiers get crash course in Iraqi culture [Marine Corps Times]
-- KEN LAYNE