Wednesday, May 04, 2005

How to lose the War on Terror: Step 1

Don't bother to learn Arabic. Don't bother to learn any of the languages actually spoken in any of the key battlefield countries. If English was good enough for the King James Bible, it's good enough for us. FBI agents don't need to learn Arabic, they can rely on translators. CIA agents don't need Arabic either.

Sigh.

If we want to understand why our strategy in the War on Terror has sometimes gone awry, might it not be linked to the fact that we have yet to put any one in charge who can actually read the Koran?

So we find today a nice piece of good news:

The Christian Science Monitor reports that Pentagon leaders "increasingly see foreign-language skills not as a peripheral part of the military's mission, but as crucial to the success of American forces abroad."
In the future, officers could be required to have some familiarity with a second language; enlistees might receive language instruction during basic training. No decisions have yet been made. Yet when the Pentagon released its Defense Language Transformation Roadmap last month, it made clear its view that security in a post-Sept. 11 world requires not only a military capable of deploying to the remotest corner of the world at a moment's notice, but also soldiers capable of coping with the cultural and linguistic challenges they meet when they arrive there.


Exactly. Imagine trying to man a roadblock if you don't speak the native language. Imagine trying to do a house-to-house search without being able to understand the locals.

It's good to see that the brass is catching on. But why wasn't this figured out three years ago?

1 Comments:

At Thursday, 05 May, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's good to see that the brass is catching on. But why wasn't this figured out three years ago?

Indeed. Why was it not figured out decades ago?

 

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