A Short Guide To Iraq

 

Hey look, the “War and Navy Departments” put out this little handbook (PDF) to help the troops in Iraq … in 1943, when we had soldiers and sailors over there for some reason. Let’s see — yes, right: “YOU HAVE been ordered to Iraq (i-RAHK) as part of the world-wide offensive to beat Hitler.”

Join us after the jump as we visit a mysterious era in which everybody at the Pentagon wasn’t a complete fucking idiot, after the jump.


If that was indeed the mission in Iraq, it was a success. Despite all the Bush Family investments, Hitler’s war machine was eventually defeated and Nazi Germany didn’t take Iraq (and its oil) as part of the Global Nazi Empire we know from history books such as “The Man In the High Castle.”

And then, presumably, the U.S. troops left Iraq. Success in Iraq! Could this guidebook have helped American troops in the current war? For instance, might such a guidebook have discouraged, say, American soldiers from, for example, anally raping Iraqi women held in Abu Ghraib, and videotaping it? Beating them with chains or dragging them by choke collars? How about sexually humiliating and torturing old men, fathers and young children, married women, people just hauled off the streets and thrown in a dungeon? Let’s see!

* As a soldier your duties are laid out for you. As an individual, it is what you do on your own that counts — and it may count for a lot more than you think. 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.
* Handshaking in Iraq is considered an important part of good manners. You will be greeted with a handshake on every occasion that you meet an Iraqi …. But do not touch or handle an Iraqi in any other way. Do not wrestle him in fun, and don’t slap him on the back. Any such contact is offensive to his idea of good manners. Above all never strike an Iraqi.
* Moslems do not let other people see them naked.
* Remember that the Iraqi are a very modest people and avoid any exposure of the body in their presence.
* The Moslems will immediately dislike you and there will be trouble if you do not treat women according to their standards and customs.

Now let’s go to the more general tips and tricks:

* 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! Remember Lawrence of Arabia? Well, it was with men like those that he wrote history in the First World War.
* But you will also find out quickly that the Iraqi is one of the most cheerful and friendly people in the world. Few people you have seen get so much fun out of work and everyday living.
* You aren’t going to Iraq to change the Iraqis. Just the opposite. We are fighting this war to preserve the principle of “Live and let live.”
* Right now Iraq is threatened with invasion — as America is now. The Iraqis have some religious and tribal differences themselves. Hitler has been trying to use those differences to his own ends.
* Iraq has great military importance for its oil fields, with their pipelines to the Mediterranean Sea. Yes, Iraq is a hot spot in more ways than one.
* Don’t stare at anyone who is praying, and above all do not make fun of him. Respect his religion as he will respect yours.
* 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.
* Above all, use common sense on all occasions. And remember that every American soldier is an unofficial ambassador of good will.
* These are some general hints about manners. But the main thing is the SPIRIT of politeness and courtesy. If you show this, the Iraqis will understand and forgive any lapses you may make through not knowing their customs.

A Short Guide To Iraq [Murmurs of Earth]

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About the author

A writer and editor of this website from 2006 to early 2012, Ken Layne is occassionally seen on Twitter and writes small books and is already haunting you from beyond (your) grave.

View all articles by Ken Layne

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