Walk The Walk, Talk The Talk (April 9, 2007)
The Iraqi Study Group notes: “All of our efforts in Iaw, military and civilian, are handicapped by Americans’ lack of knowledge and cultural understanding. Our 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.” Lay off (or retrain) 600 staff members at the embassy and hire 60 Arabic speakers. The Arabic speakers don’t exist. They don’t exist because Bush does not want them to exist.
The military discharges individuals who could save fellow soldiers and the Republic. The policy is billed as “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” The Don’t Think policy. That seems to be the policy of the entire Bush administration. The military should encourage and promote those individuals who can tell the American story in Arabic and understand the language and culture and history of Arabic countries.
The government should build its own army of interpreters. The Marshall Plan meets Sputnik meets Berlitz. Those who express an interest in Arabic or Farsi or Mandarin or _________ (any language) should be given substantial stipends. (Hybrid) cars, (healthy?) pizza and, yes, beer money. There should be $100,000 signing bonuses. If you talk the (Arabic) talk, you get to walk the walk.
Bumper sticker of the week:
Honk if parts are falling off