Thursday, January 28, 2010


This is coolbert:

Here, first, from Daniel Pipes, the "Twenty-Seven Articles" of T.E. Lawrence:

1. "The 27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence".

"published in The Arab Bulletin, August 20, 1917, and bearing the supremely modest title, 'Twenty-Seven Articles.' In it, Lawrence offers his 'personal conclusions, arrived at gradually while [he] worked in the Hejaz and now put on paper . . . for beginners in the Arab armies.' He adds that the rules 'are meant to apply only to Bedu [Bedouin]'"

A GUIDE - - a cookbook like attempt to put into the proverbial nutshell the various "do" and "don't" for those British officers during World War One [WW1] seeing service as "advisers" to the Arab insurgents, the guerrilla movements fighting the Turks. A GUIDE intended specifically for those British officer serving with the Bedu, the Bedouin, and not applicable to other Arabic speaking groups!

As experienced and written by the great man himself. T.E. Lawrence. Lawrence, at the end of WW1, rated by Churchill as one of the seven most important men in the world. Lawrence, according to the granddaughter of Sir Winston, even saving the life of Churchill on one occasion!!

This particular admonition of Lawrence catches your attention: "Get to speak their dialect of Arabic, not yours"?

There is a standard form of Arabic, but a multitude of dialects, not all mutually comprehensible?

The "Twenty-Seven Articles" are today obligatory reading for those American officers serving with "national" units in Iraq and Afghan? Keeping in mind that Lawrence had the Bedu in mind, not all the tidbits of wisdom as espoused by Lawrence are instantly and totally transferable?

NOW, secondly: from the noted blogger who goes by the nom de plume of Spengler, and keeping in mind the language admonition of Lawrence:

2. "Why America Is Losing the Intelligence War, Redux"

"CNN reports that a senior US military intelligence officer, Maj. Gen. Michael Flynn, condemns as incompetent the American intelligence-gathering effort in Afghanistan."

And, according to Spengler:

"The trouble [intelligence failure] stems from a deep American aversion to foreign languages."

"Today’s only superpower cannot recruit enough Arabic translators to handle routine intercepts"

There is a solution to the language problem? A solution, that for political reasons, the U.S. military does NOT avail itself of?

There is living within the borders of the U.S. an abundance of native Arabic speakers. I am speaking about the many tens of thousands of Sephardic Jews and Coptic Christian Egyptians that are residents of the U.S., citizens and otherwise. Persons in addition also familiar with the Middle Eastern culture and the mind set of the locals.

Even a student of Arabic, recently graduated from the Defense Language Institute [DLI] is probably not proficient in the many various dialects and colloquial forms of Arabic, and even after a year or more of intensive training, NOT able to communicate with the locals?

And as for Afghan, the speakers of Dari and Pashtu are even far fewer and even less proficient? What are we to make of all this? Rely upon translators of dubious reliability? I guess so!!


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