December 4, 2008, 1:48 am
How To Wage War in Iraq - Against Hitler
Mustard-colored and twice the size of an iPod it is the most interesting
and depressing of reads for anyone working in Iraq.
Every White House should have one.
Lessons unlearned, history unread and institutional knowledge neglected
cry out from every page of the
Guide For U.S. Forces Serving In Iraq 1943,
issued by the War and
Navy Departments to American servicemen during the Second World
Republished in 2008 by Dark Horse Publications, the tiny booklet for
troops heading to protect the Persian Gulfs oilfields and supply routes
is a pronunciation, cultural and religious survival manual whose wisdom
applies to Iraq (i-RAHK) during the era of the Toyota pickup truck and Al
Qaeda in Mesopotamia as much as to the age of the camel and the
Show respect to all older persons, writes the anonymous
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.
(See enlarged photo here)
True, phrases such as Herr Hitler knows hes licked if the people united
against him stand their ground, have more resonance to British forces in
their air bases at Habbaniya and Shaibah after the 1941 coup by the
German-leaning nationalist Rashid Ali el-Gailani than to todays denizens
of FOB Falcon and Camp Victory.
The regional geopolitics is likewise dated. Iran (EE-RAHN) (Persia)
gets only a passing mention. The town of Haifa (HAI-fa) lies in
Palestine, on the Mediterranean Sea, instead of the not-yet-created
modern state of Israel. And Iraq lies only north of Arabia, with no
mention of the ruling Saudis.
But the warning that Americans are about to encounter a harsh, hot,
parched, dusty, and inhospitable land was as true in 2003 as 60 years
earlier, as were the timeless observations:
That 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 guerrilla warfare. Few fighters in any country, in fact, excel 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, lookout!
You arent going to Iraq to change the Iraqis. Just the opposite.
(See enlarged photo here)
The Moslem bible is known as the Koran and the Moslems worship in
mosques (mosks). They are very devout in their religion and do not like
to have unbelievers (to them you are an unbeliever) come anywhere
near their mosques. You can usually tell a mosque by its high tower.
Keep away from mosques.
And women. And religion. And politics. And
Perhaps the most depressing reaction was that of the NYTs Iraqi newsroom
coordinator as he leafed through the books pages in the Baghdad Bureau
They knew all these things before? So why
We will publish more excerpts from Guide For U.S. Forces Serving In
Iraq 1943 published by Dark Horse Publications in the coming