Army Wrote The Book On Iraq--65 Years Ago

August 8th, 2007  
Team Infidel

Topic: Army Wrote The Book On Iraq--65 Years Ago

Chicago Tribune
August 7, 2007
Pg. 1
WW II-era manual is being reprinted by U. of C. Press
By Jodi S. Cohen, Tribune higher education reporter
The University of Chicago Press has a hot book on its hands, with some solid advice for U.S. military in Iraq:
Make friends with the Iraqis. Stay out of political and religious arguments. Try speaking in Arabic -- even if you're not good at it.
"American success or failure in Iraq may well depend on whether the Iraqis ... like American soldiers or not," the book admonishes.
The advice, which sounds like it could be lifted from a lesson book from the war on terror, was actually written 65 years ago during World War II and recently discovered by the U. of C. Press. It's called "Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq During World War II."
Perhaps even more shocking than the book's discovery has been its success. Re-published just a few weeks ago and selling for $10 a copy, the book is already in its second printing and the press is planning for at least a third printing and probably more, a feat for any academic publisher more accustomed to narrow-interest academic and reference books.
A message on the Web site on Monday said that only three copies of the book were left in stock -- but "more on the way."
"They all went out the door," said Carol Kasper, marketing director at the academic press. "We are bringing it out at a time when people are really disillusioned with the whole handling of the war. You look at something like this book and it's like: 'We knew that. How did this happen?'"
The book includes an updated foreword from Lt. Col. John A. Nagl, who served in Iraq with the 1st Brigade of the 1st Infantry Division. He writes about wishing he read the book before going to Iraq's Al Anbar province in 2003.
"Some of the guidance in this little book is eerie to anyone who has fought in Iraq recently," he wrote in the introduction. "It is almost impossible, when reading this guide, not to slap oneself on the forehead in despair that the Army knew so much of the Arabic culture and customs, and of the importance of that knowledge for achieving military success in Iraq, six decades ago -- and forgot almost all of those lessons in the intervening years."
Nagl says it would have been helpful to know that there could be an uptick in violence during the holy month of Ramadan, which he experienced during his unit's deployment. If military leaders had read the 1943 guide, they also may have better recognized the power of the tribal leaders, known as sheiks, and especially the importance of allying with the Sunni leaders.
"One of the recent successes we have had is bringing the Sunni tribes largely on board against Al Qaeda in Iraq," said Nagl, commander of the 1st Battalion, 34th Armor Regiment in Ft. Riley, Kan. "We could have learned that earlier had we remembered our history more quickly."
During World War II, American soldiers were deployed to unfamiliar countries across the map, including Iraq, to help guard against Nazi infiltration. The U.S. Army prepared pocket guides that servicemen could tuck into their packs, with information about local customs, the currency and useful words and phrases. There were manuals about Britain, Australia, Germany, North Africa and even the Panama Canal.
The University of Oxford's Bodleian Library first had the idea to reprint the books when it published "Instructions for American Servicemen in Britain" in 2004. It sold 100,000 copies in the United Kingdom but only about 6,000 copies in the United States. The library published a few others, including one written for American military stationed in Australia.
"I said to the guy who handles publishing there, 'It would be really cool if they had one of these for Iraq,'" Kasper said. He replied that there was, and the Bodleian wasn't interested in publishing it because it was deemed too political.
"I said: 'You're kidding. This is the one we might actually sell in the U.S.,'" she said. Kasper and other employees at the press found a copy of the paperbook manual in the archives of the Regenstein Library at the University of Chicago. Because items published by the U.S. government's printing office are considered public domain, the press was able to sidestep copyright issues and reproduce it in hardcover.
In an interview, Nagl said he has photocopied parts of the book and given them to soldiers preparing for deployment to Iraq.
"A lot of things in the book I learned sort of by trial and error," Nagl said. "It is such a charming and optimistic little book with a great sense of hope for a better future. It is fun to read and refreshing to read."
Lt. Col. David Hylton with Army Central Command said he has not heard of the military ordering copies of the book. Some units provide troops with pocket guides of Arabic words and phrases and tips on local customs and etiquette, and the 101st Airborne Division reportedly wrote and distributed a handbook called "A Soldiers Guide to the Republic of Iraq" in 2003.
The republished World War II guide begins with an explanation of how to pronounce the world Iraq -- "i-RAHK." It warns that Iraq is hot, so hot that sitting on a train's leather seats may be unbearable. It also cautions that it may take some time to adjust to the country.
"Most Americans and Europeans who have gone to Iraq don't like it at first. Might as well be frank about it," the book explains. "But nearly all of these same people changed their minds after a few days or weeks, and largely on account of the Iraqi people they began to meet. So will you."
The book also includes primers on the country's geography (including the locations of Baghdad, Mosul and Basrah), Islam, and Iraqi customs and manners ("don't under any circumstances call an Iraqi a 'dog,' a 'devil,' a 'native,' or a heathen.")
The 44-page book also includes illustrations from the original manual. One drawing shows U.S. soldiers briskly walking away from a mosque to make the point that Muslims "resent unbelievers coming close to mosques."
It will be months before U. of C. Press employees know whether the book is a financial success, but nearly all of the 12,000 copies from the first two printings already have been distributed to booksellers. The wholesaler, who distributes books to stores on military bases, ordered some. But so far, the Chicago press says it has not received any large orders from the Pentagon.
"They haven't asked for it," said Mark Heineke, promotion director at the press. "We would be about 100,000 copies short."
Do's and Don't's in 1943 Iraq
*Keep away from mosques.
*Avoid offering opinions on internal politics.
*Keep out of the sun whenever you can.
*Start eating only after your host has begun.
*Talk Arabic if you can to the people. No matter how badly you do it, they will like it.
*Be generous with your cigarettes.
*Remember that every American soldier is an unofficial ambassador of goodwill.
Source: "Instructions for American Servicemen in Iraq During World War II"
August 8th, 2007  
A Can of Man
The last sentence is key.
August 8th, 2007  
The Other Guy
and ambassadors of goodwill can't fight wars the same as anyone else.

We've forced ourselves into a corner with all of the goodwill stuff. We need to lose some of it if we want to win.
August 8th, 2007  
A Can of Man
Ambassadors of goodwill goes only so far.
It's not to say don't fight. It means don't screw up the wrong guy's kiosk.
And try to smile.
August 9th, 2007  
Of course, the prospect of US troops in Iraq in World War II would have been very different too. It would not have been an invasion force so much. If memory serves, Iraq was a French colony but was loyal to the De Gaulle government and not the Vichy France regime.
August 9th, 2007  
A conflict against an insurgency can not be won without a hearts and minds campaign IMHO.

That doesn´t exclude combat operations, it means you treat people as people and treat them fair at ALL times.

There is a thread around here somewhere about the importance of the hearts and minds campaign, and atleast ONE place it HAS worked..

Link:Australian Intelligence (solution?) from Iraq

August 10th, 2007  
A Can of Man
^^ basically what I mean as well.
August 12th, 2007  
US military is doing wonderful jobs every where it goes....

Similar Topics
Fewer High-Quality Army Recruits
Key US Army Ranks Begin To Thin
Army Is Cracking Down On Deserters
Third Round In Iraq To Test US Troops
The New Army Of Iraq