It's not often I start shouting at my monitor but today it happened as I read the article below. http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0330/p01s04-woiq.htm Some quotes: "With his platoon's lone interpreter elsewhere, he is effectively rendered speechless." US soldier: "I don't hate all Arabs just because a few of them blew up the World Trade Center, so why should they hate all US soldiers just because one shot their father?" Iraqi who's had his house taken over for an OP: "What can I do?" he wonders. "We adapt and we survive and we give tea to our guests. But I would like an option beside the murderer Saddam Hussein or the lawlessness and humiliation of foreign occupation." The battle for Iraq will be won or lost within the minds of the locals and their neighbours. The kinetic arena is secondary. This requires that we be able to both understand the locals and talk to them. It also mean that kinetic operations should not be undertaken unless they have positive effects in the information battlespace - regardless of how many insurgents get killed. I cannot understand why the US - a country that put men on the moon - cannot teach it's soldiers to talk Arabic. It is perhaps the single most powerful thing they could do to win the locals over. It does not require expensive technology - although maybe that's the problem (I note that money is being spent on electronic translators). It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that it is sheer bloody-minded arrogance that stands in the way. And that arrogance spills over into an inability to understand what makes the locals tick. Any viewpoint that differs from middle America is ignored or dismissed as incorrect - I would single out the fact that most Iraqi's primary loyalty is not directed towards the Iraqi state as perhaps the most problematic area. So, what do we do ? However satisfying it might appear telling the US to get bent and leaving them to clear up their own mess is not in our interests, so how do we get them to get a clue ?