Patrick Di Justo unearthed a 1943 Army handbook for US soldiers stationed in Iraq. Highlights:
- NEVER discuss religion or politics or women with Moslems.
- Don’t stare at anyone. Remember the fear of the “evil eye”.
- Knock before entering a private house. If a woman answers, wait until she has had time to retire.
- If you see grown men walking hand in hand, ignore it. They are not queer.
- You can usually tell a mosque by its high tower. Keep away from mosques. If you try to enter one, you will be thrown out, probably with a severe beating.
- There are four towns in Iraq which are particularly sacred to the Iraq Moslems: Kerbala, Najaf, samarra, and Kadhiman. Unless you are ordered to these towns it is advisable to stay away from them.
- Moslems here are divided into two factions something like our division into Catholic and Protestant denominations — so don’t put in your two cents when Iraqis argue about religion.
- There are also political differences in Iraq that have puzzled diplomats and statesmen. You won’t help matters any by getting mixed up in them.
- 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.
If only someone had read this in 2003…