Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Bill Ardolino has an interview at Long War Journal with a Fallujan man now working for the Americans as an interpreter. Nothing earth-shaking, but worth looking at because it reinforces something I've been picking up a lot recently, a small but important part of the big narrative that so many wish to ignore.

INDC: Right. And so when al Qaeda came in, and by “al Qaeda” I really mean all of the outside jihadists, the Fallujans welcomed them to help fight the Americans?

Leo: Yes, because the first mission in Fallujah, Americans could not communicate with the Fallujans correctly, and they didn’t understand the nature of the people. [Fallujans] are good people, they work within the rules of their culture and they stick with them. So, Americans came from another culture overseas, they didn’t understand the people, they didn’t talk to them at the right time, so you [wonder], what happened to the American mind, [with] how they communicate with the people right now. Why didn’t they do the same thing before? So it is not all the Fallujans' fault, Americans [have responsibility].
I like that "so you [wonder], what happened to the American mind". It fits in to the narrative that Petreaus has been recounting to the deaf. The Americans made mistakes early on because they didn't understand the people they were dealing with. Three years of mistakes. But they learned (much to the amazement of Leo, it seems). And that explains a lot.

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