A LACK OF CULTURAL INTELLIGENCE IS AKIN TO BLINDNESS
“Hashim lists about 20 groups of insurgents, including nationalists, former Baathists, tribal-based insurgents and religious extremists. The groups say they want the United States out of Iraq, and they reject the U.S.-backed government, but they don’t agree on what they do want.
“If we were out of the picture, some of the insurgent groups could engage in bloodshed against one another because they have such different and disparate political views of the future of Iraq,” Hashim says.
Hashim, who teaches at the Naval War College, says he was surprised by how little the U.S. military understands about the culture, or “human terrain,” of Iraq. That includes “societal networks, relations between tribes and within tribes, kinship ties… what is it people are fighting for?”… “
Exactly. Not only is communication of the most basic intentions rendered more difficult but observation is profoundly altered by ignorance of cultural norms. How can you “peel off” the rationally aggreived from the intransigent power-seeker and or religious fanatic if you are unable to tell one from the other ?
Of course, some of it is common sense. ” Would you like it if someone did that in your mother’s house? ” as a recent top counterinsurgency expert put it, is a good first question to ask in terms of the message being communicatd.