For the last two and a half years, the Marine Corps has been equipping troops with a sort of abbreviated Emily Post-style guide to etiquette in Iraq. The laminated “Iraq Culture Smart Card” consists of 16 panels and can fold down into something you can slip into your breast pocket. “It seems late in the day for such niceties,” observed Steven Aftergood in Secrecy News, a Web log maintained by the Federation of American Scientists, which posted the Smart Card online. That may be so. But if one is going to occupy a country, surely we’d rather that soldiers had some sort of primer than not about local sensitivities, and how to avoid setting them aflame.
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