View Full Version : WWII U.S. War Dept. Field Guide to Iraq

06-14-2007, 12:18 AM
I just ran across this gem.

Fascinating reading here. It was put out by the U.S. War Department in WWII to assist our soldiers shipping out to Iraq.

Some excerpts:

American success or failure in Iraq may well depend on whether the Iraqis like American soldiers or not. It may not be quite that simple. But then again it could.

That tall man in the flowing robe you are going to see soon, with the whiskers and the long hair, is a first-class fighting man, highly skilled in guerrilla warfare. Few fighters in any country, in fact, excell [sic] him in that kind of situation. If he is your friend, he can be a staunch and valuable ally. If he should happen to be your enemy -- look out! Remember Lawrence of Arabia? Well, it was with men like these that he wrote history in the First World War.

It is a good idea in any foreign country to avoid any religious or political discussions. This is even truer in Iraq than most countries--so don't put in your two cents worth 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.

If you stare at people..., you will possibly wind up with a knife in your back.:eek:

Some of these rules on how to act in Iraq may seem trivial to you, but they are important if you want to get along well with the Iraqis.

To repeat--don't make a pass at any Iraqi woman or there will be trouble. Anyway, it won't get you anywhere. Prostitutes do not walk the streets but live in special quarters of the cities. There is a good deal of venereal disease around, so don't take any chances.;)

Discuss something else--NEVER religion or politics or women--with Iraqis. Avoid offering opinions on internal politics.

Always respect the Iraqi women. Don't stare at them. Don't smile at them. Don't talk to them or follow them. If you do any of these things, it means trouble for you and your unit.

Above all, use common sense on all occasions. And remember that every American soldier is an unofficial ambassador of goodwill.

Tom Odom
06-14-2007, 03:01 PM
I scanned my copy of the same guide last year; you can find it on the CALL gateway. Mine came from the Attache shop in Zaire and datyed back to the WWII air bridge through the Congo, Iraq and and Iran to the USSR.

It is a hanbdly little read. I use it to drive home the point that we have been dealing with cross cultural warfare and alliances in the Middle East for a long time.



06-14-2007, 03:14 PM
The parent website from which the guide is accessed may be of interest to some on the board:

World War II, 1939 - 1945: Digital Resources from the Library Collections at Southern Methodist University (http://digitallibrary.smu.edu/cul/gir/ww2/)

...and there are similar Pocket Guides for a number of countries here (http://worldwar2.smu.edu/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?DB=local&Search_Arg=travel&SL=None&Search_Code=SKEY&CNT=20).