Why Do They Hate Us?

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Annie, Feb 9, 2007.

  1. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    This could be a partial answer:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/08/AR2007020801679.html

    Really, we are not good at self-promotion. Perhaps because we are so aware of capitalism and advertising, we are hesitant about cheerleading, instead we push our 'culture' which is oftentimes more hated than any other message we might send...
     
  2. Darwins Friend
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    Darwins Friend Member

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    Are the armed service and intelligence agencies of the US still very short of Arabic and Pharisee interpreters?
     
  3. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    I really don't know, from what I'd heard they'd formed soem crash courses in Arabic and Farsi. What do you know?
     
  4. Darwins Friend
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    Darwins Friend Member

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    NPR did a blip on it yesterday - I'll see if I can find it.

    They said we're short - how can you deal with a people you can't speak to?:eusa_wall:
     
  5. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Truth to that, yet from what I've been able to glean from milbloggers, they pick it up pretty rapidly once there. Now at the level to 'infiltrate'? No, but I don't think language alone is the problem there.
     
  6. maineman
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    maineman BANNED

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    that is true, actually. Arabic is pretty easy to pick up as far as the rudiments of speaking. reading and writing is a whole other animal. I found, however, like most languages other than your native tongue, if you don't use it, you lose it. I was fairly conversant 25 years ago when I was living there, but have lost nearly all of it now.
     
  7. Darwins Friend
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    Darwins Friend Member

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    U.S. turns to tech for translators

    Updated 12/20/2006 11:50 AM ET
    By Richard Willing, USA TODAY

    Intelligence agencies and the military are turning to technology developed for call centers, sporting events and television shopping channels to compensate for an ongoing shortage of qualified translators, interviews and public documents show.

    In Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the Defense Department's research arm is testing portable translation devices that allow English-speaking soldiers to hold conversations with Iraqis.

    MORE: Military tests portable translators

    Government-backed researchers are working to convert broadcasts and website postings from Arabic and Mandarin Chinese into English and to build search engines that can extract complex information from the translated texts.

    These efforts are part of a government plan to bolster the thin ranks of skilled translators, say researchers and experts, so human translators can focus on more demanding projects.

    "Human language specialists are precious assets," says John Hall, a former Navy SEAL who is president of VoxTec International. The Annapolis, Md., company makes a handheld translation device being tested in Iraq. "You're never going to have enough of them," Hall says. "But if a machine can do some basic tasks, that frees up (a translator) for other work."

    In-Q-Tel, a venture-capital company funded by the CIA, has invested in a company that produces software that helps private companies glean information from recorded customer-service calls.

    The technology could help intelligence analysts decipher subtleties, such as differences in accents and pronunciations, that can change the meanings of spoken words, its makers say.

    Much of the spending is classified, but available public contracting and budget documents show that the Pentagon has at least $22 million to spend this year on research. In November 2005, the Pentagon announced $26 million worth of contracts for translation software.

    This month, the Iraq Study Group reported that only 33 of 1,000 workers in the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad speak Arabic, including only six fluent speakers.

    The group recommended that the State and Defense departments and the director of national intelligence "accord the highest possible priority" to language and cultural training.

    In October, the FBI reported that only 33 of about 12,000 agents have even limited Arabic proficiency. The CIA does not disclose its officers' language capabilities, but Robert Baer, a retired CIA agent, estimates that he was the agency's only undercover officer fluent in Arabic when he operated in Beirut in the mid-1980s.

    It takes about eight years to train a CIA officer to be "completely comfortable" speaking Arabic, says Baer, author of two books about the intelligence community and foreign policy.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2006-12-19-translators_x.htm
     
  8. Annie
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    Annie Diamond Member

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    Well DW, that isn't good news. I thought they were farther along with this. I remember they fired some, after those guys challenged 'don't ask, don't tell...' Silly for desk, not so silly when there can't be 'exceptions.'

    It still doesn't address however things like VOA.
     
  9. Kagom
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    Kagom Senior Member

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    I have a keen interest in learning Arabic, but not for military purposes or anything. I just love foreign languages.
     
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  10. Darwins Friend
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    Darwins Friend Member

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    Then you will go far - and learn things you can't even imagine now.:clap2:
     
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