No spikka de Arabic

If I don’t speak your language and you don’t speak mine, having me try to teach you is a recipe for futility. And futility seems to be what’s coming out of the oven in Iraq.

I see the Pentagon rates most of the Iraqi forces we’ve recruited to fight the insurgency as pretty much worthless. I wonder if things would be different if the people we’re sending to train them learned at least a tiny bit of Arabic before flying over?

The last time I checked, Iraqis who speak English have job opportunities that make them not very interested in joining up as street cops or privates in the army. Having non-Arabic-speaking trainers teaching non-English-speaking trainees doesn’t sound optimal.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: