25 July 2007

US Marines, Army undergo cultural training before Iraq

The US Marine Corps organises compulsory cultural training for Marines headed to Iraq in Quantico, Virginia, where, among other topics, the trainees are introduced to topics such as "religion, the importance of mosques to Muslims" and "the importance of family values".

Meanwhile, the US Army has only recently launched a similar cultural training course, based in mock-ups of two Iraqi towns, which are located in the Mojave Desert in California. The Army training programme goes under the name of "Mojave Viper" (BBC).

Two questions: Why did the US Army start out with this programme in 2007, instead of 2003? By way of an answer, I suppose the neocons did not believe a knowledge of Iraqi culture or Islam had anything to do with occupying Iraq.

And secondly: What's up with calling the whole programme "Mojave Viper"? Who or what is supposed to be the viper here?

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