Friday, October 21, 2005

Literacy and a modern Army

Major K. has a great posting on one of the problems with forming a great army in Iraq that I hadn't considered.
In the USA, we take literacy for granted. Here it is a mark of distinction. A bachelor's degree here carries the same clout as a PhD in the USA. US Officers are required to have a bachelor's and US Colonels have at least a Master's Degree. Here, a high school diploma is the bar over which you must pass to become an officer. In the US Army, it has been the basic requirement to become a soldier. (They don't have GED's here.) The result is that many Iraqi Soldiers are illiterate. Special skill training classes are sometimes hard to fill, not because of a shortage of soldiers or recruits, but because of a shortage of ones that can read and write basic Arabic.


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