Reuters: Only six fluent in Arabic at US Iraq embassy-panel

One would think that one of our most valuable embassies in the Arabic-speaking world would have more than 0.6 percent of its staff fluent in the language of the host country, wouldn’t you think?

Nah, that’d make too much sense.

Reuters:

WASHINGTON, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Among the 1,000 people who work in the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, only 33 are Arabic speakers and only six speak the language fluently, according to the Iraq Study Group report released on Wednesday.

“All of our efforts in Iraq, military and civilian, are handicapped by Americans’ lack of knowledge of language and cultural understanding,” the bipartisan panel said in its report. “In a conflict that demands effective and efficient communication with Iraqis, we are often at a disadvantage.”

The report, written by five Republicans and five Democrats, recommended the U.S. government give “the highest possible priority to professional language proficiency and cultural training” for officials headed to Iraq.

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