At Forward Operating Base Warhorse, near Ba’quba, Iraq, Iraqi translators and other workers are forbidden from using the same bathrooms as their American masters… er, sorry, I mean bosses. It’s because those Arabs are, you know, completely untrustworthy. Or is it because they’re, you know, dirty and icky?
Marquez cited security. “We are at war, and operational security (OPSEC) and force protection are critical in this environment,” Marquez wrote. “We screen all our local nationals working and living in the FOB, however, you can never know what’s in their mind.”
Other soldiers traced the regulations to what they called cultural differences between the Iraqis and the Americans.
“We’ve had issues with locals,” said Staff Sgt. Oscar Garcia, who mans Warhorse’s administrative hub. “It’s not because we’re segregating.”
Garcia said some Iraqis squatted on the rims of unfamiliar American-style toilets or had used showers as toilets, forcing private contractors who maintain the facilities to clean up after them.
Another soldier at the administrative hub who declined to give his name or rank cited conflicts over hygiene habits. “We can’t accept people washing their feet where I brush my teeth,” he said.
“It’s to keep problems from happening,” said Army Capt. Janet Herrick, a public affairs officer. “It’s a preventive measure … so no one gets belittled.”
This is how you win hearts and minds, readers.
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