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dennisw
10-13-2005, 00:43
In the book Imperial Grunts, some of the A team members who are with teams in places like Columbia, Phillipines, etc. are quoted as saying that to be truly effective, you must love the culture of the people you are training or assisting. Is this a true statement? Is it difficult at times to love a culture that is so different from the one we are accustom to? What if you are working with one where there are customs which are truly reprehensible and you just cannot get past it?

On the other side, are there cultures or people with whom you have worked and grown to greatly admire?

Max_Tab
10-13-2005, 01:27
No you don't have to love the culture or the people, but you do have pretend really well.

Pete
10-13-2005, 06:39
People are not the same as Government.

You may hate a Government or way of life but SF deals with people. As you deal with people the culture/government/way of life swirls around everything you do. In the end its "The People" you work with.

Knowing the culture will help you in dealing with the people. Once the people know you they will respect you. Then you don't have to "go native" because the people will understand you are a man but different.

But it is still best to understand the local cultural "No-Nos" and try and stay clear of them.

QRQ 30
10-13-2005, 06:53
I had a reply written but it got too long. Respect works, haughty superiority doesn't.

There are two approaches to training. Some are interested in impressing the trainee with what they know, and some set out to impress what they know on the trainee.

Which do you think is effective?

Max_Tab
10-13-2005, 08:23
People are not the same as Government.

You may hate a Government or way of life but SF deals with people. As you deal with people the culture/government/way of life swirls around everything you do. In the end its "The People" you work with.

Knowing the culture will help you in dealing with the people. Once the people know you they will respect you. Then you don't have to "go native" because the people will understand you are a man but different.

But it is still best to understand the local cultural "No-Nos" and try and stay clear of them.

Pete said it better than I could, I'm not a big fan of the Muslim culture, but I have worked with some really good guys, that I like as an individual. I may not trust them 100% but you do have to trust them to a certain extent.
As to knowing the culture that is imperitive. Can't work well with someone if you don't understand what makes them tick, and you need to have some cultural sensitivities, or you won't be able to get them to do what you need them to do.

Short example. stopping a patrol by a river, so your locals, can wash there feet, and pray. It takes 15 min's out of your day, but it go's a long way to building rapport.

Jack Moroney (RIP)
10-13-2005, 08:39
You absolutely have to know and understand the culture because if you do not you not only put your ability to operate with the indig at risk but may also put the lives of your team at risk. I have worked with folks that would not cross rivers because of the "Necchi", not conduct night operations because of the "Dragon Snakes", and would not move during a lightning storm. I also was able to make the culture work for me by playing to their cultural beliefs without degrading them or going "native" but there have been times when you have to operate on the fringe between science and mysticisim to get things to happen. You do not have to love them but you certainly have to respect them and their beliefs and adapt to make sure that you do not portray or present anything that will cause them to think that you are superior in anyway and/or that they are inferior. In short you have to earn their respect and treat them with dignity, after all you are often there to get them to take the risks required to resolve their country's crisis while mitigating the risks other US soldiers would otherwise have to take.