Phi Beta Cons

Teaching Soldiers about Foreign Cultures…through a Deck of Cards

Sorry for my irregularity in posting, gang. Just getting settled down in Cambridge, the original Cambridge, where–I get giddy every time I write this–I live across the street from my childhood idol, Stephen Hawking.
I’ve prattled on before about the need for university students to know the basics of Islam. But credit where credit is due — i.e. not universities, but an archaeologist-in-residence with the army, Laurie Rush. She’s devised a set of playing cards showcasing important sites of Afghanistan’s and Iraq’s Islamic and pre-Islamic heritage. Inspired after incidents where helicopters were landing nearby ancient Babylon, possibly causing damage to the site, the cards are meant to inform soldiers about their surroundings in the cradle of civilization (Mesopotamia) and the ancient crossroads between East and West (Afghanistan).
Good for Dr. Rush. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from our hardships in Iraq, it’s that our operation works a whole lot better when soldiers understand who and what they’re deployed to defend. 

Travis Kavulla is director of Energy and Environmental Policy at the R Street Institute. He is a former president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners who held elected office as a Montana public service commissioner for eight years. Before that, he was an associate editor for National Review.

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