I find this fairly shocking, despite many warnings that should perhaps have mitigated the sense of shock. Our Marines in Afghanistan are being trained as follows:
Mubarak also said the Marines should never spit or urinate to the west, the direction of Mecca that Muslims in Afghanistan face when they pray.
In addition, when sharing a base with Afghan army troops, Marines shouldn't sleep with their feet pointed west, because that also is considered offensive, he said.
I hope I'm not the only one who reads that and says, "What???!"
This is outrageous. Our men in uniform should not be being forced to comply with the ridiculous sharia requirements in the tiny details of their lives concerning not facing toward Mecca when doing this or that. It's like we're trying actively to undermine morale and turn our military into a clown circus, while meanwhile risking lives. And risking lives specifically in this very search for cultural sensitivity:
Afghan compounds of tribal elders are always neutral ground, Mubarak said. There is no need to wear protective vests, because the custom is that any person inside the compound will have the full protection of the Afghans who live there.
In this post I said that empires are bad for the countries that have them. This is an example. An extreme one, to be sure, and one that isn't a necessary consequence of our having troops abroad. We could be sane rather than insane. We could refrain from training our Marines (as if they have nothing more important to think about) to worry about what direction they are facing when they sleep or commune with nature. Yes, it is buffoons in the military who are forcing our men to do this.
Nonetheless, it is a consequence of, inter alia, our never-ending quest for something-or-other by means of having troops all over the globe. I can't help thinking that a Marine being forced to use the bathroom in a sharia-compliant manner might prefer being deployed to deal with drug dealers invading the Mexican border. At least that would be a meaningful job.