The New York Times reports that the CIA “is reviewing security procedures that have led the agency to turn away large numbers of Arabic-language linguists and other potential recruits with skills avidly sought by the agency since the attacks of 2001.” Many applicants have been first-generation Americans with relatives overseas, “often in countries that raise alarm among security officers.” Which is, apparently, grounds for rejection.
I wonder whether the CIA is also reviewing the institutionalized homophobia that led to the summary dismissal of other qualified translators. Probably not. Wouldn’t want those queers, fluent in Arabic though they might be, contaminating the translations with little hearts and curlicues.
Recently David Rees, creator of Get Your War On
had a great idea for a comic about the Pentagon’s post-9/11 progress in teaching Arabic skills to its military personnel. Unfortunately, [he] couldn’t find a clip-art picture of a committee of retarded snails with one thousand thumbs stuck up their butts slowly backing away from a burning tower into a bottomless pit of molasses.
(Scroll to bottom strip; via Crabwalk.)