Mr. Wolfowitz has been tacitly campaigning for the jobs. He told Charlie Rose about his vice-regal trip to Iraq, where he said at last grateful Iraqis were thronging. “As we would drive by, little kids would run up to the road and give us a thumbs up sign,” he said. (At least he thought it was the thumb.)
No. It was the thumb:
With an outstretched fist, the thumb is extended straight up.
“Thumbs up” as a positive gesture quickly gained popularity in the U.S.A., especially as a visual signal in noisy environments. Pilots unable to shout “All’s well!” or “Ready!” over the noise of their engines used it frequently. With a slight backwards tilt, this gesture is used for hitchhiking. However, in most of the Middle East and parts of Africa (notably Nigeria), this symbol can be obscene. It Japan, the thumb is considered the fifth digit; a raised thumb will order five of something!
This is only a sign of what we clearly do not understand in Iraq. Wolfowitz thought he was being greeted warmly when, in fact, little kids were giving him the Iraqi flipoff.
In other words, not content to be absymally wrong the first time on the thumbs up issue (not to mention every other aspect of the war to date), Gilliard is resurrecting the BOGUS “Thumbs up is an insult in Iraq and Americans are too stupid to recognize it” meme that I thought I had helped to put to rest several months ago. I researched the genesis of the meme, followed its travel through the blogosphere, debunked it with numerous links, and then, just to be safe, contacted my sister:
My sister, who works for a prominent firm that deals with international communication, called the Iraq Foundation and spoke with a member about the meaning of the thumbs up. Here is what she learned:
just actually called the Iraq Foundation and spoke to a gentleman (from Iraq) who told me that in Iraq the thumbs up is good–just like in the states, Thumbs down is bad, and the middle finger still means ‘F— You.’ (So it is all the same.) If the pictures are from Iraq, the kids are happy to see us.
Thumbs up is a good thing in Iraq. Gilliard is a partisan moron who wants to use anything he can to attack this administration, theis war, and to popularize any nonsense he can that casts a negative light on the issue. In fact, he uses the bogus meme to advance this argument:
I fear that we have taken on a project we truly do not understand. The thumbs up thing is small, but indicates a sort of cultural and political blindness which may make things far worse in the long term, regardless of guerilla war or elections. I think talk of an extended stay in Iraq is wildly optimistic. We represent no party, no faction, much less a government. We cannot provide basic security for anyone, from contractors to Iraqi citizens.
Hey Steve- Here is a site you might like: GOOGLE.
Brendan Koerner in Slate has some background.
*** Update ***
And I apologize for the tone of this piece, but Gilliard is a one man disinformation campaign whose every word gets lapped up and linked to by every reader at the DKos. I am sick and tired of having to fight these nonsensical claims over and over and over again, so I was irritated when I wrote this.
*** Update #2 ***
I just got off the phone with the Iraq Foundation, reconfirming what I already knew.