Guardian Unlimited | World dispatch | ‘Its best use is as a doorstop’: “Hersh continued: “The Patai book, an academic told me, was ‘the bible of the neocons on Arab behaviour’. In their discussions, he said, two themes emerged – ‘one, that Arabs only understand force, and two, that the biggest weakness of Arabs is shame and humiliation’.”

Patai died in 1996, but his book was revived by Hatherleigh Press in 2002 (nicely timed for the war in Iraq), and reprinted with an enthusiastic introduction by Norvell ‘Tex’ De Atkine, a former US army colonel and the head of Middle East studies at Fort Bragg.

‘It is essential reading,’ De Atkine wrote. ‘At the institution where I teach military officers, The Arab Mind forms the basis of my cultural instruction.’

In a speech last week, the US president, George Bush, congratulated himself on having removed ‘hateful propaganda’ from the schools in Iraq.

Perhaps it is now time he turned his attention to military schools in the US.

Email

brian.whitaker@guardian.co.uk

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