Information Warfare: May 18, 2004

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Several shipping containers of Spam (the pork kind, not the email variety) are headed for Iraq, and this might result in a major new media firestorm of bad publicity for coalition troops there. The Arab media has made indignation over all the infidel (non-believer, meaning non-Moslem) troops in Iraq a major news issue. All those infidels are seen as a blot on Arab, and Moslem, honor. Al Jazeera, and all the other major Arab news outlets, compete furiously for stories about outranges against Arab honor and customs. With that in mind, how did all this Spam get sent to a country where even touching pork is forbidden by Islamic law?

It seems that as the U.S. Army was looking for units to replace those that had spent a year in Iraq, it found a reserve engineer battalion (the 411th) in the Pacific that could replace the 389th Engineer battalion in Iraq. The units of the 411th Engineer battalion are from many American island territories in the Pacific. One of those islands is Guam, whose people consume more Spam per capita  than any other people on the planet. Pork has always been a very popular dish in the Pacific, from the Chinese to the Polynesians (the people to live on most Pacific islands.) Spam was invented during World War II, as a way to turn various pork byproducts (Spam stands for Spiced Pork and Ham) into a canned meat product. Spam was shipped to the troops in large quantities. While it was never very popular in the United States, when people in the Pacific came across it, they quickly adopted it as a delicacy. When the Samoan GIs found out they were headed for Iraq, they filled up several shipping containers with Spam, so they would not be without their favorite food while they served in Iraq. Samoans also tend to be very large people, and not the kind of guys you want to get on the wrong side of. Should any Arabs try to get between the Samoans and their Spam, there could be trouble.

 


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