An emailer writes:

Regarding your link to Peter Berkowitz’ article on funding Arabic education, I just want to make the point that it’s even more ridiculous than you think that the US government doesn’t provide more scholarships for studying Arabic. There’s already a program, the National Security Education Program, that funds up to a year of study of “less commonly studied” languages; the recipient must work for at least a year in a defense/intelligent/security position in the US government in return. Their website is here. Yet probably less than 100 students get grants each year, and only a fraction of them go to the Mid East. Why can’t the government just increase NSEP’s funding? It would be so easy and wouldn’t even require creating any additional programs. And yet…
(If it’s any consolation though, there are about 40 students enrolled in second year Arabic class here at Yale, and those students who do take Arabic are quite enthusiatic about it. So there’s hope yet.)

I might also add that six trained Arab linguists in the Pentagon were fired by the Bush administration in 2002 – for being gay. Hey, you gotta have priorities …


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