More News on Anthropology and Counterinsurgency

As an addendum to the last bundle of posts for today, more news is being published about American anthropologists embedded in counterinsurgency programs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Thanks to antropologi.info (Cooperation between the Pentagon and Anthropologists a Fiasco?), I was introduced to an article in Newsweek: A Gun in One Hand, A Pen in the Other: The Army is spending millions to hire ‘experts’ to analyze Iraqi society. If only they could find some. This is dated 12 April, 2008, and was written by Dan Ephron and Silvia Spring.

[see the note at the bottom of this previous post as well, about Zenia Helbig’s revelations.]

Montgomery McFate has posted an angry response to the Newsweek piece, which appears in Wired Magazine.

Read the comments by readers under the Newsweek piece, and one may begin to glimpse raw patriotism and the usual, culturally sanctioned, coarse anti-intellectualism of American public discourse being slowly displaced by another well known discourse: taxpayer sanctimony. It seems that at least some voters will start to resent that millions of dollars are being blown on inexperienced and unschooled non-experts staffing Human Terrain Teams as supposed “anthropological experts”, who in many cases do not even know Arabic, let alone know how to conduct fieldwork in a war zone.

Welcome back to reality.

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