It was bound to happen that the Human Terrain System would come with its own body count. A few weeks ago a social scientist embedded with a military unit was killed in Afghanistan, marking the first death. Today there is news of a second: Nicole Suveges, killed in a bombing in Sadr City, Baghdad, on Tuesday. Suveges was a political science PhD student at Johns Hopkins, specializing in International Relations. She was employed by BAE Systems, a defense contractor that manages the HTS. Her husband, is an explosives expert with the U.S. army, stationed in Afghanistan. A second HTS researcher was badly wounded in the same attack, but has survived.
When the first press reports of the bombing came out, indicating the deaths of civilians working for the U.S. government, I wondered whether a HTS researcher would be among them. Just today I went back to visit the HTS website, and noticed that the “In Memoriam” menu item is at the top — had it been at the bottom, the program would have been accused of being cold or callous, and yet placing it at the top should stand as a stark reminder of the real dangers that this program poses for those who join it. BAE Systems, in the meantime, continues to use announcements of these deaths to offer promotional sales pitches of its earnings and activities.
Update: Additional Links
Former Mundelein woman killed in Iraq
Daily Herald, Russel Lissau, June 25, 2008
American Graduate Student Dies in Iraq, in a 2nd Loss for Army’s ‘Human Terrain’ Program
The Chronicle of Higher Education, David Glenn, June 25, 2008
In Memoriam: Nicole Suveges
Human Terrain System