The Teacher is Not Your Friend: An American Teaches Iraqi Police About Loyalty to Iraq

“Trust is paramount in today’s Iraq, where – under the security pact between the two countries – every military patrol is now supposed to be Iraqi-led and American-supported. The shooting death Tuesday of an American soldier and his interpreter by two Iraqi police officers threatens to undermine that trust….Trust is still developing between Iraqi and American forces, according to U.S. and Iraqi soldiers interviewed in Mosul”
(“Shooting of four U.S. troops highlights trust issues between two forces,” by Heath Druzin, Stars and Stripes Mideast edition, 27 February 2009).

“A U.S. soldier and an Iraqi interpreter were killed Tuesday and three American troops were injured when gunmen, who officials said wore Iraqi police uniforms, fired on them in the northern city of Mosul. It was the third time since November that men in Iraqi security force uniforms have attacked American forces in Nineveh province”
(“Gunmen in police uniforms kill U.S. soldier, Iraqi in Mosul,” by Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times, 25 February 2009).

A very interesting video that I learned about thanks to SuperGodiva (originally via Alternet.org), this seems to answer one question I had: why do some American trained Iraqi policemen suddenly open fire on their American military partners? (See for example this news report, and this one). Possible answer: they were reminded about where their political loyalty had to lie.

As a motivational speaker the American trainer below will not be seen anytime soon as the featured attraction of the next “direct sales” convention at your local Holiday Inn. In some respects, his speech perfectly resembles that of indoctrination-by-abuse — in  sociology it is called “resocialization,” and is typical of what adults undergo as they join either “cults” or any new institutional setting with radically different norms and hierarchies. The added irony of the American trainer in this video is that he is preaching loyalty to Iraq, to Iraqis, as an invader and occupier, while using misogynist insults and indulging in fear of ethnic others (specifically exploiting/reworking Shia versus Sunni divides). In the latter case, he is tearing down the loyalty to the nation-state that he claims he wants these men to fight for.

Some might object to the criticism of this scene from an anti-colonial perspective, noting that similar situations are played out within the U.S. military’s own internal training. It’s not a good objection if one takes a broad view of colonialism that does not fixate on either international or intercultural boundaries, but rather as a violent process where one entity is implanted and occupies part of another, such as a settlement, or an idea. The oppression is isomorphic, as Indian cultural psychologist Ashis Nandy argues, and is transferred from one to the other. While colonialism may unleash certain forces that were already latent within the colonized society, clearly the form of oppression itself also stems from internal social forces among the colonizers. Having brutalized themselves, they have perfected the art of brutalizing others. Having been brutalized by others, they achieve mastery in brutalizing themselves.

But some do not learn their lessons very well, and instead open fire on their trainers. There is therefore always room for hope, and reason to celebrate it.

For some parallels, the video below is a popularized example of such training, featuring actor Ronald Lee Ermey, “The Gunny,” in Stanley Kubrick’s 1987 movie Full Metal Jacket. Ermey plays the role so well given his own 11 years of experience in the U.S. Marine Corps, where he served as a Staff Sergeant, later receiving the honorary title of Gunnery Sergeant (in the film he plays Gunnery Sergeant Hartman). Ermey fought in Vietnam for 14 months. (His first role in movies was as a helicopter pilot in Apocalypse Now. He also worked as a technical advisor to both Francis Ford Coppola and Stanley Kubrick.) See Ermey’s official website, and the entries at Wikipedia and IMDB.

As some might recall, one of the trainees who is particularly abused in the film, eventually opens fire on the trainer (Sgt. Hartman) and kills him.

_______

34 thoughts on “The Teacher is Not Your Friend: An American Teaches Iraqi Police About Loyalty to Iraq

  1. Thanks Max for posting this video, I mean the first one especially.

    I don’t know what the translation was and what the local policemen heard, but these are some of the words we heard come out of Sgt Assfuck’s cockhole:

    “Raise your hand if you’re in the Mahdi militia? Who has militia ties? Which one of you are more loyal to the militia than your own country? Some of you in this formation are fucking lying right now.”

    “You’re trying to kill Americans because you have no fucking backbone.”

    “I don’t see your ass in my home town.”

    So they’re cowards who won’t fight, but then kill Americans, this is what that asshole is spewing. He wants submission, then rubs their faces in their own submission, and then bitches about them not showing submission. Sgt Fuckprick here has an ideology that is seriously fucked up. He can’t even figure out his own story.

    I don’t see you in my home town? Oh yeah, that’s because you’re the fucking invader, Sgt Cocklick. Thanks for reminding me, looking forward to fragging your ass later. And why should I be in your home town, when I can kill you here?

    Then Sgt Fuckbag here tries to do a poll. In his mind being in the Mahdi militia is the same as being anti-Iraqi, and being pro-Iraq is being pro-American. No wonder nobody raised their hands, but I guess this goes way over Sgt Fuckmouth’s crappy little skull. No wonder these assholes are so hated. It’s going to be great seeing them drown in their own shit in Afghanistan, dumb sons of bitches.

  2. I can just imagine what would have happened to him had you been one of the people in the “formation” (lol).

    Did you hear him counter-complain about their complaints of not having fuel, trucks, weapons, etc.? That was also interesting because it makes one question where the billions of dollars of assistance, money for training and equipping the Iraqis, has gone. That much of it has gone nowhere except in American hands as part of a countless series of frauds and scams, is something we already knew, but it’s great to see it being registered here “on the ground” because it seems this American’s line is to try to justify the non-aid in terms of the Iraqis being ‘undeserving pussies.’ He is providing cover for a range of war corporatists who never delivered what they were supposed to, what a poor sap.

  3. That’s the mythical “surge” at work right there! Better informed readers know that a huge project of ethnic cleansing has been taking place in Iraq since 2007 and that’s what the real surge was. Once the main contenders had divided territories among them and once the Sunnis signed on for US military aid to fight their own lateral competition with AQ, then you had “less violence”. Except it’s not less violence: it’s violence that’s been stored up. What this US officer is doing is to also show us the surge at work in fomenting, encouraging, capitalizing on ethnic rivalry and religious factionalism.

  4. I also meant to say that is life imitating “art” in the first video. In the second video, it is both life and art imitating life. I just finished reading some interviews with Lee Ermey going through some of the links you listed too. Ermey is a lot like his character: he supports the Iraq war, says “we’re doing just fine there,” then blames “Communist Network News” for giving the war a bad name, and says he plays golf with the joint chiefs, and recently did a commercial for Glock guns. A real charmer, not much of a different nut than the one he played in Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

  5. Having a fun time, jihadists? You people make me sick. Your entitled to your opinions but remember that its thanks to folks like me that you have them.

  6. Thank you LT Barnes, it really is thanks to people like you that I have some of my opinions, especially about the ability of some military types to cogitate and formulate coherent sentences. I suspect that what you meant to say is that I should thank you, an American officer, for my freedom to express my opinions, not for just having my opinions as you wrote. You could not be more sorely mistaken if that is what you meant: my freedom is mine, and I thank no one for what I would think and say regardless of the hurt feelings of guns for hire. You should thank the taxpayers for giving you a job, involuntarily, so you can do entirely nonproductive things with your career of destruction.

    Milgram, thanks for your comments. I did not know that about Ermey in fact (he should just change his surname to Army) — he has really fallen in my estimation. I am not even sure that he is really acting now, so my previous belief that he was a very good actor has also suffered. I had credited him with having the same interpretive genius of a Carol O’Connor (Archie Bunker), but was clearly uninformed.

    Your comments about the surge (also made by one of my favourite writers on these topics, Andrew Bacevich), are well taken, and I especially liked your point about the violence being stored up. You still find many, like John McCain, who mindlessly repeat that “the surge worked” without thinking of the implications, and that the U.S. definition of success has in reality become “they are shooting less at us.”

    Incidentally, tonight the BBC published an article about a SAS commander in Afghanistan saying the war was “worthless,” speaking of failures:

    Afghan operation is ‘worthless’
    BBC NEWS | UK | Saturday, 7 March 2009

  7. You disrespect men in uniform who serve their country, like Lt Barnes, and i bet a pompous ass like you Mr Forte would never have the guts to serve. It’s easier for you to serve up refried agit-prop than do what’s right and stand by those who are willing to sacrifice for freedom. I second Lt Barnes, you people make me sick and i really think you and your play pals here are bunch of jihadist dupes. I won’t fight for you, your on your own.

  8. There’s a certain part of your body that wants you to release your grip, and it is saying that that it has been grasped by a firm hand far too many times every day.

    I am sure Lt Barnes can fight his own battles, without you throwing banana peels in his way.

    I really enjoyed your comment, and its whole service motif.

  9. That was a low blow! But Firm Hand deserved it and was asking for it with a name like that. I haven’t ‘served’ and I wont ‘serve’ either if it means killing people for a false cause. Firm Hand, you’re no patriot, you’re just a sucker. Those men aren’t sacrificing anything, they do to get paid, and since we pay them we don’t owe them anything, just like nobody owes me anything. Stop whining about soldiers as if they were some kind of poor angels.

  10. Hi Max,

    “Possible answer: they were reminded about where their political loyalty had to lie.”

    That is certainly a plausible answer, Max, but there are other plausible answers as well. Mosul is a nexus point with quite a few networks intersecting there, including quite a bit of what is frequently termed “organized crime” (I’ve got my own suspicions as to what that actually is, but that’s another story). One key thing to remember, Max, is that this type of shooting incident acts to provoke Coalition troops and destroy “trust”; on that we both agree.

    So, who benefits? Arguing that “they were reminded about where their political loyalty had to lie.” assumes a) that such a loyalty to “Iraq” existed in the first place b) that it is best served by provoking Coalition forces, and c) that the people who committed the shootings actually were from the IP. Abductive logic works really well to open up thinking, but it shouldn’t be used except to guide further investigation (wry grin).

    Do you remember back to about 2005-06 or so, when the current estimates at that time were that roughly 1/3rd of the IP were actually committed to one or more “insurgent” groups? One implication of that is that there is still a lot of access to uniforms and equipment as well as training. In other words, it is equally as plausible that the people who opened fire were acting as agents provocateur trying to destroy the trust that had been built up earlier. I’ll also note that similar tactics were used in the so-called wars of national liberation and are a standard tactic in the Maoist model of a People’s War (as well as by right wing death squads in Central America and Africa).

  11. You are making the assumption that being an insurgent, or having ties to a militia, or organized crime, means that one is less of a nationalist. It simply is not proven. It is assumed by the U.S. officer as an abusive rhetorical tactic, like calling them “a bunch of fucking women,” and has no more merit than such a statement. Iraq has been one of the most nationalist countries in the region, according to most descriptions I have read.

    The other assumption is that “trust” can be developed between occupiers and occupied. Collaboration certainly is a historical fact of most colonial situations, and this one is no different. However, to use the word “trust” in such situations is certainly not an intuitive choice.

    I do not know if Iraqi nationalism is best served by attacking “coalition” forces. I imagine it is one way though. I also do not know if firing on U.S. soldiers “destroys trust” as you say, because that assumes it existed beforehand. Again, that needs to be proven. Captain Trashmouth, or whatever his rank and name are in reality, certainly shows a real lack of warmth and mutual respect.

  12. Hi Max,

    “You are making the assumption that being an insurgent, or having ties to a militia, or organized crime, means that one is less of a nationalist. It simply is not proven.”

    I agree, but the neither are your assumptions, Max :-). I’d also note that the term “nationalist” can be tricky in Mosul, since that would imply an an Iraqi Nationalism vs, say for example, Kurdish nationalism which we certainly know exists. As to its not being proven, I agree, it isn’t, but neither is your assumption / assertion that it is an action coming from political loyalty and assuming that that means nationalism.

    Max, Iraq, as a region, has a long history of clan / family politics first and foremost that goes back thousands of years, and I’m not just talking about “tribes”. Max, have you checked out Maffesoli’s work (e.g. the Time of the Tribes)? Quite worth looking at for a non-state based examination of affective social space.

    “The other assumption is that “trust” can be developed between occupiers and occupied. Collaboration certainly is a historical fact of most colonial situations, and this one is no different. However, to use the word “trust” in such situations is certainly not an intuitive choice.”

    Interesting points, but is this a “colonial” situation in the sense you use the term? Personally, I think that it isn’t as good an analog as, for example, the concept of “imperium” and client state in the latter part of the Roman Empire. As far as the word “trust” itself is concerned, I tend to use it as roughly analogous to “expectation”, as in “I can trust that X will do Y”, rather than the broader and more inclusive way I believe you use it. BTW, I could be quite wrong about how you use it, but that’s the way it strikes me. ;-)

    Again, on your final point, it’s a fairly classic Maoist tactic to cause shifts in expectation by covert ops. It “destroys trust” in the sense that it changes the perceptions and expectations of the Coalition forces and increases the likelihood that they will react kinetically further eroding their image both in Iraq and in the rest of the world.

    That final point is, IMO, crucial. Some of the US military people I have talked with make geographic assumptions about their Area of Operations (AO), but it should have been blindingly obvious from the very start that the AO was, actually, outside of those geographic boundaries (e.g. having video squads attached to IED attacks and ambushes for YouTube distribution). One of the key lessons that should have been learned from Vietnam was that it was quite possible to loose all the battles and still win the war by attacking the “trust” of the civilian population at home about the validity of the war and the actions of the troops.

  13. Actually, no, I use the term colonial situation with much more recent examples in mind, the kind that leaders and policy makers today would be more familiar with, and that is British colonialism. With that comes indirect rule, the training of local armies and police forces, writing up of constitutions, supervision of the electoral process, pressures exerted on pre-determining the “right” foreign policy and foreign alignments that the new “decolonized” nation will have, followed by a negotiated and phased withdrawal. The U.S. will withdraw fully when it is fully confident that the Iraqis can colonize themselves, or, when it has no option because a punishing economic crisis dwindles resources at home, or a bit of both.

    With respect to the nationalism issue, I think we are both losing sight of what is in fact being said in this video, which is contradictory, and has to be contradictory because otherwise the U.S. officer makes himself a target of the nationalism one might superficially think he desires. We hear,

    (a) is your loyalty to Iraq?
    (b) if you don’t fight, the Sunnis will come and cut your heads off,
    (c) go down to the river, get in a gunfight, fuck some people up.

    The idea he is really propelling is not Iraqi nationalism, except insofar as Iraqi nationalism is defined against a Sunni Other, with Sunnis now treated as if they were foreigners, not brothers and sisters. Indeed, what this video does is to underscore what Bacevich and others have been arguing for some time — the “surge” was really the U.S. supervising, enabling, and in this case encouraging ethnic cleansing. Nationalism is nowhere to be found here, until someone recognizes the U.S. occupiers for what they are, and kills them.
    I don’t think we need either Mao or the Roman Empire to understand that, and I am sure that the actors here also use neither to understand their own motivations and goals.

  14. Max,

    Two issues here. First, this video is from years ago. Second, this is exactly the sort of thing that the HTTs were invented to prevent (among other things.)

    No kidding. You just posted the best as IN FAVOR OF expanding the HTT concept that one could possibly imagine. I assume that this was not your intent.

    Now, on the academic side: You wrote: “Some might object to the criticism of this scene from an anti-colonial perspective, noting that similar situations are played out within the U.S. military’s own internal training. It’s not a good objection if one takes a broad view of colonialism that does not fixate on either international or intercultural boundaries, but rather as a violent process where one entity is implanted and occupies part of another, such as a settlement, or an idea.”

    Anti-colonialism is a moot point if the violent idea, structures of violence, and Foucaldian-like power structures based upon violence, exist within the society or culture prior to the arrival of an outside power or idea.

    “The oppression is isomorphic, as Indian cultural psychologist Ashis Nandy argues, and is transferred from one to the other. While colonialism may unleash certain forces that were already latent within the colonized society, clearly the form of oppression itself also stems from internal social forces among the colonizers.”

    And here is exactly where your thesis falls down. Violence has been integral to the power-structure arrangement within Mesopotamia since the 700s. History is the key here Max. Understand the history and foundations underpinning the modern culture (and not just the past couple of decades) and you have a better chance of creating a valid critique. As it stands, this is a non-sequitor due to a conflict with the historical record. The society has been violent, and used violence as an integral element of the structure of power, since at least the 700s. (Which is frankly about as far back as we can reliably go. Until the Umayids, there really isn’t a good historical record, so that’s our baseline. It might be older, but we cannot prove that reliable with history, and archeology lacks in this regard.)

    “Having brutalized themselves, they have perfected the art of brutalizing others. Having been brutalized by others, they achieve mastery in brutalizing themselves.”

    Yes, again a non-sequitor on two levels. First, on the deeper historical level. Second, on the relative roles assigned by you to the actors. You might benefit from some more in-depth study of the culture (and subcultures) of the military. No need to start with broad-based all-services survey level study. Start, I suggest, with studies about the ground forces and the subcultures and markers there. As it is you appear to be making very large leaps without intellectual foundations to leap from or land upon.

    Bateman

  15. Oh, by the way, it’s not an officer in that video. It’s a sergeant. He may, or may not, have a High School degree. That you called him an “officer” is, perhaps, one of the most telling things you’ve said recently.

    I point this out for you to bring home to you your deep lack of knowledge about the military, its culture, and methods. (Which, as any anthro-type should know and agree, is a requirement towards developing understanding of that culture.)

    Bateman

  16. That’s telling? You sound a little strained here. He clearly is no ordinary grunt, unless American forces are now also dumb enough to send just anybody to browbeat Iraqis. He clearly, and in the context of this situation, effectively ranks above everyone else in the video, including the Iraqi officers who rank above the policemen. Why do I need to argue this, as if it were not obvious to you or anyone else?

    My “deep” lack of knowledge about the military, its culture, and methods, is instead only relative lack of knowledge compared to that of an insider, and it reflects a refusal on my part to simply buy into and suck up all of that culture’s internal folk categories. That is actually an anthropological position, not that I sit down to write everything that is only in line with pre-existing anthropology.

    However, you also make a bit of a corny statement about anthropology, a culture that you apparently do not understand.

    You also COMPLETELY MISSED THE POINT OF THE POST, which does not require an anthropology degree to understand. I am reflecting on a colonial situation, on differences of power, and how Sgt Shitmouth here is rightly lining himself up for a well deserved bullet to the head. Now, that is why you are offended, not because of my anthropology.

  17. I don’t think you have really understood anything I have written, but really almost nothing it seems.

    It doesn’t matter if the video was from 500 years ago, that would not diminish the expression of guttural imperialism in which this “SGT” engages. I don’t believe I made any kind of suggestion whatsoever about the date of the video, nor do I think it matters, at all.

    You then jump to the conclusion that it is an argument in favour of HTS. Man, what are you smoking? The only conclusion you should have permitted yourself to reach is this one: get the fuck out of Iraq. That clearly includes HTS. Nice try though, for trying to insinuate that if I don’t accept one cancer, then I must accept another cancer, as if the only options were to work with the U.S. and confine oneself to U.S. military missions as the only framework of thought. That is your deficiency, don’t pass it on to me. I do not buy any of the promotional propaganda of HTS, so I don’t see how they could have helped, at all.

    “Anti-colonialism is a moot point if the violent idea, structures of violence, and Foucaldian-like power structures based upon violence, exist within the society or culture prior to the arrival of an outside power or idea.”

    No, it’s not a moot point, it is a generally muted point, and I don’t require nor use Foucault to talk about violence. You come from a society where “terrorism” never appears in quotation marks like I just wrote it, but the word imperialism almost always does — as if there are doubts about the latter, an obscure and questionable concept presumably, but no doubt at all about the veracity of the former. So don’t tell me about any moot points about colonialism, and don’t pretend that the U.S. invasion and occupation was innocent, under the guise that Iraqi society was already violent. From that same point of view, 9/11 was a mere drop in your bucket of already existing everyday violence in the U.S. Great…now explain the mass hysteria that was engineered into state policy so that 9/11 has become some hallowed event that justifies any act of barbarism, at home and abroad.

    Where your thesis, to the extent that there is one, falls down, is not having understood what I wrote to begin with. Isomorphic oppression here refers JUST AS MUCH TO THE U.S. as it does to Iraq…get it, isomorphic? The two are now entangled, but you take up the tools of the bigot now, and point your lecturing finger at violent Iraq, as if your culture were not saturated to the gills with violence, as if your own state had not known almost permanent war for all of its history. That may be a thesis, but its dishonesty, its one-sidedness is acute.

    Non-sequitur, by the way, just a minor correction. And you are also wrong in your use of the term anyway. Your point is wholly obscure, and a tad desperate I think: you are embarrassed by the video, but would rather remain silent about what is actually shown and heard, which reinforces its damning power. Your attempt is to now twist this into a discussion that is purely about American military culture, as if that any way followed from your discussion about the history of violence in Iraq. Talk about non-sequiturs.

  18. SERGEANT:

    * any of several noncommissioned officer ranks in the Army or Air Force or Marines ranking above a corporal
    http://wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    * The highest rank of noncommissioned officer in most non-naval military forces and police
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/Sergeant

    “In most non-naval military or paramilitary organizations, a Sergeant is a non-commissioned officer (NCO) ranking above Privates and Corporals, and below Warrant Officers and Commissioned Officers. There are usually several ranks of Sergeant, each corresponding to greater experience and responsibility for the daily lives of the soldiers of larger units.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergeant

    To say “it’s not an officer in that video. It’s a sergeant” is to engage in a rather superficial play with words. Your objection seems to be that I failed to include the qualifier, “non- commissioned.”

    Yeah, that’s a really big point, major in fact, it just blows up the whole post. Wow.
    ————————-
    The implicit suggestion is this then: don’t criticize the effects and manifestations of U.S. military power, until you immerse yourself and absorb, sponge-like, all the irrelevant and minor details about insignia, U.S. military traditions, ranks, titles, whatever.

    If people like Bob had followed their own advice, they would never have dared to invade another country — how much does the Sgt here know about Mesopotamian history? Here Bob equates modern Iraq with all of Mesopotamia (it is, instead, just a geographic fraction of what Mesopotamia was) as if everything in the present is a function of ancient history, thereby absolving the British and now the U.S. It’s an intellectually dishonest argument, I can have nothing to do with it.

  19. Max,

    No, it’s a significant difference Max, and pretending that it is not undercuts your position, your logic, and ultimately your argument.

    The sergeant in that video almost certainly has nothing more than a high school diploma, and even that is only 80% likely. He has never studied anything about the nation, the culture, the traditions, the history or the heritage of the country he was sent to. At most, and this is a sketchy proposition, he has recieved mass-briefings delivered most likely in an auditorium, about the barest essentials of Arab (generic) cultural taboos. Things like, ‘don’t show the soles of your boots’, and the like.

    He also has zero actual authority over those people he is yelling at. The men he is addressing are members of the Iraqi Police. That makes them part of the Ministry of the Interior. The United States, and the coalition, never had any control over the MoI. (Unlike the Ministry of Defense, which the Coalition dismantled and then started to rebuild from the ground up.) So, unlike the Iraqi Army, there was never any way for anybody to actually ‘control’ the police. Even if he was an officer.

    Until you understand this basic fact about modern Iraq you’re tilting at windmills. You would be well served if you also understood he basic fact that the NCO who you think deserves to be shot in the head because he was swearing at people and cajoling him was doing so precisely *because* he did not have the authority to order them to do anything. (I believe the phrase you used was, “Sgt Shitmouth here is rightly lining himself up for a well deserved bullet to the head”, which of course is ironic. You’re advocating murder for swearing, by swearing yourself?)

    You refer to that sergeant as “Shitmouth,” and collegially agree with people who call him “Sgt Assfuck Cockhole,” and you think *his* language was bad and worthy of a “deserved” bullet to the head?

    The HTTs were created to not only help American commanders to understand the peoples they were interacting with, they were designed to help educate the subordinates (directly or indirectly) so that Sergeants would NOT go out and do stupid things like this one did. Thus, by posting the video of an event which took place in a unit without an HTT (because it predates the HTTs), you’re giving solid evidence for their need and utility.

    You wrote: “The implicit suggestion is this then: don’t criticize the effects and manifestations of U.S. military power, until you immerse yourself and absorb, sponge-like, all the irrelevant and minor details about insignia, U.S. military traditions, ranks, titles, whatever.”

    Which is outright silly and an intellectually dishonest dodge.

    What anthropologist would criticize the effects and manifestations of any culture without, at least, “immersing yourself and absorbing” the very real and socially relevent major details about their culture, power structures, organizations?

    But even sillier is your apparent lack of understanding of the US Constitution. You see, “people like Bob” means, “people in the military.” It does not mean, “civilians who make the decisions about the use of force.” The US military has never sent itself anywhere. We did not send ourselves to France to “make the world safe for democracy.” (BTW, what a crock of shit that was. We fought for the UK and France, at the time the two largest empires in the world, against the third largest empire. Nice. Democracy my butt. We went because the Brits and Canadians begged us, and we wanted to protect our financial investments in those countries, and France.) We did not send ourselves in WWII, or Korea, or Vietnam, or Somalia, or Kosovo. In each of those cases we went because the Democratic Party leaders sitting in the White House and the Congress sent us. Similarly we did not send ourselves to Lebanon, or Grenada, or Panama, or Gulf War I, or Afghanistan, or Gulf War II. We went because the Republicans in those same positions sent us.

    In other words, the military does not declare wars, or decide to start them. You civilians do that in most modern western democracies. If you want the US military to get out of Iraq, then you must convince US civilian political leaders, not “people like Bob.” We do not have a real say in the matter.

    Take a look at some history Max, or better yet, examine a map. “Mesopotamia” (do I need to explain that this means, “the land between the two rivers, Tigris and Euphrates”) is +90% located exclusively within what is now Iraq. Iraq is LARGER than, not “just a geographic fraction” of Mesopotamia. Perhaps you are confusing and conflating the historical term “Fertile Crescent” with Mesopotamia? The two are not the same. But if I’d meant “fertile crescent” (which indeed includes all of Mesopotamia, then over and across to the Levant, then down the coast to the area which is now Gaza) I would have said fertile crescent. I did not, I used the more precise and narrow, and accurate, description.

    History from 100 years ago (before the British arrived) is not “ancient” Max. Nor is history from 500 years ago. “Ancient History” is generally agreed to start around 2,500 BC and end around 450 AD. Please Max, if you’re going to pretend to anthropological knowledge, don’t act like an anti-intellectual knuckle dragger and dismiss the history of entire people’s because it does not fit your pre-concieved notions. Examine evidence and then evaluate it, but examine ALL of the evidence, not just the parts that support your arguments. Tossing out the history of the people who have lived in that region prior to 1916 is real intellectual dishonesty.

    But when you try to change your argument, that’s when it really spills out. You wrote, “The two are now entangled, but you take up the tools of the bigot now, and point your lecturing finger at violent Iraq, as if your culture were not saturated to the gills with violence, as if your own state had not known almost permanent war for all of its history. That may be a thesis, but its dishonesty, its one-sidedness is acute.”

    Yes Max, ISOMORPHIC. Perhaps you need to go look up what that means, because now you’re trying to change what you originally wrote. Here, let me remind you: “While colonialism may unleash certain forces that were already latent within the colonized society, clearly the form of oppression itself also stems from internal social forces among the colonizers.”

    In other words you are saying (for those laymen following this, or experts for that matter), that Iraqi culture learned the tools of oppression from the Americans, because they became intertwined.

    I pointed out, correctly, that oppression was already a part of Iraqi culture, and before that the culture of the three Ottoman states that occupied the same space, and before that the culture of the various caliphites that occupied the same space. Therefore, to claim that oppression was introduced or unleashed within Iraqi culture due to the arrival of the Americans, or the British/Canadians/Australians/Indians before them, is historically inaccurate.

    What is your evidence to the contrary. Would you like a suggested reading list on the cultural history of the region? Oh, that’s right, you apparently don’t think cultural history matters.

    Bob Bateman

  20. Bob, this is getting kind of ridiculous now. You are clearly unable to evaluate what the nature of my argument is, and you think it somehow hinges on the rank of the jerk barking at the Iraqis. I am focusing on the barking, you are focusing on the jerk’s rank, and spinning some alternate story that does not concern me in the least. You snap from ranks to the history of Mesopotamia…anything, everything, whatever can distract. It is both sad and enlightening to watch you spin, while you throw out spin.

    * he has a high-school diploma…
    –> Irrelevant to my post, and pure speculation anyway. Next.

    * “He also has zero actual authority over those people he is yelling at.”
    –> He doesn’t seem to think so, and then that would make this video truly astounding. If he has no authority, he has no place being there shouting insults at these people.

    Your very forced construction of my argument as one for the usefulness of HTTs, ONLY works if you can prove that I agree with HTS propaganda about their value, their purpose, and their successes. I agree on none of those fronts, therefore I am not making any indirect case for the value of HTTs…and for someone who talks about “tilting at windmills,” you are now letting your imagination drag you about wildly in a desert full of mirages. What I have consistently said is that Americans should get the hell out of Iraq, and therefore that means dragging HTS with them.

    Also, if you are a scholar, and I tell you what my argument is, and what is not, don’t just ignore it and say: “No, it must be something else! Here let me prove it by putting words in your mouth.”

    I wrote: “The implicit suggestion is this then: don’t criticize the effects and manifestations of U.S. military power, until you immerse yourself and absorb, sponge-like, all the irrelevant and minor details about insignia, U.S. military traditions, ranks, titles, whatever.”

    You then wrote: “Which is outright silly and an intellectually dishonest dodge.”

    No, it is downright on target and points to the shallowness of your charge against those who criticize what is shown in the video, just because they may not know the actual little rank of the person. Irrelevant obfuscation. You are a fog machine.

    Then we get into the history of mapping Mesopotamia. Which maps, Bob? From when, exactly? Considering that Iraq invaded Kuwait, in part using the argument that Kuwait always belonged to it, let me suggest to you that at least some Iraqis do not agree with what you are saying here, that 99% of Mesopotamia = Iraq. (By the way, even 99% is a fraction…I am sure endless primary school math teachers will back me up on this.)

    Ancient history — you referred to history from 1300 years ago, and you want to then quibble about what “ancient history” means, might mean, could mean, should mean, as if any of that is of any relevance or interest. You did not prove, you merely alleged, that some of this stuff was somehow relevant to explaining the violence of contemporary Iraqi society, violence to which the U.S. has added significantly, and in which it has inserted itself.

    Your view of history is one that I think few schools of historical thought would support, others would laugh at it as non-history, as an affirmation of the eternal and continuous, which places it outside of the normalcy of change which is history.

    ISOMORPHIC. Why don’t you look up what it means, then read the argument from Nandy, because a definition from geometry won’t do the trick, Bob, it is how Nandy uses the argument and how I adapt it that counts here.

    “to claim that oppression was introduced or unleashed within Iraqi culture due to the arrival of the Americans, or the British/Canadians/Australians/Indians before them, is historically inaccurate.”

    I never claimed that. Point out where I did. I argued one oppression maps onto the other, and then folds back in on itself. Too challenging for you to follow, I now realize.

    AS FOR THE REST, I know the trick Bob, and I am making you experience some of it in return:

    To try to distract the witch that is chasing you, you throw salt in the witch’s path. The idea here is that the witch will feel compelled to stoop down and collect each little grain of salt while you make your getaway.

    It doesn’t work: I am not a witch, though I am sure that your taking up residence on this blog as our in-house witch burner should suggest otherwise.

  21. Just to clarify one point: MadAxe’s truculent statements about the American sergeant strutting his stuff like a general in charge of Iraqi police — I do agree with them, absolutely (as evidenced by my lack of criticism of his points), and if I had found them to be over the top I would have deleted his comment like I actually did on a previous occasion (and the evidence of that remains on that post). Am I therefore justifying Iraqi attacks against U.S. soldiers? OF COURSE I AM. I didn’t think there was ever any doubt about that.

    Did I make the argument that people who use insulting language should be killed? No. But it is one more for Bob’s Fog Machine. I talked about power and colonialism, and asserting it brazenly as inviting a harsh response. In fact, my case has been proven right on this page: witness the harsh responses. In other cases, Iraqi police have opened fire on U.S. troops — I say I am not surprised. But, no, by all means, let’s just twist this argument right out of shape and turn it into “bad etiquette will get you killed, no matter who you are, or where you are.”

    Now the U.S. invasion and occupation is nothing at all, mere ether, this is all just another, domestic, Mesopotamian drama. I feel some more really foul language is needed now.

  22. Max,

    You’re misdirecting, again. At least I back-quote you, showing exactly where you make a particular statement or advance an idea. You go off on tangents that, admittedly, I don’t always follow.

    For example, where the heck did the geometry comment come from? Who was talking about geometry?

    Now for the brass tacks: The rank of the sergeant, and his ability (or inability) to give an order and coerce the Iraqi police to do anything at all is relevent to your contention. He has to have actual power, in your formulation, because if he does not have actual power, then he cannot actually oppress.

    If, in fact, he has no actual power because: A. His rank is too low anyway and B. Iraq is a sovereign country which has a police force which has never been under the authority of the US or the coalition in any way, shape, or form. Then he is left with only one tool: Words.

    He cannot use violence to coerce them. He cannot give or withhold money. He cannot give or withhold power or rank. He cannot use the rule of law to issue a legal order. All he has are words.

    He was using harsh, sharp, insulting words. The commander, the Iraqi commander, of those police forces decided for his own reasons to allow that American (who I will readily cede, acted stupidly) to yell at his policemen, through a translator. We do not know what that Iraqi commander’s motives were for allowing this. We also do not know how the words were translated.

    (On a sidebar: You speak Spanish. Have you ever witnessed a situation where two people were communicating through a translator and the translator was shifting the meaning and phrasing of what the speakers were saying? Happens all the time in Iraq. Just FYI.)

    OK, back on topic: I said, “to claim that oppression was introduced or unleashed within Iraqi culture due to the arrival of the Americans, or the British/Canadians/Australians/Indians before them, is historically inaccurate.”

    You then wrote: “I never claimed that. Point out where I did.”

    OK, simple enough. In discussing how you decided criticize the situation in the video from an anti-colonial position you wrote: “Some might object to the criticism of this scene from an anti-colonial perspective, noting that similar situations are played out within the U.S. military’s own internal training. It’s not a good objection if one takes a broad view of colonialism that does not fixate on either international or intercultural boundaries, but rather as a violent process where one entity is implanted and occupies part of another, such as a settlement, or an idea.”

    OK, so here is where you make a clear equation: colonialism = violent process of implantation.

    Now what you then wrote was: “The oppression is isomorphic, as Indian cultural psychologist Ashis Nandy argues, and is transferred from one to the other.”

    This was your next sentence, and one must read it (because you used two different words) as though these words mean the same thing. Colonialism = Oppression

    Now since you had earlier contended that the coalition in Iraq was something which should be critiqued from an anti-colonial position. In other words, simplifying, you were contending that the coaltion is a colonial force. Moving to Nandy, the oppressor/colonizer transfers oppression to the occupied/colonized. Since colonialism is a violent process, this means that colonizer is transferring violence from their culture to the colonized culture.

    In other words, the colonizer (in your formulation) makes the colonized violent because he is violent. In this situation that means the current coalition. But to be safe, I extended it to the whole period during which Iraq has been episodically under the de facto or dejure power of an outside non-neighboring force. Which is why I extended it to 1916 and the British Empire.

    THAT is the PART of your argument with which I disagree. Do you see now? Yes, I understand, that the second half of your argument, which proceeds from the first, is that by doing this the coalition forces have then become better at brutalizing themselves. I actually have no argument with that as it’s perfectly conguent with the broader historiography of all war. Violence begets violence. There’s nothing there that Thucydides didn’t say first. Consider the Melian dialog and it’s eventual outcome. (For the Athenians that is, not the Melians.)

    In WWI, for example, the Canadians and the Australians became infamous for slaughtering any German or Austrian who surrendered to them. Initially, however, this was mostly not true. The Canadians in particular, earlier in the war, were not inordinately inclined to commit these war crimes. But the belief stuck due to some incidents, and the Germans, in response, when they learned that they were facing Canadians or Australians across the line began to do the same. This, of course, then fed into the cycle and by the time of the Somme (the first Western Front battle in which the Aussies also participated) the Canadians actually were committing more war crimes than just about any other combatant on the entire front. (Taken as a percentage, of course.) So yes, I understand the logic of the second part of your thesis, and I don’t disagree with it, or I would not if the first part held up.

    It is in the first part, the required first part, the part where you de facto try to establish that it was the introduction of the coalition which made Iraqi culture violent, that I disagree.

    By the way, have you looked at those maps yet? Perhaps you’ll notice that Kuwait is not a part of mesopotamia? (Since, ahhh, it’s not “between the rivers.”) The Iraqi claim was not based upon the idea of mesopotamia as a historical basis

  23. (CONTINUED: Sorry, had computer lock-up there)

    …the Iraqi claim to Kuwait was not based upon it being a part of Mesopotamia, but upon it being a part of the structure of the Ottoman empire which had included that land under the same governmental umbrella. Not the same Max.

    Now, on a couple of closer points. You wrote: “So don’t tell me about any moot points about colonialism, and don’t pretend that the U.S. invasion and occupation was innocent, under the guise that Iraqi society was already violent.”

    I said nothing about the invasion of Iraq at all, one way or another Max. Nor did I make any comment about anybody’s innocence. (What a strange word to try and put in my mouth.) I noted that Iraq was violent before the US/Coalition got there. It was violent before the British got there in 1916. It was violent throughout the Ottoman empire, and it was violent for as long as I myself can track it, which is only as far back as the Abbasiyds and Ummayids. Try not to conflate the two.

    On another point, which I forgot to mention, you said, “He clearly is no ordinary grunt, unless American forces are now also dumb enough to send just anybody to browbeat Iraqis. He clearly, and in the context of this situation, effectively ranks above everyone else in the video, including the Iraqi officers who rank above the policemen. Why do I need to argue this, as if it were not obvious to you or anyone else?”

    Yes, he *is* an “ordinary grunt.” Moreover, it’s likely that he is a reservist or a national guardsman “weekend warrior” who has even less training than the average “ordinary grunt.” (Let alone cultural training.)

    I can’t re-watch the video right now, but I’d say it’s an 80% chance that he is from an ad-hoc organization called the Multi-National Security Assistance Training Command (MNSTC-I, pronounced, in my acronym crazy world, “Min-Sticky”). MNSTC-I is made up, 100%, of what are called “individual augmentees.” In other words, they’re 95% reservists called to active duty, most of whom have never met each other, or trained for this mission. (The remaining 5% are regular Army soldiers/officers.) MNSTC-I has two sub-elements. The Military Assistance Training Team (CMATT) and the Police Assistance Training Team (CPATT). The Americans who have the most regular interaction with the Iraqi police are the CPATT people, who irregularly try to get out to the Iraqi police stations and see the situations there and try to teach (under the UN/ Department of State program which contracts for civilian police to teach overseas) them the rule of law. Those former American, Canadian, Italian, British and Australian police who sign up for that contract are escorted by some uniformed members from CPATT. That’s what I suspect we’re seeing in this video.

    MNSTC-I has very very few actual “troops” (in the sense of units and such). There are no platoons or companies or battalions or anything like that. It has teams of 3-4 who might go out with a couple of IPTs (International Police Trainers, the guys I mentioned above), and a few more people so that you have three full HMMWVs (the minimum allowed), while the IPTs do their thing. Again, what I suspect that we’re seeing here is a frustrated individual. We are, indeed Max, “dumb enough to send just anybody to browbeat Iraqis.” Or at least we have been in the past.

    What would ever make you think different? What is it about American culture that makes you think that we’re any better than any other Western European-derived culture in the stupid things we do institutionally and individually, in the civil authority or military realm?

    The alternate explanation would be that this is an NCO from an Amerian unit stationed nearby (some of his language suggests this might be the correct interpretation), who is frustrated because his unit is often promised support from the police, but the police don’t show up.

    By the way, there are actually three types of Iraqi police. There are the lowest, called “Traffic Police.” They are stationary and across much of Iraq act, more or less, like human stoplights. (Under Saddam this was essentially a socialist jobs program. Literacy in that part of the police force is the worst. As is corruption.) They cannot chase a criminal, and they don’t even really have the authority to arrest anyone. Then there are the “Investigative Police” (sometimes called the “Station Police”). Investigative police never ever leave the station. They do their investigations from there. Then there are the Patrol Police. Patrol police are probably who you are seeing in this video. The patrol police have the authority to arrest people, they are the ones who respond to crime reports, and they are the ones who bring people in to the Station police in order to be questioned.

    Now Max, are you about done with the attempts at ad hominem attacks against me rather than addressing the substance of my critique?

    Bob Bateman

  24. Wow Bob, you seem to know an awful lot of this blurred American guy in the video…is he you by any chance?

    I have one response, because I have no time to engage in this kind of exchange of essays, especially not when they demand that I repeat myself or they involve excessive meandering into peripheral subjects.

    “Now for the brass tacks: The rank of the sergeant, and his ability (or inability) to give an order and coerce the Iraqi police to do anything at all is relevent to your contention. He has to have actual power, in your formulation, because if he does not have actual power, then he cannot actually oppress.”

    You seem to confuse rank with power, and therefore Americans with Iraqis. Here I would recommend that you study Fanon, not Foucault. In the colony, the lowliest of the whites reigns as superior to the highest of the black natives. Your details, if even accurate, only underscore that point…but first you have to disaggregate rank from power, because clearly this absolute nobody, as you reconstruct him, has considerable power to speak with such abusive authority over the locals. He has been given that power, regardless of rank.

    In other words, you seem to think that your words can deny or obscure what is in fact shown.

    Your argument that Iraq was a violent nation before the U.S. invaded it, is an argument against innocence, one I never made, one I never make. But it also diminishes and trivializes the impact of the U.S. invasion and occupation, the absolutely devastating impact. Iraq may have been a violent nation, under a dictator, before the U.S. invasion, but it was certainly much more of a nation than what it is now, thanks in part to the kind of ethnic cleansing that this supposed nobody that you seem to know so much about, is advocating or at least exploiting.

    (By the way, which part of his uniform indicates to you that he is a Sgt? I can’t make out any detail at all.)

  25. No Max, I am in my 40s, this guy is in his 20s, or perhaps early 30s. Yes?

    Rank, in the military, and among military and military-like forces *is* power Max. There is no confusion. This is probably not a private. Or do you think that a private would have the “power” to get the Iraqi police lieutenant or captain or colonel to let him speak to the police from that station in that way. You seem to be confused about the fundamentals of military heirarchy and power relationships. Perhaps you *should* read some Foucault, as it appears that you have not as yet? A British/Commonwealth bias against French scholarship perhaps?

    One need not read Fanon if one comes from a country which fought a massive Civil War over the issue of slavery Max. Perhaps you were not aware of this, but between 1861 and April 1865, this nation tore itself apart about the idea that the lowliest white somehow was superior to any black. We’ve been dealing with the nearly intransigent byproducts of the English-imposed legacy of slavery for just about the last 150 years. Our scholarship on this is pretty deep. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Read some maybe? Or did you assume?

    On the issue of colonialist critiques, it would appear that my argument does hold water, at least among your legions of synchophantic commentators.

    Did you not notice, Max, that in all these exchanges twixt you and I, none of your regulars have chimed in about how you “banished” somebody with your argument as they have fawned in other threads? (This, of course, will bring at least some, but that is to be expected.)

    Max, let us TALK about the HTS. I am not asking you to abandon your opposition to the Canadian Presence in Afghanistan, or the Australian presence in both Afghanistan and Iraq. I am not asking you to stop arguing against the deployment of Canadian forces, or Australian forces, in any of the dozens of countries where they are deployed. Or the American.

    I noted for you, and you completely ignored, that we soldiers do not decide issues of war and peace. Civilians, in Australia, New Zealand, England, Canada, and the United States decide that. Max, I enjoin you to take the opportunity to understand a culture which, apparently, you do not.

    This is offered without reservation. It is also offered so that you might come to understand a culture about which you are, by your own evidence, supremely ignorant about. (Which is OK Max. I’m ignorant about a lot of cultures too. There is no shame in admitting that you don’t know some things about the modern US military, or Iraqi culture in the different provinces. This is understood. You’ve never been there, nor studied either, according to your cv posted here. You only really know theory, and Trinidad and Tobago. Which is fine. But please Max, don’t continue your deep dive into dogma.)

    Bob Bateman

  26. That was an utterly idiotic remark. It’s not an insult: it is simply an observation. One man takes his ignorance as actual evidence of truth itself, which is an idiotic thing to do.

    My “regulars” (not that I have any) have probably lost interest with this exchange, several thousand words ago, and have probably been bored to tears by your vapid fog machine.

    I also noticed how much more personal your attacks are now becoming, including the use of outright falsehoods, snide insults, and charges based on your complete ignorance of who I am and what I do. That suggests to me that you are close to admitting your own failure here, as you should.

    Rank is utterly irrelevant here, it is a petty detail for a petty mind, who has read neither Foucault nor Fanon, and would be incapable of understanding either.

    He sees mention of “black” and immediately jumps to assume that I am talking about slavery in the U.S. Which means he knows nothing about what I was referring to, in general terms, through Fanon’s description of colonial hierarchies.

    Sorry, but you have wasted enough space on my blog now. You are dismissed.

  27. Finally, any of those witnessing this “discussion” will take note of two things. Bob Bateman is in the U.S. military, with his own little axe to grind because he takes any criticisms of his institution personally: that is his curse/cross to bear. Bateman also seems to have an excessive amount of time on his hands, as we have seen on this blog for about two full weeks now. Indeed, my work duties simply do not allow me to keep up with such a torrent of often pointless salt picking, but not Bateman. That suggests the possibility that he was one more military counter-blogger, who first made his mark by trying to demolish the record of Dr. Dudley-Flores, a HTS employee, yet trying to defend HTS at the same time, an astounding contradiction that was totally lost to him. His next item on the agenda was even more heroic: to show that in fact this video shows nothing but a dark screen that plays backwards. And even if it showed something, well then there is the issue of rank, so nothing to be seen here, and if not that, then what about those Canadians and French, and if not that, then how about some talk about Mesopotamian maps, and if not that, then remember civilians ordered these innocent soldiers into war, who joined the army thinking they would be employed in a knitting brigade, or that they would perhaps be quilting anti-war banners. There is no end to the foolishness…but it seems, another valuable lesson in military culture as we encounter it right above.

    And this is how the military, and U.S. taxpayers, employ types such as Bateman, this is the “productive” work that they do for their paycheques. Keep in mind, of course, that domestic propaganda by the U.S. military, is in fact illegal. It’s just that Bateman is a junior propagandist: you are supposed to convince people Bob, not bore them and insult them.

  28. As a matter of fact, in connection with the last statement, when Bob Bateman posted these two comments,

    March 3rd, 2:18pm:
    https://openanthropology.wordpress.com/2009/02/26/some-breaking-news-on-the-human-terrain-system-death-threats/#comment-4128

    and on March 11, 1:41pm:
    https://openanthropology.wordpress.com/2009/03/07/the-teacher-is-not-your-friend-an-american-teaches-iraqi-police-about-loyalty-to-iraq/#comment-4349

    he did so from an IP that I traced directly to the Pentagon.

    So there he is, in some cubicle in the Pentagon, posting during regular working hours (although I imagine the Pentagon’s regular working hours are 24/7), coming on this blog to attack anyone who might have a critical view of U.S. military practice. Then he blames the civilians in charge. Interesting. One wonders if this is regular Pentagon practice, to counter-blog, and to blame the civilians that the Constitution demands that they answer to (a rather impolitic statement to say the least).

  29. Bob Bateman is really up shit creek without a paddle. His tactic is: fire off as much bullshit as possible about Sgt Fuckstick, make it all about Fuckstick’s rank. So now you can’t criticize what Sgt Fuckstick is doing unless you enlist and join the ranks of the Fucksticks, because somehow that makes it all better. Batshit Bateman sinks himself when he says this is a good argument for HTS – yeah, if we buy their bullshit.

    And pardon me, but fuck Foucault, ok? Foucault doesn’t write squat about colonialism or about the world outside Europe. Max, right on target with Fanon.

    Yeah, don’t focus on Fuckstick here, it’s the civilians who made the decisions to send in the troops. Who made the decision to sign up and become one of the troops? So Bob Batshit’s stupid argument only works when we have a draft and only then does it get harder to condemn the Sgt Fucksticks of the situation.

  30. I was surprised to see anyone was still following this, especially you. I was almost certain that before the midpoint of this page of comments had been reached by anyone, that I heard a door slam followed by the sound of crickets. It ended up being one of the longest, most pointless set of exchanges yet seen on this blog, and valuable only as one more demonstration of something I have referred to in the past: one cannot write about anything pertaining to the actions of the U.S. military without getting people from the Pentagon, or Fort Leavenworth, or bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, writing long and strenuous criticisms, or piling on various obfuscations, as part of a counterblogging effort. It happens repeatedly here, and goes totally against one of my assertions made almost a year ago now, that such people would avoid a blog such as this because it is far too toxic and inhospitable for them. I was clearly wrong, as I often am when I make predictions. Something has changed, and it has me worried: perhaps I am no longer as toxic as I used to be. Thankfully, I have people like you to help me make up for any deficit.

    I wish you had spoken like this in class, re: Foucault. Yes, that is of course a good point, and if I recall it was one also made by John Gledhill in our course. One has to pick the right theorists for the right discussion, and understanding the theory to begin with should make for a wiser choice than Bateman’s. Foucault does not write about colonial situations, and in fact he is one of the few modern French theorists of international repute who does not, so the choice was a particular obscure one in this context. So when it comes to discussions such as these — apart from people like Bateman trying to act as the military’s panopticon — then I agree: Fuck Foucault.

  31. I read a good half of it, but then skimmed the rest…because it became as hopeless as debating with a parrot.

    Bob, report to your pee test immediately.

  32. wow you sure do have a lot of wackos who are clearly uninformed responding to this video, which is a such an obvious and classic case of colonialism. but i would expect this, i suppose, coming from “men in uniform,” the perpetrators of terrorism in iraq, afghanistan, pakistan, and who knows where next. but at least they are reading your blog…but i do not feel hopeful that they will see the light any time soon…

  33. The only time these people see the light, Marcy, is when they are commanded to do so, or they lose the war and the enemy shines the light in their face. So I agree with your reasons for not holding out hope.

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