Briefly, Part One of a series by Adam Geller, writing for the Associated Press, on the Human Terrain System was just published a few hours ago (07 March 2009) — see: “1 man’s odyssey from campus to combat.”
Note the following contradictory statements regarding whether Michael Bhatia, the first scholar-victim, was to be put in any danger while in Afghanistan, and the extent to which he may not have been prepared to enter conflict situations:
From the beginning, Bhatia and other Human Terrain social scientists were told explicitly that they would be going out on patrols, and that the missions could be dangerous, McFate said.
But when a recruiter from BAE Systems — the contractor that staffs civilians for Human Terrain teams — contacted Bhatia, he offered a job with limited risk, “embedded with the Brigade Combat Team but not accompanying the BCT on patrols.”
“The HTS team would stay in the ‘Green Zone’ and collect information from returning BCT patrols,” the recruiter wrote in a Feb. 14, 2007, e-mail to Bhatia. McFate said that job description was wrong, and that Bhatia knew that.
On a long walk around Providence’s East Side, Bhatia tried to reassure his sister he’d be safe. He left the impression, Tricia Bhatia said, that he wasn’t going to be leaving base all that much. “I think when he got there it became a very different story.”
Update 1: Part Two of the series by Geller is now online (March 9, 2009): “‘Professor’ pays a heavy price.”
On antropologi.info, Lorenz Khazaleh has just published a post titled, “War in Iraq: Why are anthropologists so silent?” featuring the article by Antonius C.G.M. Robben in the current issue of Anthropology Today, “Anthropology and the Iraq war: An uncomfortable engagement.” It is well worth reading, over and over, and may be especially useful for those without paid access to the periodical itself.
Update 2: For unknown reasons, The Dallas Morning News has decided to rehash one of the oldest stories told about an alleged success of a Human Terrain Team in Afghanistan, a story that has been abundantly retold already (and debunked by David Price who discovered that the Army had recorded no documentary evidence whatsoever to substantiate the story). See Jim Landers, “Base’s former commander credits Human Terrain Team for reduced casualties,” March 9, 2009.