Anthropology on Stage, Human Terrain System on Screen

[A momentary “distraction” from my “zero series,” and a big thanks to John Stanton for the first set of news below.]

Tonight, Friday, 30 October, a free play reading in North Hollywood will start at 8:30pm — the title of the production: ANTHROPOLOGY: Or How To Win Friends and Influence Afghans (see the circular). The play was written by Rick Mitchell, an associate professor in English at California State University, Northridge. The featured story line is,

“A satirical examination of the US policy of making the War on Terror more culturally sensitive, ANTHROPOLOGY: Or How To Win Friends and Influence Afghans features a poor Afghan family struggling to survive as an overpaid private contractor, with a predilection for opium, a drug dealing warlord, an earnest academic and bawdy shadow puppets battle it out for who controls the story and the land.”

According to the author of the play, Rick Mitchell,

“Due to the absurdities of the current occupation of Afghanistan, the play contains a significant amount of comedy, along with live music, out-of-control private contractors, and violent puppets. And the performance features a great, multi-ethnic cast.”

In Rick Mitchell’s very interesting project description that laid out the original plan for the play, the main “objective will be to create a sweeping, epic drama that theatrically examines, through the plight of an anthropologist embedded in Iraq [now Afghanistan], cultural differences and historical conflicts related to the Iraq War and, importantly, the battle over the control of knowledge.” The play, according to that initial plan, was to feature “several individual, culturally specific stories offering widely divergent points of view that are representative of stories being told, contested, and collected (by social scientists) within contemporary Iraq (and perhaps Afghanistan). The play will also suggest that the pertinence of such stories to ‘winning the war’ is well understood by the United States military, which attacks not only ‘enemy combatants’ and their supporters, but also— culturally and psychologically—the primary narratives that they tell.” The play also critiques the Army’s December 2006 counterinsurgency manual, FM 3-24, a portion of which is to be read out during the play.

Anthropology itself, which after all is the first word in the title, comes in for some critical exposure as well:

“US-backed anthropologists have historically operated in war zones, in places like Japan, Viet Nam, Central America, and, more recently, in Iraq and Afghanistan, in spite of the fact that many anthropologists are strongly against allowing anthropology to support US war efforts. They fear, like the play’s embedded anthropologist (at least early in the play), that there is potential for government-funded fieldwork within “theatres of war” to be turned against the very people whom the social scientists are living amongst and studying.”

Mitchell says that anthropology is “a discipline historically referred to as the ‘handmaiden of colonialism'” (which seems to take me back to my zero series). The role of science and society and the legacy of the Enlightenment figure in the play’s contextualization:

since the Enlightenment a key problem in the West has been: How should scientific knowledge (and technology) be utilized, and whom should it benefit (or oppress)? This problem is also relevant to Western portrayals of the current “War on Terror” that pit the consumerist, technologically advanced West, with its high-tech military apparatus, against the “underdeveloped,” “primitive” Islamic insurgents of the Middle East, who often rely on low-tech guerrilla warfare and improvised explosive devices.

Research for the play was based on “extensive reading of books, articles, and blogs,… interviews with anthropologists, Iraq War veterans, Iraqis living in the US, and US-supported soldiers-for-hire (from companies such as Blackwater).”

The play will also feature comedy, music, and audience interaction.

The reading takes place tonight at the Academy for New Musical Theatre, 5628 Vineland (near Burbank), in North Hollywood, at 8:30 p.m.


HUMAN TERRAIN: War Becomes Academic, is a new documentary film by James Der Derian at Brown University. According to the synopsis posted on the website for the film:

‘Human Terrain’ is two stories in one. The first exposes the U.S. effort to enlist the best and the brightest of American universities in a struggle for the hearts and minds of its enemies. Facing long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military adopts a controversial new program, ‘Human Terrain Systems’, to make cultural awareness a key element of its counterinsurgency strategy. Designed to embed social scientists with combat troops, the program swiftly comes under attack by academic critics who consider it misguided and unethical to gather intelligence and target potential enemies for the military. Gaining rare access to wargames in the Mojave Desert and training exercises at Quantico and Fort Leavenworth, ‘Human Terrain’ takes the viewer into the heart of the war machine and the shadowy collaboration between American academics and the armed services.

The other story is about a brilliant young scholar who leaves the university to join a Human Terrain team. After working as a humanitarian activist and winning a Marshall Scholarship to study at Oxford, Michael Bhatia returned to Brown University to conduct research on military cultural awareness. A year later, he left to embed as a Human Terrain member with the 82nd Airborne in Afghanistan. On May 7, 2008, en route to mediate an intertribal dispute, his humvee hit a roadside bomb and Bhatia was killed along with two other soldiers.

Asking what happens when war becomes academic and academics go to war, the two stories merge in tragedy.

On that site you can view a list of the persons who appear in the film, read an extensive director’s statement and more about the filmmakers, and check for upcoming screenings.

With respect to the director’s statement, it does not appear to be pitched as a war propaganda film, given the references to “a dying empire” and “illusions of empire.” On the other hand, the film seems to pivot around the figure of Michael Bhatia, his interests, circumstances, decisions, and ultimately his death as a HTS researcher in Afghanistan in 2008. The director notes, “Michael became a public figure, with all sides swift to attach their own interpretations upon his death.” He adds: “After extensive and often rending conversations with his family, we decided that we could not make the film without having Michael’s story be part of it.” It is not clear why that had to be so.

Why must the story be about Bhatia? Is it because he encapsulates all of the main features of HTS, its development, and application (unlikely), or is it because of the drama of his death (likely)? Both the director, Der Derian, and Bhatia were at the Watson Insititute at Brown University, so I can appreciate that there can be an insider’s angle on an insider’s story. At they very least, I can say that the logic of the decision to focus on Bhatia is open to question. Der Derian goes further: “To the extent it was humanly possible – and humanely necessary – we wanted to provide all parties to Michael’s life and death the opportunity to tell their side of that story.  We went to the family, back to the military, and interviewed the supporters as well as critics of Human Terrain.”

Not to continue to offend as I apparently have offended many American readers many times (not that this in itself is of concern to me), my question is a simple one: Why is the story always about the Western protagonist as if his life matters more, and is more valuable and worthy of note, than any of the thousands of Afghan civilians who were killed by Bhatia’s employers, the U.S. military?

As for the HTS critics interviewed, these comprise Roberto González, Hugh Gusterson, and Catherine Lutz — which is great, except that their voices are submerged under more than twice as many supporters of HTS in the film.

Here’s the trailer:

The film that remains to be made, and will likely never be made, is one about HTS that does not feature Western protagonists, whether they be supporters or critics of the program, but rather one that is filmed entirely in Afghanistan and features only Afghans, especially in villages that have been “visited” by Human Terrain Teams. It would be an unembedded film, and led by Afghans themselves.

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23 thoughts on “Anthropology on Stage, Human Terrain System on Screen

  1. […] Anthropology on Stage, Human Terrain System on Screen « ZERO ANTHROPOLOGY – view page – cached tags: afghanistan, anthropology and counterinsurgency, California State University Northridge, COIN, counterinsurgency, handmaiden of colonialism, How to win friends and influence Afghans, HTS, Human… (Read more)tags: afghanistan, anthropology and counterinsurgency, California State University Northridge, COIN, counterinsurgency, handmaiden of colonialism, How to win friends and influence Afghans, HTS, Human Terrain System, James Der Derian, Michael Bhatia, Rick Mitchell by Maximilian Forte (Read less) — From the page […]

  2. The HTS film looks very interesting, and I think I shall write a blog post about it soon, I can’t believe I’ve not written about HTS on my blog!? One thing that did interest me was that Catherine Lutz is listed a “a primary consultant for the film”. I think the only contributor to have such a listing. I wonder then if it might be her analysis that forms the backbone of the films analysis, with the narrative of “tragic death” as a ‘selling point’?

    “Why is the story always about the Western protagonist as if his life matters more, and is more valuable and worthy of note, than any of the thousands of Afghan civilians who were killed by Bhatia’s employers, the U.S. military?”

    Yeah, as if…. oh wait.

    I’m intrigued to see the film.



  3. I look forward to reading your own post about this, and I think you will have a better chance of seeing the film than I will. I am not sure how it is being circulated, given that so far it seems to be making the rounds of film festivals. They had the right idea by putting the trailer online, but it is minimal.

    Perhaps the tragic death is meant to symbolize some tragedy with HTS, I don’t know. As for Catherine Lutz, she is also at Brown, and I would imagine that Der Derian and Lutz know each other.

  4. No chance in hell that the film will be showing here, given that we don’t have movie theaters.

    The trailer makes Human Terrain sound as if it were an excellent idea, just impossible to implement, when in fact it was a terrible idea to begin with. The focus on Bhatia doesn’t make sense either, and, on top of that, is more offensive to me than anything you said Max, because it seems to be implying that Western audiences can only sympathize with Westerners…. As if we’re too stupid to see anything outside of that….

    The comment, “that is a very seductive idea, that you would be able to help in a situation of crisis, help what, help whom, to do what,” seems like a critique, but the clip is too short to really understand. In my opinion, people CAN help in crisis, especially if they’re helping CAUSE the crisis. But if you’re part of the cause, MORE intervention is no solution at all.

  5. reminds my of my “We’re The Taliban” song I wrote on a series I did for ABC a decade ago (to the music of “I’m a Barbie Girl”)

    But I would love to see a YouTube or shared version of this HTS play. Has anyone noticed the budget line item that now funds Lockheed Martin’s “Cultural Engagement Group” at SOCCENT in Tampa. And you will notice that the person that is hiring is the “Theater Resource Manager” and they even have a “Cultural Engagement Group Director of Exploitation and Effects.” (insert rim shot and flash pop here)

    You can’t make this stuff up….

    “The Theater Resource Manager (TRM) for the United States Central Command
    (USCENTCOM) AOR will assist the Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT) Cultural Engagement Group Theater Asset Manager in the control of all Advanced Special Operations (ASO) conducted in USCENTCOM Theater of Operations. This document describes the duties of the Theater Asset Manager (TAM). The TRM will perform all these functions under the supervision of the Cultural Engagement Group, Theater Asset Manager and/or the Cultural Engagement Group Director of Exploitation and Effects.

  6. I saw Der Derian screen the film at The University of Sussex last May when it was still called Culture Warriors and being edited. Re: Lutz et. al, my understanding was that the film came out of a group project including Der Derian, Lutz and (maybe) two others designed to explore the Human Terrain teams. I’m not sure how it’s being billed now, but at the time Der Derian was clear that the film was a group effort, not just his.

    I had a very different reaction to Bhatia’s role in the film. Though I think the way the film is structured (with a second-half shift into his life) leaves the viewer a bit confused about how to take it, I preferred the ambiguity of the film. In the post-screening discussion the audience was split over whether it should have been more explicitly critical, but as someone who hates Michael Moore films, I prefer films that leave me to come to my own conclusions.

    But I think Bhatia’s role in the film isn’t just death-as-selling-point or pin-the-heartache-on-the-westerner. Bhatia was a way for them to explore the individual’s struggle over Human Terrain. In particular, I would disagree with the idea that the film shouldn’t have had a western protagonist. The film was for western audiences about western notions of warfare, and specifically about the academic’s role. In this sense, focusing on Bhatia was a way to involve the film’s academic viewers more personally, going through the process of what it meant for him to participate and the kinds of problems he sought to explore before participating. This isn’t just a hook, but an exploration of the key moments of decision for the key target audience of the film.

    I suspect the film was changed somewhat since I saw it, but the version I saw definitely lapsed into memorial at the very end, which I thought was out of step with the rest of the film. But I don’t think Bhatia was just a catch or a western face to involve the viewer. He represented and explored the key question of the film – which was not is HT good or bad, but whether I should be involved or not.

    Again, the film may have been changed since I saw it, but I was surprised you thought that the critical voices were drowned out by the pro-HT voices. I think this is probably something that depends a lot on the lens you bring to the film, but I thought most of the pro-HT voices were not as eloquent or articulate in putting their point across and the critical voices carried a lot more weight in the film. This is probably because many of the critical voices were closely involved in the film anyway, and so could make more strategic interventions.

  7. Interesting.

    Bhatia was well respected and provided a lot of benefit to the military in the specific area he worked (Khost/Gardez area, if I remember correctly) but that was a function of Bhatia’s personal skills and energy not the efficacy of the military HTS program. Bhatia died because he switched vehicles and was blown up by an IED. So clearly cultural survival was not taught by the military. His local afghan friends I met were appalled that he chose to/had to adopt the look, dress and movements of the military in the region. That flaw alone destroys any cultural bridge a bright mind tries to build. Like having a uniformed smiling cop in your house asking about smoking dope or how many guns you have.

    As I mention in my article the goodwill Michael created went with him. The time is long past for learning or analysis of Afghan opinions and intentions. This winter begins the iron fist part of “clear” but we don’t have enough troops to “hold” and Karzai appointees will decide where we will “build” so we shall see where the HTS anthro stuff fits in.

    The miltary is knocking the fuzziness out of of “human terrain” and focusing on harder applications (as a normal person would assume) There are going to be something like 260 (the number changes) “social scientists” kicking around Iraq and Afghanistan but the truth is with a few KLE’s, cups of tea and the rapidly ramping up intel flow, most miltary officers can figure out pretty quickly who is who and what is what without Berkely-babble answers confusing their pointed questions.

    The concept of the HTS program makes perfect sense. Experienced anthros with regional experience and language skills providing insight to local military commanders to maximize their effect over a wide spectrum of operations. In my brief exposure and discussion with commanders, it is the execution where the program is deeply flawed. So with the new crunch time approach the focus has changed.

    The cultural dissonance between the anthros and military appeared to be much greater than between the afghans and the military. The support for this program comes from the new academic “full spectrum” concept of warfare that the Ranger/PhDs and beltway futurists have spawned. A smart military commander wants smart advice but the legitimacy of the application is undermined by the terribly simplistic military mandate in Afghanistan. The essential role is to defeat terrorism, support the government of Afghanistan and create a local security force. You don’t need a PhD to figure out that the afghan people are tired of broken promises, corruption and being swapped and traded by various power brokers more often than a teenager with too many old baseball cards.

    The taliban are imperfect as well but they are gaining ground mostly because of the corruption and ineptitude of the Afghan govt. not due to the failure of the U.S. efforts in country. Also the dual or multiple allegiances being formed are putting more afghans in the “bad guy” vs “good guy” category. Even though they can be one and the same.

    Human Terrain was a noble idea when Afghan’s were curious about us, and us about them…but it’s time has past. The current focus is on creating a small arrmy of cleared (TS/SCI) ASOT trained special operations types who provide a far harsher product than reports on wedding cultures or linguistic linkages. The money has shifted from touchy feely to “reach out and touch” type of amateur anthropology (fight the network thinking here) The commanders now get what they really wanted milspeak spooks who are pushing and pulling hard details into the military system. A cynic would have surmised that I the anthros were hired to train the military how to be “anthro 101s” and then dumped when their pay was cut from $300K to around $90K as govt employees. That’ll teach them.:))

    Yes the military is interesting in academics shaping counter insurgency benefits but counterterrorism is where the real money is. And counterterrorism is where people get killed using the same information provided from a far less idealistic source.

  8. Thank you Nate, I very much appreciate reading this alternate perspective from someone who actually had the benefit of seeing at least a draft of the film. Your points are well taken, and I am thankful for your taking the time to write this.

  9. Just about the Karzai administration’s corruption — I have come to think of Karzai as a very smart man. Where I did most of my research, on the other side of the world, in Trinidad, “smart man” is a euphemism for a con man, trickster, schemer, and liar. The persona that the Western media presents to us is that Karzai is all of these. The media also do not answer a simple question: if he is so corrupt, then where does the money come from?

    And that is a key point: it is just nonsense to say that there are U.S. efforts on the one hand, and Karzai’s corruption on the other. The CIA has paid his allegedly corrupt brother, well aware of the corruption and drug dealing. Whitewashing the U.S. role in, first, installing Karzai, and, second, continuing to enable and oversee the corruption is a story that the Western media apparently is incapable or unwilling to either explore or even conceptualize. It’s a system of domination…there are no autonomous “parts” to it.

    For his part, Karzai shows some genius of the colonized middle man. He is able to use the system to the benefit of himself and his allies. Some may joke that he is the “mayor of Kabul,” but I would be willing to bet that would sit just fine with Karzai: he has effectively positioned himself as Afghanistan’s newest warlord. Knowing full well that the U.S. will have to withdraw, he has planned effectively for the future.

    In response to our accusations and condemnations that the elections were fraudulent and corrupt, I suspect Karzai would have an answer to that too, if speaking candidly. The whole electoral process was corrupt, anyone could have bribed ballot counters, anyone could have bought thousands of fake voter ID cards, anyone could have washed off the “indelible” ink and re-voted — in other words, anyone could have played the game of fraud, the opposition included. Indeed, there was some evidence that supporters of his rivals did in fact engage in some fraud themselves. So Karzai might say: may the election go to the person who has the best networks, the widest array of well positioned supporters, who can carry out fraud successfully.

    After all, if you can’t even steal an election properly, why the hell should you get to be President?


    All I am saying is that there is a lot of ambiguity about Karzai, and a lot of naivete and shallow moral purity among Western commentators when it comes to Karzai, not to mention plain hypocrisy and ass-covering.

  10. P.S.: Remember several months ago, the story about HTS’ Marilyn Dudley-Flores in John Stanton’s article, that seemed to cause such an uproar? It’s not over. A new installment will be posted tonight, so have a look at it if you get the chance. This time Dudley-Flores will do her own speaking.

  11. You are confusing “corruption” with “patronage”. When we like someone we give them money for favors, when we don’t like them we insist they demanded the money for favors.

    Karzai is working all ends against the middle. He knows we are leaving and his family has consolidated its position as the “go to” people if you need to get anything done in the south.

    We corrupted Karzai when we pretended he was a warlord sent to save his people from the taliban in Tarin Kot. He survived a direct hit from our own misguided JDAM so everything after that was just gravy. :))

    He plays the game well. Even down to knowing when to cold shoulder Holbrooke, the military and other folks and then magically warming up when we need him to say something on TV in english.

    You will notice that the USG burned Wali Karzai (again. Last time the story was drugs) using the pliable, well timed. journos at the NYTimes. The information that he and his brother Wali are CIA assets was apparantly only news to the NYTimes I guess…and surprisingly they only discovered that a week before the election. The dossier has been around for years and the govt always gave the Karzai’s top cover because they thought they were more important inside rather than outside the tent. Now we have an Afghan government that actually did become inclusive but we dumped them on their butt because Karzai went against us and picked the leaders of the main ethnic parties We call them warlords but they are as legitimate as Karzai is. The dirty secret is that Abdullah was pushing for the return of Rabbani a hard core droning islamic fundamentalist even though State wanted Karzai to pick Abdullah instead of Fahim as his running mate.

    The Karzai’s have mastered that afghan game of being important to all sides and trusted by none.

  12. Hi Nate, thanks for your perspective. It’s definitely hard to tell just from the trailer, but I think one sticking point for me is this: It shouldn’t be up to the academic to decide whether or not to participate. It would be nice if academics decided not to. BUT, in my opinion, the option shouldn’t even exist.

    HTS members and the military are representing “America,” of which I’m a part, and being funded by MY tax dollars to carry out work that I fundamentally disagree with. At that, they’re getting rich doing it. Where I live, even $90,000 is a salary to dream for. If academics are so eager to do this work in Afghanistan, why don’t they stop doing it on my money and stop carrying around an American flag, as if they represent all of us? That’s not what MY little corner of America is about, and that means that anyone carrying out this project on behalf of “America” is acting on a lie because they don’t really represent all Americans. Let them make their OWN military with their OWN funds called “Liberators of Afghanistan” and see how far they get with THAT.

    Not that anyone cares, but if they want my support for this project, they should be required to make a convincing argument why WE so desperately NEED to be in Afghanistan in the first place, and for what reasons, which, from my perspective, would need to start with including Afghan perspectives.

    So, for that, I don’t have any interest in Bhatia, or in whether or not the project was well or poorly executed, or even, as RYP put it, in “experienced anthros with regional experience and language skills providing insight to local military commanders to maximize their effect over a wide spectrum of operations.”

    As far as whether or not a film should be explicitly critical, I think that even explicitly critical films can leave the audience to come to their own conclusions, as long as they’re not based on lies and skewed facts and do include key perspectives. I would be just as open to seeing a film that is explicitly FOR intervention in Afghanistan. After all, we do have the ability to think for ourselves, I hope, no matter what Michael Moore says.

  13. I was in a film called Shadow Company which was roundly praised for being balanced and roundly criticized for not have a pointed view. Save goes for my book “Licensed to Kill” vs Scahill’s “Blackwater” My book was reportage of three years on four continents in the company of the subjects, Scahill’s book was an armchair polemic that had a bizarre Christian neo nazi “I hate Bush” hysteria through it. You can guess which book sold more.

    I am told that in order to win awards and influence people you must incite, not recite.

    Link? The biggest danger of a proper human terrain/anthro approach is that the occupying military might actully understand and sympathize with the opinions, viewpoint and plight of the locals. For example in Nuristan or Zabul people are well disposed to sharia, tribal customs and the expulsion of foreigners who are not invited. So clearly use of metric level social knowledge is only relevant if you seek to manipulate, change or subvert the local norm. Accordingly a documentary that does not seek to modify an opinion about the HTS program is simply informative, not transformative.

    Thereby removing the legitimacy and need of their mission.

  14. Hm…. no I don’t see much worth in trying to beat a point into people through “I hate Bush” hysteria, but I can’t comment on the books specifically. To me, the words you use for your title “Licensed to Kill” do convey a pointed view, whereas “Blackwater

    “For example in Nuristan or Zabul people are well disposed to sharia, tribal customs and the expulsion of foreigners who are not invited.”

    Can you explain your second paragraph further? Are you saying that if HTS actually worked properly, the occupying military might sympathize with the above and leave? But since it doesn’t work properly….. a documentary that says things about HTS without being opinionated …. doesn’t attract much interest or attention…. and so doesn’t give them much more opportunity to subvert the local norm in support of their mission? … But in that case, wouldn’t a film which uses what you consider the “proper human terrain/anthro” approach be twice as valuable?

    Removing legitimacy of a mission is one thing, but am I not mistaken that even when things like wide public support are removed…. it still for some reason drags on… and on… and on….

  15. My point is that Afghanistan as a country is the second lowest country on the UN HDI (only Niger is lower) so within that country you have areas like Nuristan and Zabul that are simply devastatingly poor even without a political, military or religious agenda overlaid on them.

    The people are prone to exploitation by smugglers, criminals, militias and of course the US who hire them. Anthropologists ideally accurately document their social structure, beliefs, value systems etc and if hired by the military also their financial, insurgent connections, motivations etc. It is not the goal of the US military to simply watch and do nothing but rather destroy those financial links, ideological influences and push them towards our sphere of influence. But offering road construction, terp or labor jobs without the ideological status or purpose does not fully satisfy the structure of the community and conflict results. So the anthro are dispatched again to understand the problems that create the conflict and another solution is applied, and so on and so on until we are studying the broken shards of a glass and wonder why it won’t hold the water we keep pouring in.

    In other words anthropology would correctly point out the broken social structures that need to be repaired BEFORE we apply pressure. There are very smart people in Afghanistan (I work with them) who correctly surmise where, to whom, when and what remedies, pressure, change or influence can be applied without creating more conflict. The U.S. military is not one of our customers because they choose to use a group of beltway pundits who frame the problem in distinctly US/Pak/Iran, Islam/Judeo Christian or Pashtun/Coldwar terms that are not sensible solution oriented frameworks. They are a prisoner of how they have framed the problem. For example a recent KLE initiative was created to figure off who they should pay off to create ‘awakening’ groups, not to reconstruct the correct tribal checks and balances before vesting weapons. Why? because the Obama administration has set an 18month window for results. Additionally we seek “moderate” pashtun leaders on our payroll instead of cultivating non denominational firebrands who will ignite passion amongst fellow afghans. Go figure. There are examples of future leaders who capture the spirit of Afghans. None of them do well at the official polls or in the eyes of the State Dept…because they are populists, free thinkers and don’t fit the “mold” created by America for a leader.

    So my point is that if you hired the world’s best anthro with language, culture, history and wisdom he would be viewed as the enemy because he would respect the Afghans vision of their future not America’s future for Afghanistan.

    And we know America’s history with installing leaders of “Free and democratic” countries :))

  16. Human Terrain: War Becomes Academic recently screened at the Festival Dei Popoli in Florence where it, much to our surprise, won the audience award and at CPH:DOX in Copenhagen. We are awaiting word from US festivals in the coming weeks. Unfortunately we cannot post the film or make it available for sale until we have finished the festival circuit and talked to potential distributors. I have been reading these posts with great interest and I encourage you all to keep track of the progress on our web site and, by all means, post your comments there as well. We would love to see a lively discussion get underway on our website.

    Michael Udris

  17. There is no such thing as being culturally neutral. While there may be a desire for preserving the pre-literate Afghan or Xenophobic Islamist cultures, they are both viral in that they both threaten the survival of the literate technical society of the rest of the world, despite the innate Afghan “corruption as culture.” The only safe way to deal with them is to treat them like the Ebola virus or Bubonic Plague and keep them safely bottled up (which we can’t do), or destroyed.

    I am impressed with the brilliance behind the Human Terrain System (HST) in understanding that.

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