Whose Hearts and Minds?

Notes from: Big strategy founders on corruption and tribalism Hearts, minds and the same old warlords Go up close to what’s happening in Afghanistan – for example, in the city of Kandahar – and you find crime, corruption, tribal conflict and ordinary people powerless to resist the armed might of the militias. No happy ending […]

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Marjeh, Afghanistan: X-ray of McChrystal’s Bleeding Ulcer

Updated: 28 June 2010 Operation Urban Inflation One objective I cannot accomplish here is a comprehensive recap of counterinsurgency doctrine, the development and execution of Operation Moshtarak in Helmand province, Afghanistan, starting in February, and a comprehensive analysis of all of the apparent outcomes. Instead, this a selective series of vignettes. The first vignette: on […]

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Militarism and Democracy: More on the McChrystal Affair

Perceiving the Subtext and the Context First, let’s begin with the video that the Pentagon might have wanted to make this past Wednesday, 23 June, 2010, regarding President Barack Obama replacing General Stanley McChrystal after the comments the latter made to Rolling Stone. This video reflects the preferred order of events among militarists, and among those who–not […]

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Human Terrain System on War News Radio

The latest media coverage of the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System (HTS) comes from Kyle Crawford at War News Radio: The Human Terrain. Those interviewed on the program include recently deposed HTS program manager, Steve Fondacaro; Catherine Lutz, Brown University anthropology professor and member of the Network of Concerned Anthropologists; Keith Brown, a colleague of […]

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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 […]

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Afghan Vignette 7: How to Buy Peace in Afghanistan

In the course of what is now called a counterinsurgency campaign by U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, we have been told a lot about using aid, latching onto civilian non-governmental organizations (“civil military fusion“), “mixing fighting and food,” building clinics, undertaking development efforts to ensure jobs and “bring progress” to Afghan villagers in order […]

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News from the Military-Academic Complex: McFate’s PhD, HTS Contracts, Minerva Grants, Afghanistan

Here is a medley of updates concerning previous posts on this blog: Concerning Montgomery McFate’s doctoral dissertation: Montgomery McFate’s PhD dissertation (when she was Montgomery Cybele Carlough) has been digitized in its entirety and is available for download by persons using libraries with subscriptions to ProQuest. What follows are some of the significant details about […]

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John Stanton: US Congress Rewards Failure, Puts Personnel in Harm’s Way

This is John Stanton’s 20th article on the Human Terrain System, with his previous ones available here at: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, and 19. John sent this article a few days ago, my apologies for being late. It is reproduced here with his permission, and has already been published in CounterPunch, which is also featuring an extended […]

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Afghan Vignette 6: What “Unwinnable” Looks Like (2.0)

Where Even Nature Itself Seems to Rebel Against You “three French soldiers died in a violent storm in northeastern Afghanistan late Saturday [Sept. 26, 2009]. One soldier was struck by lightning while two were swept away by a rain-swollen river during an operation in Kapisa province, said military spokesman Christophe Prazuck.” (read more) Where Nature […]

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