U.S. Congress and the Human Terrain System

To supplement the report by John Stanton, “US Congress Requests Assessment of Army‘s Human Terrain System: Independent Assessment Due from SECDEF by March 2010,” one should note the following background documents to which the request for the assessment refers. The NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2010 points out that, In the committee report […]

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John Stanton: U.S. Congress to Assess Human Terrain System

This is John Stanton’s 19th 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, and 18. Once again, this article was sent in by John and is gratefully reproduced here with his permission. I am also happy to advertise the fact that John has published a book of his work […]

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Afghanistan: The Unwinnable War

More U.S. troops to Afghanistan? Why the war in Afghanistan cannot be won By Hugh Gusterson | 21 September 2009 [reproduced with the permission of the author] A number of commentators have remarked of late on the ominous parallels between the situation in Afghanistan today and the quagmire in Vietnam in the 1960s: “The war […]

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Putting Schools in the Line of Fire in Afghanistan

Two previous posts on this site described and analyzed the extent to which Western-built schools are made to form part of the war zone, a new front line in the US/NATO counterinsurgency campaign against the Taliban (see here and here). While it is nothing new to observe that Western schools in occupied territories always perform […]

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Afghan Vignettes 4 & 5: How to Build Trust

VIGNETTE #4 This particular vignette came to me already made, thanks to THUS, who had the benefit of viewing a 19 August 2009 BBC Newsnight report with Kirsty Wark, that featured a film of U.S. Marines as they patrolled in Helmand province. While counterinsurgency and winning “hearts and minds” may be the nationally televised official […]

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Afghanistan Elections 2009: Updated

Voting is now over for this year’s national elections in Afghanistan. To cover the voting, and the run up to the election, I have collected a list of media reports focused on Afghanistan’s 2009 election, along with relevant extracts from most of the items. Please see: Afghanistan Elections 2009 In addition, at different points during […]

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Demonstration Elections

The concept of “demonstration election” is a useful one for describing the elections staged by the U.S. occupation regimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, with a much longer history of practice in Latin America and the Caribbean. The concept came into usage with the publication in 1984 of Demonstration Elections: U.S.-Staged Elections in the Dominican Republic, […]

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Afghanistan’s Little Girls on the Front Line, Part 2

This post was previously published as a comment by M. Jamil Hanifi, Open Anthropology’s new blogger. While we work out bugs with Jamil’s access, I am republishing his comment as a post. It first appeared in connection with the article, “In Afghanistan It’s Now All About the Little Girls“. M. Jamil Hanifi 15 August 2009 […]

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Bait & Switch from the Anti-Colonial Hearts & Minds

Reading like a classic scene replayed from the vast literature on colonial history, this gem: In the southern province of Helmand, U.S. Marines have been trying to secure the strategic town of Dahaneh to cut Taliban supply lines and enable the government to open a polling station there. After two days of fighting, Marines helped […]

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We Are Protecting Afghan Civilians…from Ourselves

Today, a serial-killing rapist passed several women during his noon hour lunch break, and he thought to himself, “there are some that should really get it.” He did not act on his thoughts. He was safeguarding the welfare and safety of those women. A shoplifter greedily eyed the expensive items in the store’s electronics section. […]

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John Stanton: Human Terrain System in the Kill-Pacify Chain

A warm welcome back to John Stanton: this is his 18th 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, and 17. Once again, this article was sent in by John and is reproduced here with his permission. So far, this is one of the clearest indications of the roles performed […]

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