Encircling Empire: Report #3, 18-23 September 2010

EE: Report #3, 18—23 September 2010 Encircling Empire Reports is a selection of essays, blog posts, and news reports covering a given time period. They are intended to be useful for those interested in: ● contemporary and critical political anthropology ● public anthropology ● imperialism and imperial decline ● militarism/militarization ● the political economy of […]

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Encircling Empire: Report #2, 11-18 September 2010

EE: Report #2, 11—18 September 2010 Encircling Empire Reports is a selection of essays, blog posts, and news reports covering a given time period, which can usually be glimpsed in raw form at zero.collected. They are intended to be useful for those interested in: ● contemporary and critical political anthropology ● public anthropology ● imperialism […]

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Counterinsurgency: It’s Bloody Horrible

COUNTER-COUNTERINSURGENCY: You’ve heard the criticisms. You’ve read the book. Now see the movie. These are some of my favourite lines: counterinsurgency: it’s like a wild horse, only you bet on it; counterinsurgency involves a thousand small healing steps; the manual can never be wrong, only the practice; cultural knowledge for the military: it’s so basic […]

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More European Press Coverage of the Human Terrain System

Continuing from the last item on this topic, the following are more examples of recent European press coverage of the U.S. Army’s Human Terrain System and its embedding of civilian social scientists in counterinsurgency missions. One thing that immediately stands out from most of these articles is the emphasis not on “civilian social scientists,” but […]

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Saving Lives, or Ending Them? Martin Schweitzer on Special Operations and the Human Terrain System

Previously we read here of the testimony by a Col. Martin Schweitzer, Commander, 4 / 82 Airborne Brigade Combat Team, United States Army, before the House Armed Services Committee, Terrorism & Unconventional Threats Sub-Committee and the Research & Education Sub-Committee of the Science & Technology Committee , on 24 April 2008. He repeats statements there that have […]

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The Killing Fields of Marja

Updated with an addendum (see below) The HTS (Human Terrain System) and the U. S. Marine operations in Marja had nothing to do with the presence of the Taleban resistance forces, “winning the hearts and minds of Afghans”, “winning the cooperation of Afghan civilians”, or “uprising against the insurgency”. The representation of Marja as a […]

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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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