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NYT on embedded anthropology

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    October 27, 2007 Op-Ed Contributor A True Culture War By RICHARD A. SHWEDER Chicago IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists to
    Message 1 of 16 , Oct 27, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      October 27, 2007

      Op-Ed Contributor


      A True Culture War


      By RICHARD A. SHWEDER

      Chicago

      IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists to
      Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?

      A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
      "human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in Iraq
      and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
      name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers as
      "a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who
      has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
      convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know more
      about the local cultural scene.

      How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
      Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
      Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
      members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
      counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in a
      brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
      shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
      don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
      pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe
      the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.

      Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
      "Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My first
      reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists are
      not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
      military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish various
      nonlethal missions.

      These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
      offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
      understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at
      meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
      use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
      Post.

      More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,
      wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
      sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind the
      unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
      of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the
      door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
      the government; we're here to understand you."

      Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,
      sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life was
      to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense
      of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
      American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
      cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
      Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
      others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
      "don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.

      I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing the
      peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted a
      much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
      brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
      values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet system"
      - for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
      control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
      distinctive way of life.

      When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
      convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for
      heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
      Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
      corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
      ethics.

      Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
      military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath. And
      I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association
      to do so at this time.

      The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military
      should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
      it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
      begin to play a far more significant educational role in the formulation
      of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to answer
      some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
      the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.

      Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative human
      development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
      Through Cultures."





      Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

      CCC Metro TLC



      216-987-3584

      FAX:330-867-6375





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Lynch, Brian M
      Respectfully to Richard Shweder and other colleagues who want to nuance this situation... The emperor has no clothes.... this is mercenary... this is counter
      Message 2 of 16 , Oct 27, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        Respectfully to Richard Shweder and other colleagues who want to nuance this situation...

        The emperor has no clothes.... this is mercenary... this is counter to the humanistic values of anthropology.... it is spying.... it puts the supposed "cultural relativism" (methodological or ideological) of anthropology in grave doubt.... it makes every anthropologist suspect.

        It is very disheartening to see professional anthropologists drawn into the insidious logic of cooperation with State warmaking agendas.


        Brian Donohue-Lynch



        ________________________________

        From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Popplestone, Ann
        Sent: Sat 10/27/2007 9:38 AM
        To: sacc-l@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



        October 27, 2007

        Op-Ed Contributor

        A True Culture War

        By RICHARD A. SHWEDER

        Chicago

        IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists to
        Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?

        A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
        "human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in Iraq
        and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
        name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers as
        "a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who
        has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
        convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know more
        about the local cultural scene.

        How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
        Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
        Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
        members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
        counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in a
        brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
        shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
        don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
        pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe
        the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.

        Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
        "Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My first
        reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists are
        not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
        military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish various
        nonlethal missions.

        These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
        offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
        understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at
        meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
        use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
        Post.

        More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,
        wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
        sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind the
        unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
        of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the
        door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
        the government; we're here to understand you."

        Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,
        sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life was
        to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense
        of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
        American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
        cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
        Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
        others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
        "don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.

        I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing the
        peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted a
        much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
        brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
        values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet system"
        - for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
        control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
        distinctive way of life.

        When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
        convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for
        heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
        Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
        corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
        ethics.

        Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
        military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath. And
        I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association
        to do so at this time.

        The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military
        should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
        it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
        begin to play a far more significant educational role in the formulation
        of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to answer
        some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
        the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.

        Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative human
        development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
        Through Cultures."

        Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

        CCC Metro TLC

        216-987-3584

        FAX:330-867-6375

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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      • Kip Waldo
        I agree with Brian. We should see what this agenda really is and not pretend otherwise. Is our goal to serve the interests of empire or to follow the
        Message 3 of 16 , Oct 27, 2007
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          I agree with Brian. We should see what this agenda really is and not pretend otherwise. Is our goal to serve the interests of empire or to follow the conclusions of nearly a century of anthropological and other analysis of the world we live in?

          As we all know, we are part of the times or cultural context we inhabit. Adaptation to maladaptive circumstances can be one short-term adaptive strategy and not very successful for the long run. There are significant pressures, monetary and well as political, for social scientists to follow the money, to go along with those who are in power. This is a well-worn path followed by journalists and others.

          We shouldn't cloak our analysis or actions in academic garb. Where is the "critical thinking" we often hear our students urged to employ? We are living in times where our actions can have significant consequences.

          Kip Waldo

          >>> "Lynch, Brian M" <blynch@...> 10/27/07 7:33 AM >>>
          Respectfully to Richard Shweder and other colleagues who want to nuance this situation...

          The emperor has no clothes.... this is mercenary... this is counter to the humanistic values of anthropology.... it is spying.... it puts the supposed "cultural relativism" (methodological or ideological) of anthropology in grave doubt.... it makes every anthropologist suspect.

          It is very disheartening to see professional anthropologists drawn into the insidious logic of cooperation with State warmaking agendas.


          Brian Donohue-Lynch



          ________________________________

          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Popplestone, Ann
          Sent: Sat 10/27/2007 9:38 AM
          To: sacc-l@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



          October 27, 2007

          Op-Ed Contributor

          A True Culture War

          By RICHARD A. SHWEDER

          Chicago

          IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists to
          Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?

          A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
          "human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in Iraq
          and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
          name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers as
          "a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who
          has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
          convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know more
          about the local cultural scene.

          How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
          Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
          Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
          members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
          counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in a
          brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
          shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
          don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
          pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe
          the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.

          Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
          "Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My first
          reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists are
          not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
          military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish various
          nonlethal missions.

          These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
          offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
          understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at
          meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
          use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
          Post.

          More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,
          wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
          sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind the
          unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
          of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the
          door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
          the government; we're here to understand you."

          Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,
          sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life was
          to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense
          of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
          American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
          cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
          Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
          others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
          "don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.

          I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing the
          peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted a
          much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
          brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
          values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet system"
          - for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
          control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
          distinctive way of life.

          When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
          convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for
          heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
          Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
          corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
          ethics.

          Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
          military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath. And
          I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association
          to do so at this time.

          The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military
          should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
          it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
          begin to play a far more significant educational role in the formulation
          of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to answer
          some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
          the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.

          Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative human
          development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
          Through Cultures."

          Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

          CCC Metro TLC

          216-987-3584

          FAX:330-867-6375

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





          -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          NOTE: The sender of this email is different from the email address shown in the headers. The real sender of this message is: sentto-126016-4120-1193492285-blynch=qvcc.commnet.edu@...

          If you want to permanently block the sender of this email, you would need to add sentto-126016-4120-1193492285-blynch=qvcc.commnet.edu@... to your Anti-Spam Blocked Senders List. For more information see the Anti-Spam FAQ item: http://www.commnet.edu/it/security/anti-spam-faq.asp#BlockRealSender
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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Monica Bellas
          This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this no matter WHO the
          Message 4 of 16 , Oct 28, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
            anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this no
            matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders how to
            "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this? (And
            why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
            Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
            revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
            administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)
            were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted with
            anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around the
            world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb the
            hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
            I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
            anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of
            the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
            FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation with
            Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
            Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
            Iran...talk about irony.
            Monica Bellas
            Cerritos College


            >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...>
            >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
            >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com>
            >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
            >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
            >
            >October 27, 2007
            >
            >Op-Ed Contributor
            >
            >
            >A True Culture War
            >
            >
            >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
            >
            >Chicago
            >
            >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists to
            >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
            >
            >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
            >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in Iraq
            >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
            >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers as
            >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who
            >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
            >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know more
            >about the local cultural scene.
            >
            >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
            >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
            >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
            >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
            >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in a
            >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
            >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
            >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
            >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe
            >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
            >
            >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
            >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My first
            >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists are
            >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
            >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish various
            >nonlethal missions.
            >
            >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
            >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
            >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at
            >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
            >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
            >Post.
            >
            >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,
            >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
            >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind the
            >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
            >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the
            >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
            >the government; we're here to understand you."
            >
            >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,
            >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life was
            >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense
            >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
            >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
            >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
            >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
            >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
            >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
            >
            >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing the
            >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted a
            >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
            >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
            >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet system"
            >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
            >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
            >distinctive way of life.
            >
            >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
            >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for
            >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
            >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
            >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
            >ethics.
            >
            >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
            >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath. And
            >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association
            >to do so at this time.
            >
            >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military
            >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
            >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
            >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the formulation
            >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to answer
            >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
            >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
            >
            >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative human
            >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
            >Through Cultures."
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
            >
            >CCC Metro TLC
            >
            >
            >
            >216-987-3584
            >
            >FAX:330-867-6375
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >
          • Deborah Shepherd
            Thank you, Monica and Ann. I ve just put a note about this controversy on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder s op-ed piece.
            Message 5 of 16 , Oct 29, 2007
            • 0 Attachment
              Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed piece.

              http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/

              Deborah

              >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@...> 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

              This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
              anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this no
              matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders how to
              "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this? (And
              why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
              Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
              revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
              administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)
              were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted with
              anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around the
              world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb the
              hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
              I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
              anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of
              the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
              FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation with
              Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
              Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
              Iran...talk about irony.
              Monica Bellas
              Cerritos College

              >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...>
              >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
              >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com>
              >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
              >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
              >
              >October 27, 2007
              >
              >Op-Ed Contributor
              >
              >
              >A True Culture War
              >
              >
              >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
              >
              >Chicago
              >
              >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists to
              >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
              >
              >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
              >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in Iraq
              >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
              >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers as
              >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who
              >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
              >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know more
              >about the local cultural scene.
              >
              >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
              >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
              >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
              >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
              >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in a
              >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
              >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
              >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
              >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe
              >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
              >
              >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
              >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My first
              >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists are
              >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
              >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish various
              >nonlethal missions.
              >
              >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
              >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
              >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at
              >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
              >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
              >Post.
              >
              >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,
              >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
              >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind the
              >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
              >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the
              >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
              >the government; we're here to understand you."
              >
              >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,
              >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life was
              >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense
              >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
              >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
              >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
              >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
              >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
              >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
              >
              >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing the
              >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted a
              >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
              >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
              >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet system"
              >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
              >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
              >distinctive way of life.
              >
              >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
              >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for
              >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
              >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
              >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
              >ethics.
              >
              >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
              >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath. And
              >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association
              >to do so at this time.
              >
              >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military
              >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
              >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
              >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the formulation
              >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to answer
              >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
              >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
              >
              >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative human
              >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
              >Through Cultures."
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
              >
              >CCC Metro TLC
              >
              >
              >
              >216-987-3584
              >
              >FAX:330-867-6375
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >




              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Popplestone, Ann
              I ve been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to military units with VERY mixed feelings. Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled
              Message 6 of 16 , Oct 29, 2007
              • 0 Attachment
                I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to
                military units with VERY mixed feelings.



                Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                making the world safe for Haliburton.



                He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.



                It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope
                for was to survive and get out.



                The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                services and their country.



                Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                people, agricultural assistance folks etc.



                Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                trying not to get their heads blown off.



                If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                there will anybody but us care? Debatable.



                What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                I really like that the discussion is going on.





                BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!





                Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                CCC Metro TLC



                216-987-3584

                FAX:330-867-6375

                ________________________________

                From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                Of Deborah Shepherd
                Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



                Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                piece.

                http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>

                Deborah

                >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@...
                <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                no
                matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                how to
                "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                (And
                why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)

                were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                with
                anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                the
                world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                the
                hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of

                the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                with
                Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                Iran...talk about irony.
                Monica Bellas
                Cerritos College

                >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...
                <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                >
                >October 27, 2007
                >
                >Op-Ed Contributor
                >
                >
                >A True Culture War
                >
                >
                >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                >
                >Chicago
                >
                >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                to
                >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                >
                >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                Iraq
                >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                as
                >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who

                >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                more
                >about the local cultural scene.
                >
                >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                a
                >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe

                >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                >
                >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                first
                >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                are
                >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                various
                >nonlethal missions.
                >
                >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at

                >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                >Post.
                >
                >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,

                >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                the
                >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the

                >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                >the government; we're here to understand you."
                >
                >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,

                >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                was
                >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense

                >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                >
                >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                the
                >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                a
                >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                system"
                >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                >distinctive way of life.
                >
                >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for

                >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                >ethics.
                >
                >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                And
                >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association

                >to do so at this time.
                >
                >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military

                >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                formulation
                >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                answer
                >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                >
                >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                human
                >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                >Through Cultures."
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                >
                >CCC Metro TLC
                >
                >
                >
                >216-987-3584
                >
                >FAX:330-867-6375
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >
                >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >




                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Deborah Shepherd
                Excellent points, Ann. I find your insider take both interesting and encouraging with respect to the essential goodness of human nature. Your words are also
                Message 7 of 16 , Oct 29, 2007
                • 0 Attachment
                  Excellent points, Ann. I find your insider take both interesting and encouraging with respect to the essential goodness of human nature. Your words are also very moving. I hope your husband, his military colleagues, and you continue to thrive as well as you appear to be.

                  My professional concerns, however, remain: how can any anthropologist do research anywhere in the world if other peoples cease to trust us because the profession officially condones this kind of work? Even if we remain silent, it will appear as a kind of assent.

                  As for the military becoming informed about other cultures, certainly non-anthropologists employed by the military can research and read the published ethnographic literature. It's all readily accessible public information. Nothing of consequence is kept secret or under restricted access.

                  Deborah

                  >>> "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...> 10/29/2007 3:00 PM >>>

                  I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to
                  military units with VERY mixed feelings.

                  Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                  prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                  States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                  making the world safe for Haliburton.

                  He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                  they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                  prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.

                  It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                  Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                  let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                  "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope
                  for was to survive and get out.

                  The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                  are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                  involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                  incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                  from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                  services and their country.

                  Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                  certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                  little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                  cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                  The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                  people, agricultural assistance folks etc.

                  Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                  anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                  war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                  won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                  under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                  profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                  trying not to get their heads blown off.

                  If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                  there will anybody but us care? Debatable.

                  What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                  I really like that the discussion is going on.

                  BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                  correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                  else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!

                  Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                  CCC Metro TLC

                  216-987-3584

                  FAX:330-867-6375

                  ________________________________

                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                  Of Deborah Shepherd
                  Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                  Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                  on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                  piece.

                  http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                  <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>

                  Deborah

                  >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@...
                  <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                  This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                  anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                  no
                  matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                  how to
                  "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                  (And
                  why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                  Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                  revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                  administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)

                  were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                  with
                  anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                  the
                  world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                  the
                  hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                  I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                  anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of

                  the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                  FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                  with
                  Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                  Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                  Iran...talk about irony.
                  Monica Bellas
                  Cerritos College

                  >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...
                  <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                  >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                  >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                  >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                  >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                  >
                  >October 27, 2007
                  >
                  >Op-Ed Contributor
                  >
                  >
                  >A True Culture War
                  >
                  >
                  >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                  >
                  >Chicago
                  >
                  >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                  to
                  >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                  >
                  >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                  >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                  Iraq
                  >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                  >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                  as
                  >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who

                  >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                  >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                  more
                  >about the local cultural scene.
                  >
                  >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                  >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                  >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                  >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                  >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                  a
                  >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                  >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                  >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                  >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe

                  >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                  >
                  >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                  >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                  first
                  >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                  are
                  >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                  >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                  various
                  >nonlethal missions.
                  >
                  >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                  >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                  >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at

                  >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                  >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                  >Post.
                  >
                  >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,

                  >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                  >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                  the
                  >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                  >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the

                  >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                  >the government; we're here to understand you."
                  >
                  >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,

                  >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                  was
                  >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense

                  >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                  >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                  >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                  >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                  >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                  >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                  >
                  >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                  the
                  >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                  a
                  >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                  >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                  >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                  system"
                  >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                  >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                  >distinctive way of life.
                  >
                  >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                  >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for

                  >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                  >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                  >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                  >ethics.
                  >
                  >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                  >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                  And
                  >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association

                  >to do so at this time.
                  >
                  >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military

                  >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                  >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                  >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                  formulation
                  >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                  answer
                  >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                  >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                  >
                  >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                  human
                  >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                  >Through Cultures."
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                  >
                  >CCC Metro TLC
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >216-987-3584
                  >
                  >FAX:330-867-6375
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  >

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Lynch, Brian M
                  Ann, The anthropologists in this human terrain project (...even the very title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert combat
                  Message 8 of 16 , Oct 29, 2007
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Ann,

                    The anthropologists in this "human terrain project" (...even the very title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert combat uniforms, but also carry guns. And they are working on a side in a war. That is the bottom line. If you sign up to be a soldier, there is no question what your intentions are or whose "side you are on." Many of our community college students themselves are in this situation, in and out of service over decades, from on war situation to another. None of them pretends they are neutral and none of them is without an opinion about what they do. But also, none of them are part of a profession that has at its foundation a set of principles on which they need to build the trust and respect of any people with whom they work.

                    As you will note in all of my own comments on this situation, I am not personally or professionally arguing for or against the merits of this and other wars as the basis for which anthropologists should or should not participate in any given project. I am making the point that taking the side in any such state-run military agenda is itself a formula for undermining the principles on which our discipline relies for its integrity and meaning. And it is amazing in the process to see how easily we can be drawn into the rationalization of such participation.

                    I don't really think it is an apt argument that anthropologists help "our soldiers" become more "culturally sensitive," or that anthropologists might somehow make what you call "this mess" in Iraq (or anywhere else) "a little better." It is, as I have suggested before, "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology!" And I hardly think that we in the discipline should settle for such accomodation or rationalization.

                    Brian


                    ________________________________

                    From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                    Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 4:00 PM
                    To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                    Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



                    I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to
                    military units with VERY mixed feelings.

                    Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                    prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                    States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                    making the world safe for Haliburton.

                    He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                    they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                    prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.

                    It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                    Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                    let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                    "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope
                    for was to survive and get out.

                    The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                    are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                    involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                    incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                    from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                    services and their country.

                    Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                    certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                    little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                    cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                    The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                    people, agricultural assistance folks etc.

                    Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                    anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                    war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                    won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                    under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                    profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                    trying not to get their heads blown off.

                    If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                    there will anybody but us care? Debatable.

                    What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                    I really like that the discussion is going on.

                    BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                    correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                    else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!

                    Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                    CCC Metro TLC

                    216-987-3584

                    FAX:330-867-6375

                    ________________________________

                    From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
                    Of Deborah Shepherd
                    Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                    To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                    Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                    Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                    on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                    piece.

                    http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                    <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >

                    Deborah

                    >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@... <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                    <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                    This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                    anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                    no
                    matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                    how to
                    "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                    (And
                    why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                    Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                    revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                    administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)

                    were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                    with
                    anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                    the
                    world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                    the
                    hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                    I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                    anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of

                    the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                    FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                    with
                    Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                    Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                    Iran...talk about irony.
                    Monica Bellas
                    Cerritos College

                    >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@... <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                    <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                    >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                    >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                    >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                    >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                    >
                    >October 27, 2007
                    >
                    >Op-Ed Contributor
                    >
                    >
                    >A True Culture War
                    >
                    >
                    >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                    >
                    >Chicago
                    >
                    >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                    to
                    >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                    >
                    >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                    >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                    Iraq
                    >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                    >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                    as
                    >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who

                    >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                    >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                    more
                    >about the local cultural scene.
                    >
                    >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                    >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                    >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                    >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                    >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                    a
                    >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                    >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                    >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                    >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe

                    >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                    >
                    >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                    >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                    first
                    >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                    are
                    >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                    >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                    various
                    >nonlethal missions.
                    >
                    >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                    >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                    >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at

                    >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                    >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                    >Post.
                    >
                    >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,

                    >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                    >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                    the
                    >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                    >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the

                    >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                    >the government; we're here to understand you."
                    >
                    >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,

                    >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                    was
                    >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense

                    >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                    >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                    >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                    >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                    >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                    >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                    >
                    >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                    the
                    >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                    a
                    >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                    >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                    >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                    system"
                    >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                    >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                    >distinctive way of life.
                    >
                    >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                    >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for

                    >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                    >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                    >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                    >ethics.
                    >
                    >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                    >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                    And
                    >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association

                    >to do so at this time.
                    >
                    >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military

                    >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                    >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                    >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                    formulation
                    >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                    answer
                    >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                    >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                    >
                    >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                    human
                    >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                    >Through Cultures."
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                    >
                    >CCC Metro TLC
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >216-987-3584
                    >
                    >FAX:330-867-6375
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    >

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





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                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Popplestone, Ann
                    In an ideal world, I would certainly agree that this adventure/disaster should not have started and nobody should be there. I do have to ask: A professional
                    Message 9 of 16 , Oct 29, 2007
                    • 0 Attachment
                      In an ideal world, I would certainly agree that this adventure/disaster
                      should not have started and nobody should be there.



                      I do have to ask: A professional anthropologist in the AO (area of
                      operations) might be able to keep soldiers (with a wide range of
                      educational backgrounds and not much time to peruse the literature
                      before going out on patrol) from pissing off people even more. They
                      might do a better job of introducing things like vaccinations and
                      pre-natal care. They might even keep some candidates from the
                      Revitalization Movement Run Amok that motivates suicide
                      bombers......Isn't protecting lives and enhancing quality of life with
                      our skills worth risking dirtying our hands ?







                      Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                      CCC Metro TLC



                      216-987-3584

                      FAX:330-867-6375

                      ________________________________

                      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                      Of Lynch, Brian M
                      Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:54 PM
                      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



                      Ann,

                      The anthropologists in this "human terrain project" (...even the very
                      title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert
                      combat uniforms, but also carry guns. And they are working on a side in
                      a war. That is the bottom line. If you sign up to be a soldier, there is
                      no question what your intentions are or whose "side you are on." Many of
                      our community college students themselves are in this situation, in and
                      out of service over decades, from on war situation to another. None of
                      them pretends they are neutral and none of them is without an opinion
                      about what they do. But also, none of them are part of a profession that
                      has at its foundation a set of principles on which they need to build
                      the trust and respect of any people with whom they work.

                      As you will note in all of my own comments on this situation, I am not
                      personally or professionally arguing for or against the merits of this
                      and other wars as the basis for which anthropologists should or should
                      not participate in any given project. I am making the point that taking
                      the side in any such state-run military agenda is itself a formula for
                      undermining the principles on which our discipline relies for its
                      integrity and meaning. And it is amazing in the process to see how
                      easily we can be drawn into the rationalization of such participation.

                      I don't really think it is an apt argument that anthropologists help
                      "our soldiers" become more "culturally sensitive," or that
                      anthropologists might somehow make what you call "this mess" in Iraq (or
                      anywhere else) "a little better." It is, as I have suggested before,
                      "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology!" And
                      I hardly think that we in the discipline should settle for such
                      accomodation or rationalization.

                      Brian


                      ________________________________

                      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                      behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                      Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 4:00 PM
                      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                      Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                      I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to
                      military units with VERY mixed feelings.

                      Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                      prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                      States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                      making the world safe for Haliburton.

                      He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                      they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                      prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.

                      It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                      Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                      let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                      "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope
                      for was to survive and get out.

                      The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                      are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                      involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                      incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                      from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                      services and their country.

                      Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                      certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                      little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                      cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                      The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                      people, agricultural assistance folks etc.

                      Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                      anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                      war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                      won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                      under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                      profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                      trying not to get their heads blown off.

                      If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                      there will anybody but us care? Debatable.

                      What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                      I really like that the discussion is going on.

                      BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                      correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                      else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!

                      Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                      CCC Metro TLC

                      216-987-3584

                      FAX:330-867-6375

                      ________________________________

                      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                      <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                      <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ]
                      On Behalf
                      Of Deborah Shepherd
                      Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                      <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                      Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                      Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                      on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                      piece.

                      http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > >

                      Deborah

                      >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@...
                      <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                      <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                      This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                      anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                      no
                      matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                      how to
                      "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                      (And
                      why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                      Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                      revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                      administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)

                      were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                      with
                      anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                      the
                      world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                      the
                      hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                      I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                      anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of

                      the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                      FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                      with
                      Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                      Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                      Iran...talk about irony.
                      Monica Bellas
                      Cerritos College

                      >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...
                      <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                      <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                      <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                      >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                      <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                      >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                      <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                      >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                      >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                      >
                      >October 27, 2007
                      >
                      >Op-Ed Contributor
                      >
                      >
                      >A True Culture War
                      >
                      >
                      >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                      >
                      >Chicago
                      >
                      >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                      to
                      >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                      >
                      >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                      >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                      Iraq
                      >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                      >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                      as
                      >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who

                      >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                      >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                      more
                      >about the local cultural scene.
                      >
                      >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                      >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                      >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                      >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                      >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                      a
                      >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                      >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                      >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                      >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe

                      >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                      >
                      >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                      >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                      first
                      >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                      are
                      >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                      >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                      various
                      >nonlethal missions.
                      >
                      >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                      >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                      >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at

                      >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                      >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                      >Post.
                      >
                      >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,

                      >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                      >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                      the
                      >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                      >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the

                      >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                      >the government; we're here to understand you."
                      >
                      >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,

                      >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                      was
                      >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense

                      >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                      >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                      >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                      >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                      >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                      >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                      >
                      >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                      the
                      >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                      a
                      >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                      >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                      >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                      system"
                      >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                      >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                      >distinctive way of life.
                      >
                      >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                      >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for

                      >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                      >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                      >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                      >ethics.
                      >
                      >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                      >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                      And
                      >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association

                      >to do so at this time.
                      >
                      >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military

                      >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                      >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                      >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                      formulation
                      >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                      answer
                      >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                      >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                      >
                      >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                      human
                      >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                      >Through Cultures."
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                      >
                      >CCC Metro TLC
                      >
                      >
                      >
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                    • Deborah Shepherd
                      I certainly didn t mean that the soldiers on the ground should read the anthropological literature themselves. I m assuming that the military must have
                      Message 10 of 16 , Oct 29, 2007
                      • 0 Attachment
                        I certainly didn't mean that the soldiers on the ground should read the anthropological literature themselves. I'm assuming that the military must have planners (intelligence officers?) already in place whose job it is to gather information about the places where we send our personnel. They can research the cultures (and should already be doing it).

                        Then the information can be passed down to the field commanders along with all the other information commanders get. I just don't see how having an anthropologist on the ground is going to make that much difference in terms of guiding the behavior of soldiers caught in dangerous (and sudden) situations. What it might guide is the intentions of commanders as they make plans. But is that much even happening in the Human Terrain Project?

                        Maybe some of what I'm saying is naive. I wouldn't be surprised, but the truth is, we don't know anything concrete about the real impact of this project as opposed to its advertised impact and what we are merely guessing it might accomplish. That makes this conversation really difficult.



                        >>> "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...> 10/29/2007 6:09 PM >>>

                        In an ideal world, I would certainly agree that this adventure/disaster
                        should not have started and nobody should be there.

                        I do have to ask: A professional anthropologist in the AO (area of
                        operations) might be able to keep soldiers (with a wide range of
                        educational backgrounds and not much time to peruse the literature
                        before going out on patrol) from pissing off people even more. They
                        might do a better job of introducing things like vaccinations and
                        pre-natal care. They might even keep some candidates from the
                        Revitalization Movement Run Amok that motivates suicide
                        bombers......Isn't protecting lives and enhancing quality of life with
                        our skills worth risking dirtying our hands ?

                        Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                        CCC Metro TLC

                        216-987-3584

                        FAX:330-867-6375

                        ________________________________

                        From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                        Of Lynch, Brian M
                        Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:54 PM
                        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                        Ann,

                        The anthropologists in this "human terrain project" (...even the very
                        title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert
                        combat uniforms, but also carry guns. And they are working on a side in
                        a war. That is the bottom line. If you sign up to be a soldier, there is
                        no question what your intentions are or whose "side you are on." Many of
                        our community college students themselves are in this situation, in and
                        out of service over decades, from on war situation to another. None of
                        them pretends they are neutral and none of them is without an opinion
                        about what they do. But also, none of them are part of a profession that
                        has at its foundation a set of principles on which they need to build
                        the trust and respect of any people with whom they work.

                        As you will note in all of my own comments on this situation, I am not
                        personally or professionally arguing for or against the merits of this
                        and other wars as the basis for which anthropologists should or should
                        not participate in any given project. I am making the point that taking
                        the side in any such state-run military agenda is itself a formula for
                        undermining the principles on which our discipline relies for its
                        integrity and meaning. And it is amazing in the process to see how
                        easily we can be drawn into the rationalization of such participation.

                        I don't really think it is an apt argument that anthropologists help
                        "our soldiers" become more "culturally sensitive," or that
                        anthropologists might somehow make what you call "this mess" in Iraq (or
                        anywhere else) "a little better." It is, as I have suggested before,
                        "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology!" And
                        I hardly think that we in the discipline should settle for such
                        accomodation or rationalization.

                        Brian

                        ________________________________

                        From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                        behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                        Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 4:00 PM
                        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                        Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                        I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to
                        military units with VERY mixed feelings.

                        Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                        prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                        States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                        making the world safe for Haliburton.

                        He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                        they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                        prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.

                        It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                        Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                        let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                        "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope
                        for was to survive and get out.

                        The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                        are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                        involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                        incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                        from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                        services and their country.

                        Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                        certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                        little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                        cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                        The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                        people, agricultural assistance folks etc.

                        Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                        anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                        war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                        won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                        under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                        profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                        trying not to get their heads blown off.

                        If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                        there will anybody but us care? Debatable.

                        What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                        I really like that the discussion is going on.

                        BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                        correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                        else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!

                        Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                        CCC Metro TLC

                        216-987-3584

                        FAX:330-867-6375

                        ________________________________

                        From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                        <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                        <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ]
                        On Behalf
                        Of Deborah Shepherd
                        Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                        To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                        <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                        Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                        Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                        on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                        piece.

                        http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                        <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                        <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                        <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                        <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                        <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                        <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                        <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > >

                        Deborah

                        >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@...
                        <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                        <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                        This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                        anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                        no
                        matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                        how to
                        "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                        (And
                        why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                        Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                        revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                        administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)

                        were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                        with
                        anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                        the
                        world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                        the
                        hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                        I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                        anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of

                        the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                        FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                        with
                        Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                        Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                        Iran...talk about irony.
                        Monica Bellas
                        Cerritos College

                        >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...
                        <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                        <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                        <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                        >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                        <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                        >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                        <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                        >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                        >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                        >
                        >October 27, 2007
                        >
                        >Op-Ed Contributor
                        >
                        >
                        >A True Culture War
                        >
                        >
                        >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                        >
                        >Chicago
                        >
                        >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                        to
                        >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                        >
                        >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                        >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                        Iraq
                        >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                        >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                        as
                        >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who

                        >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                        >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                        more
                        >about the local cultural scene.
                        >
                        >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                        >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                        >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                        >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                        >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                        a
                        >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                        >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                        >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                        >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe

                        >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                        >
                        >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                        >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                        first
                        >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                        are
                        >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                        >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                        various
                        >nonlethal missions.
                        >
                        >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                        >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                        >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at

                        >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                        >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                        >Post.
                        >
                        >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,

                        >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                        >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                        the
                        >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                        >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the

                        >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                        >the government; we're here to understand you."
                        >
                        >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,

                        >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                        was
                        >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense

                        >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                        >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                        >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                        >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                        >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                        >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                        >
                        >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                        the
                        >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                        a
                        >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                        >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                        >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                        system"
                        >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                        >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                        >distinctive way of life.
                        >
                        >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                        >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for

                        >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                        >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                        >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                        >ethics.
                        >
                        >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                        >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                        And
                        >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association

                        >to do so at this time.
                        >
                        >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military

                        >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                        >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                        >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                        formulation
                        >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                        answer
                        >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                        >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                        >
                        >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                        human
                        >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                        >Through Cultures."
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                        >
                        >CCC Metro TLC
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >216-987-3584
                        >
                        >FAX:330-867-6375
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
                        >
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                        >

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                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Lynch, Brian M
                        Such anthropologists are engaged not simply in dirtying their hands while doing good things in a culturally informed way; they are serving the strategies,
                        Message 11 of 16 , Oct 30, 2007
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Such anthropologists are engaged not simply in "dirtying their hands" while doing good things in a culturally informed way; they are serving the strategies, tactics and ultimate goals of a side in a war. They are helping to fight a war. They aren't with a group of blue-helmeted peacekeepers, but with "our side" that is ultimately aiming to win over "their side." This is the fundamental issue that makes them partisan and mercenary; their cultural sensitivity and subsequent ability to "lighten things up" (to make the war campaigns a little more culturally sensitive?) makes them no less so. In fact it makes the discipline itself sound fundamentally naive, at best, and duplicitous at worst, if we suggest that we are simply just "getting our hands a little dirty" while making peace somehow. Instead we are abandoning our integrity as a discipline, while making war.

                          Brian




                          ________________________________

                          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                          Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 7:09 PM
                          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



                          In an ideal world, I would certainly agree that this adventure/disaster
                          should not have started and nobody should be there.

                          I do have to ask: A professional anthropologist in the AO (area of
                          operations) might be able to keep soldiers (with a wide range of
                          educational backgrounds and not much time to peruse the literature
                          before going out on patrol) from pissing off people even more. They
                          might do a better job of introducing things like vaccinations and
                          pre-natal care. They might even keep some candidates from the
                          Revitalization Movement Run Amok that motivates suicide
                          bombers......Isn't protecting lives and enhancing quality of life with
                          our skills worth risking dirtying our hands ?

                          Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                          CCC Metro TLC

                          216-987-3584

                          FAX:330-867-6375

                          ________________________________

                          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
                          Of Lynch, Brian M
                          Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:54 PM
                          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                          Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                          Ann,

                          The anthropologists in this "human terrain project" (...even the very
                          title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert
                          combat uniforms, but also carry guns. And they are working on a side in
                          a war. That is the bottom line. If you sign up to be a soldier, there is
                          no question what your intentions are or whose "side you are on." Many of
                          our community college students themselves are in this situation, in and
                          out of service over decades, from on war situation to another. None of
                          them pretends they are neutral and none of them is without an opinion
                          about what they do. But also, none of them are part of a profession that
                          has at its foundation a set of principles on which they need to build
                          the trust and respect of any people with whom they work.

                          As you will note in all of my own comments on this situation, I am not
                          personally or professionally arguing for or against the merits of this
                          and other wars as the basis for which anthropologists should or should
                          not participate in any given project. I am making the point that taking
                          the side in any such state-run military agenda is itself a formula for
                          undermining the principles on which our discipline relies for its
                          integrity and meaning. And it is amazing in the process to see how
                          easily we can be drawn into the rationalization of such participation.

                          I don't really think it is an apt argument that anthropologists help
                          "our soldiers" become more "culturally sensitive," or that
                          anthropologists might somehow make what you call "this mess" in Iraq (or
                          anywhere else) "a little better." It is, as I have suggested before,
                          "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology!" And
                          I hardly think that we in the discipline should settle for such
                          accomodation or rationalization.

                          Brian

                          ________________________________

                          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                          behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                          Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 4:00 PM
                          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                          Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                          I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to
                          military units with VERY mixed feelings.

                          Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                          prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                          States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                          making the world safe for Haliburton.

                          He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                          they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                          prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.

                          It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                          Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                          let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                          "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope
                          for was to survive and get out.

                          The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                          are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                          involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                          incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                          from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                          services and their country.

                          Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                          certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                          little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                          cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                          The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                          people, agricultural assistance folks etc.

                          Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                          anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                          war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                          won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                          under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                          profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                          trying not to get their heads blown off.

                          If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                          there will anybody but us care? Debatable.

                          What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                          I really like that the discussion is going on.

                          BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                          correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                          else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!

                          Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                          CCC Metro TLC

                          216-987-3584

                          FAX:330-867-6375

                          ________________________________

                          From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                          <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                          <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ]
                          On Behalf
                          Of Deborah Shepherd
                          Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                          To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                          <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                          Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                          Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                          on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                          piece.

                          http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                          <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                          <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                          <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > >
                          <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                          <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                          <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                          <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > > >

                          Deborah

                          >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@... <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                          <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                          <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                          This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                          anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                          no
                          matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                          how to
                          "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                          (And
                          why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                          Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                          revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                          administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)

                          were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                          with
                          anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                          the
                          world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                          the
                          hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                          I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                          anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of

                          the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                          FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                          with
                          Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                          Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                          Iran...talk about irony.
                          Monica Bellas
                          Cerritos College

                          >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@... <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                          <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                          <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                          <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                          >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                          <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                          >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                          <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                          >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                          >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                          >
                          >October 27, 2007
                          >
                          >Op-Ed Contributor
                          >
                          >
                          >A True Culture War
                          >
                          >
                          >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                          >
                          >Chicago
                          >
                          >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                          to
                          >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                          >
                          >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                          >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                          Iraq
                          >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                          >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                          as
                          >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who

                          >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                          >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                          more
                          >about the local cultural scene.
                          >
                          >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                          >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                          >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                          >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                          >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                          a
                          >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                          >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                          >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                          >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe

                          >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                          >
                          >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                          >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                          first
                          >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                          are
                          >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                          >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                          various
                          >nonlethal missions.
                          >
                          >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                          >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                          >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at

                          >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                          >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                          >Post.
                          >
                          >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,

                          >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                          >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                          the
                          >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                          >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the

                          >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                          >the government; we're here to understand you."
                          >
                          >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,

                          >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                          was
                          >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense

                          >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                          >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                          >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                          >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                          >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                          >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                          >
                          >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                          the
                          >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                          a
                          >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                          >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                          >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                          system"
                          >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                          >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                          >distinctive way of life.
                          >
                          >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                          >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for

                          >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                          >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                          >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                          >ethics.
                          >
                          >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                          >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                          And
                          >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association

                          >to do so at this time.
                          >
                          >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military

                          >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                          >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                          >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                          formulation
                          >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                          answer
                          >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                          >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                          >
                          >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                          human
                          >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                          >Through Cultures."
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                          >
                          >CCC Metro TLC
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >216-987-3584
                          >
                          >FAX:330-867-6375
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >

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                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • Lewine, Mark
                          As Ann Popplestone shared her experiential context of her husband having served and being injured requiring serious surgery, I also have altered my views
                          Message 12 of 16 , Oct 30, 2007
                          • 0 Attachment
                            As Ann Popplestone shared her experiential context of her husband having
                            served and being injured requiring serious surgery, I also have altered
                            my views having dealt with a close friend returning from combat, wounded
                            and sharing his experiences. We all have perspectives that are
                            constructed by our social experience and we are not just some kind of
                            abstracted professional maintaining a false sense of aloof objectivity
                            while the world turns. I thought that we were indeed in a postmodern
                            world with a profession, anthropology, that realizes that engaging in
                            embedded fieldwork requires a complex strategic plan of ACTION that
                            limits our impact but never pretends that we are not involved in a
                            living, changing community. Do you really think that an anthropologist
                            embedded in fieldwork within a Nazi or Khmer Rouge dominated community
                            could avoid making choices to help save lives and limbs?? Do we simply
                            ignore doing fieldwork in areas under conflict because we would "get our
                            ethical hands dirty"? (which is obviously what Ann meant) I quit a
                            consultant firm during Viet Nam because we were asked to set up a Race
                            Relations program for the Defense Department, which my partners
                            eventually did. Instead, I took a job at a community college. Believe
                            me, the state of Ohio contract that I work under does more ethical harm
                            to my professional soul than Admiral Zumwalt's excellent Race Relations
                            program. Was I right to not work to make soldiers less racist and thus
                            more efficient killers? (my reasoning at the time) I now do not think
                            so.

                            ________________________________

                            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                            Of Lynch, Brian M
                            Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 4:26 AM
                            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



                            Such anthropologists are engaged not simply in "dirtying their hands"
                            while doing good things in a culturally informed way; they are serving
                            the strategies, tactics and ultimate goals of a side in a war. They are
                            helping to fight a war. They aren't with a group of blue-helmeted
                            peacekeepers, but with "our side" that is ultimately aiming to win over
                            "their side." This is the fundamental issue that makes them partisan and
                            mercenary; their cultural sensitivity and subsequent ability to "lighten
                            things up" (to make the war campaigns a little more culturally
                            sensitive?) makes them no less so. In fact it makes the discipline
                            itself sound fundamentally naive, at best, and duplicitous at worst, if
                            we suggest that we are simply just "getting our hands a little dirty"
                            while making peace somehow. Instead we are abandoning our integrity as a
                            discipline, while making war.

                            Brian




                            ________________________________

                            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                            behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                            Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 7:09 PM
                            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                            In an ideal world, I would certainly agree that this adventure/disaster
                            should not have started and nobody should be there.

                            I do have to ask: A professional anthropologist in the AO (area of
                            operations) might be able to keep soldiers (with a wide range of
                            educational backgrounds and not much time to peruse the literature
                            before going out on patrol) from pissing off people even more. They
                            might do a better job of introducing things like vaccinations and
                            pre-natal care. They might even keep some candidates from the
                            Revitalization Movement Run Amok that motivates suicide
                            bombers......Isn't protecting lives and enhancing quality of life with
                            our skills worth risking dirtying our hands ?

                            Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                            CCC Metro TLC

                            216-987-3584

                            FAX:330-867-6375

                            ________________________________

                            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ]
                            On Behalf
                            Of Lynch, Brian M
                            Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:54 PM
                            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                            Ann,

                            The anthropologists in this "human terrain project" (...even the very
                            title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert
                            combat uniforms, but also carry guns. And they are working on a side in
                            a war. That is the bottom line. If you sign up to be a soldier, there is
                            no question what your intentions are or whose "side you are on." Many of
                            our community college students themselves are in this situation, in and
                            out of service over decades, from on war situation to another. None of
                            them pretends they are neutral and none of them is without an opinion
                            about what they do. But also, none of them are part of a profession that
                            has at its foundation a set of principles on which they need to build
                            the trust and respect of any people with whom they work.

                            As you will note in all of my own comments on this situation, I am not
                            personally or professionally arguing for or against the merits of this
                            and other wars as the basis for which anthropologists should or should
                            not participate in any given project. I am making the point that taking
                            the side in any such state-run military agenda is itself a formula for
                            undermining the principles on which our discipline relies for its
                            integrity and meaning. And it is amazing in the process to see how
                            easily we can be drawn into the rationalization of such participation.

                            I don't really think it is an apt argument that anthropologists help
                            "our soldiers" become more "culturally sensitive," or that
                            anthropologists might somehow make what you call "this mess" in Iraq (or
                            anywhere else) "a little better." It is, as I have suggested before,
                            "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology!" And
                            I hardly think that we in the discipline should settle for such
                            accomodation or rationalization.

                            Brian

                            ________________________________

                            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                            behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                            Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 4:00 PM
                            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                            I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to
                            military units with VERY mixed feelings.

                            Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                            prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                            States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                            making the world safe for Haliburton.

                            He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                            they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                            prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.

                            It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                            Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                            let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                            "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope
                            for was to survive and get out.

                            The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                            are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                            involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                            incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                            from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                            services and their country.

                            Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                            certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                            little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                            cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                            The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                            people, agricultural assistance folks etc.

                            Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                            anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                            war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                            won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                            under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                            profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                            trying not to get their heads blown off.

                            If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                            there will anybody but us care? Debatable.

                            What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                            I really like that the discussion is going on.

                            BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                            correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                            else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!

                            Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                            CCC Metro TLC

                            216-987-3584

                            FAX:330-867-6375

                            ________________________________

                            From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ]
                            On Behalf
                            Of Deborah Shepherd
                            Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                            To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                            Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                            on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                            piece.

                            http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > >
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > > >
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > >
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                            <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > > > >

                            Deborah

                            >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@...
                            <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                            <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                            <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                            This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                            anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                            no
                            matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                            how to
                            "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                            (And
                            why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                            Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                            revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                            administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)

                            were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                            with
                            anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                            the
                            world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                            the
                            hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                            I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                            anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of

                            the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                            FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                            with
                            Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                            Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                            Iran...talk about irony.
                            Monica Bellas
                            Cerritos College

                            >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...
                            <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                            <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                            <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                            <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                            <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                            >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                            >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                            <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                            >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                            >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                            >
                            >October 27, 2007
                            >
                            >Op-Ed Contributor
                            >
                            >
                            >A True Culture War
                            >
                            >
                            >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                            >
                            >Chicago
                            >
                            >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                            to
                            >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                            >
                            >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                            >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                            Iraq
                            >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                            >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                            as
                            >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who

                            >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                            >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                            more
                            >about the local cultural scene.
                            >
                            >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                            >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                            >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                            >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                            >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                            a
                            >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                            >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                            >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                            >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe

                            >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                            >
                            >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                            >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                            first
                            >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                            are
                            >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                            >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                            various
                            >nonlethal missions.
                            >
                            >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                            >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                            >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at

                            >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                            >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                            >Post.
                            >
                            >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,

                            >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                            >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                            the
                            >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                            >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the

                            >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                            >the government; we're here to understand you."
                            >
                            >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,

                            >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                            was
                            >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense

                            >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                            >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                            >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                            >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                            >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                            >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                            >
                            >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                            the
                            >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                            a
                            >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                            >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                            >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                            system"
                            >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                            >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                            >distinctive way of life.
                            >
                            >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                            >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for

                            >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                            >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                            >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                            >ethics.
                            >
                            >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                            >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                            And
                            >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association

                            >to do so at this time.
                            >
                            >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military

                            >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                            >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                            >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                            formulation
                            >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                            answer
                            >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                            >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                            >
                            >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                            human
                            >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                            >Through Cultures."
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                            >
                            >CCC Metro TLC
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >216-987-3584
                            >
                            >FAX:330-867-6375
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            >

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                          • Lynch, Brian M
                            Mark, So we either support anthropological participation with state sponsored warmaking, or we are abstracted professionals maintaining a false sense of aloof
                            Message 13 of 16 , Oct 30, 2007
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Mark,
                              So we either support anthropological participation with state sponsored warmaking, or we are abstracted professionals maintaining a false sense of aloof objectivity while the world turns. This is how 21st century anthropology rationalizes its contemporary co-opting by dominant political forces, under the banner of postmodern "action" ?

                              "The emporer has no clothes." This is warmaking. It is a warmaking agenda in which anthropologists have rationalized their participation (desert fatigues, guns and all). It turns the values of "cultural sensitivity" into a suite of weapons of war. It is "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology."

                              Brian




                              ________________________________

                              From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Lewine, Mark
                              Sent: Tue 10/30/2007 11:30 AM
                              To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



                              As Ann Popplestone shared her experiential context of her husband having
                              served and being injured requiring serious surgery, I also have altered
                              my views having dealt with a close friend returning from combat, wounded
                              and sharing his experiences. We all have perspectives that are
                              constructed by our social experience and we are not just some kind of
                              abstracted professional maintaining a false sense of aloof objectivity
                              while the world turns. I thought that we were indeed in a postmodern
                              world with a profession, anthropology, that realizes that engaging in
                              embedded fieldwork requires a complex strategic plan of ACTION that
                              limits our impact but never pretends that we are not involved in a
                              living, changing community. Do you really think that an anthropologist
                              embedded in fieldwork within a Nazi or Khmer Rouge dominated community
                              could avoid making choices to help save lives and limbs?? Do we simply
                              ignore doing fieldwork in areas under conflict because we would "get our
                              ethical hands dirty"? (which is obviously what Ann meant) I quit a
                              consultant firm during Viet Nam because we were asked to set up a Race
                              Relations program for the Defense Department, which my partners
                              eventually did. Instead, I took a job at a community college. Believe
                              me, the state of Ohio contract that I work under does more ethical harm
                              to my professional soul than Admiral Zumwalt's excellent Race Relations
                              program. Was I right to not work to make soldiers less racist and thus
                              more efficient killers? (my reasoning at the time) I now do not think
                              so.

                              ________________________________

                              From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
                              Of Lynch, Brian M
                              Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 4:26 AM
                              To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                              Such anthropologists are engaged not simply in "dirtying their hands"
                              while doing good things in a culturally informed way; they are serving
                              the strategies, tactics and ultimate goals of a side in a war. They are
                              helping to fight a war. They aren't with a group of blue-helmeted
                              peacekeepers, but with "our side" that is ultimately aiming to win over
                              "their side." This is the fundamental issue that makes them partisan and
                              mercenary; their cultural sensitivity and subsequent ability to "lighten
                              things up" (to make the war campaigns a little more culturally
                              sensitive?) makes them no less so. In fact it makes the discipline
                              itself sound fundamentally naive, at best, and duplicitous at worst, if
                              we suggest that we are simply just "getting our hands a little dirty"
                              while making peace somehow. Instead we are abandoning our integrity as a
                              discipline, while making war.

                              Brian

                              ________________________________

                              From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                              behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                              Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 7:09 PM
                              To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                              In an ideal world, I would certainly agree that this adventure/disaster
                              should not have started and nobody should be there.

                              I do have to ask: A professional anthropologist in the AO (area of
                              operations) might be able to keep soldiers (with a wide range of
                              educational backgrounds and not much time to peruse the literature
                              before going out on patrol) from pissing off people even more. They
                              might do a better job of introducing things like vaccinations and
                              pre-natal care. They might even keep some candidates from the
                              Revitalization Movement Run Amok that motivates suicide
                              bombers......Isn't protecting lives and enhancing quality of life with
                              our skills worth risking dirtying our hands ?

                              Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                              CCC Metro TLC

                              216-987-3584

                              FAX:330-867-6375

                              ________________________________

                              From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>

                              On Behalf
                              Of Lynch, Brian M
                              Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:54 PM
                              To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>

                              Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                              Ann,

                              The anthropologists in this "human terrain project" (...even the very
                              title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert
                              combat uniforms, but also carry guns. And they are working on a side in
                              a war. That is the bottom line. If you sign up to be a soldier, there is
                              no question what your intentions are or whose "side you are on." Many of
                              our community college students themselves are in this situation, in and
                              out of service over decades, from on war situation to another. None of
                              them pretends they are neutral and none of them is without an opinion
                              about what they do. But also, none of them are part of a profession that
                              has at its foundation a set of principles on which they need to build
                              the trust and respect of any people with whom they work.

                              As you will note in all of my own comments on this situation, I am not
                              personally or professionally arguing for or against the merits of this
                              and other wars as the basis for which anthropologists should or should
                              not participate in any given project. I am making the point that taking
                              the side in any such state-run military agenda is itself a formula for
                              undermining the principles on which our discipline relies for its
                              integrity and meaning. And it is amazing in the process to see how
                              easily we can be drawn into the rationalization of such participation.

                              I don't really think it is an apt argument that anthropologists help
                              "our soldiers" become more "culturally sensitive," or that
                              anthropologists might somehow make what you call "this mess" in Iraq (or
                              anywhere else) "a little better." It is, as I have suggested before,
                              "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology!" And
                              I hardly think that we in the discipline should settle for such
                              accomodation or rationalization.

                              Brian

                              ________________________________

                              From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                              behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                              Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 4:00 PM
                              To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                              I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to
                              military units with VERY mixed feelings.

                              Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                              prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                              States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                              making the world safe for Haliburton.

                              He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                              they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                              prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.

                              It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                              Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                              let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                              "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope
                              for was to survive and get out.

                              The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                              are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                              involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                              incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                              from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                              services and their country.

                              Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                              certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                              little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                              cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                              The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                              people, agricultural assistance folks etc.

                              Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                              anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                              war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                              won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                              under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                              profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                              trying not to get their heads blown off.

                              If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                              there will anybody but us care? Debatable.

                              What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                              I really like that the discussion is going on.

                              BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                              correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                              else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!

                              Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                              CCC Metro TLC

                              216-987-3584

                              FAX:330-867-6375

                              ________________________________

                              From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>

                              On Behalf
                              Of Deborah Shepherd
                              Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                              To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                              Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                              on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                              piece.

                              http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                              <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >


                              Deborah

                              >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@... <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                              <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                              <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                              <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                              This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                              anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                              no
                              matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                              how to
                              "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                              (And
                              why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                              Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                              revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                              administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)

                              were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                              with
                              anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                              the
                              world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                              the
                              hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                              I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                              anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of

                              the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                              FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                              with
                              Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                              Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                              Iran...talk about irony.
                              Monica Bellas
                              Cerritos College

                              >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@... <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                              <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                              <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                              <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                              <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                              <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                              >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                              >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                              <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                              <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                              >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                              >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                              >
                              >October 27, 2007
                              >
                              >Op-Ed Contributor
                              >
                              >
                              >A True Culture War
                              >
                              >
                              >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                              >
                              >Chicago
                              >
                              >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                              to
                              >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                              >
                              >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                              >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                              Iraq
                              >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                              >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                              as
                              >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who

                              >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                              >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                              more
                              >about the local cultural scene.
                              >
                              >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                              >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                              >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                              >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                              >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                              a
                              >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                              >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                              >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                              >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe

                              >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                              >
                              >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                              >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                              first
                              >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                              are
                              >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                              >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                              various
                              >nonlethal missions.
                              >
                              >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                              >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                              >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at

                              >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                              >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                              >Post.
                              >
                              >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,

                              >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                              >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                              the
                              >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                              >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the

                              >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                              >the government; we're here to understand you."
                              >
                              >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,

                              >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                              was
                              >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense

                              >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                              >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                              >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                              >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                              >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                              >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                              >
                              >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                              the
                              >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                              a
                              >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                              >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                              >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                              system"
                              >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                              >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                              >distinctive way of life.
                              >
                              >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                              >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for

                              >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                              >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                              >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                              >ethics.
                              >
                              >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                              >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                              And
                              >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association

                              >to do so at this time.
                              >
                              >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military

                              >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                              >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                              >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                              formulation
                              >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                              answer
                              >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                              >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                              >
                              >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                              human
                              >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                              >Through Cultures."
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                              >
                              >CCC Metro TLC
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              >216-987-3584
                              >
                              >FAX:330-867-6375
                              >
                              >
                              >















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                            • Popplestone, Ann
                              Let me give you an example where a professional with detailed knowledge of the local culture would have been a help, and it s not likely that a before-movement
                              Message 14 of 16 , Oct 30, 2007
                              • 0 Attachment
                                Let me give you an example where a professional with detailed knowledge
                                of the local culture would have been a help, and it's not likely that a
                                before-movement briefing would have included this particular chain of
                                events.



                                When it became obvious that there was going to be a ground invasion the
                                Iraqi Powers That Be showed episodes of Oz to "all" of the Iraqi
                                soldiers and told them that they would be raped by the American soldiers
                                who were all homosexuals as could be seen by the fact that the were all
                                completely clean shaven.



                                In the northern part or Iraq only gay men have no facial hair at
                                all. And the soldiers and Marines were under orders to shave completely
                                because even the authorized mustaches can compromise the skin-seal on a
                                gas mask and kill you. Remember that everyone had been told to expect
                                biological and chemical weapons.



                                Evidently many of the Iraqis in the area bought this and there was a
                                corresponding resistance and difficulty finding local interpreters etc.
                                The troops more or less winged it once the situation became known: they
                                made a point of displaying wedding rings, of showing family pictures at
                                every opportunity etc. Eventually the locals figured out that the
                                troops were not able to prevent looting, couldn't keep the power on etc.
                                But they were not intent on mass gang rape of males. A specialist in
                                this area might have anticipated this strategy (help me please on this:
                                I'm a physical anthropologist and no one's idea of a Middle East expert)
                                and have known a better, faster way to convey heterosexuality, or at
                                least non-assaultative-ness (is that a word?)



                                Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                                CCC Metro TLC



                                216-987-3584

                                FAX:330-867-6375

                                ________________________________

                                From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                                Of Deborah Shepherd
                                Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 7:28 PM
                                To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                                Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



                                I certainly didn't mean that the soldiers on the ground should read the
                                anthropological literature themselves. I'm assuming that the military
                                must have planners (intelligence officers?) already in place whose job
                                it is to gather information about the places where we send our
                                personnel. They can research the cultures (and should already be doing
                                it).

                                Then the information can be passed down to the field commanders along
                                with all the other information commanders get. I just don't see how
                                having an anthropologist on the ground is going to make that much
                                difference in terms of guiding the behavior of soldiers caught in
                                dangerous (and sudden) situations. What it might guide is the intentions
                                of commanders as they make plans. But is that much even happening in the
                                Human Terrain Project?

                                Maybe some of what I'm saying is naive. I wouldn't be surprised, but the
                                truth is, we don't know anything concrete about the real impact of this
                                project as opposed to its advertised impact and what we are merely
                                guessing it might accomplish. That makes this conversation really
                                difficult.



                                >>> "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...
                                <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> > 10/29/2007 6:09 PM >>>

                                In an ideal world, I would certainly agree that this adventure/disaster
                                should not have started and nobody should be there.

                                I do have to ask: A professional anthropologist in the AO (area of
                                operations) might be able to keep soldiers (with a wide range of
                                educational backgrounds and not much time to peruse the literature
                                before going out on patrol) from pissing off people even more. They
                                might do a better job of introducing things like vaccinations and
                                pre-natal care. They might even keep some candidates from the
                                Revitalization Movement Run Amok that motivates suicide
                                bombers......Isn't protecting lives and enhancing quality of life with
                                our skills worth risking dirtying our hands ?

                                Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                                CCC Metro TLC

                                216-987-3584

                                FAX:330-867-6375

                                ________________________________

                                From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ] On
                                Behalf
                                Of Lynch, Brian M
                                Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:54 PM
                                To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                Ann,

                                The anthropologists in this "human terrain project" (...even the very
                                title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert
                                combat uniforms, but also carry guns. And they are working on a side in
                                a war. That is the bottom line. If you sign up to be a soldier, there is

                                no question what your intentions are or whose "side you are on." Many of

                                our community college students themselves are in this situation, in and
                                out of service over decades, from on war situation to another. None of
                                them pretends they are neutral and none of them is without an opinion
                                about what they do. But also, none of them are part of a profession that

                                has at its foundation a set of principles on which they need to build
                                the trust and respect of any people with whom they work.

                                As you will note in all of my own comments on this situation, I am not
                                personally or professionally arguing for or against the merits of this
                                and other wars as the basis for which anthropologists should or should
                                not participate in any given project. I am making the point that taking
                                the side in any such state-run military agenda is itself a formula for
                                undermining the principles on which our discipline relies for its
                                integrity and meaning. And it is amazing in the process to see how
                                easily we can be drawn into the rationalization of such participation.

                                I don't really think it is an apt argument that anthropologists help
                                "our soldiers" become more "culturally sensitive," or that
                                anthropologists might somehow make what you call "this mess" in Iraq (or

                                anywhere else) "a little better." It is, as I have suggested before,
                                "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology!" And
                                I hardly think that we in the discipline should settle for such
                                accomodation or rationalization.

                                Brian

                                ________________________________

                                From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                                behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                                Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 4:00 PM
                                To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to

                                military units with VERY mixed feelings.

                                Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                                prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                                States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                                making the world safe for Haliburton.

                                He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                                they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                                prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.

                                It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                                Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                                let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                                "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope

                                for was to survive and get out.

                                The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                                are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                                involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                                incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                                from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                                services and their country.

                                Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                                certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                                little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                                cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                                The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                                people, agricultural assistance folks etc.

                                Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                                anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                                war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                                won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                                under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                                profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                                trying not to get their heads blown off.

                                If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                                there will anybody but us care? Debatable.

                                What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                                I really like that the discussion is going on.

                                BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                                correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                                else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!

                                Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                                CCC Metro TLC

                                216-987-3584

                                FAX:330-867-6375

                                ________________________________

                                From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ]
                                On Behalf
                                Of Deborah Shepherd
                                Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                                To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                                on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                                piece.

                                http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > >
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
                                <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > > >

                                Deborah

                                >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@...
                                <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                                <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                                <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                                This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                                anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                                no
                                matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                                how to
                                "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                                (And
                                why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                                Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                                revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                                administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)


                                were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                                with
                                anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                                the
                                world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                                the
                                hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                                I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                                anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of


                                the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                                FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                                with
                                Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                                Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                                Iran...talk about irony.
                                Monica Bellas
                                Cerritos College

                                >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@...
                                <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                                <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                                <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                                <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                                >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                                <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                                >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                                >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                                >
                                >October 27, 2007
                                >
                                >Op-Ed Contributor
                                >
                                >
                                >A True Culture War
                                >
                                >
                                >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                                >
                                >Chicago
                                >
                                >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                                to
                                >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                                >
                                >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                                >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                                Iraq
                                >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                                >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                                as
                                >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who


                                >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                                >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                                more
                                >about the local cultural scene.
                                >
                                >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                                >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                                >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                                >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                                >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                                a
                                >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                                >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                                >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                                >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe


                                >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                                >
                                >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                                >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                                first
                                >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                                are
                                >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                                >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                                various
                                >nonlethal missions.
                                >
                                >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                                >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                                >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at


                                >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                                >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                                >Post.
                                >
                                >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,


                                >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                                >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                                the
                                >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                                >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the


                                >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                                >the government; we're here to understand you."
                                >
                                >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,


                                >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                                was
                                >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense


                                >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                                >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                                >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                                >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                                >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                                >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                                >
                                >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                                the
                                >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                                a
                                >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                                >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                                >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                                system"
                                >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                                >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                                >distinctive way of life.
                                >
                                >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                                >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for


                                >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                                >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                                >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                                >ethics.
                                >
                                >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                                >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                                And
                                >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association


                                >to do so at this time.
                                >
                                >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military


                                >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                                >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                                >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                                formulation
                                >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                                answer
                                >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                                >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                                >
                                >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                                human
                                >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                                >Through Cultures."
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                                >
                                >CCC Metro TLC
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >216-987-3584
                                >
                                >FAX:330-867-6375
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
                                >
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                                >

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                              • Mark Lewine
                                Brian, What I am suggesting is that when I do use the anthropological perspective now, I see false dichotomies and superficial dualities in good vs. evil
                                Message 15 of 16 , Oct 31, 2007
                                • 0 Attachment
                                  Brian,
                                  What I am suggesting is that when I do use the "anthropological perspective" now, I see false dichotomies and superficial dualities in 'good vs. evil' doctrines by either the Muslim Taliban or the American Taliban leading to Crusader-invasions (these are not wars) true. But I also see dangerous dichotomies and dualities in our thinking when we see "good" academics pretending that we are separating ourselves from the corporate context that drives our government and globalism and military contracts when we are in fact part of the enterprise just in more hidden subtle ways. We are 'embedded' in our political economy and are turning a blind eye to corporate colleges that we work for every day that are party to the system as are we. So, not wearing a uniform does not make us "good" and abstracted from involvement. What we do need is more engagement in these discussions and transparency encouraged by our profession. Then we can help each other make better case by case ethical decisions.
                                  ----- Original Message -----
                                  From: Lynch, Brian M
                                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                                  Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 12:01 PM
                                  Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology


                                  Mark,
                                  So we either support anthropological participation with state sponsored warmaking, or we are abstracted professionals maintaining a false sense of aloof objectivity while the world turns. This is how 21st century anthropology rationalizes its contemporary co-opting by dominant political forces, under the banner of postmodern "action" ?

                                  "The emporer has no clothes." This is warmaking. It is a warmaking agenda in which anthropologists have rationalized their participation (desert fatigues, guns and all). It turns the values of "cultural sensitivity" into a suite of weapons of war. It is "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology."

                                  Brian




                                  ________________________________

                                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Lewine, Mark
                                  Sent: Tue 10/30/2007 11:30 AM
                                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                                  Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                  As Ann Popplestone shared her experiential context of her husband having
                                  served and being injured requiring serious surgery, I also have altered
                                  my views having dealt with a close friend returning from combat, wounded
                                  and sharing his experiences. We all have perspectives that are
                                  constructed by our social experience and we are not just some kind of
                                  abstracted professional maintaining a false sense of aloof objectivity
                                  while the world turns. I thought that we were indeed in a postmodern
                                  world with a profession, anthropology, that realizes that engaging in
                                  embedded fieldwork requires a complex strategic plan of ACTION that
                                  limits our impact but never pretends that we are not involved in a
                                  living, changing community. Do you really think that an anthropologist
                                  embedded in fieldwork within a Nazi or Khmer Rouge dominated community
                                  could avoid making choices to help save lives and limbs?? Do we simply
                                  ignore doing fieldwork in areas under conflict because we would "get our
                                  ethical hands dirty"? (which is obviously what Ann meant) I quit a
                                  consultant firm during Viet Nam because we were asked to set up a Race
                                  Relations program for the Defense Department, which my partners
                                  eventually did. Instead, I took a job at a community college. Believe
                                  me, the state of Ohio contract that I work under does more ethical harm
                                  to my professional soul than Admiral Zumwalt's excellent Race Relations
                                  program. Was I right to not work to make soldiers less racist and thus
                                  more efficient killers? (my reasoning at the time) I now do not think
                                  so.

                                  ________________________________

                                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ] On Behalf
                                  Of Lynch, Brian M
                                  Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 4:26 AM
                                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                  Such anthropologists are engaged not simply in "dirtying their hands"
                                  while doing good things in a culturally informed way; they are serving
                                  the strategies, tactics and ultimate goals of a side in a war. They are
                                  helping to fight a war. They aren't with a group of blue-helmeted
                                  peacekeepers, but with "our side" that is ultimately aiming to win over
                                  "their side." This is the fundamental issue that makes them partisan and
                                  mercenary; their cultural sensitivity and subsequent ability to "lighten
                                  things up" (to make the war campaigns a little more culturally
                                  sensitive?) makes them no less so. In fact it makes the discipline
                                  itself sound fundamentally naive, at best, and duplicitous at worst, if
                                  we suggest that we are simply just "getting our hands a little dirty"
                                  while making peace somehow. Instead we are abandoning our integrity as a
                                  discipline, while making war.

                                  Brian

                                  ________________________________

                                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                                  behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                                  Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 7:09 PM
                                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                  In an ideal world, I would certainly agree that this adventure/disaster
                                  should not have started and nobody should be there.

                                  I do have to ask: A professional anthropologist in the AO (area of
                                  operations) might be able to keep soldiers (with a wide range of
                                  educational backgrounds and not much time to peruse the literature
                                  before going out on patrol) from pissing off people even more. They
                                  might do a better job of introducing things like vaccinations and
                                  pre-natal care. They might even keep some candidates from the
                                  Revitalization Movement Run Amok that motivates suicide
                                  bombers......Isn't protecting lives and enhancing quality of life with
                                  our skills worth risking dirtying our hands ?

                                  Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                                  CCC Metro TLC

                                  216-987-3584

                                  FAX:330-867-6375

                                  ________________________________

                                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>

                                  On Behalf
                                  Of Lynch, Brian M
                                  Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:54 PM
                                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>

                                  Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                  Ann,

                                  The anthropologists in this "human terrain project" (...even the very
                                  title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert
                                  combat uniforms, but also carry guns. And they are working on a side in
                                  a war. That is the bottom line. If you sign up to be a soldier, there is
                                  no question what your intentions are or whose "side you are on." Many of
                                  our community college students themselves are in this situation, in and
                                  out of service over decades, from on war situation to another. None of
                                  them pretends they are neutral and none of them is without an opinion
                                  about what they do. But also, none of them are part of a profession that
                                  has at its foundation a set of principles on which they need to build
                                  the trust and respect of any people with whom they work.

                                  As you will note in all of my own comments on this situation, I am not
                                  personally or professionally arguing for or against the merits of this
                                  and other wars as the basis for which anthropologists should or should
                                  not participate in any given project. I am making the point that taking
                                  the side in any such state-run military agenda is itself a formula for
                                  undermining the principles on which our discipline relies for its
                                  integrity and meaning. And it is amazing in the process to see how
                                  easily we can be drawn into the rationalization of such participation.

                                  I don't really think it is an apt argument that anthropologists help
                                  "our soldiers" become more "culturally sensitive," or that
                                  anthropologists might somehow make what you call "this mess" in Iraq (or
                                  anywhere else) "a little better." It is, as I have suggested before,
                                  "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology!" And
                                  I hardly think that we in the discipline should settle for such
                                  accomodation or rationalization.

                                  Brian

                                  ________________________________

                                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                                  behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                                  Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 4:00 PM
                                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                  I've been watching the arguments about anthropologists being attached to
                                  military units with VERY mixed feelings.

                                  Full disclosure: My husband is a disabled Iraq war vet. He enlisted
                                  prior to 9/11 of his own free will and swore "to defend the United
                                  States against all enemies, foreign and domestic". Not a word about
                                  making the world safe for Haliburton.

                                  He and the other ground pounders enlisted with the expectation that
                                  they would be called on to defend those who cannot defend themselves:
                                  prevent massacres in Bosnia, keep a lid on Kim Jong Il etc.

                                  It took them less than a month to realize that the invasion of
                                  Afghanistan was a mis-managed screw-up (They have more colorful terms,
                                  let me assure you). It took even less time to realize that the
                                  "mission" in Iraq was completely bogus and that the best they could hope
                                  for was to survive and get out.

                                  The ground troops remain and try to keep one another alive. Those that
                                  are well-led also try to protect the Iraqis in their areas that are not
                                  involved in the civil war that has developed. Those that have
                                  incompetent/dishonest NCOs and officers sometimes do things that range
                                  from culturally insensitive to homicidal and are a disgrace to their
                                  services and their country.

                                  Would it have been better if the US had not gone into Iraq? Almost
                                  certainly. Now that the mess exists can things be made at least a
                                  little better by having anthropologists around to try to increase
                                  cultural communication and minimize cross-cultural conflicts? Probably.
                                  The same thing applies to the medical personnel, water sanitation
                                  people, agricultural assistance folks etc.

                                  Does our presence increase the credibility of the invasion with much of
                                  anybody in the region? Debatable. The conventional wisdom among Iraq
                                  war vets was that 25% of the Iraqis had it really good under Saddam and
                                  won't care for Americans no matter what we do. 25% had it really bad
                                  under Saddam and are happy to have anything else. 25% are going to
                                  profiteer from the situation as long as possible. And 25% are just
                                  trying not to get their heads blown off.

                                  If we (anthropologists) decide not to dirty our reputations by being
                                  there will anybody but us care? Debatable.

                                  What is the "right" answer? We will probably never know for sure. But
                                  I really like that the discussion is going on.

                                  BTW: the anthropologists are almost certainly wearing "fatigues" (more
                                  correctly: Desert Combat Uniforms) for the same reason as everyone
                                  else: to keep from being a good target and getting shot!

                                  Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                                  CCC Metro TLC

                                  216-987-3584

                                  FAX:330-867-6375

                                  ________________________________

                                  From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>

                                  On Behalf
                                  Of Deborah Shepherd
                                  Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 3:10 PM
                                  To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                  Thank you, Monica and Ann. I've just put a note about this controversy
                                  on my faculty home page along with a permanent link to Shweder's op-ed
                                  piece.

                                  http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
                                  <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/ <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >

                                  Deborah

                                  >>> "Monica Bellas" <lady13wind@... <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                                  <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                                  <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com>
                                  <mailto:lady13wind%40hotmail.com> > 10/28/2007 8:42 PM >>>

                                  This op-ed piece reveals exactly what I was afraid of...having
                                  anthropologists allied with the occupying forces (and I object to this
                                  no
                                  matter WHO the occupying forces are) instructing the military leaders
                                  how to
                                  "conduct nonlethal missions." What, exactly, is the purpose for this?
                                  (And
                                  why the hell is an anthropologist wearing military fatigues?) If the
                                  Pentagon were really concerned with cultural relativism (and they're
                                  revealed countless times over the years that they're not), hell, if the
                                  administration in power (and again, WHATEVER administration is in power)

                                  were truly concerned with cultural relativism, they'd have consulted
                                  with
                                  anthropologists to gain a more nuanced view of other societies around
                                  the
                                  world. Their policies would be informed policies, not "go in and bomb
                                  the
                                  hell out of them and impose our governmental practices on them."
                                  I also wonder if the Network of Concerned Anthropologists is really
                                  anti-soldier. I have a sneaking suspicion it's more anti-manipulation of

                                  the anthropological field for colonialist purposes.
                                  FYI -- I watched the PBS show last Tuesday night about the escalation
                                  with
                                  Iran -- and was thoroughly shocked (but not surprised) to hear Richard
                                  Armitage state that the most ethnocentric people in the world live in
                                  Iran...talk about irony.
                                  Monica Bellas
                                  Cerritos College

                                  >From: "Popplestone, Ann" <ann.popplestone@... <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                                  <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                                  <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                                  <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                                  <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu>
                                  <mailto:ann.popplestone%40tri-c.edu> >
                                  >Reply-To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  >To: <sacc-l@yahoogroups.com <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com>
                                  <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:sacc-l%40yahoogroups.com> >
                                  >Subject: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology
                                  >Date: Sat, 27 Oct 2007 09:38:01 -0400
                                  >
                                  >October 27, 2007
                                  >
                                  >Op-Ed Contributor
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >A True Culture War
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >By RICHARD A. SHWEDER
                                  >
                                  >Chicago
                                  >
                                  >IS the Pentagon truly going to deploy an army of cultural relativists
                                  to
                                  >Muslim nations in an effort to make the world a safer place?
                                  >
                                  >A few weeks ago this newspaper reported on an experimental Pentagon
                                  >"human terrain" program to embed anthropologists in combat units in
                                  Iraq
                                  >and Afghanistan. It featured two military anthropologists: Tracy (last
                                  >name withheld), a cultural translator viewed by American paratroopers
                                  as
                                  >"a crucial new weapon" in counterinsurgency; and Montgomery McFate, who

                                  >has taken her Yale doctorate into active duty in a media blitz to
                                  >convince skeptical colleagues that the occupying forces should know
                                  more
                                  >about the local cultural scene.
                                  >
                                  >How have members of the anthropological profession reacted to the
                                  >Pentagon's new inclusion agenda? A group calling itself the Network of
                                  >Concerned Anthropologists has called for a boycott and asked faculty
                                  >members and students around the country to pledge not to contribute to
                                  >counterinsurgency efforts. Their logic is clear: America is engaged in
                                  a
                                  >brutal war of occupation; if you don't support the mission then you
                                  >shouldn't support the troops. Understandably these concerned scholars
                                  >don't want to make it easier for the American military to conquer or
                                  >pacify people who once trusted anthropologists. Nevertheless, I believe

                                  >the pledge campaign is a way of shooting oneself in the foot.
                                  >
                                  >Part of my thinking stems from an interview with Ms. McFate on NPR's
                                  >"Diane Rehm Show" to which I tried to listen with an open mind. My
                                  first
                                  >reaction was to feel let down. It turns out that the anthropologists
                                  are
                                  >not really doing anthropology at all, but are basically hired as
                                  >military tour guides to help counterinsurgency forces accomplish
                                  various
                                  >nonlethal missions.
                                  >
                                  >These anthropological "angels on the shoulder," as Ms. McFate put it,
                                  >offer global positioning advice as soldiers move through poorly
                                  >understood human terrain - telling them when not to cross their legs at

                                  >meetings, how to show respect to leaders, how to arrange a party. They
                                  >use their degrees in cultural anthropology to play the part of Emily
                                  >Post.
                                  >
                                  >More worrisome, it was revealed that Tracy, the mystery anthropologist,

                                  >wears a military uniform and carries a gun during her cultural
                                  >sensitivity missions. This brought to my increasingly skeptical mind
                                  the
                                  >unfortunate image of an angelic anthropologist perched on the shoulder
                                  >of a member of an American counterinsurgency unit who is kicking in the

                                  >door of someone's home in Iraq, while exclaiming, "Hi, we're here from
                                  >the government; we're here to understand you."
                                  >
                                  >Nevertheless the military voices on the show had their winning moments,

                                  >sounding like old-fashioned relativists, whose basic mission in life
                                  was
                                  >to counter ethnocentrism and disarm those possessed by a strident sense

                                  >of group superiority. Ms. McFate stressed her success at getting
                                  >American soldiers to stop making moral judgments about a local Afghan
                                  >cultural practice in which older men go off with younger boys on "love
                                  >Thursdays" and do some "hanky-panky." "Stop imposing your values on
                                  >others," was the message for the American soldiers. She was way beyond
                                  >"don't ask, don't tell," and I found it heartwarming.
                                  >
                                  >I began to imagine an occupying army of moral relativists, enforcing
                                  the
                                  >peace by drawing a lesson from the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans lasted
                                  a
                                  >much longer time than the British Empire in part because they had a
                                  >brilliant counterinsurgency strategy. They did not try to impose their
                                  >values on others. Instead, they made room - their famous "millet
                                  system"
                                  >- for cultural pluralism, leaving each ethnic and religious group to
                                  >control its own territory and at liberty to carry forward its
                                  >distinctive way of life.
                                  >
                                  >When the American Anthropological Association holds its annual
                                  >convention in November in Washington, I expect it to become a forum for

                                  >heated expression of political and moral opposition to the war, to the
                                  >Bush administration, to capitalism, to neo-colonialism, and to the
                                  >corrupting influence of the Pentagon and the C.I.A. on professional
                                  >ethics.
                                  >
                                  >Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to support a profession-wide
                                  >military boycott or a public counter-counterinsurgency loyalty oath.
                                  And
                                  >I think it would be unwise for the American Anthropological Association

                                  >to do so at this time.
                                  >
                                  >The real issue for academic anthropologists is not whether the military

                                  >should know more rather than less about other ways of life - of course
                                  >it should know more. The real issue is how our profession is going to
                                  >begin to play a far more significant educational role in the
                                  formulation
                                  >of foreign policy, in the hope that anthropologists won't have to
                                  answer
                                  >some patriotic call late in a sad day to become an armed angel riding
                                  >the shoulder of a misguided American warrior.
                                  >
                                  >Richard A. Shweder, an anthropologist and professor of comparative
                                  human
                                  >development at the University of Chicago, is the author of "Thinking
                                  >Through Cultures."
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA
                                  >
                                  >CCC Metro TLC
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >216-987-3584
                                  >
                                  >FAX:330-867-6375
                                  >
                                  >
                                  >

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                                • Lynch, Brian M
                                  Mark, It sounds like: Ah! We re all sullied by the threads that tie us to the system, so what difference does it make if we plant ourselves in one spot or
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Oct 31, 2007
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Mark,



                                    It sounds like: "Ah! We're all sullied by the threads that tie us to the
                                    system, so what difference does it make if we plant ourselves in one
                                    spot or another?" The ultimate in postmodern relativity. I hear
                                    Blackwater might be looking for cultural sensitivity training. Who's to
                                    say it wouldn't be an effective place for anthropologists? Then there
                                    is "Plan Colombia" where we use a mercenary army to "eradicate" coca
                                    fields in Colombia (along with food crops, and health-challenged people
                                    who can't tolerate a dose of RoundUP). I am sure that the CIA could
                                    use a few good anthropological minds to help psych out (or anthro-out)
                                    the "detainees" in Guantanamo, to keep them from committing suicide;
                                    that might be a good way to offer some help, to make their stay a little
                                    less unpleasant. We all have dirty hands, so its all relative, right?





                                    It is amazing to me that in the 21st century we as a discipline could
                                    have reached the point of such an accommodation with state sponsored war
                                    making.



                                    And to think that some of my SACC colleagues got a bit unsettled that as
                                    an anthropologist I have been engaged in professional Learning Outcomes
                                    Assessment.



                                    Brian







                                    ________________________________

                                    From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
                                    Of Mark Lewine
                                    Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 7:11 AM
                                    To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology



                                    Brian,
                                    What I am suggesting is that when I do use the "anthropological
                                    perspective" now, I see false dichotomies and superficial dualities in
                                    'good vs. evil' doctrines by either the Muslim Taliban or the American
                                    Taliban leading to Crusader-invasions (these are not wars) true. But I
                                    also see dangerous dichotomies and dualities in our thinking when we see
                                    "good" academics pretending that we are separating ourselves from the
                                    corporate context that drives our government and globalism and military
                                    contracts when we are in fact part of the enterprise just in more hidden
                                    subtle ways. We are 'embedded' in our political economy and are turning
                                    a blind eye to corporate colleges that we work for every day that are
                                    party to the system as are we. So, not wearing a uniform does not make
                                    us "good" and abstracted from involvement. What we do need is more
                                    engagement in these discussions and transparency encouraged by our
                                    profession. Then we can help each other make! better case by case
                                    ethical decisions.
                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    From: Lynch, Brian M
                                    To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 12:01 PM
                                    Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                    Mark,
                                    So we either support anthropological participation with state sponsored
                                    warmaking, or we are abstracted professionals maintaining a false sense
                                    of aloof objectivity while the world turns. This is how 21st century
                                    anthropology rationalizes its contemporary co-opting by dominant
                                    political forces, under the banner of postmodern "action" ?

                                    "The emporer has no clothes." This is warmaking. It is a warmaking
                                    agenda in which anthropologists have rationalized their participation
                                    (desert fatigues, guns and all). It turns the values of "cultural
                                    sensitivity" into a suite of weapons of war. It is "warfare lite,
                                    brought to you through the wonders of anthropology."

                                    Brian

                                    ________________________________

                                    From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                                    behalf of Lewine, Mark
                                    Sent: Tue 10/30/2007 11:30 AM
                                    To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                    As Ann Popplestone shared her experiential context of her husband having
                                    served and being injured requiring serious surgery, I also have altered
                                    my views having dealt with a close friend returning from combat, wounded
                                    and sharing his experiences. We all have perspectives that are
                                    constructed by our social experience and we are not just some kind of
                                    abstracted professional maintaining a false sense of aloof objectivity
                                    while the world turns. I thought that we were indeed in a postmodern
                                    world with a profession, anthropology, that realizes that engaging in
                                    embedded fieldwork requires a complex strategic plan of ACTION that
                                    limits our impact but never pretends that we are not involved in a
                                    living, changing community. Do you really think that an anthropologist
                                    embedded in fieldwork within a Nazi or Khmer Rouge dominated community
                                    could avoid making choices to help save lives and limbs?? Do we simply
                                    ignore doing fieldwork in areas under conflict because we would "get our
                                    ethical hands dirty"? (which is obviously what Ann meant) I quit a
                                    consultant firm during Viet Nam because we were asked to set up a Race
                                    Relations program for the Defense Department, which my partners
                                    eventually did. Instead, I took a job at a community college. Believe
                                    me, the state of Ohio contract that I work under does more ethical harm
                                    to my professional soul than Admiral Zumwalt's excellent Race Relations
                                    program. Was I right to not work to make soldiers less racist and thus
                                    more efficient killers? (my reasoning at the time) I now do not think
                                    so.

                                    ________________________________

                                    From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> [mailto:SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
                                    <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> ]
                                    On Behalf
                                    Of Lynch, Brian M
                                    Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 4:26 AM
                                    To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                    Such anthropologists are engaged not simply in "dirtying their hands"
                                    while doing good things in a culturally informed way; they are serving
                                    the strategies, tactics and ultimate goals of a side in a war. They are
                                    helping to fight a war. They aren't with a group of blue-helmeted
                                    peacekeepers, but with "our side" that is ultimately aiming to win over
                                    "their side." This is the fundamental issue that makes them partisan and
                                    mercenary; their cultural sensitivity and subsequent ability to "lighten
                                    things up" (to make the war campaigns a little more culturally
                                    sensitive?) makes them no less so. In fact it makes the discipline
                                    itself sound fundamentally naive, at best, and duplicitous at worst, if
                                    we suggest that we are simply just "getting our hands a little dirty"
                                    while making peace somehow. Instead we are abandoning our integrity as a
                                    discipline, while making war.

                                    Brian

                                    ________________________________

                                    From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> on
                                    behalf of Popplestone, Ann
                                    Sent: Mon 10/29/2007 7:09 PM
                                    To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                    In an ideal world, I would certainly agree that this adventure/disaster
                                    should not have started and nobody should be there.

                                    I do have to ask: A professional anthropologist in the AO (area of
                                    operations) might be able to keep soldiers (with a wide range of
                                    educational backgrounds and not much time to peruse the literature
                                    before going out on patrol) from pissing off people even more. They
                                    might do a better job of introducing things like vaccinations and
                                    pre-natal care. They might even keep some candidates from the
                                    Revitalization Movement Run Amok that motivates suicide
                                    bombers......Isn't protecting lives and enhancing quality of life with
                                    our skills worth risking dirtying our hands ?

                                    Ann Popplestone AAB, BA, MA

                                    CCC Metro TLC

                                    216-987-3584

                                    FAX:330-867-6375

                                    ________________________________

                                    From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>

                                    On Behalf
                                    Of Lynch, Brian M
                                    Sent: Monday, October 29, 2007 6:54 PM
                                    To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>
                                    <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com> <mailto:SACC-L%40yahoogroups.com>

                                    Subject: RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

                                    Ann,

                                    The anthropologists in this "human terrain project" (...even the very
                                    title should grate on our professional nerves!) not only wear desert
                                    combat uniforms, but also carry guns. And they are working on a side in
                                    a war. That is the bottom line. If you sign up to be a soldier, there is
                                    no question what your intentions are or whose "side you are on." Many of
                                    our community college students themselves are in this situation, in and
                                    out of service over decades, from on war situation to another. None of
                                    them pretends they are neutral and none of them is without an opinion
                                    about what they do. But also, none of them are part of a profession that
                                    has at its foundation a set of principles on which they need to build
                                    the trust and respect of any people with whom they work.

                                    As you will note in all of my own comments on this situation, I am not
                                    personally or professionally arguing for or against the merits of this
                                    and other wars as the basis for which anthropologists should or should
                                    not participate in any given project. I am making the point that taking
                                    the side in any such state-run military agenda is itself a formula for
                                    undermining the principles on which our discipline relies for its
                                    integrity and meaning. And it is amazing in the process to see how
                                    easily we can be drawn into the rationalization of such participation.

                                    I don't really think it is an apt argument that anthropologists help
                                    "our soldiers" become more "culturally sensitive," or that
                                    anthropologists might somehow make what you call "this mess" in Iraq (or
                                    anywhere else) "a little better." It is, as I have suggested before,
                                    "warfare lite, brought to you through the wonders of anthropology!" And
                                    I hardly think that we in the discipline should settle for such
                                    accomodation or rationalization.

                                    Brian

                                    ________________________________







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