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RE: [SACC-L] NYT on embedded anthropology

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  • 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 1 of 16 , Oct 30, 2007
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      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/> >
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      <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/
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      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > > >
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      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/>
      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
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      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> > >
      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/
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      <http://webs.anokaramsey.edu/shepherd/> >
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      <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 2 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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        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • 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 3 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
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >

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          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • 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 4 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 5 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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