Human Terrain Teams Back In The News

I’m channeling my inner Coturnix and Greg Laden for this and the following posts.
Wired Magazine has an article on Montgomery McFate and the Human Terrain Teams and is promising more stories on the subject later in the week. I’ve already given my opinion on the subject, but it would be interesting to see if the article changes any minds…

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3 Responses

  1. (disclaimer – I did not read your previous view so I don’t know what it is. This is a generic comment based on my experience with left wingbats vs. right wingbats)
    Well – ya can’t have it both ways. One of the biggest criticisms of Dubya is that he went into Iraq (ignoring, for the moment, the illegality of the war) with a plan to win the war but not the peace. The war, as I recall it, was won within two or three weeks. The peace has been an ongoing conflict. Many on the left have been critical of the military (as have I) for being far too willing to shoot and not willing enough to think or understand the nature of the people they are destroying. So, this lady wants to add that ability to ground troops and she is vilified as a traitor? To anthropology? Without people like her, just HOW is the military to gain any respect for any tactics other than bullets? But, the whine is, she is using anthropology and sociology to aid our goals in WARS…. Yea? So? Wasn’t that your complaint? That armies are just…too military? Even though this is an evil, illegal and pointless war, did you think we ought to lose it? Do you not believe we should use every means at our command to lessen the danger to our troops and reduce the killing?
    In many ways the left wing is just as schizoid as the right wing is paranoid.

  2. Oldfart: how precisely does one ‘win’ a peace in a foreign country? How would you define ‘losing’ the war? What do you think the US should get out of their involvement in Iraq? Or do you think the aim of the war should be more altruistic, for the good of the Iraqi people?
    From the linked article:

    “Eventually the specialists began to suggest ways to sway the local population’s support away from insurgents and militias and toward the U.S.-backed government. That didn’t mean some squishy, hearts-and-minds campaign. It meant diving into Iraq’s kaleidoscopic power politics. In Baghdad’s notorious Sadr City slum, U.S. commanders were trying to win over the neighborhood’s power players with lucrative construction contracts.”

    I can’t see how playing power politics and bribery really helps to rebuild Iraq. It seems to me like the anthropology is being used to find ways of losing as few people as possible whilst staying in Iraq…but never gives a reason why it’s constructive to stay.

  3. I agree with you. I do not subscribe to Bush’s plan to export an American (or any other) version of Democracy to the Middle East anymore than I agreed with the Soviet plan to export Communism. However, we are there. Whoever wins this election, we won’t be leaving soon. Bush made sure of that. And, if input from Anthropologists and Sociologists can help reduce the level of violence and (possibly) lead to better conditions and more self-government for the Iraqis, SO MUCH THE BETTER.

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