More on War

Readers of SM who have followed the many discussions here about the role of anthropologists and anthropological knowledge in war (including the Iraq war) will be especially interested in the June 2007 issue of Anthropology Today.


The Editors write: “Everyone supports non-partisan use of academic research for ‘humanity’s sake’. However, since anthropologists cannot research without first gaining and then retaining the trust of the peoples they engage with in the course of fieldwork throughout the world, in open and willing long-lasting relationships, partisan deployment of our research in war constitutes a potentially life-threatening development for the peoples we befriend, for ourselves, our students, our profession and for our family and colleagues. As part of an ongoing engagement with how our research, and that of other social and behavioural sciences, is being appropriated in war, this issue of ANTHROPOLOGY TODAY features discussions on their use in two areas of warfare, with contributions on counterinsurgency, by Roberto González, David Kilcullen and Montgomery McFate, and unwitting input into interrogation techniques, by David Price.”

One thought on “More on War

  1. My copy finally came. Roberto Gonzalez’s article on McFate and Kilcullen’s authorship of portions of the military’s Counterinsurgency Field Manual scares the hell out of me, but when added to the first installment of the piece on anthropological contributions to the CIA’s torture manual, I have to wonder how anthropologists see themselves as political actors. What ever happened to those anti-war, anti-torture propositions passed by the AAA members at the business meeting and then sent to the members?

    Gonzalez’s claims are very serious. That McFate and Kilcullen not only did not deny any of Gonzalez’s claims, but so brashly justified their use of anthropology to assist in the invasion, killings and occupation of Iraq should be condemned by individual anthropologists and groups like the AAA.

    I’m going back to the field in a few weeks and I’m increasingly worried that McFate and Kicullen are going to get me kidnapped and murdered in their efforts to help Bush establish global hegemony.

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