Following on Strong’s investigations into the suspect ethical issues surrounding the human subjects protection, a new article by David Price posted at Counterpunch adds fuel to our ever growing bonfire of the venalities here at Savage Minds. Price’s jauntily written expose reveals the extensive plagiarism of the Petraus’ Counterinsurgency Manual.
The piece has a rather long list of compared passages that demonstrate more or less word for word cutting and pasting of a sort that makes even my most dim-witted undergraduate plagiarists look crafty. The implication drawn by Price is that McFate and Kilcullen are also at fault given their contributions, as well as the University of Chicago Press whose rapid publication of the Counter-Insurgency manual as a kind of coffee-table-cum-9/11 report offering was accomplished in about 6 months, a “blitzkrieg requiring a serious focus of will.”
A feature of the article that bears more discussion here, is the way in which Price points to the Counter-insurgency manual as a piece of PR designed to calm growing domestic concern about the disastrous course of the Iraq war. To my mind, if it is true that all this focus on anthropology is primarily a PR game, then the accusations of unethical research and scholarship hold less weight. If it is PR, then it seems we should not be taking it seriously, and holding it to standards designed for real scholarly research seems pedantic. However if the accusations of unethical research practices and scholarship are to stick, than are we not being asked to give the whole HTS circus more credit than it deserves? How can we have this cake and eat it too, wonders me.