Human Terrain: Sexual Harassment, Racism, Malfeasance. ‘Next up: Expansion.’

USA Today quotes anthropologists Hugh Gusterson and Brian Ferguson in a long-ish article tied to the forthcoming publication of a National Defense University (a Pentagon affiliated think tank) report on HTS.  Gusterson:

It’s another example of a military program that makes money for a contractor while greatly exaggerating its military utility. The program recruited the human flotsam and jetsam of the discipline and pretended it was recruiting the best. Treating taxpayer money as if it were water, it paid under-qualified 20-something anthropologists more than even Harvard professors. And it treated our ethics code as a nuisance to be ignored.

The article mentions many of the failings of the program, from allegations of sexual harassment and racial discrimination to padded time-sheets and wasted funds.  Noting the USA Today article, Zero Anthropology collates a series of documents related to investigations into HTS here.

2 thoughts on “Human Terrain: Sexual Harassment, Racism, Malfeasance. ‘Next up: Expansion.’

  1. Would that program have been more effective if “top” graduates of “top” soc anth programs been hired, or had the employees just been “more qualified”? If so, why or how? How can one be better qualified for a program that was doomed to fail?

    Taxpayer money is treated like water in all government programs – spending other people’s money is easy, the costs are so low as too be irrelevant for an individual.

    As for the sexual harrassment and racial discrimination, really? Killing people isn’t even mentioned, but god forbid if we cross race, sex and class boundaries!?

  2. Have McFate’s claims about her Belfast fieldwork ever been independently verified?

    I find it hard to believe that she was able to have the close relationship with both PIRA and the British Army that she has (IIRC) frequently implied.

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