Tag Archives: plunder

Letters from the Front

Just some quick pointers to various military-related materials around the Web.

1147444_bleak_iFirst, Roberto Gonzalez sent me this link to a BBC Radio 4 show on the embedding of anthropologists in military units in Iraq and Afghanistan. The show features Gonzalez, Michael Gilsenan, Hugh Gusterson, Montgomery McFate, Marcus Griffin, and others. Listen quickly, as it appears to only be posted until the end of April.

Next up, Laura Nader speaks about her recent book (with Ugo Mattei) Plunder: When the Rule of Law is Illegal. Any opportunity to hear Nader bring her tremendous mind to bear on the issues that define our lives is not to be missed!

Finally, from the Wired Danger Room comes this odd report about the military’s efforts to reproduce anthropological analysis using computer modeling. Now, I’ve been pretty dismissive of the military’s ability to grapple with the implications of anthropology – there is, I firmly believe (and find borne out over and over in the historical record) a fundamental disconnect between the logic of military action and the logic of anthropological practice. But even I’m a little shocked (and a little amused…) by the justification given for looking into the use of computerized behavioral modeling:

More intriguing about this proposal, however, is the reasoning for why virtual anthros may be better than the real thing: “Today in DoD, this analysis is conducted by anthropological experts, known to carry their own bias, which often leads to faulty recommendations and inaccurate behavioral forecasting.”

Let me know how that works out for ya, guys.