November 28, 2007, - 11:52 am

Margaret Mead Wannabes Whine Over “Ethics” of Embedding with Troops, Condemn U.S. Soldiers’ “Denial of Human Rights, . . . Undemocratic Principles”

By Debbie Schlussel
Hmmm . . . left-wingers who study how many times someone ate drivel from broken, ugly pottery for a living (or in Margaret Mead’s case, make up whole stories about Samoan girls’ sex lives) are upset that some anthropologists are embedding with our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. It’s called the “Human Terrain System Project (HTS).” Gee, I can’t think of a more pretentious or absurd name for people who study such important matters as how many times someone drank through a straw in Mesopotamia or blew their nose in ancient Alexandria.
No biggie that you taxpayers are paying $60 million plus for these whiners. Going on these trips is “unethical” according to the American Anthropological Association (AAA–the Automotive AAA ought to sue for embarrassing the acronym). Supposedly, they teach troops local tribal customs that could make their jobs easier and risks lower.


Broken Pottery Academics Hate America

But the organized anthropoligist community says that they are worried they “could be viewed as gathering intelligence for the U.S. military.” Horror of horrors. I mean, why should America actually get something back for wasting gazillions on these ungrateful lefties, of whom I’d bet more than 80% voted for John Kerry or someone like Lyndon LaRouche (if he ran last time–he is running this time)?.
The AAA released a statement attacking the program. It includes such patriotic pronouncements as this:

[A]nthropologists may have responsibilities to their U.S. military units in war zones that conflict with their obligations to the persons they study or consult, specifically the obligation, stipulated in the AAA Code of Ethics, to do no harm to those they study. . . .
As members of the HTS [DS: Human Terrain System Project] teams, anthropologists provide information and counsel to U.S. military field commanders. This poses a risk that information provided by HTS anthropologists could be used to make decisions about identifying and selecting specific populations as targets of U.S. military operations either in the short or long term. Any such use of fieldwork-derived information would violate the stipulations in the AAA Code of Ethics that those studied not be harmed.

Yes, if anthropologists are studying terrorists, they must take the side of the terrorists against America’s soldiers. Anything less would be unethical for these ancient-garbage-sniffers.
More anthropological patriotism:

Thus the Executive Board [DS: of the AAA] expresses its disapproval of the HTS program.
In the context of a war that is widely recognized as a denial of human rights and based on faulty intelligence and undemocratic principles, the Executive Board sees the HTS project as a problematic application of anthropological expertise, most specifically on ethical grounds. We have grave concerns about the involvement of anthropological knowledge and skill in the HTS project. The Executive Board views the HTS project as an unacceptable application of anthropological expertise.

Translation: F-U America. We don’t want to help you with our ancient-dumpster-diving expertise. We hope you lose. You soldiers are denying human rights of terrorists and, by instituting free elections, are following “undemocratic” principles.
These anthropologists are disgusting. Why the heck are we bringing these people to Iraq and Afghanistan at the cost of millions to taxpayers? Send them to the Arizona desert, instead, so they can “anthropologize” the garbage and lifestyles of illegal aliens crossing the border and the rattlesnakes who cohabitate with them.
More from USA Today:

A simmering academic debate over the ethics of a program that embeds anthropologists and other social scientists with troops in Iraq and Afghanistan could come to a boil Wednesday at the annual meeting of the 10,900-member American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C.
The effort, dubbed the Human Terrain System, has since last year sent six five-person teams, including one anthropologist per team, to help commanders understand tribal customs and better navigate these war-torn areas. Anthropologists study human social practices and cultures. The teams are dressed in military uniform and often carry guns.
Military officials say the initial $20 million program has helped reduce the need for force. Now, the plan is to deploy such teams to each of 26 American combat brigades in Iraq and Afghanistan, at a cost of an additional $40 million.
The executive board of the anthropologists group has come out opposing the program; its statement notes in part that working as military contractors in a war zone “places a significant constraint” on anthropologists’ ability to fulfill their ethical responsibility “to disclose who they are and what they are doing” and “to do no harm to those they study.”
Anthropologist Montgomery McFate, a senior adviser to the project, holds that improved understanding of local customs will help avoid use of military force. “We’re trying to . . . help them understand other ways of interacting, such as negotiation and reconciliation,” she says.
But anthropologist Roberto Gonzalez of San Jose State University in California says academics could be viewed as gathering intelligence for the U.S. military.
“If they get the reputation of being tools of the military, it puts all of us under a cloak of suspicion,” he says. He has co-founded the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, which wants anthropologists to boycott such field work.
“The debate has been a real sign of vibrancy and the seriousness with which we take anthropology and the growing importance of anthropological field work,” says Alan Goodman, president of the anthropologists group and a professor at Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass.
An ad hoc committee today will present a report on the engagement of anthropology with the U.S. security and intelligence communities, but chairman Jim Peacock of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill says the report was essentially finished before the current controversy erupted.

These people teach at universities that get federal subsidies, which directly or indirectly subsidize their salaries. And many of them get federal grants to do studies. Since they don’t want to help our country, why should we pay their wages?
Like I said, let them study the Arizona rattlers. It’s no coincidence that “anthropologist” contains all the necessary letters for “apologist.”

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6 Responses

What a load of crap! Who the hell are these institutional nit-wits to lecture the military, the federal government, the hand(s) that feed them, let alone, ANYONE on how to conduct Foreign Policy for their international gypsy caravan of dumpster diving?!

Yiddish Steel on November 28, 2007 at 1:34 pm

‘Understand tribal customs’? Is that like why do the Iraqis kill each other over anything and everything? I know it’s not easy to do, but maybe it IS time to start the pullout when we are there protecting teachers studying ‘tribal customs’ among murdering tribal thugs.

countywolf on November 28, 2007 at 2:52 pm

“Gee, I can’t think of a more pretentious or absurd name for people who study such important matters as how many times someone drank through a straw in Mesopotamia or blew their nose in ancient Alexandria.”

travis on November 28, 2007 at 4:08 pm

“…We suggest that America set up a fund of, say, $750 million, or three days’ cost of the war, to be administered by an ad-hoc committee drawn from the Iraqi National Museum of Antiquities or the State Board of Antiquities and Heritage, the British Museum, the World Monuments Fund, the Smithsonian Institution, and what is perhaps America’s most prestigious archaeological organization, the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, to assist in the restoration of sites American troops have damaged. We should not wish to go down in history as yet another barbarian invader of the land long referred to as the cradle of civilization…”

dm60462 on November 28, 2007 at 8:14 pm

Commanders on the scene seem to feel that the HTP program is worthwhile: on November 28, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Debbie, the anthropologists who are working with the U.S. military and the anthropologists who are whining and handwringing about it are not one and the same. Stop tarring everyone with the same brush. You make your contempt for the whole field of anthropology abundanatly clear, but that does not excuse your total lack of logic.
To the anthropologists working with the Americans in Iraq despite the paranoid invective of some of their rabid left-winger colleagues, I say, good on them. Responsible academics and professionals who still believe in academic freedom and individual choice need to say “F U” to all those idiotic proscriptions from these associations of failed academic careerists and 1960s dinosaurs every chance they can get.

angloirishslav on November 29, 2007 at 6:58 pm

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