Recent news reports relayed the experience and perspective of anthropologists working with
Isn't it more of an occupation by a few countries, primarily by one country, of
As you all know, if you look at the rationale for invading
Historically, the role of anthropologists working with governments in times of conflict, particulary the U.S. government or military (Southeast Asia) or the British colonial authorities, has been critized for its moral contradictions, contributions to furthering imperialist (anthropology, the handmaiden of colonialism), geopolitical, and even now neoconservative agendas, and further oppression of indigenous populations.
Now you can criticize me for being too general and you can cite individual contributions or local instances of good works by embedded anthropologists.
Fine, but we go back to the primary question:
If there was no war, invasion, or occupation, would there be a need for anthropologists embedded in the military?
Anthropologists working for the military imply engagement with the military as an institution. The operative word is engagement. The end goal of the anthropologist should be to influence policy, vision, goals, objectives of the institution. Are anthropologist really in a position to do so?
On the other hand, if you are for the war/occupation, say so, and go help the military and accept the consequences of your actions.
If you are against the war/occupation, then your work as an anthropologist should be towards ending it, not rationalizing or making warfare "more human" or even anthropologizing the military. A more human war is an oxymoron term.
My last point is this. As some of my cohort/batchmates like to remind one another, these are historical times. Prior to the Nov. 2006 U.S. Congressional elections when Democrats regained Congress, there were several instances when anthropologists among many other disciplines should have stood up and spoken against the Iraq invasion, the attacks on scientific integrity, the cooptation of regulatory agencies, the increased social exclusion and income inequality, the distortions of the immigration issue, Katrina, even the 2004 AAA fiasco, etc. Many did speak up and acted, but many more did not. The silence was deafening.
By 2008, there will probably be a Democrat President and it will be easier to speak up against what is morally wrong. But don't you think it was better to have spoken during the 'dark' times rather than when it is safe to do so?
From the Network of Concerned Anthropologists
Roberto J. González (2007). "We Must Fight the Militarization of Anthropology." Chronicle of Higher Education, February 2. (Download at gonzalez-militarization.doc.)
Sharon Weinberger (2007). "When Anthropologists Go To War (Against the Military)." Danger Room-Wired Blog, September 19. (Access at http://blog.wired.com/defense/2007/09/when-anthropolo.html.)
Scott Peterson (2007). "US Army's Strategy in
Roberto J. González and David H. Price (2007). "When Anthropologists Become Counter-Insurgents." CounterPunch, September 28. (Access at http://counterpunch.org/gonzalez09272007.html.)
Hugh Gusterson and David Price (2005). "Spies in Our Midst." Anthropology News, September. (Access at http://www.aaanet.org/press/an/infocus/prisp/gusterson.htm.)
Roberto J. González (2007). "Towards Mercenary Anthropology? US Counterinsurgency Field Manual 3-24 and the Military-Anthropology Complex." (Access at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/anth/23/3.)
Kilcullen, David (2007). "Ethics, Politics, and Non-State Warfare: A Response to González." Anthropology Today vol. 23, no. 3. (Access at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/anth/23/3.)
David Glenn (2007). "Petitioners Urge Anthropologists to Stop Working with Pentagon in
Boas, Franz (1919). "Scientists as Spies." The Nation, October 16. Reprinted in Roberto J. González, ed. (2004) Anthropologists in the Public Sphere, pp. 23-25 .
David H. Price (2004). "'Like Slaves': Anthropological Notes on Occupation." CounterPunch, January 6. (Access at http://www.counterpunch.org/price01062004.html.)
David H. Price (2002). "Present Dangers, Past Wars, Future Anthropologies." Anthropology Today 18(1). (Access at http://homepages.stmartin.edu/fac_staff/dprice/price-at1.pdf.)
David H. Price (2007). "Anthropology and the Wages of Secrecy." Anthropology News, March. (Access at http://www.anthrosource.net/doi/abs/10.1525/an.2007.48.3.6.)
David H. Price (2002). "Lessons from Second World War Anthropology: Peripheral, Persuasive, and Ignored Contributions." Anthropology Todayhttp://homepages.stmartin.edu/fac_staff/dprice/price-at-6-02-WWII.pdf.) 18(3). (Access at
David H. Price (2007). "Buying a Piece of Anthropology, Part I: Human Ecology and Unwitting Anthropological Research for the CIA." Anthropology Today, vol. 23, no. 3. Access at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/anth/23/3
David H. Price (2007). "Buying a Piece of Anthropology, Part II: The CIA and Our Tortured Past." Anthropology Today, vol. 23, no. 5. (Access at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/anth/23/5
Roberto J. González (2007). "Patai and Abu Ghraib." Anthropology Today, vol. 23, no. 5 (Access at http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/toc/anth/23/5
Scott Canon (2007). "Anthropologists Debate Ethics of Working on War Effort."
David Rohde (2007). "Army Enlists Anthropologists in War Zones." New York Times, p. A1. Access here