SECRETARY OF STATE JOHN KERRY TODAY MET BRIEFLY WITH CELEBRITY IN CHIEF BARRY O.
EMERGING FROM THE OVAL OFFICE IN A GAS MASK AND HAZMAT SUIT, KERRY DECLARED, "NEEDLESS TO SAY, ONE MEETING AND A CHANGE IN TONE, WHICH WAS WELCOME, DOESN'T ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS YET AND THERE IS A LOT OF WORK TO BE DONE."
JUST AS THE WORLD COLLECTIVELY SIGHED IN RELIEF THAT AN ATTACK ON THE WHITE HOUSE AND ON THE FARTER IN CHIEF HAD BEEN AVERTED, BARRY O LET A LOUD ONE RIP.
KERRY LEPT ON THE PRESS SCREAMING, "EVERYBODY DOWN!"
EMERGING FROM THE OVAL OFFICE, A SHEEPISH BARRY O DECLARED, "SORRY FOLKS. HAD ENCHILADAS OUT OF A CAN LAST NIGHT AT MIDNIGHT."
FROM THE TCI WIRE:
Cultural betrayal cannot be supported by the world community. But it has been. In the US, there has been a strong reluctance to call out the abuse of the social sciences by the US government. We're talking about the military's Human Terrain System which maintains its mission is:
The Human Terrain System develops, trains, and integrates a social science based research and analysis capability to support operationally relevant decision-making, to develop a knowledge base, and to enable sociocultural understanding across the operational environment.
No, what they did was war on a native people, they are the trash betraying their training and their field, bringing dishonor to academia. Tom Hayden's called this out and David Price has repeatedly. We first called it out in December of 2006 (see "When Dumb Ass met Dumb Ass").
The field of anthropology is not to learn about a people in order to attack and harm them. To participate in counter-insurgency should result in someone losing their professional accreditation. Instead, the only 'harm' has been one woman telling George Packer that her work has resulted in her being shunned at cocktail parties.
Tom Hayden noted:
The new doctrine was jointly developed with academics at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard. The Carr Center's Sarah Sewell, a former Pentagon official, co-sponsored with Petraeus the official "doctrine revision workshop" that produced the new Army-Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual [U.S. Army Field Manual No. 3-24, Marine Corps Warfighting Publication No. 3-33.5, 2007]. The workshop was held at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, onFeb. 23-24, 2006, and can be accessed here.
This is not an academic text but, in the Marine Corps' title, a "warfighting doctrine", complete with hundreds of recommendations ranging from how to "clear, hold and build", how to use secret agents in calling in air strikes, even advice on public speaking ["avoid pacing, writing on the blackboard, teetering on the lectern, drinking beverages, or doing any other distracting activity while the interpreter is translating."
The new counter-insurgency approach purports to be more civilized and humane than conventional kinetic war. It seeks to save the population ["winning hearts and minds"] from the insurgents. It attempts to minimize civilian casualties and avoid torture of detainees. It promotes social programs. These no doubt were the attractions of the collaboration for Harvard's "humanitarian hawks". The introduction to the Manual is thoughtful and balanced, even raising questions whether the effort can work at all. She tastefully avoids any references to the brutal though targeted suppression necessary for the mission to succeed, [. . .]
Again, David Price (Concerned Anthropologists) has repeatedly called this betrayal out. Here is one example of him doing so at CounterPunch in 2009:
Like a mad scientist’s slime monster that will not die in a 1950s B Movie, the Human Terrain System’s counterinsurgency teams not only somehow remains alive in the face of extensive devastating criticism, but the program’s existence remains firmly publicly boosted by a seemingly endless series of uncritical mainstream news and features stories that frame the program as America’s last best hope to win the hearts and minds of the occupied peoples of Iraq and increasingly Afghanistan. If this were a B monster movie, such prolonged survival would be due to remarkable adaptive abilities, but Human Terrain has no such extraordinary power; its success has been guaranteed by the support it receives from the corporate media as it fawns over HTS in a flurry of glowing formulaic profiles ignoring the program’s fatal flaws. If this were a 1950’s B monster movie, this situation would like finding those we depend on to open fire on the monster shooting blanks (and feeding it table scraps) while abundant cases of live ammo lay at their feet.
The Human Terrain program embeds social scientists, such as anthropologists, with troops operating in battle theatre settings as members of Human Terrain Teams. These teams are part of counterinsurgency operations designed provide military personnel with cultural information that will help inform troop activities in areas of occupation. Since the first public acknowledgement of HTS two and a half years ago, it has been criticized by anthropologists for betraying fundamental principles of anthropological ethics, as being politically aligned with neo-colonialism, and as being ineffective in meeting its claimed outcomes. For the most part, the mainstream media has acted as cheerleaders for the program by producing a seemingly endless series of uncritical features highlighting what they frame as kind hearted individuals trying to use their knowledge of culture to save lives; while misrepresenting the reasons and extent of criticism of the Human Terrain program.
Slowly, criticism has somewhat emerged in the press this year. In February, Tom Vanden Brook (USA Today) reported US House Rep Duncan Hunter was calling out the program in a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh, maintaining that the military had lost control of the program and was unable to effectively oversee it. Also in February, Tom Vanden Brooks reported:
A 2010 Army investigation shows the program was plagued by severe problems, including:
- Team members were encouraged to maximize their pay and comp time by inflating time sheets.
- Allegations of sexual harassment and racism were made against the government contractors who recruited and trained Human Terrain teams and a soldier who worked in the program.
- The program relied on unaccountable contractors and inadequate government oversight.
And many commanders deemed worthless — or worse — the reports the teams produced. In one case, the commander of a brigade combat team in Iraq told the Army investigator that he "relied very little on his (Human Terrain team) and viewed them as incapable and of little value. He never looked at his team's products and believed their survey efforts actually created anxiety among the local Iraqi populace."
[. . .]
In one case, a team member with military experience made a statement under oath that the training staff at Fort Leavenworth was overwhelmed and that problems, including sexual harassment, flowed from bad leadership.
"Teams were hurriedly deployed to Iraq and subsequently without exception failed either as a team or in the quality of the product delivered," the statement said. "This atmosphere was reflected in the staff's struggles in dealing with the continuous deluge of unqualified students and severe personnel issues. ... This gross lack of leadership and oversight sowed the seeds for the chaos and malfeasance to come."
One of those leaders, according to the statement, was "one of the worst misogynists I have ever encountered in my career." Sexual innuendo was commonplace, the official wrote. "One woman upon giving (the trainer) a goodbye hug and peck on the cheek received the comment, 'How about a little tongue with that next time.' "
This week Tom Vanden Brook continues to cover the scandals with the program:
Several former and current members of the program told investigators and the paper, on condition of anonymity, that they regularly filed for hours they didn't work, taking home more than $200,000 a year and months of comp time for little effort. The Army's internal investigation showed that supervisors directed team members to claim the maximum amount of overtime and comp time possible, earning them salaries topping $280,000 and entitling them to six months paid leave upon returning to the United States.
By contrast, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel earns a salary of about $200,000.
Are we really surprised that the program is plagued with theft, sexism and racism? These are people who can't live up to the ethics of their own field. Why hasn't the program already been shut down? Maybe because people like Sarah Sewall support it. That trash bragged on TV about being able to put words into Barack Obama's mouth (see Ava and my "TV: Charlie Rose by any other name would still be as bad") and today she serves on the Secretary of Defense's Defense Policy Board. She also wrote the introduction to the military's counter-insurgency manual.
What's that stink?
Oh, it's the Samantha Power drifting from between someone's knees. The Problem From Hell Samantha Power blurbed the counter-insurgency manual. Today the War Hawk Tweets:
Sammy will have her war if it kills her. World Bulletin reports, "A mortar shell hit the Iraqi consulate in the Syrian capital Damascus on Thursday, killing an Iraqi woman and wounding four other people, witnesses said. State news agency SANA quoted a source at the consulate as saying the shell had also damaged the building." If the embassy was the intended target, the attacker was not the Syrian government or army. It was Barack's beloved 'rebels' (al Qaeda). The Iraqi government has repeatedly stated that a military action would not help Syria and would harm Iraq. Just today, prior to the attack, Alsumaria reported Nouri al-Maliki was again stressing the military was not an answer to Syria's crisis, that a diplomatic solution was necessary. Bob Dreyfuss (The Nation) observes:
[. . .] yesterday Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, warned that Iraq opposes arming the Syrian rebels.
Zebari’s warning comes as The New York Times reports that a big chunk of the so-called “moderate” Islamist rebels inside Syria formally broke ties with the phony, US-backed National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces. That decision vastly complicates President Obama’s ability to lobby on behalf of the Syrian opposition. Recognizing the problem, a US official told the Times, using circular reasoning, that the United States has “extreme concerns about extremists.”
During an appearance at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, Zebari endorsed the US-Russian effort to reach an accord on Syria’s chemical weapons, and he called for a “peaceful settlement” of the Syrian civil war. There is, he said, “no hope of military victory” for either side. But, in a message clearly aimed not only at the United States but at Saudi Arabia and other Arab states, Zebari said: “We oppose providing military assistance to any [Syrian] rebel groups.”
When the US Ambassador to the United Nations isn't screaming for war on Syria, she's still trying to destroy Iraq.
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