Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Human Terrain Teams

Prior to my deployments, I received a 6 hour block on Iraqi culture. It was in a large lecture hall and most of the marines in the back had difficulty hearing the 3 instructors. I do not believe the class was of much help.

But, now the Universities of America are being combed for Anthropolgists!

Enter the Human Terrain Team. Armed with their knowledge of the social sciences, the HTTers use the Etic approach to teach young americans how to interact with the Iraqi populace. Dr. David Matsuda seems to be the current front man (via this news story and this release) for news coming out of Iraq.

This has caused much strife amongst the Academic community. The American Anthropolgists Association opposse the HTT system. I can understand the expressed concerns, instead of promoting cultural understanding the HTT system enables the continued occupation of Iraq. Danger Room has a series of posts and should be referenced.

I am conflicted about this, if the professors help limit Hadithahs and incidents such as the killing of two Americans by an Iraqi soldier it could be considered a success. But, the adoption of HTT program should be viewed by the American people as nothing less than another indicator we are in Iraq for the long haul. Again think of occupation of the Phillipine Islands.

Of course, this also highlights the American predliction to snear and disdain learning. If Americans had a little more knowledge of History and Anthropology they might have known about the 1920 Iraqi revolt against British Rule. Then they would have laughed at Dick Cheney when he promised, "We would be greeted as liberators", instead of cheering on the Warfare State.

However, the use of state funded education to turn Americans into cogs for industry or the military is a topic for another post.

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