A few weeks ago I wrote about the deepening connections between anthropologists, military and intelligence agencies. Yesterday, Fort Leavenworth (USA) conducted a roundtable discussion among anthropologists and military veterans who have experience in Iraq and Afghanistan. Among the participants self-described “left-leaning” anthropologist and an associate professor at Kansas University; Bart Dean.
Dean said "the landscape today is beginning to turn for anthropologists’ relations with the military, which reached a low level of trust in the Vietnam War era". “People will criticize me,” Dean said of his participation in the roundtable. “I will be viciously criticized. … But that’s OK. I like controversy.”
Both Dean ad his colleague Felix Moos acknowledged they are in the minority among their peers because they are working with the military. But Dean said anthropologists through World War II had a seat at the table when leaders planned military operations.
The military's new counterinsurgency doctrine, produced last year at Kansas' Fort Leavenworth, hinges on the government getting the consent of the people. By understanding the culture, the military can neutralize insurgents, the doctrine says.
Read more about the round table discussion:
Academics, soldiers team to examine war issues (Lawrence Journal & News, 22.6.07)
Leavenworth turns to anthropologists on Iraq (ap / Army Times, 22.6.07)
U.S. Army leaders turn to anthropologists to help solve war puzzles ap / Herald Tribune, 21.6.07)