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October 2: Anthropology of War

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ANTH 2200
Victor Barac

McFATE • 'Counterinsurgency Operations, defines insurgency as an “organized movement aimed at the overthrow of a constituted government through use of subversion and armed conflict. It is a protracted politico-military struggle designed to weaken government control and legitimacy while in- creasing insurgent control. Political power is the central issue in an insurgency [emphasis added].”' (p25) • Pearl Harbour: America was convinced that the Japanese would never attack Pearl Harbour • India: nuclear testing in India had resulted in the development of a nuclear bomb ◦ May 1998 they tested and the intelligence was wrong; America assumed they wouldn't dare do something like that ◦ BJP Nationalistic Hindu party of India • Mirror-imaging is the process whereby the American military attribute to the other party the same values that they held regarding the use of force ◦ The U.S. rationale for launching an invasion against an enemy or for doing a nuclear test would be different, but they projected their values onto the Japanese and the Indians • "Nuts and huts" ◦ caring for someone else is the sign of weakness to the military ◦ trivialize; primitives • What is the National Security Council? ◦ Powell-Weinberger Doctrine: force, when used, should be overwhelming and disproportionate to the force used by the enemy (used during the Reagan and Clinton era) ◦ according to McFate, anthropology is supposed to overcome the short-comings of the military, including this doctrine? • What is the problem with the US Military Code? ◦ it is incomplete, it was never finished ◦ there are no guidelines as to what you do when you use overwhelming force; there's no command structure • The US army was not defeated on the battlefield during the Vietnam War; it was due to wider political reasons ◦ US Colonel argued they weren't defeated, was in contact with the North Vietnamese Colonel; but Vietnamese Colonel said it was irrelevant that they didn't lose because they lost control of the political field and the government ◦ insurgency; struggle for the political control using fear and political tactics • How does the British approach to counterinsurgency different than the US'? ◦ The US first became a colonial power when they wrested power from the Spanish hold on the Philippines, beginning of the 20th century; starts getting involved in "occupying" and invading other countries ◦ Whereas the British were able to hone their skills, masters of espionage because they had a world-wide empire, were in dozens of countries, thousands of peoples and languages, British Empire reinvented what the Roman Empire was in many ways, the Pax Britannica ◦ In the Commonwealth it was relatively peaceful, but you don't screw with the Commonwealth ◦ The British approach to counterinsurgency was much more subtle and based on far less use of force and much more emphasis on intelligence gathering, civil involvement, getting people police themselves and give them relative control, and cultural knowledge was central to this ◦ McFate argues that this is what the US should do because counterinsurgency requires a softer, more subtle approach in order to increase its effectiveness • Why has anthropology at this point not involved in counterinsurgency? ◦ failure of Vietnam ◦ development of post-modernism ▪ post-modernism, worldwide cultural movement which essentially validates diverse points of view, rejects a single universal type of history, doesn't have a unified perspective or theory, but refers to all these aspects of literature, philosophy, and even anthropology ▪ characterized by a lot of dense writing and is difficult to approach ◦ She tells us there is a historical reason and the distancing of anthropology of the war effort because of Vietnam, really impacted people; compulsory draft for men during that time as well ◦ prosperous time for America, weren't into the war; more into sex, drugs, and rock and roll • What is the role of anthropology in the colonial era? ◦ "handmaiden of anthropology" ◦ when Malinowski was writing, he noted that anthropologists should be involved in the colonial administration of these empires ◦ During and Post World War II • Who was Sylvanus Morley? ◦ Morley was an archaeologist who initiated the espionage era of anthropology; contracted to do archaeological work by the military during the first world war and he travelled across Mexico and generated thousands of pages of different forms of agriculture, land formations, maps, invaluable information, and was used as a spy (1916) ◦ he was an established scholar, had a reputation and was very thorough ◦ What was Boas' reaction? ▪ he wrote an article in The Nation (left of centre American political magazine) on denouncing anthropologists working as spies in the military ▪ he was essentially rebuked and censured by the AAA because people like Sylvanus Morley were perceived as contributing the war effort in a constructive way which was more important than science during that time ◦ Boas had strong ties to Germany; people argued that he was being pro-German • MK-Ultra, implanting subliminal messages • Mind + Nature (book) • Carleton Coon, Cora du Bois, and Gregory Bateson ◦ experimentation • "Steps to an Ecology of Mind" (Bateson) ◦ systems theory ◦ study of ecology before it became a mainstream study ◦ worked in espionage during WWII, even leading rescue missions behind enemy lines • Margaret Mead also wrote a book about the military ◦ cultural framework for thinking about war and its legitimation goes on to this day ◦ America always justifies its legitimization of force; protecting human rights, the weak and so forth ◦ also emphasizes the American approach to warfare, it's limited, and the military culture doesn't have the mindset of counterinsurgency • Ruth Benedict ◦ famous, The Patterns of Culture (mid 30s) ◦ popular book among anthropologists and the general leadership ◦ one of Boas' star students ◦ she is now in retrospect highly revered, especially gay and lesbian anthropologists, and she opened the door for a lot of thinking along these lines ◦ also had an affair with Margaret Mead ◦ both Mead and Benedict were fantastic writers, could get their message across to a wide readership ◦ Benedict got a job with the Offices of War Information, the Racism of Mankind, challenges the Nazi racial doctrines ◦ from the perspective of the allied powers, the principle Axis powers were both racialist societies, based on an idea of racial hierarchy ◦ Racial thinking was very strong in the 1920-1930s, which was contrary to the official American, British, and French doctrine ◦ hired anthropologist to challenge this ◦ she wrote a book in 1946 called The Chrysanthemum and the Sword, popular book based on her research on Japanese during WWII and after, wrote it from secondary sources ◦ on the basis of her analysis, it was recommended that the Japanese emperor not be considered in the surrender negotiations, unlike Germany with Hitler ◦ one of the few anthropologists who have approach how art and poetry have shaped the anthropological worldview • What was the Applied Military Anthropology? ◦ Experts in applies military anthropology, these two people had advanced anthropological training and applied their knowledge in counterinsurgency training ◦ communist movement in the Philippines, guerrilla warfare, what Landsdale was involved in was psychological warfare "psy-war" or psyops ◦ the example we're told about is the Asuang "vampire" ◦ strong indigenous fear of vampires, instil psychological warfare by picking off the last person in the patrol, kill him, put puncture marks in his neck, and then drain his blood ◦ when his comrades came back to retrieve him they would be in a state of fear that they weren't before ◦ the philosophy was based on the minimum use of force and maximum use of research and recording • What was the lesson of Gerald Hickey ◦ anthropologist known for Village in Vietnam, and was recruited by RAND (deep military ties) to provide information on the Montagnards uprising, hill tribe people of North Vietnam ◦ not dealign with a single force ◦ Montagnards allied themselves with the US, but they hated the south Vietnamese as much as the North Vietnamese, uneasy alliance to the US' biggest allies, the South Vietnamese ◦ they recruited Hickey to help out; complied, provided them with sound research based recommendation which they didn't act upon, essentially ignored his findings, but was blacklisted, • What is SORO? ◦ special operation research office established in 1964 as a counterinsurgency operation, counter magic res
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