A CounterPunch Special Investigation
* Core Chapter a Morass of "Borrowed" Quotes
* University of Chicago Press Badly Compromised
* Counterinsurgency Anthropologist Montgomery McFate's Role Under Attack
By DAVID PRICE
"Last December, the U.S. Army and Marine Corps published a new Counterinsurgency Field Manual (No. 3-24). In policy circles, the Manual became an artifact of hope, signifying the move away from the crude logic of "shock and awe" toward calculations that rifle-toting soldiers can win the hearts and minds of occupied Iraq through a new appreciation of cultural nuance.
Some view the Manual as containing plans for a new intellectually fueled "smart bomb," and it is being sold to the public as a scholarly based strategic guide to victory in Iraq. In July, this contrivance was bolstered as the University of Chicago Press republished the Manual in a stylish, olive drab, faux-field ready edition, designed to slip into flack jackets or Urban Outfitter accessory bags. The Chicago edition includes the original forward by General David Petraeus and Lt. General James Amos, with a new forward by Lt. Col. John Nagl and introduction by Sarah Sewell, of Harvard's JFK School of Government. Chicago's republication of the Field Manual spawned a minor media orgy, and Lt. Col. Nagl, a counterinsurgency expert, became the Manual's poster boy, appearing on NPR, ABC News, NBC, and the pages of the NYT, Newsweek, and other publications, pitching the Manual as the philosophical expression of Petraeus' intellectual strategy for victory in Iraq.
The media buzz surrounding the Manual maintains it is a rare work of applied scholarship. Robert Bateman writes in the Chicago Tribune that it is "probably the most important piece of doctrine written in the past 20 years,"......
Most academics know that bad things can happen when marginally skilled writers must produce ambitious amounts of writing in short time periods; sometimes the only resulting calamities are grammatical abominations, but in other instances the pressures to perform lead to shoddy academic practices. Neither of these outcomes is especially surprising among desperate people with limited skills -- but Petraeus and others leading the charge apparently did not worry about such trivialities: they had to crank out a new strategy to calm growing domestic anger at military failures in Iraq....."