Friday, June 22, 2007

The "Genius" of the U.S. Military: Leavenworth turns to anthropologists on Iraq

"FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — With American troops mired in Iraq and Afghanistan, leaders at the Army post where the military’s new counterinsurgency doctrine was written are turning to cultural anthropologists for help.

The relationship rekindles one that existed between the military and academics throughout much of the nation’s modern military history but fizzled after the Vietnam War.

“You have to look at things through the lens of the people on the ground to effectively know where you are going,” said Robert Kurz, an Eurasia analyst with Fort Leavenworth’s Foreign Military Studies Office......

One of the tenets of the military’s counterinsurgency doctrine, produced last year at Fort Leavenworth, is that success hinges on the government achieving the consent of the people. By gaining an understanding of the culture, the people’s basic needs and beliefs, the military can effectively neutralize insurgents who seek to render the government illegitimate, that doctrine says.

Kurz said the goal of working with anthropologists and other social scientists is to develop a climate in which cultural awareness is taught at all levels of training.....

....Not until the coalition and Iraqi forces can show that they can provide reliable security will the civilians stand up to insurgents and support the government, officers said.

Lt. Charles Bartles, an Army reservist who conducted civil affairs in Iraq, said a challenge is getting Iraqis to understand that working with the military and police to root out insurgents is in the community’s best interest, not just that of their immediate family.

Bartles’ paper for the project examines efforts to reduce the threat of roadside bombs along the routes near the Anaconda forward operating base, dubbed “Operation Turkey Stomp.” Soldiers met with each shopkeeper to explain that if a bomb went off in front of their store, the stores would be closed until they found out who planted the bomb or sold the components.

Each shopkeeper and store was photographed and published in a directory. Soldiers then gathered intelligence about each store, such as what goods were sold and how quickly......."


Will the, "Mission be Accomplished" now, o geniuses??

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