Small Wars Journal

As the Stomach Turns

More on the jeering, foot stomping, teeth gnashing academics who love to hate the Army's Human Terrain System by Noah Shachtman over at Wired's Danger Room - Academics Turn On "Human Terrain" Whistleblower.

The fight between the Army and academics over the military's social science projects has taken a strange, ugly new turn.

On Thursday, Zenia Helbig, a former researcher with the Army's "Human Terrain System," took the stage at the annual meeting of the American Association of Anthropologists. The executive board of the organization had already spoken out against the program, to embed social scientists into combat units as cultural advisers. And so when Helbig began taking the the military to task for its "inept management and execution at every level" of the Human Terrain effort, audience members nodded their heads in approval. (Here is the text of Helbig's talk.)

But as Helbig started answering questions, the mood turned ugly. Turns out Helbig still backed the idea of boosting the military's cultural IQ -- she just didn't think the Human Terrain program was doing a particularly good job at making it happen. That set some in the audience off...

Coal in all their stockings.



Mon, 12/03/2007 - 7:41pm

Mark, you said a mouthful! I think;-)


Mon, 12/03/2007 - 7:34pm

Perhaps Dr. Helbig was partially shielded from the deleterious effects of peer disapproval by her ability to muster overweening condescension at will.