In the wake of the death of one of the HTS anthropologists last week in Afghanistan, The Guardian covers some of the controversy around the use of anthropology by the military. The article discusses the “Anthropology and Global Counter-Insurgency” conference I presented at last month, and features quotes from and mentions of several of the participants, including John Kelly, Marshall Sahlins, David Price, Hugh Gusterson, Brian Selmanski, and Kerry Frosh — the latter two representing the Air Force and Marines, respectively. [Continue reading]
After a withdrawal-inducing absence of several days, Jeanne d’Arc returns with a couple of great posts, and some links on looting, most notably this article entitled, boldly enough, “The Case for Looting”, by one Steven E. Landsburg writing for Slate. Landsberg’s thesis is that there’s really not much wrong with looting in Iraq, on the grounds that the looting did not remove wealth from the Iraqi economy, it just shifted it to new owners. Since most of the wealth in Iraq was obtained illegitimately, there is nothing wrong with Iraqi looters reclaiming some of it for themselves.
Several bloggers have written very insightful words about the looting in Iraq, particularly the almost total decimation of the Baghdad Museum’s collection. Teresa Nielsen Hayden‘s comments have been particularly cogent, both mourning the loss of so many priceless artifacts and berating an administration and military that allowed it to happen.