The US military was and is desperate to understand the human terrain of the Afghan battlefield. The chief sources of expertise lay in the field of anthropology, but the “American Anthropological Association issued a report condemning the Human Terrain program as a violation of professional ethics”.
But that didn’t stop them, ten years on, from publishing books on the subject:
Noah Coburn’s “Bazaar Politics” is the first extended study of an Afghan community to appear since the Taliban fell. It follows an ambitious history of Afghanistan by the Boston University anthropologist Thomas Barfield, and an impassioned essay by Rory Stewart, the Conservative M.P., author-adventurer and Kabul preservationist, that faults the international effort in Afghanistan for its neglect of ethnographic insight. Whatever anthropology has to say about America’s longest war, it’s saying it now.
Well, thanks for nothing. We’ve spent the blood of nearly two thousand US soldiers, burnt through the federal fisc like it didn’t matter and are at risk of leaving Afghanistan to the tender mercies of those who like flogging women for sport, prefer soccer pitches for their executions and execute homosexuals by pushing purpose-built walls down on their heads.
But at least your hands are clean, and soon your pockets will be full.
“Citizens of the world,” my ass.