". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Why I Want to Teach Anthropology at the Army War College

What Would Smedley Butler Do? By BRIAN McKENNA

[ Today anthropologists are busy at work for the CIA and Pentagon. The CIA recently funded an effort - the Pat Roberts Intelligence Scholars Program - to train up to 150 analysts in anthropology, each of whom receive a $25,000 a year stipend, tuition support, loan paybacks and other benefits with the proviso that they work for an intelligence agency for 1 ½ times the period covered by financial support. These are secret scholar-spies circulating in our anthropology departments. They cannot reveal their funding source. Then there are the Cultural Operations Research Human Terrain Teams in which the military actively recruits anthropologists to provide counterinsurgency data for its occupying armies. As private contractors anthropologists can make up to $300,000 a year for their service. ]

[ My first days of classes at the US Army War College would be dedicated to Smedley Butler. He'd no doubt place education - truthful military education with all its contradictions- at the forefront of social life, most especially in the military itself! Ultimately the military rests on well-trained soldiers who have the capacity to make ethical judgments. Here he is on war:

"War is just a racket. . .It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses. . .There isn't a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its 'finger men' to point out enemies, its 'muscle men' to destroy enemies, its 'brain men' to plan war preparations, and a 'Big Boss' Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism." Butler is one of only two Marines ever to hold double awards of the Navy issue Medal of Honor. Butler laid his reputation on the line with this searing 1933 speech. "It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country's most agile military force, the Marine Corps. . . .I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. . .In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested. . . .I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service." ]


Frank Partisan said...

They sure did good work in Iraq.

Foxessa said...

Oh indeed they did!

Love, C.