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Old 12-28-2006   #4
Fabius Maximus
Council Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 156
Default Apologies, I forgot our ace in the hole!

As usual with the US military, deus ex machina saves the day!

Originally Posted by "Knowing the Enemy", George Packer, The New Yorker (Dec 18, 2006)
... a “ruggedized” laptop computer, loaded with data from social-science research conducted in Iraq — such as, McFate said, “an analysis of the eighty-eight tribes and subtribes in a particular province.” Now the project is recruiting social scientists around the country to join five-person “human terrain” teams that would go to Iraq and Afghanistan with combat brigades and serve as cultural advisers on six-to-nine-month tours.
Since there are so few Arabic-speaking, Iraq-expert social scientists in the US (even fewer for Afghanistan), the data for these laptops’ will mostly come from the locals. That is, our maps of the social terrain will be that of various partisans in the Iraq civil war. (there are no neutrals in a civil war)

It's a high-tech way of making their enemies, our enemies.

Good idea, just the wrong time and place.

Also this illustrates our confusion between "data" and "knowledge." Even if the data is correct, most of our company commanders will lack the contextual understanding -- the wider view of Iraq/Afghanistan society -- needed to successfully apply it.

Last edited by Fabius Maximus; 12-28-2006 at 02:18 AM.
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