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Thread: Human Terrain & Anthropology (merged thread)

  1. #241
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by selil View Post
    Anybody else notice that Counterpunch is in the middle of a fundraising drive, and Dr. Price's book is listed on each of his posts?
    Yup. Need more be said on that ?

    On a different note, and back to an earlier question, does anyone know if eminent domain applies to copyright?
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  2. #242
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I didn't have anything to say on the topic other

    than that I thought J. Wolfsberger and thus by extension Steve Metz, Selil and a couple of others had a valid point; an FM is not an academic work regardless of who outside DoD elects to publish it for whatever reason and some of the modficiation suggested to dress the sow's ear seem rather pointless.

    However, with this from Marc:
    "I will note that there is at least one quote included in DP's article that, while attributed, lists no source, id est"
    By this I mean people like the recently retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez who know that the Iraq war is now "a nightmare with no end in sight".
    I'm moved to comment that Professor Price is building significant credibility problems in my mind. Not from the lack of a source for the quote, rather from his choice of quote and its originator...

  3. #243
    i pwnd ur ooda loop selil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Yup. Need more be said on that ?

    On a different note, and back to an earlier question, does anyone know if eminent domain applies to copyright?
    Copyright law in the United States is a strange creature. Especially the government. It's not necessarily a fifth amendment issue (eminent domain) but a "superseding interest" issue. Library, records, sunshine laws, etc.. all make copyright a different issue. Especially when the government and even more importantly the military violates what we would expect of it.

    I am not a copyright attorney but have a specific interest from a different perspective. When dealing with digital evidence we seize copyrighted material then publish that material as evidence and that is protected. I've seen arguments of fair use, and law enforcement use that supersede normal copyright law


    The government does claim fair use exception fairly often which can be challenged. Government works can be challenged for copyright violation. The government can be sued for monetary damages, but has sovereign immunity rights. The ideas in a work are not copyrighted but the words are. Already in this thread the concept of 250 words maximum from a work has been discussed, but that is an academic standard not a legal standard. Also the idea of citation is an academic standard not a legal standard. If the use is NOT substantive there is no violation of copyright. See hyper links (THE INTERNET WAY OF CITING WORK) for a more substantive discussion of most questions answered here.
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  4. #244
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    I'm moved to comment that Professor Price is building significant credibility problems in my mind. Not from the lack of a source for the quote, rather from his choice of quote and its originator...
    With regard to Dr. Price's credibility in his latest Counterpunch posting, it matters less to me whom he chooses to quote (appropriately documented or otherwise) and more that he chooses to make allegations for which he has presented little or no evidence. A representative example of the case in point is as follows:
    Nagl knows full well that Chicago's republication of the Manual was part of a public relations campaign to bury the views of those like Sanchez who recognize that President's Bush's policies have led us into a quagmire. Selling America a war with fake scholarship won't get us out of this mess.
    (Price, http://www.counterpunch.org/price11032007.html)

    I have seen nothing in either of his two Counterpunch pieces to substantiate the conclusions drawn in the above quotation, viz., that "Nagl knows full well that Chicago's republication of the Manual was part of a public relations campaign to bury the views of those like Sanchez who recognize that President's Bush's policies have led us into a quagmire" and that "[s]elling America a war with fake scholarship won't get us out of this mess." (ibid.) Good scholars do much more than just document their research sources. Good scholars provide good reasons for the conclusions that they draw in their research. In his latest effort, I submit that Price has not done either at the level one would expect from an associate professor with a Ph.D.

    Had I received the latest piece of Price's invective, which was published by Counterpunch in its November 3/4 weekend edition, from one of my Freshman Composition, Introduction to Philosophy or Advanced Composition students, I would have had little trouble awarding it a failing grade. At the post-secondary educational institutions where I have studied and taught, the standards for post-doctoral work were much higher than those applied to undergraduates in their freshmen, sophomore, and junior years. I would expect, as a mimimum, that Price (or my English Comp freshman for that matter) provide evidence to show what Nagl "knows full well" about the government's motivation with regard to allowing the publication of the FM by a university press.

    One might object to my criticism with a variant of Nagl's defense (found at http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/200...-with-limited/). Just as Nagl defended the lack of citations on the grounds that FMs have a different standard for sourcing, one might argue on Price's behalf that an op-ed piece has a different standard for acceptable argumentation. This leaves us with at least three options:
    1.) Accept the claim, which entails that we also dismiss Price's "poor scholarship" attack on the FM because "sholarship" standards are relative to their publishing venue.
    2.) Equivocate on the claim and shift blame to the editorial staff of Counterpunch for allowing such shoddy work to be published, as has been suggested with regard to the Chicago U. Press and the FM.
    3.) Deny the relativism claim and expect high standards from Price simply because he is a member of Academe.

    I happen to opt for the third choice. Teachers have a positional duty: they are role models for reasoned discourse. As such, members of academe must be held to a higher standard when expressing their opinions. That standard is a Platonic standard, one that requires academics to state their opinions with an account that rationally justifies the assertion of those opinions as true.

  5. #245
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    I don't mean this as a slam on anyone here, but one reason I divorced myself from academia was what was, in my opinion, a pervasive ignorance about the way the American security policy and armed conflict in general really works. I remember going to major conferences with panels on these topics and sitting in the back of the room thinking how utterly clueless the presenters were. And these were well known academics. I

    was particularly taken aback at the absence of primary source material in so many refereed publications (and I'm talking here mostly about political scientists). A few years ago I evaluated a book manuscript by a well known scholar that had not a single primary source citation in it. Even when the author was talking about things like the National Security Strategy, he would refer to descriptions of it in other academic articles rather than the original. I literally went to one of his sources, and found no primary sources in it either. It was like the kids' game of "gossip" where information gets passed from person to person and eventually is almost nothing like the original.

    I realize there are scholars and even programs that are exceptions to this. But it is still my impression that it is common.

    What all this rant is about is my belief that Price is truly ignorant about the way doctrine is made, what its designed to do, the way government works, and the nature of armed conflict. But he is not aware of how little he knows, therefore speaks with the certitude of the ignorant.

    I apologize, but this whole issue has really gotten my dander up.

  6. #246
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I realize there are scholars and even programs that are exceptions to this. But it is still my impression that it is common..
    On this we absolutely agree, Steve (and it applies not only to the military and national security policy, but to the broader conduct of diplomacy, aid policy, and government in general).

    Of course, the world is also full of politically naive aid workers, undiplomatic soldiers, and all sorts of policy-doers who aren't aware of existing research in their areas of responsibility. However, I think there is a particular burden on scholars to actually understand the things they purport to research/analyze/write about.

    In some ways it ought to be easy enough to do: summers with no teaching and sabbaticals every seven years provide ample opportunity to involve oneself in the policy world as resource, consultant, or even practitioner. However, most social science disciplines view such activity as less worthy than the more traditional research-and-publish activities, and university reward systems (tenure, promotion, salary increments) reflect this.

    In my own case, I suspect that everything I've done in the policy world (policy advisor at the Department of Foreign Affairs, a decade on the Interdepartmental Experts Group on Middle East Intelligence, World Bank and UN consultant, second track diplomatic negotiation) collectively count for less than an article in a peer-reviewed scholarly journal. I'm not complaining about my personal situation--after all, I'm full professor at a great university, full of great students--but to get there you do rather have to burn the candle at both ends. More importantly, it results in a discipline that often seems to be preoccupied by abstract theorizing and to have little intrinsic grasp of the actual nature of politics and policy processes.

    The odd (and even tragic) thing is that many, perhaps most graduate students usually come into the system wanting to not only study the world, but to engage with it too. We put then put them through a series of disciplinary tribal rituals that emphasize the theoretical at the cost of the actual, and in the end reproduce the discipline's own weaknesses. (Or we put them off graduate school altogether--which is a shame, since there is a lot that is useful to learn too.)

  7. #247
    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Default Still tired

    Look, I am still tired and I will get to writing on this tomorrow, but here's what I can toss off now.

    1) There should be 2 versions of the manual. First a manual for normal use with little or no citations and a full version with everything in it. The first mentioned manual should have a note in it refering to the full version. ALso, the full version should be the one released to the public. Whether or not you feel this should be necessary, it is certainly the proper thing to do. The military should be concerned with avoiding this brand of insanity. I'm amazed that someone in legal didn't suggest something like this. Again, there probably is little or no chance of a lawsuit, but efforts should be made to avoid one. We don't need the publicity or the cost of attorneys.
    2) I don't care about the credentials of Price or Nagl. We should evaluate arguments on their merits not degrees. Price made his credentials fair game by going after Nagle. Personally I think Nagle and everybody else these days has made it fair game by "flaunting" (whether or not intentional. NO offense is inteded with this statement.) of PhD's.
    3) This debate over academic standards, scholarship, etc. is ridiculous. All of these concepts have been perverted over the last 40 or so years. Whether it is academic, technical or military writing they all historically have had similar standards. The methods of achieving the same ends have been different (mainly the punctuation.)
    4) The debate over grammar is ridiculous. Occasionally it is necessary in certain areas to take a little exception with regard to grammar in order to maintain clarity, but this is not usual except in very technical areas. Punctuation on the other hand is an area where it is not uncommon for there to be difficult siltuations where the rules are bent in order to maintain clarity. I also have to say that it is important to remember that grammar and punctuation are two totally different things! Too many people are forgeting that these days.
    5) I am curious about Nagl's comment about Clausewitz comment on grammar. First, is this what he said in the original German. Also, writing in German I'm sure has its own gramatical intricacies. I feel this was a poor example to use, which only continued an endless ### for tat argument. [If someone can refer me to this comment it would be helpful. (if only he had cited it. LOL! ) Also, if someon here speeks German maybe you can see what it says in the original text. Also, what translatioin was Nagl using.]
    6) My biggest objection to FM 3-24 is its style. Specifically, that it has one. My objection is that FM 3-24 is written in the same style that most acedemic writings (and all others for that matter) are written with these days. Compare the language of the 1940 Small Wars Manual to the FM 3-24 and you will se what I mean. The language in FM 3-24 is not concise as well as many other things. I really think they need to do some editing.
    7) I do not know who the manual is targeted at. I know many others here have also been wondering.
    8) There is no reason that things cannot be written in such a way that meets the highest of academic standards and is still perfectly understood by the common foot soldier.

    I'll continue at a later point, but for now that it what I have to say.

    Adam
    Last edited by Adam L; 11-04-2007 at 04:01 AM.

  8. #248
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Heh. Welcome to the modern Army

    of One Strong. For years the "Army writing style" was to avoid bombast, redundancy, emphasis of words or phrases and to use concise clear prose with no stylistic gimmicks. Illustrations, charts and diagrams were held to a minimum as they require more space and made for books that would no longer fit in a pocket and were so voluminous they were seldom read. Exercise and operation names were two totally unrelated words selected from a random list.

    In the mid 60s and more so in the 70s, we got wrapped around Taylor and Deming, adopted a modified Madison Avenue writing style and it's been steadily downhill ever since. We dumbed down our instructional material -- and much of the instruction to which it pertained at the behest of the Educational Technology gurus -- who were mostly elementary education specialists.

    We started using flowery phrases in OpSums and reports, applying the words 'valiant' and 'hero' entirely too often, became warriors instead of Soldiers or Marines and produced large volumes of 'doctrine' becaue we hired a slew of civilian doctrine writers and no one wanted to give up the spaces so they had to write something *. We came up with names like Urgent Fury, Just Cause, OEF and OIF.

    Now we are forming "Centers of Excellence." I expect Quality Control Circles at Squad level soon...

    Oh -- and I agree with much of your 3-24 criticism on style (and volume).


    * My all time pet was one that came out of Benning in the 90s. One page change to one of the 7-series or maybe 21-75, don't recall which. I do remember what it said; "Patrol is a verb and not an organizational element. No organizational unit will be referred to as a Patrol." (or words to that effect). Priceless.

  9. #249
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    Default In many ways a miracle...

    While I don't pretend to be an expert on anthropology, counterinsurgency, Dr. Price, LtCol Nagl, proper documenting methods, Chicago Press, etc., I do have a bit of a clue on how the doctrine process works in the Marine Corps. This said, the simple fact that we have a new counterinsurgency doctrine is in many ways a miracle, especially one that was blessed so quickly by the USMC and US Army! Since publication this new doctrine has already had profound impacts on the training and education process, not to mention the conduct of U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everyday that the authors could have spent double and triple checking sources, re-wording footnotes, bibliography, etc., is one more day that this mission critical publication would not have been where it needed to be--in the hands of those executing COIN or preparing to execute.

    The previous post mentioned that it won't be long before we have quality control circles looking at publications down to the rifle squad level. Maybe. The sad reality is that the vast majority of our publications haven't been updated in more than 20 years because there's usually a 30+ step process before a new reference, warfighting or doctrinal publication is released. While I'm all for accuracy and legitimacy in writing, there's also an element of timeliness that must be met so that slow moving military and government bureaucracies can get the ship headed in the right direction. LtCol Nagl highlights well in Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife that permanent change in western militaries normally requires a new "doctrinal" publication to justify the change. From my perspective, this is a very true statement.

    One more thought on the subject... the Small Unit Leader's Guide to Counterinsurgency was put together by 5-10 different people, reviewed by about 10-20 more and then put to print in mass quantity all in a less than 8-month period due to some very high level general officers forcing this book (made to fit in a cargo pocket) through the normal doctrine process. I remember a few days after the pub was released when a person from the USMC doctrine division said that it should have never been published because of the way Dr. Kilcullen phrased Rule #19 Engage the women, beware the children (I think it was covet the women, beware the children initially... I could be wrong here)... anyway, the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN has been atop the Marine Forces Central Command reading list for all Marines ever since it was released. Along with the Anbar Awakening, bold and decisive leadership from warriors like Col McFarland, Capt Patriquin, LtCol Alford and many others, I know that FM 3-24 and the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN have played an integral role in the changing security environment in Anbar and throughout Iraq as a whole.

    In sum, Iraq isn't Harvard or Yale or Foreign Affairs magazine. Therefore, I don't care much about documentation. Get the information in our warriors hands as fast as possible so that we can learn and adapt faster than our enemies.

  10. #250
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Maximus,

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    ....This said, the simple fact that we have a new counterinsurgency doctrine is in many ways a miracle, especially one that was blessed so quickly by the USMC and US Army! Since publication this new doctrine has already had profound impacts on the training and education process, not to mention the conduct of U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everyday that the authors could have spent double and triple checking sources, re-wording footnotes, bibliography, etc., is one more day that this mission critical publication would not have been where it needed to be--in the hands of those executing COIN or preparing to execute.
    I would hope that anyone with two neurons to rub together would agree with your point that the primary aim of any FM is to get doctrine into the hands of the troops as quickly as possible. Furthermore, I totally agree that a lot of citations and footnotes are, in all probability, an interference with an FM as a training document. This is one of the reasons why I totally agree with Adam's comment that there should have been two versions - one with and one without citations.

    Let me, for the moment, bring out another aspect to doctrinal writing that hasn't received as much emphasis as it should. It is my understanding, and please correct me if I am wrong, that part of the function of doctrinal writing is to define an "operational reality", i.e. what to look for, how to react to these perceptions and, most importantly, why. In effect, doctrine is applied theory; "praxis" in academic-speak. If this is the case, then doctrine plays an important role in professional military education. It is this function of doctrine that I see as being a very good reason for having a "critical edition" of doctrine available (i.e. full citations, etc.).

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    The previous post mentioned that it won't be long before we have quality control circles looking at publications down to the rifle squad level.
    I'm going to take this on a (somewhat) academic tangent . First, when Ken mentioned Taylor, I really had to laugh since Taylor actually took many of his ideas, filtered 3rd and 4th hand (without citations ), from the beginnings of modern warfare going back to William the Silent and Maurice of Nassau. Second, Demming actually got a lot of his ideas from Mao via, in part, the 1st Marine Raider BTN. The idea of using quality control circles, or some modern variant of them, is actually not too bad. In some ways, the SWC is just a giant quality control circle, as are many of the informal communications networks that exist.

    That being said, let's take it back to doctrine and FM 3-24. A good critical edition of FM 3-24 would serve as a solid basis for for the development of expansions to, and specific applications of counter-insurgency operations. I believe that is one of the reasons why we saw the use of paradoxes in the manual. I am not saying that the critical edition should have come first, just that it should be there. One final comment and then I'll leave off: I fully expect that the authors of the manual draft chapters included references in their drafts, and I would ask that anyone on the SWC who was an author or reviewer if this was so. If it was, then the production of a critical edition of FM 3-24 could have been produced at the same time as the regular edition.

    Marc
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  11. #251
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by marct View Post
    Furthermore, I totally agree that a lot of citations and footnotes are, in all probability, an interference with an FM as a training document. This is one of the reasons why I totally agree with Adam's comment that there should have been two versions - one with and one without citations.

    The thing is, though, that by far the major source for doctrine is the collective experience of the community of practice, not the work of scholars. The primary method of establishing validity in document is the extensive vetting process, not reflection of an existing body of published scholarship. So I'm just not sure what the value of a "critical edition" would be.

    To beat my dead horse a little more, for Dr. Price to criticize the doctrine for a paucity of citations would be the same as the doctrine writers criticizing him for not vetting his critical essay with them. It would be unreasonable for doctrine writers to expect a scholar to follow their method of establishing validity just as it is unreasonable for Price to expect doctrine writers to follow his method of establishing validity (while again noting that Price's questioning the scholarship of the manual was a red herring since what he was really concerned with was propagating his personal political ideology).

    I suspect that the lesson future doctrine writers may draw from this little episode is that the "value added" of trying to integrate scholarly work isn't worth the hassle.

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    Since we're beating dead horses..

    None of the verbatim borrowings from scholars are big ideas--they're simply textbook-type statements of core concepts. I haven't been suggesting that a Field Manual be footnoted (only arguing that "we don't do notes" isn't an effective defence in a document that, even in its non UChicago military form, does have notes and quotation marks).

    More important, it wouldn't have taken more than an hour to rewrite the key concepts in original language, and avoid the entire "FM 3-24 is plagiarized" charge.

    OK, I think I've really killed my horse now

  13. #253
    Council Member Adam L's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    Everyday that the authors could have spent double and triple checking sources, re-wording footnotes, bibliography, etc., is one more day that this mission critical publication would not have been where it needed to be--in the hands of those executing COIN or preparing to execute.
    It does not take days to do this. If they had good research skills (I'm sure they did considering where their degrees are from) it is a simple matter. Also, they shouldn't have been doing it themselves. That's what interns are for. Also, if they had time to wait for comments on the manual they certainly had time for this. This FM was not turned out in such short order (3-8 weeks) that I could understand this justification. I don't have a problem with them quickly sending off a version to the troops, but before letting U of C publish it they should have polished things up and put in the citiations for them. This is not a matter of copyright law. It is a matter of plagarism.


    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    The previous post mentioned that it won't be long before we have quality control circles looking at publications down to the rifle squad level. Maybe. The sad reality is that the vast majority of our publications haven't been updated in more than 20 years because there's usually a 30+ step process before a new reference, warfighting or doctrinal publication is released. While I'm all for accuracy and legitimacy in writing, there's also an element of timeliness that must be met so that slow moving military and government bureaucracies can get the ship headed in the right direction. LtCol Nagl highlights well in Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife that permanent change in western militaries normally requires a new "doctrinal" publication to justify the change. From my perspective, this is a very true statement.
    Yes, accuracy can take a long time and we need to get manuals into the field. That's what "interim" manuals are for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    One more thought on the subject... the Small Unit Leader's Guide to Counterinsurgency was put together by 5-10 different people, reviewed by about 10-20 more and then put to print in mass quantity all in a less than 8-month period due to some very high level general officers forcing this book (made to fit in a cargo pocket) through the normal doctrine process. I remember a few days after the pub was released when a person from the USMC doctrine division said that it should have never been published because of the way Dr. Kilcullen phrased Rule #19 Engage the women, beware the children (I think it was covet the women, beware the children initially... I could be wrong here)... anyway, the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN has been atop the Marine Forces Central Command reading list for all Marines ever since it was released. Along with the Anbar Awakening, bold and decisive leadership from warriors like Col McFarland, Capt Patriquin, LtCol Alford and many others, I know that FM 3-24 and the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN have played an integral role in the changing security environment in Anbar and throughout Iraq as a whole.
    8-months is a long time. Fine it was written by 5-10 people, but I'm sure each of them had a few research assistants. The research is the time consuming part, writing isn't. If it was written under such time pressure with so little review, then it almost immediately should have been re-anylized, edited and reviewed on a larger scale. This leading to a "revised" edition 3-6-18 months down the road. A revised version of "#19" along with all other possible mistakes should have been sent in memos to troops so they could correct their copies (as well as thier perception of that entry) until they recieved an updated version.

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    In sum, Iraq isn't Harvard or Yale or Foreign Affairs magazine. Therefore, I don't care much about documentation. Get the information in our warriors hands as fast as possible so that we can learn and adapt faster than our enemies.
    A copy with documentation is necessary not only for ethical reasons, but also to allow those studying, or in the future revising it, to see the sources from which the authors drew their information. This will allow them to understand the authors thought process and conlusions. Without this it is difficult to understand why certain oppinions where reached.

    Adam

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post

    OK, I think I've really killed my horse now
    When I taught at Leavenworth in the late '80s, there was a sign in one of my classrooms that read, "No horse is so dead that it can't be beaten a little more."

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    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam L View Post
    A copy with documentation is necessary not only for ethical reasons, but also to allow those studying, or in the future revising it, to see the sources from which the authors drew their information. This will allow them to understand the authors thought process and conlusions. Without this it is difficult to understand why certain oppinions where reached.

    Adam
    Well, as I suggested above, the primary source for doctrine is the collective wisdom of the community of practice as validated by vetting, not written sources. If it was up to me, I would have a bibliography but no foot- or endnotes. I think it's a mistake to give the impression that you're creating a work of scholarship if, in fact, you're not.

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    Appreciate the feedback. Just a few comments then I must sign off on this topic...

    "8-months is a long time. Fine it was written by 5-10 people, but I'm sure each of them had a few research assistants. The research is the time consuming part, writing isn't. If it was written under such time pressure with so little review, then it almost immediately should have been re-anylized, edited and reviewed on a larger scale. This leading to a "revised" edition 3-6-18 months down the road. A revised version of "#19" along with all other possible mistakes should have been sent in memos to troops so they could correct their copies (as well as thier perception of that entry) until they recieved an updated version."

    The 5-10 writers DID NOT have a few research assistants, in fact they had none. We're talking about a Marine Corps at war, not a law firm, not a university, not a... 90% of the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN was written by active duty Marines on their "free time", when not instructing, advising, working on other taskers, etc. The Marine Corps does not have a pool of writers--active duty, research assistants, GS-X or otherwise--standing by to write new doctrinal publications. I confront this reality almost daily. With respect to this is why we have "interim" publications, a thorough vetting process, and then we can all slap the table on the "perfect" manual. Again, not in this Corps, not at this time. Most of the initial writers have since moved on from their billets. Some are commanding units that are either in Iraq or about to leave for Iraq.

    Here's the reality: The review process is not as thorough as we'd all like because your average Marine has higher priorities given the OpTempo today than reviewing/editing/re-writing a manual. We preach the 70-80% solution when it comes to decision-making and this has to suffice for manuals at this time as well, both the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN, FM 3-24, new MG Publications, Motorized Ops or any other subject. We can talk until we're blue in the face about the importance of documentation, accuracy, and everything else, but in the end, we've got what we've got when it comes to FM 3-24 and the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN and these documents are 1000 times better than anything we had beforehand. Yes, we must strive to revise, update, keep current all of our publications. But please keep in mind many of the warriors that played a key role in creating the documents are decisively engaged elsewhere. For example, LtCol Nagl, in charge of ensuring transition teams--the military's main effort--are ready to go; Gen Petraeus is now in Baghdad; Gen Mattis leaving I MEF to be the CG at Joint Forces Command, etc.
    Last edited by Maximus; 11-04-2007 at 06:01 PM.

  17. #257
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Hi Steve,

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    The thing is, though, that by far the major source for doctrine is the collective experience of the community of practice, not the work of scholars.
    Point taken, at least in the general case. But how about the specific case of FM 3-24 and, especially, chapter 3? Yes, I agree that the community of practice provides the source of collective experience but, I think in the specific case of chapter 3 of FM 3-24, the scholarship was providing a specific set of concepts to discuss this collective experience. In effect, it was establishing part of the "universe of discourse" as an interface between the scholarly world and the community of practice.

    Let me just bring out one example where I think the idea of a critical edition would be useful.

    Counterinsurgency Manual, section 3-51: Cultural Forms(1)
    "A ritual is a stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects performed to influence supernatural entities or forces on behalf of the actors' goals and interest."
    Unacknowledged Source:
    Religious ritual is "a stereotyped sequence of activities involving gestures, words, and objects, performed in a sequestered place, and designed to influence preternatural entities or forces on behalf of the actors' goals and interests." (Turner, Victor. W. "Symbols in African Ritual". In J. Dolgin, et al., eds., Symbolic Anthropology. Columbia Univ. Press, 1977. P. 2.)

    Now, I have done a lot of work with Victor Turner's ideas on ritual and, especially, on extending his formulation of rites of passage theory beyond the generally "religious" context (2). More importantly, the current version is quite limited; Turner was brilliant, and this doesn't even begin to touch his insights on ritual. By not having the citation available, people who are interested in ritual (like this thread) have to rely on either finding someone who does know the area and will talk about it or doing their own research without much of a starting point.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    The primary method of establishing validity in document is the extensive vetting process, not reflection of an existing body of published scholarship. So I'm just not sure what the value of a "critical edition" would be.
    Agreed on the vetting process as the main source of validity, although I would also suggest that that is for preliminary validity, and the post-publication validity would be established through, as it were, field trials . As I said, I think the value of a critical edition would be primarily in the area of professional military education and in the subsequent expansion of doctrine - not in the specific training function.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I suspect that the lesson future doctrine writers may draw from this little episode is that the "value added" of trying to integrate scholarly work isn't worth the hassle.
    Agreed, and it is one of the major reasons why I am rather angry with his article. I believe that it probably will have this effect; an effect that will
    1. only serve to polarize an already existing division, and
    2. be a disservice to both the Military and Anthropology.
    I will continue to believe that it is worth the hassle to integrate scholarly work into doctrine but, as Stan has occasionally noted, I am a hopeless romantic (3).

    Marc

    *****
    The Critical Edition (4)
    Endnotes:

    1. Price, David, Pilfered Scholarship Devastates General Petraeus's Counterinsurgency Manual, Counterpunch, October 30th, 2007 available at http://www.counterpunch.org/price10302007.html dl: Nov 4, 2007

    2. Tyrrell, Marc W.D. "At the Cusp of the Information Age: Outplacement as a Rite of Passage in Late 20th Century Canada." Ph.D. Dissertation, Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Carleton University, Ottawa. available upon request.

    3. Stan, post at SWC, September 25, 2007 available at http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...4&postcount=44 dl: Nov 4, 2007

    4.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  18. #258
    Council Member marct's Avatar
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    Default Savage Minds weighs in

    on the current to and fro.

    Nagl Responds to Price

    Our good friends at Small Wars Journal have provided another forum for discussion of David Priceís article on plagiarism and Field Manual 3-24, aka the Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Lt. Col. John Nagl, one of the manualís authors, has published a piece at SWJ directly responding to Price.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
    Marc W.D. Tyrrell, Ph.D.
    Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies,
    Senior Research Fellow,
    The Canadian Centre for Intelligence and Security Studies, NPSIA
    Carleton University
    http://marctyrrell.com/

  19. #259
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adam L View Post
    8-months is a long time. Fine it was written by 5-10 people, but I'm sure each of them had a few research assistants. The research is the time consuming part, writing isn't.
    Adam
    This is simply not how military doctrine is developed. Professors have research assistants; that concept does not apply to doctrine writing.

    I'd have to check with Con Crane who was the lead writer, but I'm pretty sure literally dozens of people drafted parts of it, ranging from a few paragraphs (me) to whole sections. But the point is that it is NOT research in the academic sense.

    The vetting process is elaborate. Literally hundreds of people from subject matter experts to four star generals had input. Generally that's done from an institutional rather than an individual perspective. For instance, in my organization--the U.S. Army War College--the draft was farmed out to a range of subject matter experts. Each was asked to make line in/line out suggestions. That was then compiled by our doctrine division, but ultimately the input comes from our commander.

  20. #260
    Council Member Sargent's Avatar
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    Default It's not all helmet-fires

    Quote Originally Posted by Maximus View Post
    The 5-10 writers DID NOT have a few research assistants, in fact they had none. We're talking about a Marine Corps at war, not a law firm, not a university, not a... 90% of the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN was written by active duty Marines on their "free time", when not instructing, advising, working on other taskers, etc. The Marine Corps does not have a pool of writers--active duty, research assistants, GS-X or otherwise--standing by to write new doctrinal publications. I confront this reality almost daily. With respect to this is why we have "interim" publications, a thorough vetting process, and then we can all slap the table on the "perfect" manual. Again, not in this Corps, not at this time. Most of the initial writers have since moved on from their billets. Some are commanding units that are either in Iraq or about to leave for Iraq.

    Here's the reality: The review process is not as thorough as we'd all like because your average Marine has higher priorities given the OpTempo today than reviewing/editing/re-writing a manual. We preach the 70-80% solution when it comes to decision-making and this has to suffice for manuals at this time as well, both the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN, FM 3-24, new MG Publications, Motorized Ops or any other subject. We can talk until we're blue in the face about the importance of documentation, accuracy, and everything else, but in the end, we've got what we've got when it comes to FM 3-24 and the Small Unit Leader's Guide to COIN and these documents are 1000 times better than anything we had beforehand. Yes, we must strive to revise, update, keep current all of our publications. But please keep in mind many of the warriors that played a key role in creating the documents are decisively engaged elsewhere. For example, LtCol Nagl, in charge of ensuring training teams--the military's main effort--are ready to go; Gen Petraeus is now in Baghdad; Gen Mattis leaving I MEF to be the CG at Joint Forces Command, etc.

    While optempo is high, I think this case is overstated.

    1. There are plenty of Marine officers in B-billets who's time could have been utilized to assist in this matter. The two years my husband spent at his before returning the fleet last year for a deployment were not the picture of busy. Clearly some percentage of Marine officers at any given time are being underutilized.

    2. Even Marines in the Fleet are not always pinned down by operational helmet fires. Were it not for the actual fires that recently plagued SoCal, his regimental job was not so onerous that some time could not be spared to provide an assist.

    3. Even a deployed Marine has lot's of downtime. In a mission with an incredibly high optempo, my husband read voraciously. He even had time to vet a 25 page document I put together to assist a defense analyst.

    4. I'm sure you couldn't throw a stone very far without finding more than a handful of military history doctoral candidates or newly minted PhDs who would have been happy to assist in this effort for little or no money. Of all the unpaid work I do for the Marine Corps, this would have been one task I would have jumped at to do given my own professional and scholarly interests. I know, for example, that Elliot Cohen at SAIS has provided students for military work, some paid and other unpaid -- I worked on two such projects during my time there, lo those many years ago (one a research project, another a Marine Corps War College CINCEX -- interesting, now, because it was during Larry Wilkerson's tenure there, but that's another story).

    *5. A particular comment re Gen. Mattis: even in the period leading up to his deployment to Iraq in 03/04 he had time to write on the importance of reading military history. Based on that, he and I exchanged several messages. I can't have been the only person with whom he had personal exchanges on the matter, so clearly he had time in his schedule to indulge in such "frivolities."

    As for the Price article, I read it and found it an interesting critique. Not necessarily a useful critique, but certainly one that made me think about the manual and military documents generally.

    The piece I found most compelling in the article was practically buried, and did not receive much follow-on in the article itself:

    "The significance of the University of Chicago Press' republication of the Manual must be seen in the context of the Pentagon's domestic propaganda campaign to generate support for an indefinite U.S. presence in Iraq. Here is an "independent" academic press playing point guard in the production of pseudo-scholarly political propaganda. As the Middle East scholar Steve Niva recently suggested to me, 'General Petraeus' counterinsurgency in Iraq has failed, but his domestic campaign for American hearts and minds is succeeding in textbook fashion; the strategy is to weaken the demand for withdrawal by dividing insurgents (anti-war activists) from the general population (American public).'"

    http://www.counterpunch.org/price10302007.html
    David Price, "Pilfered Scholarship..."

    It made me wonder whether a military document or work of doctrine had ever been conceived of or used in this way. Given some other critiques of the Manual I've heard (along the lines that, in the end, it doesn't offer much that is new -- perhaps this new iteration makes the information more valuable because it now has much greater institutional support), the notion that this document was meant to salve the public fears is not so far flung. It's certainly an interesting use of doctrine.

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