Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Literature’ Category

On Twitter today, I came across Amalie Flynn’s poetry, which you can read on her blog Wife and War. In many ways, Flynn reminds me of a homefront Yusef Komunyakaa; her narrator gives a voice to mediations on the same dark register. There is an unfiltered honesty–approaching, but then veering away from, the confessional–that must be so evocative for veterans and their spouses. Poems such as these are the kind I most enjoy teaching.

Her most recent poem, “Scope,” attracted attention for its mediation on the night raids in Afghanistan, but what strikes me most about it is the horror in wanting-to-but-not-knowing:

When I talk about the night raids,
My husband’s face closes like a door,
Because I am asking how, how it works,
But I should know better,
Because this is war,
And there are things he cannot say.

There is a tragic tension there between the wife’s dark thoughts and the husband who cannot address them. Perhaps, it is a matter of OPSEC that he does not speak; perhaps, it is that he does not want to have those events visit him in his sanctuary away from the war. However, his inability to speak triggers this cascade of darker and darker images that inescapably visits their home:

What I know is this,
There are lists,
How there are names on them,
Names of men,
That other men turn in,
And how they say, they turned,
Or they’re with them now, the Taliban,
And they become the targets, that soldiers hit,
Clearing their houses, in the pitch black, searching,
For something, or how, sometimes, people get killed,
The soldiers searching,
Or the men,
Their wives, and their children, and
It is night, now, in my kitchen,
And my husband is, here, now,
Standing in front of me,
Saying words that are safe,
Like good and night,

The narrator’s preoccupation grows ever more “tactical” in her desire to know the “how.” The narrator begins with the “known”–the existence of these “high-value target” lists. At that point, everything becomes uncertain. The faceless, nameless sources give up names, but they cannot be trusted.  Too much, she must think, is unknown. Are these men–and their families–legitimate targets?  This, too, is ambiguous, because all we know is that “The soldiers searching, / Or the men, / Their wives, and their children” are killed. Was there a cache of weapons or an IED factory? We do not know. This uncertainty destabilizes all words–even those “safe” ones like “good” and “night.” Their link–like the link between those nameless Afghan men and the Taliban–becomes questionable at best.

Later, my husband is in bed,
And I am awake,
Standing at a window, in my kitchen, over
A sink, thinking about it,
The scope of this war,
Ten years, now, or him,
My husband, how I still do not know, everything,
Or about targets,
The human body,
And how it looks through the scope of an M4,
A head, the collection of limbs,
Torso, this chest, surrounding
The heart as if it mattered.

Ultimately, the poem asks but cannot know the answer to the question: “How are targets identified?” The inability to know leads the narrator through a train of thought until she imagines the most tactical of targeting–what the human body looks “through the scope of an M4.” At its most “tactical,” the horror reaches its height. Notably, she stands at a sink with her own body framed in a kitchen window not unlike a body framed within the reticle of a scope, targeted not by a weapon but this horror of not knowing.

There is much more that could be written about this poem and others, but you would better be served reading them yourself at Amalie Flynn’s Wife and War. It is well worth the look.

Read Full Post »

Wading through Twitter this morning, I came across Andrew Exum’s post on Harold Bloom’s dismissal of Robert Heinlein’s 1959 novel Starship Troopers, which appeared in The New Yorker.  Rolf Potts asked Bloom what he thinks of the novel’s inclusion in military reading lists, and the literary critic is less than impressed.

“I can’t take that seriously, I’m sorry,” he said. “I suppose it’s on the list because that’s the world we’re headed towards.”

The world, I can only assume, Bloom is referring to is a hyper-technological state of exception where franchise is linked to military service.  From orbit, soldiers in armored exoskeletons descend onto alien worlds and exterminate a largely nameless, faceless other who is posited as an existential threat to humanity.  From its Cold War context to the contemporary War on Terrorism, Starship Troopers has struck an alarming chord for many in the academic left for this very reason–the foreclosure of anti-war dissidence and the limitless weaponization of technology.  As much as its vision of the future frightens some, it seduces many more–not the least of which are the military and defense industry.  Space-bound light infantry in exoskeletons would seem to be the an answer to a logistical prayer at a time when Afghanistan–or other far-flung sites of foreign intervention–might as well be an alien planet and the fighting load of warfighters has not only crippled their ability to fight but also, in many cases, their bodies as chronic back injuries haunt them.

However, these nightmare and fantasy readings of Starship Troopers belie the importance of the novel as social commentary that is particularly relevant now given the sudden enthusiasm for military intervention in Libya.  First, the chasm between civilians who would ask the military to intervene and the military men and women who must bear the cost of such intervention presents an ethical breech within the democratic process.  Secondly, no matter how technology shapes the battlefield, war is fought and won by men (and women) on the ground.*

The first issue addresses the divide between those who have experienced war and those who have not.  In Starship Troopers, much of Heinlein’s social commentary comes through the character Mr. DuBois, a veteran and teacher of a class named “History and Moral Philosophy.”  Through him, Heinlein sets up his most controversial claim about the civilian-military divide–that citizenship should be reserved for those who have served in the military.  Detractors of the novel have linked this to a fascist impulse in which only those who desire violence are given a voice in the political process, but I have a different reading.  In class, DuBois asks what is the “moral difference” between a soldier and a civilian and Rico, the story’s protagonist, answers:

“The difference,” I answered carefully, “lies in the field of civic virtue.  A soldier accepts personal responsibility for the safety of the body politic of which he is a member, defending it, if need be, with his life.  The civilian does not.” (Heinlein 24)

For Heinlein, this “personal responsibility” is linked not only to a willingness to assume the physical risks for political decisions but also an understanding of what those risks entail.  Throughout the novel, there is the sentiment that decision makers, participating citizens, and officers–leaders of the society–must understand the meaning of those risks through experience.  Citizens must have been soldiers; officers must first be enlisted.   Before one can send another off to die for whatever cause, one must have been so ordered.  The result is not a citizenry of hawks; rather, a citizenry who understand the inescapable violence of war.

This understanding of war’s violence is more important than ever, given fantasies old and new. With the ascendency of counterinsurgency theory in the popular imagination, there has been a proliferation of the misunderstanding that war has become a string of humanitarian acts like building schools and providing medical care like those described the now-fictional Three Cups of Tea.  Similarly, the technological abstraction of war has given an ignorant populace the idea that no-fly zones, drone strikes, and a host of half-measures can skirt the violence of war–or at least the worst of it–and restore order for those abused and disenfranchised.

These are not the fantasies of those who have fought the twenty-first century’s wars, but those who have seen their simulacra on cable news and Modern Warfare.   In a recent Small Wars Journal op-ed entitled “War by Any Other Name Is War,” Jason Whiteley–an Iraq veteran and author of the forthcoming Father of Money: Buying Peace in Baghdad–describes the disconnect between citizens and the soldiers:

Yet, American civilians are prepared to wave yellow ribbons and project support for soldiers while remaining comfortably ensconced in cozy lifestyles. In this way, American civilians can feel supportive of those who wage war on their behalf without personally experiencing the effects. […]  This disconnect can only create an aura of irresponsibility. As long as the troops are supported, why should we care about what they actually do? Consider that the average American consumes only a few minutes of news per day and that news tends to be sensational or highly anecdotal. Soldiers have missions that are routine and, hopefully, boring. Their day to day activity does not excite America.

Instead, an uninformed and disinterested public continues to live through euphemisms created under the guise of humanitarianism and technological abstraction.  While warfighters may act as humanitarians, they know there is no non-violent war.  They have born the costs.

Here, we return to the question of Libya.  Whether or not we subscribe to Heinlein’s theories on citizenship, his notion of “moral responsibility” does warrant consideration.  The general public, familiar not with the violence of war but the narcissistic media in which they wallow, has seemingly been enticed by the so-called “Twitter and Facebook revolutions.”  War can be fought–so they think–with 140-character dribble rather than soldiers and revolutionaries.

This ignorance is why Starship Troopers is worth reading.  For all his jingoism, Heinlein does not let us forget that the violence of war is inescapable and soldiers on the ground will pay the costs.

Works Cited

Heinlein, Robert A. Starship Troopers. New York: Ace Books, 1987.

* – In its day, Heinlein’s was an oddly inclusive view of race and gender.  Women, for example, had faster reflexes, so they would be the fighter pilots of the future; men’s brute strength kept them as exclusive members of the infantry.

Read Full Post »

On Thursday and Friday, the University of Florida hosted the 2009 EGO Conference.  The topic was “Home/sickness: Desire, Decay, and the Seduction of Nostalgia,” and Dominick LaCapra–a historian from Cornell–gave the keynote address.  I took part in a panel called “Evocations of Empire: Political Analyses of the Past and Present” in which I delivered a 15 minute conference paper that examined counterinsurgency theory and doctrine as literature.  In particular, I looked at how this theory and doctrine has a ‘haunted’ quality.  Among other things, I address the lasting appeal of Lawrence to writers such as Kilcullen.  Since this is a literary analysis, it will be a very different take than policy- and practice-focused COIN theory, but I hope you will find it interesting nonetheless:

The title of my paper is “Ghosts of Empire: T. E. Lawrence and the Haunted Narratives of U.S. Counterinsurgency Doctrine.”  Ordinarily, military doctrine is not placed in the domain of literature.  During this talk and afterwards, I hope you will consider not only why military doctrine and theory counts as “literature” but also how cultural critics can contribute to its study as well as the urgency of this project.  The fact is that with counterinsurgency doctrine and theory we are dealing with texts that are quite literally weaponized.  In an article entitled “The Evolution of a Revolt,” T. E. Lawrence himself called the printing press “the greatest weapon in the armoury of the modern commander.”  This line is one of Lawrence’s most cited throughout American military doctrine.  Most notably, it appears in the U. S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual–the official how-to guide for the ongoing interventions not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also The Philippines, Somalia, Yemen, and countless other past, present, and future sites of intervention. This manual also states that “some of the best weapons for the counterinsurgent do not shoot.”   In effect, counterinsurgency advocates that the military do its shooting with TEXTS.  Not only is this a complete reorientation of the masculine mythologies of war, but also it is what makes this cultural movement so RIPE for our intervention.

Now, let’s return to the key question addressed in this paper:  that is, “why are these weaponized texts ‘haunted?’”  To answer this question, I turn to Freud’s “The Uncanny.”   In this article, Freud writes, “The German word ‘unheimlich’ is obviously the opposite of ‘heimlich’ [‘homely’], ‘heimisch’ [‘native’] the opposite of what is familiar; and we are tempted to conclude that what is ‘uncanny’ is frightening.”  However, Freud is arguing something very different.  He continues, “Something has to be added to what is novel and unfamiliar in order to make it uncanny.”  That, for Freud, is the uncertainty of place and time in league with a frightful doubling.  Of course, issues of the ‘home’ and the ‘native’ are particularly relevant to colonial discourses, but there are two common features inherent in counterinsurgency texts that make them uncanny.

The first is what I call “temporal disorientation.”  This term points to the text’s disorientating place within the tangle of memory and trauma.  As Benjamin writes, “To articulate the past historically…means to seize hold of memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger.”  Of course, the unfortunate reality for postcolonial history is that these violent flash points reoccur in the same locales with a tragic repetition.  For critical readers, the effect is a classic text of counterinsurgency theory has the sense that it could have been written 100 years ago, today, or perhaps 100 years in the future in some apocalyptic vision.  A good example of this is David Galula’s foundational counterinsurgency text, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. In an aside, Galula writes, “A revolutionary situation exists today in Iran.  Who can tell what will happen, whether there will be an explosion, and if so, how and when it will erupt?”  Without context, one might just as easily assume this was one of the countless Tweets coming out of Iran after the election this summer, but these words were not written in 2009 but rather 1964.  This haunted repetition conjures the ghosts of a violent past replayed again and again in the postcolonial.  This could apply to a range of texts including, say, Kipling poetry’s about intervention in Afghanistan.

The second of these haunted qualities is a conscious (and often self-critical) channeling of colonial discourses.  In this talk, I will be addressing the channeling of Lawrence in particular, but there are many others who have been similarly evoked.  An example of this phenomenon is a third-person novella called The Defense of Jisr al-Doreaa.  Written in 2009 by two American military officers, Michael L. Burgoyne and Albert J. Marckwardt, it serves a howto guide for soldiers deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan presented in a series of dreams.  Above and beyond the form of the book, its most striking feature is the channeling of another text written in 1905 about the Boer War called The Defence of Duffer’s Drift.  This is not a repetition a la Pierre Menard’s rewriting of Quixote as much as a seance in which past colonial voices are made to speak through a distinct narrative as part of a new (often literal) mobilization.

These two shared qualities, temporal disorientation and channeling of colonial discourses, contribute to these texts’ sense of ‘haunted-ness’–that is, the uncanny in Freud’s sense.  This particular form of the “uncanny” is what I will be exploring today in the doubling of the T. E. Lawrence’s 1917 advice to military advisors, “The Twenty Seven Articles of T. E. Lawrence,” and David Kilcullen’s 2006 advice to soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, “Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency.”  They will stand as two exemplars of the hauntedness of counterinsurgency doctrine and theory.

To begin, let’s turn to the image of Lawrence in the past as a subversive figure in larger context of British military culture as well as colonial discourses coming out of the metropole.  It is import to acknowledge how difficult it is parse myth from reality with Lawrence, but for the purposes of this discussion we are only interested in Lawrence as a mythic figure.  As such, Lawrence is an agent of British imperial ambition, but he remains a queer cog in their war machine.  When I speak of Lawrence as a “queer cog,” I am not simply acknowledging the questions and complications that rise from discussions of his sexuality but also his relative position within the larger context of British military culture.  Consider for a moment that Lawrence was not like Prince Harry attending Sandhurst.  Rather, Lawrence was–and more importantly for us, positioned within military and colonial discourses as–this delicate, if not effeminate, archeologist-poet turned guerilla fighter who would meet with his commanders in sandals and Arab dress.  Contrast him to a contemporary figure such as British General Douglas Haig whose absolute lack of imagination and failure to comprehend new inventions such as the machine gun led to the needless slaughter of tens of thousands in the First World War.  Lawrence was the complete opposite of Haig in terms of his place in military culture.  Indeed, Lawrence dared to diverge one-hundred percent from the established program:  that is, he was willing to travel to a dark place on the map as in Heart of Darkness, get off the boat as in Apocalypse Now, or simply and radically go “native.”  This is what makes Lawrence this queer, ill-fitting cog in British Empire, but it is also exactly this the uncanny positioning that is now celebrated.

His subversiveness can be observed in his short piece, “The 27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence.”  As an example of colonial rhetoric coming out of the Metropole, it is among the most subversive as it demonstrates a willingness to be led by rather than lead the colonial other.  Lawrence writes, “Your place is advisory, and your advice is due to the commander alone.”  Later, he suggests, “Win and keep the confidence of your leader. Strengthen his prestige at your expense before others when you can.”  In both cases, the commander or leader is an Arab, not British, figure.  Certainly, Lawrence’s end is the service of Imperial goals, but the values of the metropole are all but erased or otherwise made invisible.  He writes, “Better the Arabs do it tolerably than that you do it perfectly. It is their war, and you are to help them, not to win it for them.”  He goes further and dismisses Western modes of warfare altogether.  He writes, “Learn the Bedu principles of war as thoroughly and as quickly as you can.”  Most notably, he places paramount importance on learning and mastering Arab culture.  These were some very radical proposals in 1917.  Even from this small sample of writing, it is easy to see why Lawrence has such a vexed relationship to the British Empire at large.

Let’s now move to the present day.  We are living in an era in which Lawrence’s position within military and colonial discourse has moved from one of subversion to a place within the dominant narrative.  At this conference, we have seen nostalgia posited as many things.  Here, it serves as a mobilization.   Enter David Kilcullen, a former Australian military officer, who came to prominence in America as a member of General David Patraeus’s personal staff.  He contributed to the writing of the Counterinsurgency Field Manual, and his book The Accidental Guerrilla is a bestseller.  Currently, Kilcullen is serving as a counterterrorism advisor for the State Department.  Although he is undoubtedly a “rock star” within the national security community, Kilcullen began as a subversive figure.  He was reported to have said invading Iraq was “fucking stupid”–a comment he later disavowed–but he nonetheless maintains that the 2003 invasion of Iraq was a “serious strategic error.”

Kilcullen’s “Twenty-Eight Articles: Fundamentals of Company-level Counterinsurgency” captures this subversive quality.  Here, Kilcullen is very overtly conjuring Lawrence on the ouija board of military doctrine.  However, he is not simply evoking “The 27 Articles of T.E. Lawrence” but also the very SPIRIT of Lawrence’s counternarrative.  Recently, on Australian television, Kilcullen mused on the context in which he initially wrote his “Twenty-Eight Articles.”  He proudly states how his piece was being discretely passed around the Pentagon via email at a time when Rumsfeld and like-minded Pentagon wonks were suppressing the advice of counterinsurgency advocates who argued first for not invading Iraq and secondly for more troops in order to secure the country after the invasion.  Rumsfeld, of course, ignored this advice.

However, there is more to “The Twenty-Eight Articles” that make it such a subversive counternarrative.  Evoking that subversive voice of Lawrence, Kilcullen claims, “Rank is nothing: talent is everything.”  Again, we see a divergence from the valuation of Sandhurst or, to a lesser extent, American military academies.  He writes, “Remember the global audience.”  This is not simply casting out the media as in Sri Lanka’s counterinsurgency but rather a genuine awareness of the global community.  If this sounds familiar, it should.  A similar sentiment permeates President Obama’s “reset” of diplomatic relations across the world.  Kilcullen also advises, “Engage the women, beware the children.”  This is not some simplistic “saving colored women for white men.”  Instead, he recommends real political engagement with women as a key component of networks that can either encourage or discourage insurgency as well as a cautious desire to protect children.  Lastly, and most interestingly, Kilcullen suggests the counterinsurgent “exploit a ‘single narrative.’”  For Kilcullen, this exploitation is establishing an alternative narrative to, for example, the Taliban or other opposition figures as well as tapping into existing narratives to score non-violent political victories rather than violent ones.  (Throughout his work, Kilcullen’s mantra is that “a defection is better than a capture and a capture is better than a kill.”)  This underscores notion that the best weapons don’t shoot, and, as I suggested earlier, that counterinsurgents now advocate these weaponized narratives.

Indeed, the seduction of Lawrence is that he is a misfit, a rebel.  When counterinsurgents evoke Lawrence, they are evoking this spirit.  This uncanny doubling of Lawrence’s image in Kilcullen’s writing is more than a repetition of colonial discourse but rather a summoning of Lawrence’s powerful marginality.  However, this sense of the uncanny is not limited to Kilcullen’s “The Twenty-Eight Articles” but also to a wide range of counterinsurgency theory and doctrine.  Most importantly, this narrative has shifted from the margins of military culture to a dominant position.  A once-insurgent literature in Lawrence has literally become counterinsurgent in figures such as Kilcullen.

Read Full Post »

Jeff Withington, posting at the US Naval Institute blog, shared an email exchange he had with Admiral Jim Stavridis on the value of an English major and the impact it has had on his life.  Admiral Stavridis also recommends a “must-read” list for midshipmen before receiving their commission. Well, I have one-upped the admiral.  In the fall, I will be offering an American literature course entitled “Survey of American Literature: Narratives of War, 1865-Present.”  You don’t even have to be a midshipman or an English major–only a student at the University of Florida.

“Narratives of War” will focus on novels, short stories, films, and memoir that deal with aspects of armed conflict since the end of the Civil War.  The course will encourage students to think critically about an number of issues including but not limited to post-traumatic stress disorder, women in the military, “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” Arab-Americans after 9/11, Revolution in Military Affairs, and counterinsurgency.

My inspiration for the course was John Nagl’s characterization of American military culture as one of survival in the face of existential threats. That culture of survival permeates all of American culture including the struggles facing various waves of immigration, the GLBT community, and Arab Americans post-9/11. As diverse as America itself, our military faces many of these same challenges.

There are no shortage of texts, so it is inevitable that I will miss some here or there. My goal was to cover a wide swath of historical periods and genres. There may be some changes, but here it is as it stands today:

Week 1
Monday (8/24): Course overview and introductions; reading journal explained

Wednesday (8/26): American Civil War; Walt Whitman, selected poems

Friday (8/28): Stephen Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (1-75)

Week 2
Monday (8/31): Crane, The Red Badge of Courage (76-152)

Wednesday (9/2): selection, Ambrose Bierce, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge,” “A Son of the Gods,” “One Officer, One Man,” and “One of the Missing” (Available at The Ambrose Bierce Project, http://www.ambrosebierce.org/works.html)

Friday (9/4): Spanish-American War; Rudyard Kipling, “The White Man’s Burden” [Available at http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~wldciv/world_civ_reader/world_civ_reader_2/kipling.html%5D; Mark Twain, “To the Person Sitting in Darkness” [Available at http://www.logosjournal.com/issue_4.3/twain.htm%5D

Week 3
Monday (9/7): No class

Wednesday (9/9): Stephen Crane, “The Open Boat” [Available at http://etext.virginia.edu/toc/modeng/public/CraOpen.html%5D

Friday (9/11): September 11th; Flight 93, directed by Peter Markle (in-class screening)

Week 4
Monday (9/14): 9/11 and Arab Americans; Randa Jarrar, “Lost in Freakin’ Yonkers” and “A Frame for the Sky” (course packet)

Wednesday (9/16): Introduction to Research Writing: Asking Questions and Finding Answers; Group Activity on Topics, Questions, and Problems

Friday (9/18): World War I; selection, Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (3 – 35) [course packet]

Week 5
Monday (9/21): Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (36 – 74) [course packet]

Wednesday (9/23): Ernest Hemingway, “Soldier’s Home”

Friday (9/25): Research Writing, continued: Sources and Citation

Week 6
Monday (9/28): World War II; Art Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (part 1)

Wednesday (9/30): Spiegelman, Maus: A Survivor’s Tale (part 2)

Friday (10/2): Research Writing, continued: Claims and Support; for class discussion, watch the following WWII Disney Propaganda films: “The Spirit of ’43” [Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqMVpcbhpqw%5D, “Der Fuerher’s Face” [Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZiRiIpZVF4%5D, “Commando Duck” [Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H81Nna8fo5g%5D

Week 7
Monday (10/5): Vietnam War; selection, Tim O’Brien, The Things They Carried

Wednesday (10/7): selected poems, Yusef Komunyakaa

Friday (10/9): Revolution in Military Affairs; selected military technology articles; Donald Rumsfeld, “Secretary Rumsfeld Speaks on ‘21st Century Transformation’ of U.S. Armed Forces,” US Department of Defense, January 31, 2002 [Available at http://www.defenselink.mil/speeches/speech.aspx?speechid=183%5D; John Nagl’s and Frederick Kagan’s responses in Learning to Eat Soup with a Knife [e-reserve] and Finding The Target: The Transformation of American Military Policy [e-reserve]

Week 8
Monday (10/12): Robert A. Heinlein, Starship Troopers (1-75)

Wednesday (10/14): Heinlein, Starship Troopers (75-150)

Friday (10/16): No class

Week 9
Monday (10/19): Heinlein, Starship Troopers (150-225)

Wednesday (10/21): Heinlein, Starship Troopers (225-272)

Friday (10/23): 1991 Gulf War; Jean Baudrillard, “The Gulf War Did Not Take Place,” Jarhead [in-class screening]; Reading Response Paper due

Week 10
Monday (10/26): Don’t Ask Don’t Tell; selection, Gabe Hudson, Dear Mr. President; James J. Lindsay, Jerome Johnson, E.G. “Buck” Shuler Jr. and Joseph J. Went, “Gays and The Military: A Bad Fit,” The Washington Post, 15 April 2009, A19; Andrew Exum, “DADT and the Age Gap,” Abu Muqawama

Wednesday (10/28): The War in Afghanistan and the 2003 Iraq War; Colby Buzzell, My War: Killing Time in Iraq (1-75)

Friday (10/30): Buzzell, My War: Killing Time in Iraq (75-150)

Week 11
Monday (11/2): Buzzell, My War: Killing Time in Iraq (150-225)

Wednesday (11/4): Buzzell, My War: Killing Time in Iraq (225-300)

Friday (11/6): Buzzell, My War: Killing Time in Iraq (300-368)

Week 12
Monday (11/9): Women in the Military; Kayla Williams, Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army (1-75)

Wednesday (11/11): No class

Friday (11/13): Williams, Love My Rifle More Than You (75-150)

Week 13
Monday (11/16): Williams, Love My Rifle More Than You (150-225)

Wednesday (11/18):Williams, Love My Rifle More Than You (225-300)

Friday (11/20): Williams, Love My Rifle More Than You (300-320)

Week 14
Monday (11/23): Counterinsurgency; Spenser Ackerman, “Women Prominent in Defense Movement (Seventh in a Series: The Rise of the Counterinsurgents),” The Washington Independent; Research Paper (First Draft) due

Wednesday (11/25): Montgomery McFate, “The Military Utility of Understanding Adversary Culture”; Roberto J. González, “Towards mercenary anthropology? The new US Army counterinsurgency manual FM 3-24 and the military-anthropology complex”; Montgomery McFate, “Building Bridges or Burning Heretics?”

Friday (11/27): No class

Week 15
Monday (11/30): No class; student conferences (required)

Wednesday (12/2): No class; student conferences (required)

Friday (12/4): No class; student conferences (required)

Week 16:
Monday (12/7): Unmanned Systems; Sig Christenson, “Air Force looks to keep more pilots grounded,” MySA.com; David Kilcullen and Andrew Exum, “Death from above, outrage from below,” Eagle Eye, directed by DJ Caruso [in-class screening]

Wednesday (12/9): Conclusion; Research Paper (Final Draft) due

I will be interested to hear your feedback on the syllabus. If you are a student at UF, the course is AML2070: Section 1625. I would welcome any cadets or midshipmen from the ROTC program.

I may require a blogging component to students’ reading journal, because I am sure students will have some great perspectives not only on the works themselves but also the issues we will cover together.

Read Full Post »