Thursday, August 02, 2007

Anthropologists and mercenaries

Matthew D'Ancona picks up on the likes of David Kilcullen as part of a bright new hope in the Brown era. For greater detail and insight into Kilcullen's thinking see George Packer's article last December, Knowing the enemy (not at time of writing linked on Kilcullen's wikipedia page). For example:
Just before the 2004 American elections, Kilcullen was doing intelligence work for the Australian government, sifting through Osama bin Laden's public statements, including transcripts of a video that offered a list of grievances against America: Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, global warming. The last item brought Kilcullen up short. "I thought, Hang on! What kind of jihadist are you?" he recalled. The odd inclusion of environmentalist rhetoric, he said, made clear that "this wasn't a list of genuine grievances. This was an Al Qaeda information strategy."
This is useful stuff, but what keep in mind, too, some economic drivers for war for profit's sake:
In the case of Iraq, ...the US and UK governments could give the public the false impression that the occupation was being scaled down, while in reality it was simply being privatised.

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