Saturday, January 9, 2010

teaching anthro at US Marine Corps University [Jan 9, 2010 Nat'l Public Radio, Weekend Edition-Saturday]
In Class, Marines Learn Cultural Cost Of Conflict, mp3 audio download

The students in front of Paula Holmes-Eber wear camouflage and have close-cropped hair. Most of them are Marine officers, and many of them have already been to war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They're here to learn the consequences of their actions.

"Should we change another culture?" she asks the class. "The reality is, the second you land on the ground with 100,000 troops eating and using the materials of the area, you've changed the economy; you've changed the environment."

"It's not should we," she tells them, "it's what are we doing — and is that what we want to be doing?"

An anthropologist, Holmes-Eber trains American warriors to be sensitive to other cultures. She teaches operational culture at Marine Corps University in Quantico, Va. It's her job to get soldiers to think through how every move they make on the battlefield has a consequence — not just for enemy forces, but for ordinary people.


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