More on anthropologists and torture in Iraq
Another article, this one in Inside Higher Ed, discusses the debate within the AAA about anthropology and torture. The article outlines how some anthropological work has been used to ‘refine’ torture techniques used by the US forces in Iraq. The article does not suggest that anthropologists are actually involved in collusion, but that earlier work is being deployed by organisations like the CIA to develop more effective interrogation techniques. It reveals a chilling echo of the new-found interest in ‘culture’ in other fields. Citing Alfred W. McCoy, a historian and author of A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, From the Cold War to the War on Terror, the article states:
Previously … when the CIA sought scholars’ help for interrogations, it was to learn about sensory deprivation, but now it’s all about culture, and behavioral scientists’ works are central. [full article]
It seems tha the CIA, like many corporations these days, has a new appreciation of the ways in which ‘culture matters’.