Essay: Bagram: Obama’s Other GTMO

Lisa Hajjar (UCSB, Sociology)

On President Barack Obama?s second day in office, one of the three executive orders he signed was a commitment to close the detention facility on the naval base at Guant?namo Bay (i.e., GTMO) as soon as possible but no later than one year. An inter-agency task force headed by White House counsel Greg Craig was established to come up with a plan. The new administration did not anticipate that this would be controversial because, at that time, closing Guant?namo had bipartisan support, including from former President George W. Bush and Republican presidential contender John McCain. Bagram, the main US-controlled prison in Afghanistan, on the other hand, was being expanded?like the war in that country.

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On Difference and Indifference:
Empathy-work and manhood in the War in Afghanistan

Keith Brown (UCSB, Sociology)

This short essay continues the project explored in ?Grunt Lit? my co-authored 2007 reflective review of Iraq war memoirs. Noting the rapid production of first-hand accounts of the war by combat personnel, we urged anthropological colleagues to honor the commitment of the discipline to the ?natives? point of view??however much more ironic freight that term has accrued since its first coining by Bronislaw Malinowksi in his work on the Trobriand Islanders?and to read that material as a key component in forming their understanding and analysis of the war. Or as we put it, ?it is easy ? for anthropologists to have an opinion of ?the war? and think that our opinions are worth hearing. But these opinions are more informed, nuanced, and will carry further if they are shaped by the kind of close, yet open-minded, encounters with ground-level realities and practice whose importance we, and our disciplinary forebears, have worked so hard to promote.? (Brown and Lutz 325)

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On Civil War and Ethnic Violence

Fotini Christia

Conversations on Afghanistan

Fotini Christia with Chantal Berman

Fotini Christia (MIT, Politics) talks with Chantal Berman (Brown `11) about decentralization, sovereignty, policy and stability in Afghanistan and in comparison with other countries.