After serving their country, many soldiers who returned home from America’s war in Vietnam received no welcome. Service members faced a divided nation and the deep-rooted anger of a public that had long grown tired of the human costs of foreign policy failures in Southeast Asia. Not unlike the veterans themselves, military programs associated with unconventional warfare were hastily forgotten as the Department of Defense prepared to reshape itself in the post-Vietnam war era. Over the past month, critics of the deceased and controversial Human Terrain System (HTS) have driven their final kicks into its corpse, pointing out faults, casting moral judgments, but ignoring studies validating the program’s effectiveness. Rejecting cynicism, we reflect on the utility of social science research at the micro-level and argue that a robust ethnographic capability should remain within U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) or the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). Click on link below to read the full article.
“Research Returns from War,” with Jim Lee, Foreign Policy, July 2015.