Friday, May 08, 2015

Gonzalez post: The US Army’s Serial Plagiarists

An article by Roberto Gonzalez at CounterPunch begins

Over the past decade, the Pentagon has taken a renewed interest in cultural knowledge. This has manifested itself in many ways, including the creation of culture training centers and the distribution of funds for narrowly targeted social science research under the aegis of the Minerva Initiative.
The Army’s latest attempt to inject military personnel with cultural knowledge is the recently published manual, Cultural and Situational Understanding or Army Techniques Publication 3-24.3. (I will refer to it as ATP 3-24.3.) While this might sound like a positive development to some, ATP 3-24.3 reveals the shoddy intellectual underpinnings of the Army’s counterinsurgency agenda.
The topic of doctoral dissertations arose:

Army Lieutenant Colonel John Nagl offered a swift defense: manuals “are not doctoral dissertations, designed to be read by few and judged largely for the quality of their sourcing; instead, they are intended for use by soldiers. Thus authors are not named, and those whose scholarship informs the manual are only credited if they are quoted extensively” (quoted in Shachtman 2007).

One hopes that doctoral dissertations are judged largely for the quality of the original thought, not for the quality of their sourcing.


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