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Military AnthropologySoldiers, Scholars and Subjects at the Margins of Empire$
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Montgomery McFate

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190680176

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190680176.001.0001

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David Prescott Barrows and the Military Execution of Foreign Policy

(p.315) 9 Conclusion
Military Anthropology

Montgomery McFate

Oxford University Press

The story of David Prescott Barrows – an anthropologist who served in the Philippines and during the US invasion of Siberia – captures many of the points raised in this book. Specifically, Barrows’ life experiences demonstrate that military intervention always interferes with the local society; that strategic objectives must take social conditions into account; that problem framing determines problem solution; that framing a problem incorrectly will frequently result in an unworkable policy; that military personnel conducing operations in close proximity to local nationals should adapt to the social context; that the instrumentalism of national security often negates the objective; that adversaries always seek knowledge of their opponent and in certain contexts anthropological knowledge has great efficacy to combatants and so on. Barrows is important to the story because he the only US Army general to have a PhD in anthropology.

Keywords:   David Prescott Barrow, Philippine, Siberia, Military intervention, Anthropology, National security

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