Consult: Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, PhD


Social Science Consultation on

Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Ph.D.

Date:  July 10, 2009

84-minute teleconference

Transcribed by Jean Maria Arrigo

Reviewed and amended by Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban on July 21, 2009

Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban is Professor of Anthropology at Rhode Island College and  is a member (2006-2010) of the Commission on engagement of anthropology with the military and national security agencies within the American Anthropological Association (AAA). She is a past chair of the AAA's Committee on Ethics and has written about anthropology and ethics, and edited two editions of "Ethics and the Profession of Anthropology" (1991; 2003). She is currently researching Islamism in Sudan under a US Institute of Peace grant, 2007-09. 

Teleconference Participants:  Jean Maria Arrigo, Ray Bennett, Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban, Stephen Soldz, and Ted Strauss, author of the case narrative, “American Psychological Association Ethics Committee, 2001-2008.” Note:  The transcript has been streamlined a bit.

Social Science Consultation with Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban on

Censure of Anthropologists by the American Anthropological Association

Ted Strauss, Jean Maria Arrigo, Stephen Soldz, Ray Bennett come on the line in rapid succession and banter about the August 6 – 9, 2009, American Psychological Association Convention in Toronto while waiting for Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban.] 

SOLDZ:  [To Ray]  I hear you’re coming to [the American Psychological Association Convention in] Toronto to suffer with the psychologists.

BENNETT:  Yes.  It won’t be so bad.  There’s an open bar, right?

SOLDZ:  Yes, sure!

BENNETT:  I’m looking forward to it.  All part of the good fight.

Ted is here as well?

STRAUSS:  Yes,  I’m already in Canada.

BENNETT:  Okay.  You’re the advance party?


FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Hello, this is Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban. 

[Greetings, discussion of teleconference connections, and access to preparatory documents.]

ARRIGO:  We are on the line now:  Ted Strauss, who is most responsible for the case at hand, Stephen Soldz, and Ray Bennett.   [The usual instructions for the tele-consultation protocol.]   So let’s start up with the introductions:  Ted, Ray, Stephen, and we’ll hear your introduction last, Carolyn.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  All right, fine.

STRAUSS:  My name is Ted Strauss.  I’m a masters’ student in psychology in New York City, and I’ve been involved in the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology for a year-and-a-half or so, as well as campaigning for a piece of legislation in New York, the Gottfried Bill [REF].  I’ve been studying the APA Ethics Committee and how they handle cases, particularly how they’ve handled the case of John Leso, for which they’re received several complaints but have not yet acted on adjudicating any complaint against any individual.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  And what is that legislation in New York related to?

SOLDZ:  The legislation in New York is to strengthen licensing for health professionals, to prohibit any health professional abuses, from being involved in any type of torture, and there is a lot of specific language in corrections situations [unintelligible] in New York State and beyond.  Anti-torture legislation for professionals.


BENNETT:  My name is Ray Bennett.  I’m a retired army interrogator, in the job field of interrogation for  22 years in the army.  I retired as a senior warrant officer in 2006.  I became involved with this effort to help Jean Maria and her colleagues to draft an ethical policy as I saw the field of interrogation, being much discussed in the media, et cetera.  I felt that one thing that was always missing — and it led to misstatements and confusions — was an actual interrogator in the discussion.  So I made myself available to Jean Maria Arrigo and her colleagues to serve as the subject-matter expert on what is it specifically, now that the Army Field Manual [REF] is the standard.  What does that mean, how does the Army Field Manual mean, how is it trained, et cetera.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  All right, thank you.

SOLDZ:  Stephen Soldz.  I’m a psychologist in Boston and have done a lot of writing on this issue of psychologists in interrogations.  I’m the publicist of the group, among other things.

ARRIGO:  I think I’ll pass, because everybody knows me.  Carolyn?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  My name is Carolyn Fluehr-Lobban.  I am a senior anthropologist, Professor of Anthropology at Rhode Island College in Providence, Rhode Island.  In terms of ethics, I guess I would be regarded as sort of a pioneer because for many years there weren’t many anthropologists who actually wrote about anthropology and ethics — although, as we begin to speak, we’ve had a number of crises around which we’ve had many debates, positive outcomes and negative outcomes.  I’ve been a witness to a great deal of this, going back to the Vietnam War era, but also a participant and a player, probably since my first work on ethics, which was in the late 1980s.  I was at the Ethics Institute at Dartmouth College for a year and worked with philosophers and other social scientists on some of the issue that we were commonly concerned with.  I was probably the first person to write about informed consent in anthropology and  helped to develop the first language on informed consent in anthropology in the mid 1990s.  I was part of the group that put together the present code of ethics, which is still in operation but under revision at the moment.

ARRIGO:  Do you mean the code of 1971 or 2007?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, I was a student at the time of 1971, the first code of ethics, and then I began to get involved with the issue —well, we might as well really get into this — as our field came under pressure for not being able to have, quite honestly, academic positions to provide jobs for all the anthropologists and new PhDs that were coming out.  So in the mid-1980s we began to really expand in the area of applied anthropology, or anthropology outside of the academy.  That precipitated a mini-crisis about, well, is ethics or professional conduct going to be the same in the applied areas as in the academy.  That’s when I really got involved with some of the issues around the code of ethics.  It seemed like we were really going to fragment at that point and have a code of academic anthropologists and a code of applied anthropologists.   I think we’ve gotten beyond that.  But then I was also one of the first people that started writing about the history of anthropology and ethics, then joined some of the colleagues in other disciplines to talk about common interest, and was drafted to be part of the group that drafted the current code.  That work was done in the mid-1990s.  And now, for the first time — I guess since it was  ratified in 1998 — we’re looking into revising it again.   I’ve got a number of works.  I’ve published two editions of a book called Ethics in the Profession of Anthropology.  The first edition was sub-titled Dialogue for a New Era.  That was in the late 1880s, early 1990s, and the current edition is Ethics in the Profession of Anthropology: Dialogue for an Ethically Conscious Practice. 

I also should say that I’m a field worker.  I work in the Middle East on North Africa.  I work in the Sudan, which is probably one of the most complex and complicated places to work, in terms of ethics and applied anthropology at the moment.  And, in terms of our friend here [Ray Bennett], my husband does teach at the Naval War College.  I’m here in Providence, Rhode Island, and I’ve been invited to speak there, and I’m teaching my first course there, because of the opportunity to teach mid-level career officers — My husband’s found it such rewarding work, he’s gotten me intrigued, so I’ll be doing my first course in the Fall. 

ARRIGO:  Wonderful.

To try to tie your expertise, to whatever extent we can, to Ted’s case [“American Psychological Association Ethics Committee, 2001-2008”], an early question we would like  to ask is whether there is any protocol for holding accountable anthropologists who stray outside the ethics code.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, the only thing I have prepared for this evening’s conversation is a sort of review of our history, which will not take a long time but which will be convenient way, I think to talk about how we’ve struggled with this issue of accountability.  We did have an accountability process, which we’ve moved away from.  if I could just briefly,  briefly review some of the major periods in the history of our field, which really goes back to the mid-19th Century and it deeply involved with the study of the American Indians in the late 19th Century.

ARRIGO:  That would be great.  And, Ted, if you hear something that particularly relates to your case, please speak up.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I don’t mind being interrupted.  But I think the review of this history helps insofar as you can see some of the issues that have shaped our contemporary discourse but also the inconsistencies.  We haven’t figured out all these matters as yet. 

American anthropology was built on the study of the American Indian.  There are many critical — particularly American Indian — people who would say that we didn’t side enough with the case of the American Indian and were pretty much silent on issues of genocide and the treatment of native peoples.  There’s a whole coterie of anthropologists who worked as government anthropologists and of course many who have worked with Indians, so it’s a mixed bag.  But our founder, whose name is probably familiar to you, Franz Boaz (1858 – 1942), who was at Columbia University, he’s the only anthropologist in American anthropology to have been censured.  He was censured by what was then the Washington group of anthropologists in 1919, after his article in The Nation basically revealing information that anthropologists in World War I had used  the cover of anthropology or archaeology to work as spies.  There was just a very simple letter to The Nation, “Scientists as Spies.”  Even though he was a major figure, well known, he was hauled before their committees and actually censured.  His censure was only recently rescinded by the AAA in 2005.

ARRIGO:  Go back a little.  These were actual anthropologists who —

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  These were actual anthropologists.  Yes.  I forget the exact name of the group was called but it’s in my book.  It was the Washington Group on Anthropology or something like that. [I checked the name and other details: Anthropology Society of Washington’s Executive Council passed a resolution stating that Boas’ letter to The Nation (regarding anthropologists as spies) was “unjustified and does not represent the opinion of the American Anthropological Association.”]  They were the one’s who initiated it.  But it was not challenged by the American Anthropological Association, as well, or any other anthropology organization.  Boas is the only anthropologist in the whole history of American anthropology who’s been formally censured. 

ARRIGO:   And he was censured for what?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  He was censured for this article to The Nation, in the context of the First World War, where he was condemning the actions of several  anthropologists who he alleged, or were alleged, to be using their academic credentials as a cover for spying.

ARRIGO:  And what was he censured for?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  For being a whistle blower, for damaging the reputation of the discipline.  he was not involved.  He was disciplined because he brought this to the attention of the public.

Now he has since been uncensured.  I was part of that whole movement.  It was easy to do.  But that only happened a few years ago.  I mean, this is literally the founder of the field, Columbia University.  He trained Margaret Mead, Ruth Benedict, Alfred Kroeber, [Robert H.] Lowie — he trained all of these great anthropologists —  He never really spoke much about it or wrote much about it, but it’s the only time we’ve censured anyone.  It’s  telling because we’ve had a lot of misdeeds or alleged misdeeds, up to, and including, the present moment. 

SOLDZ:  So protecting the reputation of the discipline was most important? 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Protecting the reputation of the discipline was most important.  What has always amazed me, because I’ve written about this, is that after this was done to Boas, they never really went after the alleged miscreants.  I couldn’t even tell you what their names are at this moment.  It was shameful,  It was a shameful episode.  As I said, Boas went on to much greater things and really built American anthropology, and never wrote much about it or spoke much.  It was really just buried.  But he remained uncensured until just a few years ago.  I think it was 2005.  Some noble graduate student said, “Don’t you think it’s time we uncensure Boas?”  Some of us agreed.  I remember speaking at the American Anthropological Association and telling some anthropologists what I’m telling you, and mostly people didn’t know about it.  It’s quite startling.

STRAUSS:  Were there any real consequences for his career from that?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  He was already an established academic at that point, he came to the United States from Germany in the 1880s, worked among the Eskimo or the Inuit, gets a position, I think, at Columbia around the turn of the Century. He’s about 20 years into a pretty decent career.  He’s already training some of the greats at this point.   He was an established figure.  He wasn’t a junior scholar.  He died during the Second World War.  It’s the only case we have of censure.  We didn’t get it right.  It’s not of case of say, “Well, we’ve been looking at ourselves self-critically,” but I think we’re really just, perhaps, embarrassed about reviewing such a negative partr of our history.  And I think when I get to some of the more recent cases — and I don’t think Boas was guilty of anything except revealing a matter that needed to be discussed and debated within the field,.  But we have a lot more serious examples that were just too hot to handle, there wasn’t the courage, we didn’t have the mechanism in place to really deal with these individuals.

The Second World War is the next period where anthropologists are really very much engaged with government work, with military work.  It’s really the beginning of applied anthropology.  Pretty much because that was the so-called “good war,” they got a pass.  I mean this was Ruth Benedict, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, some of the great names in our American anthropology, who worked closely with the government.  That included not only something that we’re calling “remote ethnography,” the study of culture at a distance, you know, but the  Japanese national character studies were produced, (such as Ruth Benedict’s Chrysanthemum and the Sword) which helped in terms of “How do you deal with this particular enemy?”, which is quote-unquote “the enemy,” so culturally different from our own Western ways.  There was no complaint. 

Indeed, one of the buried parts of that history was that anthropologists were employed in the internment camps, where thousands of Japanese were interned in the West in these camps.  Anthropologists were there.  Their roles are not entirely clear because they haven’t been completely forthcoming, but anything from spies and intelligence gatherers to cultural brokers between the government and these groups of people.  This was never really confronted until Japanese Americans brought this to the fore and actually asked anthropologists to be accountable for what took place in the Second World War.

ARRIGO:  Now is there actually a military occupational specialty, like we have military psychologists?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  There is not.  I’ve been very interested to read that there actually is such a designation.  There are people who have been talking about that, that we should have one of our sections within the American Anthropological Association that would be called Military Anthropology.  But that’s very controversial:  “That would be an oxymoron....”  I’m not arguing my own personal point of view, but that does not exist, although it has been suggested.  Some of the other terms that are being used are “militarized anthropology,” but I think that’s —

STRAUSS:  And when anthropologists are employed in the military, is there a job title that has ‘anthropology’ in it or do they remain [unintelligible] —

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  It’s anything from “behavioral scientist” — so that could be a psychologist or an anthropologists  — to “social scientist.”  I think many of the people in the Human Terrain Teams are — The advertisement is for “social scientists.’  Sometime they are specifically looking for an “anthropologist,”  “cultural anthropologist.”  They may actually be looking for “archaeologists,” particularly in some of the current areas where – you know, Iraq is a cradle of civilization.  So some of the repair work or reparations of trying to protect archaeological sites that were not protected during the intense years of the war —  It depends on the job, of course, but the most generic term would be “social scientist” or “behavioral scientist,” but sometimes they’re really looking for a “cultural anthropologist” with linguistic skills, cultural skills, it depends on the job.

ARRIGO:  Ray, have you run into any of this.

BENNETT:  Well, there is not current military, that I’m aware of, specialty for anthropologists like there is for psychologists.  I think part of the reason for that is, soldiers need psychologists, too, when they have mental health issues or whatever.  I’m struggling to come up with a reason why a soldier would need an anthropologist.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Why a soldier would need an anthropologist?  [Laughing.]  I think it’s mainly the anthropologist on the ground where troops are deployed.

BENNETT:  Right.  Certainly a soldier could make use of the anthropologist’s knowledge in that way, certainly.  But I’m saying that in order for the military to have an occupational specialty for anthropology, like there is for psychology, there would have to be some kind of reason to justify how this benefits the soldier, not the soldier in wartime but the soldier in garrison.  The psychologist can benefit the soldier in garrison.  Until the military comes up with a good reason how the anthropologist could benefit in garrison, there won’t be a specific code. 

Now there may be other areas where anthropologists will work, such as Psychological Operations, for example.  You know, they tie in cultural references and everything.  But then that officer would be working as an intelligence officer with a background in anthropology. 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I think that’s the generic sort of social scientist we’re talking about, with particular applications of anthropology.  But you’re right, there’s no such category as a military anthropologist, or military anthropology. 

Let me get to the Vietnam War era, which was the turning point.  And then I’ll fast forward to where we are today.  That was the time when our first code of ethics was really brought forward.  And it was in the midst of the Vietnam War crisis, particularly, again, allegations that four named anthropologists were involved in counterinsurgency work in Thailand, in Southeast Asia.  It was the times, it was the student movement, it was the anti-war feeling that just catapulted this whole set of issues forward in anthropology and brought about our first code of ethics, which was in 1971.  But that was pretty much focused on anthropologists working in counterinsurgency work — previously Project Camelot in South America.  Again, anthropologists and other social scientists involved in counterinsurgency intelligence  or practical applications on the ground. 

At that time, and this is really to answer the question about accountability, probably because of the heat of the Vietnam War era. a grievance model, a grievance procedure was installed with the first code of ethics.  It remained in place from 1971 to 1998, the code that I was involved with, but the grievance process was never deployed.  There was not a single case where an anthropologist  was put through the process and the process was brought to the end, where there was an up or down, yes or no, good anthropologist/ bad anthropologist determination made. 

SOLDZ:  Were there any complaints that weren’t —

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  There were many complaints.  I was a member of the Committee on Ethics.  I chaired the Committee on Ethics.  In any given year — because we don’t have the numbers that the American Psychological Association has; it’s not in the hundreds — there were dozens of complaints.  But mainly they were complaints about other colleagues.:   plagiarism, tenure cases, affirmative action, sexual harassment, this sort of thing.  It’s not that these things were not covered under our code of ethics, but I think that, in every case that I knew about, the determination was made within the Committee on Ethics that this was better adjudicated and better handled within the university, within the institution of employment, with a legal case or something like that.  They did not seem to deal with matters of principle about the major work that anthropologists conduct, about the research that they carry out, the applications of their profession in various institutional settings.  So that grievance procedure was never deployed. 

ARRIGO:  Did they actually take their complaints to the institution?  Did something happen?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, I don’t think anyone has ever made that study, how many of them were resolved in other ways.  But I know that the determination was made not to pursue them because they seemed to be so interpersonal and not really dealing with the major issues of ethics that the Committee on Ethics thought that they should be dealing with.  Or it might have been, you could say, a lack of will. 

The last, just to dramatize this, was the case of the infamous book Darkness in El Dorado, which alleged that an anthropologist and another scientist, a geneticist had actually ignored a measles epidemic among an indigenous group in South America, the Yanomami, had practiced deception, had  pursued an ego-centric approach to his research that sort of left the concerns of the indigenous people in the background, not in the foreground.  There were some very serious allegations that were raised.  But that was the last case that the Committee on Ethics declined to consider.  And this was after the Brazilian group of anthropologists and after the Venezuelan group of anthropologists had said:  “Please do something about this individual.  He has been harming these indigenous peoples for decades, not only in his personal behavior but also in his writings about these people, which cast them in a very negative light.”

ARRIGO:  Well, I read Patrick Tierney’s book.  And I know that the AAA investigated a lot, or at least generated a lot of conversation about it.  And you didn’t actually come to some determination?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  No.  and the worst of it, the bottom line is that the supporters of this individual, who were very vigorous and very aggressive, I would say, introduced resolutions — again, back to Boas — protecting the reputation of the scientists over the concerns of the indigenous people.  And those resolutions passed.  Basically, the report  issued by the task force said:  “Serious questions of ethical conduct have been raised here.  Many of them are founded; they are not unfounded allegations” — that report was overturned by the resolution protecting the accused scientists.

ARRIGO:  After we get through the basic history, if you would come back and talk about the institutional aspects of that in your organization, that would help us.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, I was not a member of the ethics committee at that point, but I certainly was a very close observer.  I would say that — and this is just my personal view; others might have a different view — my view is that the counteroffensive was so aggressive, so confrontational, and tactics were used that made it appear that personalities and professional reputations were at stake, and not the issues. 

ARRIGO:  How did this happen?  For instance, we have [in the APA] a Council of Representatives, we have a Board, and so on.  How does it happen?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I would say again — this is off the record and among friends here in this hour-and-a-half we’re together — it was lack of leadership.  And it was allowed to deteriorate to a battle between some very powerful personalities.  [Napoleon A.] Chagnon [b. 1938] on the one hand, his ethnography of the Yanomami was probably the most taught anthropology ethnography ever, selling over a million copies a year.  So his name was in some ways synonymous with anthropology.  So you had some very powerful forces behind him.  And those who had revealed, who actually led to the American Anthropological Association actually trying to do something about this. Terrence Turner and Leslie Sponsel, they were the ones who led the opposition, and it got to be a battle between the Tierney-Sponsel forces against the Chagnon-et al. forces. 

ARRIGO:  Was there a body in the AAA which  —

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  There was an attempt to deal with the human rights issues and to rise above it, but in the end it came down to votes for and against those forces.

ARRIGO:  But where was the vote taken?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  The vote was taken with resolutions that were put before the general body.  The task force did an excellent job.  They wrote an excellent report, a report that I thought was fair and balanced and did not appear to be taking sides.  But the Chagnon forces, shall we say, were so well organized  — By the way, Chagnon himself was just apart from this.  The key personality never played a role.  It was all folks around him.  They just did an exceptional job of polarizing some of the issues and saying that this was really about unfounded allegations made by a journalist, not one of our own, against a colleague, and it’s really about protecting the reputation of this anthropologist, of anthropology in general, and of the geneticist, who happened to be a very powerful individual, as well.  I was staggered that these resolutions passed.

SOLDZ:  When you say “general body,” is that the membership?

CR  That’s the membership.  It’s the membership who votes. Now that’s kind of like the way we voted as the American electorate until the last election.  You may have 10,000 potential voters and maybe a 1000 or 1500 will vote.  There really were campaigns:  “Please vote for this.  Don’t let the other side win.’  But they did, and that sort of killed it. 

STRAUSS:  And the vote was whether or not to censure?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  At that point, we had already moved away from the grievance procedure.  By 1998 — and I was part of the group that argued that we should move away from a grievance process that’s never been deployed, never been used, and that we should shift to an educational model, so that was already in place by the time these events took place.  It was not a question of putting him through the grievance process but a question of condemnation, strong language, “which we deplore,” ....  We don’t really have a corps to drum people out of.  We’re not a licensing or credentialing body, as I’m sure you know by now.  All we have is the weight of public opinion.  All we have is reputations.  We don’t have licenses; we have reputations to protect.  But whatever you’ve been through, you can still be an anthropologist and still practice, which some people are not happy with.  They’d like to see a grievance process, where we can actually say, “You are no longer an anthropologist.”

SOLDZ:  It would be up to whether the university felt that this was a basis for action. 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Yes, it comes down to employment again.  That’s why I think the Committee on Ethics has backed away from these very controversial matters— They might think that they’re being subjective, that they can’t know what’s going on between colleagues.  From my own perspective, I’ve always felt much more comfortable dealing with issues and principles, and cases illustrating the ways we should be ethical or try to develop best practices than getting into anything that involves personalities.  Unfortunately, I think that’s been our greatest weakness.  However, I think we’re moving away from that in this current era. 

One thing I have to laud the Association for, I think we jumped ahead of the curve on this engagement of anthropology with national security agencies.  It was one of the first times that we weren’t reacting to a major crisis and a major embarrassment.  We just jumped slightly ahead of the curve.  We’ve been at it for, this is the third year, and we’ll continue for another year.  We’re really looking at what the issues are with anthropologists engaging on the ground with combat troops. What does the spectrum look like?  What is ethical?  Where are the lines crossed?  We still haven’t made those final determinations.  But I think we’re beginning to get there.  And we’re not talking about personalities!  I’m happy to say that in this whole engagement with the national security agencies, there hasn’t been a single instance where we’re talking about so-and-so was bad, so-and-so was good.  There are a few flash points of individuals who attract lightening, but it has not been about personalities.

ARRIGO:  Does the AAA have any formal relations with the military?  For instance, the APA, going way back to after World War II, when independent institutes were set up to provide psychological research for the military, those people would then go into APA leadership positions and circulate back and forth.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  We really don’t have that history.  Anthropologists have been identified as working with the military, working with the CIA.  Either publicly they make that known, or privately these things are talked about.  Frankly, it hasn’t been something that’s been highly valued, and it might be something that some would be critical of, particularly because there have been some revelations through Freedom of Information [Act] research that the American Anthropological Association collaborated with the CIA during the McCarthy era.  You know, there have been some covert relations that’s gone on [during the Cold War]  but generally this is considered outside the bounds of the highest standards of anthropological professionalism. 

As I was thinking about what you might be interested to hear, I think it’s because of the nature of research that we carry out, that we go into cross-cultural communities, that our whole method of operation is developing long-term relationships of trust.  That is our stock and trade.  So anything that puts a question mark, most of us — I’ll speak for myself.  Most people think I’m a CIA agent anyway.  What else would you being doing coming in here and learning Arabic and coming to these far-off desert places and hanging around for a long period of time?  So we bend over backwards, like the Peace Corps has done, to say, “No, this is not what we do.”  We’re interested in objective research, and we really try to be balanced.  Anything that gives a hint of a close relationship, any government, our own or any other government, is something we tend to shy away from, as field workers.  I would say that ground is shifting now because we’re still now employing anthropologists in the academy, there are many, many, opportunities we’re coming to understand, particularly through this commission, that are useful ways to engage with the government.  They not only help anthropology but may also help lessen harm in communities.  So we’ve been very reluctant to condemn activities that are currently going on.  The only thing we’ve taken a stand against is the Human Terrain Team, where anthropologists and social scientists are actually embedded with combat troops, where they are actually wearing military uniform, they may also be carrying weapons, and they are used to help with decision making on the ground.  “Should we go into this community?”  “Who are the leaders we should possibly talk to?”  And, of course, this horrible question of targeting an individual or community.  So that is something the American Anthropological Association Executive Board has taken a strong stand against.  But that is not something that is thought to be ethical engagement.  But all the others, military education, consulting in a variety of ways, as subject-matter experts – I think that is something that people are recognizing is important.

STRAUSS:  Has that at any time focused on individuals, and is it known whether individuals are members of the AAA?  Can you give us a sense about —

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  There are very few individuals who’ve gotten the (quote-unquote) “bad reputation.”  There’s one person who helped to write the counterinsurgency manual for the U.S. Army.  She’s an identified anthropologist and is very public and very aggressive about what she does, and she’s a member of the of the Human Terrain Teams.  She’s probably attracted more heat than anyone.  But, even that has died back.  It really is much more about the issue.  I’m just so happy about that, that that’s what we’re focusing on, and it isn’t so much the negative energy from the past, where it really was the battle of the egos.  I’m not going to guarantee it will stay that way.  However, all we need is one more New York Times report...

STRAUSS:  When I asked about individuals, I mean have names of individuals on the Human Terrain Teams who are just sort of foot soldiers, if they return from the war and go on to academic positions, say, are the names of those people known?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, a couple of names are known, and they are people who’ve been particularly public about this.  Others, when they’re in a New York Times report, there’s just a pseudonym or just one name is used, so they’re being protected.  One of the things we’re hearing from younger professionals is that they are attracted to these positions because they’re a younger generation.  They didn’t go through Vietnam.  They didn’t go through some of the things that some of us older anthropologists went through, so they don’t have a lot of the issues or the baggage that some of us older anthropologists may be carrying.  The salaries are very attractive, particularly if you’re a newly minted Ph.D. and you haven’t got a nibble yet for an academic job or an applied job.  The question they have asked us, asked me, “Do you think if I have this on my resumé, could I put this on my resumé, will it harm me in terms of getting an academic or another position later on?”  And I honestly can’t say categorically, “No, it won’t harm you.”  It might.  it might not.  At the Naval War College it would be a good thing.  At some other universities it might be something you’d have to try to explain. 

ARRIGO:  Do you have the situation with anthropologists having their way paid through graduate school?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Yes, oh, yes.  The first money that the Pat Roberts [Intelligence Scholars Program (PRISP)], basically Department of Defense money, which is actually an old issue for us, because going back to the National Defense Education Program and NDEP, a sort of continuation of that, where, essentially, if you’re going into area studies and you’re studying a language that is other than French or German in a Third World area, yes, you could have your graduate work supported.  And the PRISP work, I believe, is tied to work with the military or one of the national security agencies for a number of years post-Ph.D.  That, I believe, is now a line item in the US Congressional budget.  It was a bit of a controversy for a while, but it’s now a fact.  Now how many students are in those programs, their names are protected, from what I understand.  That’s one of the reasons that some people have concerns, to say the least, because it’s not a public program.

ARRIGO:  So if they have a fellowship from the Ford Foundation, everybody knows who it is. 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  That’s right.  For PRISP support, their names, their identities are protected.  You just don’t know.  Some colleagues have said, “I’d like to know if I had such a student in class.”  For myself, it wouldn’t make a difference.  But others might feel differently about it. 

You can’t be categorically for or against these things until we have real cases that we’re talking about and real cause and effect.  But I do think the openness, the transparency, the ability to know the source of the funding, and what are the conditions, that is a very important part of what we do.  We don’t have things that are held back. 

ARRIGO:  Could you give us any assessment from an anthropologist’s point of view of prosecution or investigation of the case that Ted Strauss was telling us about?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, I was very intrigued because I am a Middle East specialist.  I work in North Africa.  I do Islamic studies.  I work in Arabic speaking areas.  Needless to say, I have more than a passing interest in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.  I was also asked to consult on the case of a Sudanese in Guantanamo in 2004, for the defense, and was actually asked to go to Guantanamo.  But before that happened the attorney withdrew, and I think I might have withdrawn myself because the nature of the tribunal was such that it didn’t seem like a vigorous defense would have been possible.  So I had that direct interest. 

Also, I’d have to say that when the revelations came out, anthropology had a common shudder:  “Oh, my God, I hope we weren’t there!”  When Seymour Hersch, in his New Yorker article  said that people were reading and studying this work by an Israeli anthropologist called The Arab Mind.  I thought, “Oh, God, this has got to mean that they’ve got anthropologists as cultural specialists.”  And when some of the types of activities that were being used in the intense interrogations were described, they seemed to be so culturally specific, with dogs, sexual humiliation, and homosexuality, things that I know to be sensitive points in Arab culture, I was really strongly suspicious that there were some anthropologists involved.

By this time the commission was going, so we set this as a priority to try to find out if there were indeed identifiable anthropologists as part of the interrogation process or consulting with the interrogation process.

ARRIGO:  Who was doing this when?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  This was the first round, the Commission on the Engagement of Anthropology with National Security Agencies.  I think you’ve talked with Rob Albro, or you’re gong to. 

ARRIGO:  Yes, we have.

We weren’t able to do an investigation like this at APA, so we’re very interested that you could do this. 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Oh, no, we set this as a priority.  We said, “We’ve got to find out. I started making inquiries with my contacts.  I do international human rights work, and I happened to know the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak.  So I went to the right person, and we spent an evening together.  He said, “So far as I know, it’s only psychologists.”  [Laughing.] — I’m sorry to be laughing.  It’s like “Thank heavens!”

Then one of our people tracked down Seymour Hersh and said, “You know, we’ve just been so concerned with your writing.  Did you pick up anything in your investigative journalism that would have related to anthropology, other than this book by an anthropologist who’s no longer with us?” Basically he was very short with that person who finally spoke with him but did say, “They were just reading the book.” It wasn’t an anthropologist. 

I wouldn’t say that that was an exhaustive investigation by any stretch of the imagination.  But we did make inquiries.  We did make it a priority.  And we weren’t able to turn anything up in our various networks.  I don’t know what else we could have done.  One of the things that we’re been wrestling with is that anthropological knowledge, or anyone’s knowledge, once it’s in the public domain you have no control over how it’s used.  So that’s something that we just resign ourselves to, although some anthropologists want to say, “Oh, we should be very careful about what we publish because it could be used to the detriment of the people we study. 

ARRIGO:  But when it came to the Human Terrain System and anthropologists’ involvement, I wonder why you didn’t get the same uproar as you did over Chagnon and Boas. 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I’ve wondered about that, too.  It’s a very good question.

ARRIGO:  Because this is what we had in the American Psychological Association:  “Psychologists would never do that!”


Partly it’s because we were reacting to – and I know you’re sympathetic to this — It was not internally generated.  There were stories about Human Terrain [Systems] that were appearing on the front page of the New York Times. 

ARRIGO:  We had the same situation.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I know you did.  We kind of want to circle the wagons a bit and try to contain the damage, so to speak.  The furor was really not about personalities, but “What are we going to do about this?”  “What are going to do to stop anthropologists from even thinking about this?”

ARRIGO:  But ours was only about personalities much later, when we were unable to do this.  Then we started looking at why we couldn’t do it, and that’s when it came down to personalities.

But who appointed your task force?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  It was appointed by the officers, the Executive Director, and I guess they have a subsection on ethics within the American Anthropological Association.  Some of the key players , I believe, made the appointments.  I think, in terms of our success, because it was a very balanced original group, and it remained so, meaning we had strong critics on the Left, if you want to say that, and pretty strong supporters, people who were engaging with the Marine Corps, with the U.S. Army, people who are wonderful professionals and who are doing the work with national security agencies, people like myself who have been doing ethics and trying to sort through some of theses issues.   It was a pretty good balance between academic and people who were not in the academy.

SOLDZ:  What you didn’t have, as I understand, was anyone from the [Human] Terrain [System] teams.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  We did not.

SOLDZ:  It may have been why, because it sounds like, in some sense, the compromise was, “Working with national security’s okay, but this is not.”


SOLDZ:  And one of the reasons seems to be that the kinds of work that your people do are much more towards the transparent than a lot of aspects of psychology, interrogations being just one.  PsyOps are another.  There are many kinds of psychology which are involved in classified work.  I can’t imagine a comparable [APA] committee coming to a compromise because of that.

CR  Yes, yes. And I don’t know if it was intentional not to have somebody from HTS [Human Terrain System].  They did appoint the first chair who was the person who chaired the task force on El Dorado. He is a very easy, laid back, Southern gentleman, who just knows how to manage potential conflict. I had actually made a plan for how I was going to withdraw from this after it became too intense or divisive.  However, it just worked, very, very well.  I wouldn’t say it was just personal, but it was because everyone knew that we had to do this well, that we had to keep it civil, and we had to focus on the issues. 

ARRIGO:  And was there some sort of vote, the way there was on the El Dorado issue?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  We pretty much worked on a consensus model.  I can’t recall a vote. 

ARRIGO:  You said of the task force on Chagnon, that the committee put out a paper but then somehow the issue of whether to condemn him went to —

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Yes, that’s right.  There was another group which drafted a sort of human rights report about him, which you might say was a minority report, but that was independent of the commission, so far as I understand. 

ARRIGO:  But this issue didn’t go into the second stage of members trying to sway the results?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, we do have a group called the Network of Concerned Anthropologists, which is actually led by one of the people who was on the Commission, David Price, who might be interesting to talk to.  That’s basically a group that came together to say, “We pledge as a group never to do this sort of work.  This is how we define it.  We pledge not to be involved in national security work along these lines.”

ARRIGO:  But no group on the other side?


ARRIGO:  Well, maybe we should move along to questions that haven’t been asked yet.  Let’s go in the order:  Ted, Stephen, Ray, me.

SOLDZ:  I have a question that I think has probably been answered at this point but I just want to bring it up briefly.  In psychology it’s pretty well known that, following the World Wars, veterans sort of financed the development of psychology at the departmental level and huge flows of money [TED. CLARIFY].  You talked about the specific financing for graduate study, but has the government helped to develop the field of anthropology generally? 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I would say not to the extent that I’m aware of with psychology or what you’ve described.  We’ve pretty much been not been thought of as a mainstream field because we focus on cross-cultural research, although I think that has changed fundamentally since Iraq and Afghanistan and 9/11 — those are the milestones.  But, say, in development work, with USAID [United States Aid in Development], where you’d think we’d be naturals, and we would be heavy hitters in those development groups, but we’re really not.  We’re junior partners.  In fact, sometimes many of my colleagues who work with USAID or World Bank, or some of the big nongovernmental or governmental institutions, sometimes they feel their role was one of spoilers.  They say:  “Oh, we’ve got an anthropologist.  They’re the ones who bring up difficult questions.  This isn’t going to work because of gender.  This isn’t going to work because of race. You don’t understand all the cultural nuances here.”  So we have not been heavy hitters in these institutions, to the best of my knowledge. So, government has not invested heavily in our development. 

However definitely since 9/11, and particularly after Iraq and Afghanistan and later the [Iraq War Troop] Surge [of 2007] anthropology has come more to the foreground of military thinking. As far as I understand, the Surge is really something that was applied anthropology:  “Stop being an occupying army and start becoming an army that is friendly, living in communities, and working with the locals.”  And I know this through my husband who teaches at the [Naval] War College, anthropology and cultural knowledge and the applications of cultural knowledge information are becoming highly valued, primarily because of the failures in Iraq and Afghanistan  and the recognition that we have some fundamental problems with communication with the Islamic world.  We’re trying to set some of that straight, so anthropologists are moving more to the center.  But we’ve moving to the center from the outfield.  There’s no question about that. 

SOLDZ:  It seems that some of the anthropological applications of [unintelligible 59:43:6], there’s so of the principles of it, and then there’s the uses to which they’re put, which are by and large counterinsurgency, which means that the actions can’t be isolated from political evaluation of what counterinsurgency is about and its ethics itself [unintelligible due to electronic bleep] ... view or the Association deal with that kind of conflict between actions that, if you feel the military is engaged in an ethical action, might be reasonable, but that might not be reasonable if you feel that the counterinsurgency is unethical and has the goal of eventually controlling another people.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Yes, it really does come down to a lot of political considerations that maybe can’t be writ large in terms of mass thinking.  An insurgency from one perspective is a liberation movement.  From another perspective, it requires counterinsurgency initiatives, depending on where you’re coming from. 

We’re not at the point where we’re going to make any categorical statement about good anthropologist / bad anthropologist.  We’ve avoided that.  Where these discussions are taking place — and I’ll have to say I’m very interested in this myself — is the admonition about “do no harm” and what harm means in applications of anthropological knowledge, as an abstraction or direct application of anthropologists in their professional activity on the ground.  What I’ve begun to talk about, and what others are interested in talking about, is not just “do no harm,” but what about avoiding harm, preventing harm, or lessening harm —I’m sure you’ve been talking about these matters for years — and that harm is a variegated concept.  Really, it needs to be broken down.  We have not done this.  We’ve been weak historically on “do no harm.”  We’ve been weak on “informed consent.”  We don’t know what we’re doing when we’re trying to get informed consent because we typically don’t use forms.  Fleshing this out in terms of, say, a counterinsurgency:  “What are the right things to do?”  “How do you evaluate and assess what applications of knowledge, directly or remotely, are taking place?”  We need a lot of work in these areas.

SOLDZ:  Okay. Thank you.

ARRIGO:  We’re probably going to have time for a second round of questions, too.


BENNETT:  One of the problems that the APA has been having in terms of drafting ethical guidelines is heavy influence from forces outside the APA to influence that decision, making process within the organization.  That is personality driven to some extent.  That is also driven by funding.  A lot of psychology-related research is funded not only through the government at large but specifically through intelligence organizations.  I feel, as does everyone else here on the call, I think, that it’s through this funding that the APA is co-opted into adopting that position.  Actually, they haven’t adopted a position.  They’ve tried to be as vague as possible.  Has there been an effort to co-opt the field of anthropology through funding that is “go along or we’ll turn off the money tap”?  I don’t know if you’re familiar with Jean Maria’s PENS Task Force experience.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Rather.  I’ve tried to get up to speed in the last week or so. 

BENNETT:  That was meeting where outsiders were present and very influential in the decision-making process that was allegedly internal to the APA.  So have you seen any—

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I have not.  And, again, I don’t speak for the field and my experience is what it is, but I would not say that that’s been a strong trend within our field.  But I think that it’s a growing one.  The value of anthropology is being increasingly recognized and a grater priority is placed on it.  David Kilcullen, for example, is a top military advisor, a presidential advisor under [President George W.] Bush and, I think, has retained a lot of that caché.  He’s an anthropologist, does applied military anthropology.  As I said, the Surge, and General [David] Petraeus is a big fan of applied anthropology.  Secretary of Defense [Robert] Gates recognizes the importance of culture. 

I think that we can probably profit from your experience in terms of what’s coming down the road.  As I said, we’ve been fairly minor players in the Washington scene.  The American Anthropological Association, although based in Arlington, I know has wanted to have more influence than it has.  It would like to be called to Capitol Hill more often than it is. So I think it’s a looming trend.  It’s something I don’t see diminishing but only getting stronger.  But up to now, there hasn’t been sufficient interest to be bought off.  Now some would maybe disagree with that, that there’s been close ties between the AAA and CIA, closely working with government agencies in particular war periods.  Mostly anthropologists tend to shy away.  Again, coming back to the nature of the work that we conduct, it is on the ground, it is in cross-cultural areas, we really have to work to try to establish our credibility and maintain it, particularly as Americans.  The applications are becoming so much more varied now.  Again, because we don’t have the strength in the academic field, many more of these questions are going to have to be dealt with, probably in terms of working out some principles that have to do with the ways that we engage with governmental agencies.  At one point, in our code of ethics we said, “Thou shalt not have any dealings with any governments of any sort."  The 1971 code said that.

STRAUSS:  It seems to me, the legitimacy of psychology is partly coming from the science side of the social sciences.  Psychology has made an effort to use scientific method, data collection, and statistical analyses, something that has brought a lot of legitimacy to the field and made it appealing to the military, for example, because there seems to be reliability in that.  You’ve been describing a transition in anthropology.  Do you think that an attempt to gain legitimacy will come from a change in methods, for example, adopting more scientific methods?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I think we’ll stay who we are.  But I think there’s a shift in the government towards more soft knowledge, soft power, instead of the hard science.  And I do acknowledge that there are aspects of psychology that are viewed as more hard science, than anthropology, which is highly qualitative, except for the physical, biological side.  There is a shift, so far as I can tell  — and this comes with consulting on Sudan and my husband’s work at the [Naval] War College –  of a really strong interest in culture and a strong interest in softer approaches, and what are called nonkinetic approaches and cerebral approaches, the applications of cultural knowledge to persuade heart and minds, this kind of approach.  So that’s where I see the shift coming, not that we’re going to become more scientific so that we’ll get more legitimacy and government interest and government funding.  I don’t really see that taking place. 

I’m speaking as a cultural anthropologist.  We have a whole field of biological anthropology, which has been involved in biometrics and has been very strongly involved in homeland security, and how you measure and evaluate the human body as it’s moving through airports and public space.  We have been described as the most scientific of the humanities and the most humanistic of the sciences.  We do have a hard science on our side, but, to be very honest, they have not been much a part of this discourse.  I think that’s a weakness.  The biological people have not been involved.  The archaeologists are somewhat on the sidelines.  This has been very much driven by the cultural anthropologists, who are the majority.  And don’t forget, we also have a whole field of linguistic anthropology, with languages and linguistic analysis and code breaking and language as a way to access cultures and people and to influence.  It has huge applications.  I’d say we’ve been under-utilized by the government and the military.  But there’s an acknowledgement that our time is now.  The question is, will anthropology and will anthropologists embrace this?  I don’t think our commission is going to make any categorical statements, one way or another.  Our first report said:  “We take no position on engagement.  We are not for it or against it.”  But we just say:  “You have to think about it.  You have to know what you’re getting into.  You have to think about the ethical issues before you think about taking a position or a piece of contract work.”  So we’ve not taken a position for or against, except for Human Terrain Teams, where anthropologists are in military uniform with weapons, on the ground with combat troops.

ARRIGO:  I’ll ask my question, and then we’ll come back to you again, Ted.

This is more like asking you to be our anthropological consultant.  In the matter of abusive interrogation, representatives of some disciplines have come forward, who were either advisors or in the chain of command where these issues came up.  For instance, we see military interrogators, such as Ray, speaking out.  We have attorneys, MPs [military police], and so on.  What we don’t have, not one single psychologist — even though the American Medical Association  and the American Psychiatric Association said, “You can’t be there” — in fact, we haven’t had any of those people speaking out.  And it sounds as though no anthropologist have either.


ARRIGO:  And so, do you have any guess — this has completely befuddled me — about why these other people have spoken out and nobody from the social sciences and health fields?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Either because there’s no there there, or we come back to the reputations and the silence.  They were silent after the Boas censure.  Nobody talked about it.  It’s like the shame of any kind of negative exposure.

ARRIGO:  But the attorneys who’ve been up close and have seen things have spoken out.  We don’t have any health professionals or other social scientists who we know are speaking out, like interrogators, military police, attorneys – and just regular military people.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I would really have to think about that.  The social pressures are great.  You’re a vast organization.  We’re a relatively small one.  There’s still a lot of face-to-face.  We’re not as anonymous perhaps.  We have, I think, settled ourselves into a comfortable and maybe incorrect position:  none of ours have been involved.  That doesn’t set right with me.

ARRIGO:  They have been, in the Human Terrain System.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  They have, and I can feel the reasons they’re not going to step forward.  But why there aren’t whistle blowers, is that what you’re talking about?

ARRIGO:  Yes, the way there are in these other fields.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, because whistle blowers don’t make out very well.

ARRIGO:  Yes, but we know whistle blowers in other areas, the attorneys and so on, did not make out well, but they still came forward.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  But they still came forward.

That is something that has been haunting me a bit because my deepest sensibility says that there are probably people who have been deeply involved.  They’re either being protected, or they don’t have the courage to speak out, or there wasn’t enough of an egregious act (or acts).  Perhaps anthropologists were not directly involved, but were so indirectly, so they can excuse themselves, because it there were degrees of separation.  But from what we know of our history, whether it’s American Indians or anthropologists in the colonial era, British anthropologists, German anthropologists, were no more noble, or less noble, than anyone else.  And many anthropologists have been very active and close collaborators with governments. 

Again, in my own experience, because I work in some sensitive parts of the world, the agencies themselves are becoming much more public.  People will come up to you and identify themselves as working with the agency or working with this or that.  Things that used to be covert a generation ago are not any longer.  I think that the value of transparency is not just something that we in the social sciences have discovered.  It’s also becoming highly valued in these institutions, which are trying to influence.  They realize that if they operate covert way, or if there’s the appearance of clandestine or secret work, people will shy away.  So there may be a kind of cloak of innocence.  I’m struggling to find a good answer to an excellent question.

ARRIGO:  If you come up with it —

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, it’s kind of haunted me.  I’d really thought there would be people in the interrogation room.  I really did, because the types of activities that were taking place were so culturally specific.  I just said, there’s got to be an anthropologist advising.  You don’t just read a book and do this.

BENNETT:  From my experience, I can tell you that where that probably came from is from interpreters.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  You mean the language interpreters?  I think you’re absolutely right, because they end up being the de facto anthropologists, because they don’t have the anthropologists.  I’ve heard that often. 

BENNETT:  Yes, the interpreters, who are often expatriates of that country, somebody who immigrated to the United States years ago but they have that cultural background, and they discuss that with interrogators.  I’d say that’s 99% of the cases, and I’m only holding out that 1% to allow for something else. 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Yes, I’ve heard that on the ground where they’re making the case, “We really need anthropologists because it’s the interpreters who are doing the anthropology for us, but they’re not qualified anthropologists.”

BENNETT:  Well, when you hear these things going on in interrogations where you are wondering, “Did they have an anthropologist on the ground?”, they had an amateur anthropologist in the interpreter. 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Of course, that’s the plea we’re getting, if you want to call these camps, from the pro camp: “Come on.  Anthropologists can make such a difference.  It’s your patriotic duty.  How can you remain aloof from these engagements which are so valued and so valuable?”  I hear that often myself.  I don’t have iron-clad arguments for why one shouldn’t, because it is a matter of individual choice.  But it does come back to the matter of trust building in the field.  And so we just have to be very, very careful about being objective and not representing anyone but ourselves.  We have to be very public about our funding.  I always do that:  “This is who I am.  This is where my funding is coming from.  This is the subject of my research.  This is how I’m going to do the research.”

ARRIGO:  Folks, we are out of time now, so I want to close up unless Ted — You have one more question that relates to your case?

STRAUSS:  It seems like the differences between the way ethics are handled leave a lot of questions for me.  I don’t have any additional questions about that. 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  There’s only one last thing I’d like to say.  Since we’ve shifted to an education model — and I’ve just written a piece, which I’ll be happy to share with you, that is arguing again for the retention of that education model — and some people want us to go back to the grievance model by beating up on some of these people or bringing them to accountability, but, since we have such a poor record of having done that, I just think that we have a lot of potential in the education model.  It really shifts the emphasis to the individual professional to really keep up to date, to think about the issues before they engage, go through a whole process of deep and serious consideration of what this job or what this contract involves, and kind of shifting the away from pointing the finger and saying, “You did something bad,” to the responsibility on the individual professional. 

ARRIGO:  We would like to see this.  And this you feel would apply if you had military anthropologists? 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I think it really could, because it says you just need to ask the right set of questions before and not after.  So much of our history has been after some crisis has emerged and we just react to it.  This is the first time, I think, when we really jumped ahead were not responding to a particular crisis but we just recognize there are some very serious issues that need attention.

ARRIGO:  So you’ll send that to us?

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  I’ll be happy to do that.

ARRIGO:  What will happen, when I can get to it, is that I will transcribe the recording of this consultation and send it off to you.  For all people on the line, this is confidential until Carolyn has an opportunity to correct what you want to.  If you feel anything is sensitive and needs to be tempered, Ray is our expert on handling documents.  You can work that out with Ray. 

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Okay, surely. 

ARRIGO:  You can expect a transcript from me in two or three weeks.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  Well, congratulations for all for the good work you’re doing.  I did do a little Google research on you and I’m very impressed.  I know it hasn’t been an easy road, and I know that you’ve had more than your share of controversy.  I applaud you and I wish you all the best.  And don’t think that we’re a bunch of saints, because we really aren’t.

ARRIGO:  If there is any way that psychologists can unite, in gathering wisdom, with anthropologists, we would like to do this.

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  That is something that has always interested me.  Every time I have stepped outside my discipline, whether it was the Ethics Institute or worked with sociologists, or now some military work as well, I just always benefit.  It just makes you realize that ethics is ethics, irrespective of discipline.  A right practice is a right practice.  No field is unique.  I think that going outside the bounds of your discipline is just very, very important. 

[Ted discusses later contact with Carolyn about an ethics and social sciences essay contest he is organizing.]

FLUEHR-LOBBAN:  You know, we are all social scientists.  In fact, in the Human Terrain teams — I don’t know if it’s a psychologist; but I know of one political scientist who was killed. Thus far, no anthropologist had died.  There have been three social scientists who have been killed as part of HTS teams.  But they’ve all been newly minted Ph.D.s or graduate students.  So that’s something to think about.

[Thanks and farewells all around, with hopes to meet in person some time.]