Prof. John Womack's letter to SOUTHCOM and FIU

From: Womack, John
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2010 9:40 PM
To: ''; ''; ''; ''; ''; ''
Subject: Social science should not be used for the militarization of Latin America

Dear representatives of the FIU-SOUTHCOM alliance:

I know SOUTHCOM has to act under orders. As far as I know, FIU does not.

Both institutions should know, however, that this "social science," like that in the HTS, is crackpot and evil. Considering the geopolitics, the deep US strategic confusion regarding Latin America, and the deep domestic collapse in the USA, I (who taught the history of Latin America for 44 years at Harvard University) cannot imagine this scheme will do anything but kill bunches of innocent people in Latin America, inflame anti-US outrage all across a continent and a half, and open another useless, gaping, bleeding front in the world.

Instead of listening to its academic contractors at FIU, instead of relying on these quite lately supposed experts, experts not in thinking, only in applications, the Pentagon and SOUTHCOM would do better to listen to a broad range of independent, long- experienced, active scholars and analysts in the various complex fields of Latin America--and report back to their superiors what I am certain to a T they would learn, that this scheme (too) is just going to lead to more blowback.

If the Pentagon does its own critical staff military studies of Latin America, it will get much closer to the truth of the matter than if it proceeds, as it does in this foul case, to militarize academic studies. These militarized academic studies will provide you nothing better than the drivel and dreck for sale on the open market, on the street, and the higher the price you pay, the more of a swindle you will suffer, and the more the rest of us will suffer as consequence.


John Womack, Jr., Robert Woods Bliss Professor of Latin American History and Economics, emeritus, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, November 13, 2010


still a mensch, now with improved style

maestro womack has always been a mensch among historians and a voice of practical reason among the academic elite of el norte, but this letter is an absolute haiku, a joy to read and a TKO to the 'vertical anthropology' of "human terrain" studies. right on, professor!