Tag Archives: tribes

A “House of Lords” for Iraq?

Major props to Soob for hosting a fascinating conversation on constitution reform in Iraq. Soob begins by noting the limitations of the Surge, excerpts the following piece from a RAND analysis:

Soob: Going Tribal II: The House of Tribes
Our proposal envisions revamping the Iraqi constitution to create a federal branch with two houses: a lower house comprised of all political parties and dealing with daily political, social and economic issues; and a higher House of Tribes, based on tribal affiliations, not provinces. This would introduce a check and balance system that would benefit all Iraqis and set the stage for pure Iraqi reunification. The governance scope of this higher body would be the same as the lower.

And then allows an amazing discussion to follow in the comments.

Good show!

Genetics and Warfare in the Age of Non-State Actors?

Yesterday, Mark of ZenPundit linked to a conference announcement for an upcoming (September 2007) get-together by the Combat Studies Instituteof the US Army on “Warfare in the Age of Non-State Actors: Implications for the U.S. Army.” I have to admit, it sounds exciting. The call for papers asks for a 300-word abstract. My thoughts:

Genetics and Warfare in the Age of Non-State Actors

For the past half century, social sciences generally and military studies in particular have belonged to the Standard Social Sciences Model (SSSM) of research. Under the SSSM, all of “human nature” and all variations within human populations are the result of learning, socialization, and outside influence. The SSSM teaches that the keys to understanding an individual actor’s behavior, whether a soldier, a terrorist, or a politician, was his personal environment, group environment, and social environment.

Recently, the SSSM has come under renewed attack by researched who look at genetic factors of behavior. Taking a Environment-Genetic interaction view of human behavior instead of environmental determinism, these scientists have found evidence for human-universal and intergroup-variation resulting from genetic genetic-environmental interactions. An environmental-determinist perspective blinds us to true cause-and-effect, and may lead us to treat symptoms instead of diseases.

These findings have immediate findings for military studies, both from established findings and original research. Classic findings, such as the human-universal “modules” for injustice-detection,injustice-avoidance, and injustice-punishment; inter-population-variations in the Dopamine Receptor D4 (7 Repeat) (“DRD4 7R”) allele associated with hyperactivity; and intra-population variations in predispositions for political beliefs and political obsessions are analyzed. Additionally, recent findings by the authors are presented. “Pentagon’s New Map” theory is presented as an example of SSSM research, and original criticisms which may help harmonize it with genetic factors are presented. Likewise, an ongoing experiment with altruistic super-punishment is presented and its implications for dealing with “suicide bombers” are discussed.
All findings are tied back to the new world of non-state actors and American army intervention.

The SSSM cripples our attempts to understand how non-state actors operate and how to defeat or co-opt them. In the future, research and action must take into account the genetics of the populations it deals with just as much as scientists and practitioners worry about the populations’ environments

Any suggestions? Advice?