On Sacred Grounds: Religion and Counterinsurgency in Iraq Today with Ron Hassner.
Insurgents in Iraq have turned mosques into fortified strongholds, forcing US troops to weigh the public relations costs of desecrating sacred space against the benefits of operational failure. Why are Muslim insurgents willing to desecrate their own mosques? Should US Marines who are not Muslim pursue insurgents into mosques? If so, should they be required to remove their shoes and weapons first?
Professor Hassner argues that US decision makers, at all levels, are reluctant to engage with the religious implications of the war in Iraq, and they remain ill-equipped to answer such questions. Furthermore, a nuanced understanding of Islam in its multiple traditions, their respective attitudes towards the laws of war and their interpretations of the rules governing sacred space, are critical to solving problems in Iraq- World Affairs Council of Northern California
Ron E. Hassner
Ron E. Hassner is a graduate of Stanford University with degrees in political science and religious studies. His research revolves around symbolic and emotive aspects of international security with particular attention to religious violence, Middle Eastern politics and territorial disputes. His publications have focused on the role of perceptions in entrenching international disputes, the causes and characteristics of conflicts over sacred places, the characteristics of political-religious leadership and political-religious mobilization and the role of national symbols in conflict.
Professor Hassner was a fellow of the MacArthur Consortium on Peace and Security in 2000-2003. In 2003-2004 he was a post-doctoral scholar at the Olin Institute for International Security, Harvard University.
I began to lose interest when this guy referred to Richard Dawkins as an opportunist and lost interest completely after his lazy comments on the destruction of The Great Buddhas by the Taliban. Anyone that has read THE GOD DELUSION or listened to Professor Dawkins talk will know his issue is with the Abrahamic religions - and doesn't consider Buddhism a religion, but a philosophy.
Man this guy made a major fool of himself when he dissed Richard Dawkins. He mentions Dawkins as an example of Scholar of Opportunity, those that follow the money in what they write about rather than expertise. Dawkins has a long history in defending science from religion before writing The God Delusion. The speaker lies about what RD wrote, he refers to many things but does not make the assertions the speaker claims. The speaker seems ignorant of the supporting role of religion in giving a fig leaf to ethnic cleansing & theft of land.
His one statement of merit refering to the sillyness of no blowing up statues was exceeded by the speakers apparent ignorance of single role of religion in Identity-Persecution, including Genocide that preceeded a theft of land.
To take Dawkins to task was nitpicking.
The speaker was so busy being a jerk, he didn't see the pivotal role that religion provided for trouble in the Palestinian conflict. For this guys professed area of expertise its utterly damning.
This was a good lecture, however, with the exception of a single segment on terror and sacred space, it has absolutely NOTHING to do with counterinsurgency and religion. I am writing a paper on this exact topic and it was virtually no help. Instead he talks about religion in the media, in public opinion, and why the militant antitheists, Dawkins and Harris in particular are sloppy scholars. Again, it held my attention, but it has NOTHING to do with what the title claims it does. If you are looking for what it actually claims to be about, I would look for lectures by David Kilcullen.