On the way out, don’t pile up civilians
When you know that the end is near, the only hope that you have of turning Afghanistan into a positive direction is to win the hearts and minds of civilians. We’re even trying to turn the hearts and minds of the Taliban. If you pile up the civilian body count now, that will leave a permanent stain inside Afghanistan. Give them a break, and maybe the Karzai government will win enough local support to be able to govern the ungovernable tribes?
All I know is that in this report, I am with the soldier at the guard post. When you see the enemy firing at you, take them out. If there is collateral damage among “civilians” it is because the civilians chose 1) not to fight, 2) chose the wrong side.
If we think we have to put our precious soldiers in harm’s way, let them defend themselves.
The direction by General Petraeus puts him on a slippery slope whereby he can lose the hearts and minds of his soldiers and the American people.
Congress, pull the plug on this operation. Mr. President, come to you senses and bring the troops home now.
VIETNAM ALL OVER AGAIN
“Petraeus reviews directive meant to limit Afghan civilian deaths
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, July 9, 2010
To the U.S. soldiers getting pounded with thunderous mortar rounds in their combat outpost near Kandahar, it seemed like a legitimate request: allow them to launch retaliatory mortar shells or summon an airstrike against their attackers. The incoming fire was landing perilously close to a guard station, and the soldiers, using a high-powered camera, could clearly see the insurgents shooting.
The response from headquarters -- more than 20 miles away -- was terse. Permission denied. Battalion-level officers deemed the insurgents too close to a cluster of mud-brick houses, perhaps with civilians inside.
Although the insurgents stopped firing before anybody was wounded, the troops were left seething.
"This is not how you fight a war, at least not in Kandahar," said a soldier at the outpost who described the incident, which occurred last month, on the condition of anonymity. "We've been handcuffed by our chain of command."”