04 April 2010

Surging right down the drain

In a stark assessment of shootings of locals by US troops at checkpoints in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal said in little-noticed comments last month that during his time as commander there, "We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."

The comments came during a virtual town hall with troops in Afghanistan after one asked McChrystal to comment on the "escalation of force" problem. The general responded that, in the nine months he had been in charge, none of the cases in which "we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it."

Wonder if this is filed away under the winning of hearts, or minds?

It speaks volumes that it's "little noticed" when a theatre commander can admit that (through whatever sort of scenario) U.S. forces have a bad habit of shooting and killing people who were were not hostile in an area where we're desperate to keep the citizenry from siding with the enemy.

Given that the aim of this surge is to put a check on the Taliban's momentum, this sort of situation has to be considered, not just unfortunate, but an absolute failure.

Considering the type of enemy we're fighting, this isn't collateral damage or any other bloodless status report euphemism; it's nothing less than a Taliban membership drive.

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