Been so busy that I somehow missed this article by Noah Shachtman in Wired.
While the debate rages in Washington, the Marines on the ground are mostly on their own. Even with Paz’s squad being attacked from three sides, a bombing run is not automatic. The Marines not only have to prove that civilians won’t be hurt, they also must guarantee that the bombs won’t so much as scratch civilian homes.
Back at Echo’s schoolhouse headquarters, Faucett stares at an aerial view of Moba Khan on his tablet computer. He sees a problem: The building Paz has identified as the sniper’s perch is next to several farmhouses.
Here’s a past quote from General McChrystal that Shachtman points out:
“We must avoid the trap of winning tactical victories — but suffering strategic defeats — by causing civilian casualties”
Yes, we absolutely must avoid that. But we also need to avoid the trap of trying to win strategic victories with an endless series of tactical stalemates.
And now the best way to make sure your house doesn’t get bombed is to invite in some Taliban fighters. Where’s the strategic victory in that?
Go read the story. Lots of good info.
Afghanistan was tough enough the way it was. Every new ROE directive makes it tougher. At some point (possibly a point in the past) victory is going to look damn near impossible. Again, I wonder if that’s not the ultimate goal.