THE Taliban have found a way to beat American airpower. And they have managed this remarkable feat with American help.
The consequences of this development are front and center in the current offensive in Marja, Afghanistan, where air support to American and Afghan forces has been all but grounded by concerns about civilian casualties.
American and NATO military leaders — worried by Taliban propaganda claiming that air strikes have killed an inordinate number of civilians, and persuaded by “hearts and minds” enthusiasts that the key to winning the war is the Afghan population’s goodwill — have largely relinquished the strategic advantage of American air dominance.
The column doesn’t really include anything new on the subject of increasingly restrictive rules of engagement, but I’m surprised to see it (especially with those lead paragraphs) in the NYT.
While we obviously cannot and should not bomb away without regard for civilian casualties, I also worry that we’re putting our troops and the mission at risk by over-correcting.