Troop Deployment Scheme Negates “More Troops = Less Airstrikes” Argument for Escalation in Afghanistan

Posted: March 4, 2009 in Uncategorized
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Officials who support escalating our troop presence in Afghanistan love to talk about counterinsurgency. One of the most persistent arguments in favor of escalating our troop presence is that doing so will allow us to field enough troops to fight a true counterinsurgency campaign and thereby reduce reliance on airstrikes, a form of attack that accounts for most of the civilians killed by our forces. (This is despite the fact that prior to launching this little endeavor, propagandists for the military and for the ironmongers convinced Christian ethicists that the Afghanistan war could be “just” by touting airstrikes as the civilian-friendly way to fight wars.) For example:

The increase in ground troops could allow for the use of fewer airstrikes, [General] McKiernan [, top U.S. commander in Afghanistan,] said. The relatively heavy use of bombings and other air power in Afghanistan has caused an increasing number of civilian casualties.

Today’s Wall Street Journal, though, proves that this rationale for more troops is asinine.

President Barack Obama is hoping to boost the flagging war effort in Afghanistan by sending 17,000 reinforcements. Most of them will be deployed to small, remote bases such as Seray, a walled compound of trenches and fortified buildings near the Pakistan border. Many of these new outposts will be in eastern and southern Afghanistan, the most violent parts of the country.

To understand why it’s asinine to argue that this strategy for more troops will reduce civilian-shredding airstrikes, consider the following report from Human Rights Watch:

High civilian loss of life during airstrikes has almost always occurred during the fluid, rapid-response strikes, often carried out in support of ground troops after they came under insurgent attack. Such unplanned strikes included situations where US special forces units-normally small numbers of lightly armed personnel-came under insurgent attack…

The basic argument for escalation goes like this: we have too few troops on the ground. When a small armed unit of American soldiers comes under attack, they have to call in airstrikes to avoid being overwhelmed. But those airstrikes, because they are “on the fly” reactive operations and not carefully planned hits based on reputable intelligence, kill civilians at an alarming rate. These civilian deaths help drive the popular outrage fueling the insurgency. More troops would then, presumably, provide reinforcements on the ground to reduce the need for air support. More troops would also supposedly allow troops to “hold” geographic areas, build relationships with local populations, protect those populations, and gain better intelligence to reduce civilian casualties caused by hitting the wrong targets.

This counterinsurgency doctrine is naive enough on its own about the psychological dynamics of war, but that’s not the point. The point is that the strategy for the new troops is the exact opposite of the rationale given for their deployment. Instead of deploying them to population centers like Kandahar and Lashkar Gah, the U.S. military scatters them in remote, small outposts in hostile terrain and among the most hostile populations. So, rather than field large numbers of troops in the main population centers, as one might expect from a counterinsurgency strategy, the military actually just multiplies the number of small, isolated units under fire.

You might think, “Hey, wait…won’t that cause increased demand for airstrikes from those small numbers of troops under fire? And aren’t those the kind of airstrikes that tend to kill civilians?”

That’s what’s happening right now. The WSJ article describes this exact dynamic:

Hurriedly throwing on body armor and helmets, a trio of soldiers ran to the base’s mortar pit and began firing artillery shells at a nearby mountain they call Knuckle 1. When the Apaches arrived from a nearby base, the helicopters strafed the mountain with their machine guns and fired rockets at the ridgeline. The percussive sound of each explosion echoed across Seray like a thunder clap.

According to the troops at the base, this is a regular pattern:

“Day comes, day goes,” said Spc. Trey Dart, taking shelter under a makeshift roof of green sandbags. “Firefights are just another part of the routine.”

The Obama Administration should reverse its escalation policy right now if it wants to avoid a very, very ugly turn in the Afghanistan war. This strategy is predicated on a troop deployment pattern that will increase the number of airstrikes and related civilian deaths. And, to make matters worse, this deployment scheme is likely to cause a massive increase in the incidence of PTSD and/or traumatic brain injuries:

In late December, the military dispatched psychiatric counselor Maurice Sheehan to visit outposts including Seray. He interviewed the base’s soldiers for signs of suicidal tendencies or other psychological problems.

“This place is a pressure cooker,” says Mr. Sheehan, a Navy captain who now works for the U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “The fighting, the isolation, it all adds up.”

Private First Class Rodney Hufford lost most of his pinky when he was shot in the hand in September. Months later, he still has trouble sleeping.

“It’s the nightmares, mostly,” he said.

Listen folks, if you care about anyone involved in this–Afghans, U.S. troops, anyone at all–it’s time to start speaking out against your government’s policies in Afghanistan. A very ugly mix of high civilian casualties and degenerating mental health among U.S. forces is on the horizon. I don’t want another Vietnam on my conscience, and I’m betting you don’t either.

One of the most–if not the most–radical features of Jesus’ message was the way in which he identified the enemy of God’s people not in some foreign “other” but in the violence in the hearts of both the Roman occupiers and the violent nationalist resistance movements of his day. The result of this policy in Afghanistan, if we don’t put a stop to it, will be a case study in violent mimesis as our escalating response to our opponents’ violence calls forth even more violence from them. More civilians will die, more outrage will swell the ranks of the Taliban, and we’ll add more and more troops to the mix. Our national wealth will be spent, and the troops used in this strategy, even if they escape major physical injuries, will bear the scars of this experience forever.

The real enemy isn’t the Taliban. The enemy is the war.

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Comments
  1. So did you forget about 9/11? While war is a horrible thing, there are times, like in Afghanistan where we must go and fight and defend ourselves from our enemies. If we dont our country remains vulnerable to attack and would be attacked again. Not to mention its simply impossible to let something like 9/11 go with out repercussions.

  2. dcrowe says:

    infantrymen11b:

    Seriously? “…did you forget about 9/11?” That such a tired, worn-out non-argument that I’m half-tempted to delete the comment since it adds nothing to the discussion. You do get points, however, for working it in twice in one paragraph.

    Like almost everyone else in the country, I can tell you where I was when I heard about plane #1. When you fire off something like that rather than actually engage with the material presented in a post like the one above, you make it really hard to take you seriously.

    Of course I remember 9/11; I’m just not willing to keep using it as an excuse to brutalize an entire country anymore. If you have a *real* response to the above post–one that actually disputes my interpretation of the source information, challenges my understanding of Christ’s teachings, etc.–you’re welcome to leave it. But since you’ve opted for the throw-away rhetorical question, I’ve got one for you: So did you forget about Jesus Christ?

  3. […] up 40 percent from the year before–and 522 of those deaths came from Western airstrikes.  As Derrick Crowe concludes, this indiscriminate bombing of Afghanistan from these strikes is what is fueling so much animosity […]

  4. Sporkmaster says:

    “Instead of deploying them to population centers like Kandahar and Lashkar Gah, the U.S. military scatters them in remote, small outposts in hostile terrain and among the most hostile populations. So, rather than field large numbers of troops in the main population centers, as one might expect from a counterinsurgency strategy, the military actually just multiplies the number of small, isolated units under fire.”

    But the problem is that the enemy is not in the large cities, but in the smaller villages. Also becuase of a lack of roads that connect the country it is easy for them to opperate unopposed in the smaller villages even with a much large force in the cites. That is why we have the forces where they are so that we can protect the smaller villages from attack. Hence the need for more troops.

    Also another thought is that aid and aid workers are coming under attack from the Taliban.

    http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/feb/26/pakistan-us-aid-under-fire-022609/?zIndex=59079

    We can will this. Also in case you are wondering I an currently in Iraq and will most likely be Afghanistan within the next three years.

  5. Sporkmaster says:

    “The real enemy isn’t the Taliban. The enemy is the war.”

    War will never go away as long as humanity exists. War will always happen, the only thing that can be done it is to reduce the effects as much as possible. The main thing that as been successful in that is being prepared to conduct war to the point that your enemy has little to no chance of winning. That is how you maintain peace without firing a shot, the Cold war is a perfect example of that.

    This is a constant that will not go away, even if and when all the major countries of the world fall and what ever world comes out of it, I promise you that war will still be in existence. I think man has a better chance to fighting against his own mortality then ever totally doing away with war.

    “More civilians will die, more outrage will swell the ranks of the Taliban,”

    What makes you think that the violence will stop if we just leave? Consider Somalia that has been nothing but violence and war for the past 18 years. We try to avoid civilian deaths, the enemy does not.

    Also some quotes about the subject.

    Men grow tired of sleep, love, singing and dancing sooner than war
    Homer

  6. dcrowe says:

    Sporkmaster:

    Thanks for stopping by. Hope you’ll keep doing so, and I hope you stay safe. A couple of points:

    1) Re: the deployment pattern: everything I’ve read about counterinsurgency tells me that protecting the civilian population is the utmost priority, even more so than pursuing “bad guys.” There’s no way to do that, even if you buy the counterinsurgency doctrine’s premises, if you blow your numbers on scattered outposts instead of concentrating on the protecting the population centers. That’s not just me saying that:

    David Kilcullen, a counterinsurgency expert who has long advised Gen. Petraeus on Iraq and Afghanistan, supported the outpost strategy in Iraq. But he says the U.S. is making a mistake by deploying so many troops to remote bases in Afghanistan.

    Mr. Kilcullen, a retired Australian military officer, notes that 80% of the population of southern Afghanistan lives in two cities, Kandahar and Lashkar Gah. The U.S. doesn’t have many troops in either one of them.

    “The population in major towns and villages is vulnerable because we are off elsewhere chasing the enemy,” he said.

    Kilcullen, as you probably know, was one of the key thinkers behind the original push for an Afganistan “surge”. It seems to me that U.S. commanders at the very top run around saying “counterinsurgency counterinsurgency counterinsurgency” to justify whatever they want to do whether or not their proposals actually conform with counterinsurgency doctrine. To reiterate my main point above, the geographic isolation of these small outposts makes them heavily reliant on air support which, when used during an engagement in support of small numbers of troops under fire, results in the civilian casualties the extra troops were supposed to prevent. So again, these new troops are being used in a way diametrically opposed to the rationale being given for their deployment.

    2) Aid workers–I’d note that your article link points to a story about attacks in Pakistan. Do you think we need to put troops there? I’m not trying to dismiss the point as it relates to Afghanistan, just trying to understand your argument. Can you point me to similar stories for the region where the small outpost strategy is being used so we can compare apples to apples?

    3) The Cold War–here I completely disagree with your summary of Cold War history. We fired several million shots in the Cold War–Vietnam, Korea, backing anti-communist South American regimes, etc. We lost thousands of people in Cold War conflicts and killed many, many thousands. And in the end, it wasn’t our super-arsenal that won freedom from repressive regimes for people in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, East Germany and Czechoslovakia, nor was it our guns that stopped the anti-democratic coup attempt in the former Soviet Union in 1991. Those were nonviolent social movements, not U.S. guns.

    4) I don’t disagree that conflict will always exist. War will certainly exist until people have at their disposal a realistic alternative to violence in acute conflicts where ultimate values are perceived to be at stake, values that we care about more than “life” and “peace.” However, war is only one way to participate in acute conflicts, and there are realistic alternatives. Gene Sharp has done fantastic work on documenting the theory and history of nonviolent resistance, and there’s a good short primer on that here: http://www.aeinstein.org/organizations/org/TARA.pdf

    Take a look and see what you think. But the larger issue for me is, would Jesus Christ participate in war? The answer is pretty clearly no from my perspective. When you look at Christ inside his historical context, there’s no way a Christian can legitimately claim any of his teachings or his example admit any wiggle room on the subject of violence, especially violence in service of a national agenda that privileges one group over another. If you’re a Christian, I’d highly recommend N.T. Wright’s “Jesus and the Victory of God” on this topic. Actually, if you like, send me a location where I can send a care package, and I’ll send you a copy along with anything else you need from stateside. My email address is derrick.crowe@hotmail.com. If you’re not interested in the book, I’ll still send the care package.

    Thanks for stopping in.

  7. […] 40 percent from the year before–and 522 of those deaths came from Western airstrikes. As Derrick Crowe concludes, this indiscriminate bombing of Afghanistan is what fuels so much animosity toward the United […]

  8. Sporkmaster says:

    1. It was my impression that we where to get the Afghanistan army up and running so that they could defend the major cities. In my opinion the reason that the US forces are going to the areas that the operation that are being need the flexibly to work with different elements in unison to get the mission done. Something that the Afghanistan army may not have at this moment.

    Since I have not been to Afghanistan yet I can only base my assumptions on how we have been operating in Iraq. It is not so much chasing guys down rather then have a presence in a area. The way that police patrol areas of at city to discourage crimes from happing. Plus the major problem that we try to solve is that the smaller villages get forgot sometimes because there is a lot of red tape involved and corruption. So it seems that the best way to find out what the local villages need is going to the source. But to do that you need be able to travel there and that is something that may not always be possible from the larger cities. The Iraqi army has been doing that and the number of over all IED attacks have been dropping. In fact the only time that we seem to hit them is when we actively look for them.

    As for over all policy I cannot do much about any inconsistencies in past or present. But what I can do is use what abilities that I have to make sure that the people in Iraq get what they need. For example I was able to talk to a senior NCO at a Iraqi army check point and was told that his unit that had over 100+ men did not have any medical supplies at all. Nothing, no medicine, bandages or anything in-between. I asked what happed to the people that where seriously hurt. “They are expected to die”. So I managed to make a care package of two duffle bags of trauma supplies, one bag of medicine with water resistant cards with instructions in Arabic and a litter to carry the wounded. (I have to give major prompts to our interpreter on helping me with Arabic cards.) How much will that do I am not sure but it reinforced the idea that in order for things to work in the middle east the best way to do it is buy working with the lower level of government to make sure that people’s needs are met.

    2. That was a reply more to Code Pink then anyone else. I think that the Pakistan army should do more to prevent the attacks. The main reason that I posted that is how will taking out security troops in Afghanistan make it safer for aid workers now? Even if it is not the US military, there are places that aid workers would be wise to consider hiring some sort of security element to ensure that the aid workers are safe. Just sending them in unprotected is just asking for trouble.

    As far as the article goes, when I read it in the local newspaper here it was referencing Afghanistan rather then Pakistan. My internet is really bad over here, but I will see if I can find one. But One of the stories that I have heard from one guy that has been over to Afghanistan is that 6 people where beheaded just for working on a US base. They did not show up after lunch and they sent people to go look for them. They found all six beheaded in the middle of the town courtyard, all the heads where missing and never where recovered.

    3. I agree that there was fighting, but not on the level that many people thought. There was not a major invasion of Western Europe, and considering all the Nuclear weapons at hand, not one was used after 1945. Even the Cuban missile crisis did not causes anything. But one thing about a non-violence as a solution to work, the other side has to have restraint to not to used violence ether. For example the Eastern Guard on the Berlin wall did not open fire when people started smashing the wall down. The Russian army did not fire on its on population even when the Russian military tried to stage a coup in the early 90s. But in the Tiananmen Square in 1989 non-violence did not work because the Chinese military opened fire and siftly detained anyone who was still alive. There is that photo of a guy that stopped a column of tanks that has gotten a lot of press, but I think China may have killed him in the long run. Not sure about that, internet being as bad as it is does not help.

    4. I do not doubt that there are ideas that could help things become non-violent. But a ugly fact in regards to anything is that you have to added in human failings. Because that factor is always there it is hard to put any plane into effect. But that is not to totally brush any new ideas away without looking into them of course. I will give that a look in my free time.

    I understand the problems that come with war and religious principles, but what else can I do when I see the results of a bomb that was set off in a girls school because they are learning something that someone disagrees with. Or the story that I heard from the Iraq army about a brother in the insurgency that kidnaped his brother’s family and beheaded his own brother because he would not leave the Iraqi army. (He refused because he said that he had a family to take care of). What else can I do?

    I do appreciate the offer, I just got two very big car packages that came in a few days ago so I should be good. Oh here is some photos on my Myspace page if you want to see.

    http://viewmorepics.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewPicture&friendID=106744985&albumId=2009403

  9. […] 40 percent from the year before–and 522 of those deaths came from Western airstrikes. As Derrick Crowe concludes, this indiscriminate bombing of Afghanistan is what fuels so much animosity toward the United […]

  10. N. Dan Smith says:

    @infantrymen11b, I agree with DCrowe’s assessment of your comment, but I will add a few points of specificity.

    “While war is a horrible thing, there are times, like in Afghanistan where we must go and fight and defend ourselves from our enemies.”

    We sufficiently defended ourselves against future hijacking terror attacks by putting locks on cockpit doors and restricting the carry-on of potentially harmful objects. We can do better defending ourselves in general by improving our defensive posture against attacks, including information sharing, training, etc. What you are talking about is offense. Invading Afghanistan because they did not extradite bin Laden does not protect the United States from terror attacks.

    “If we dont our country remains vulnerable to attack and would be attacked again.”

    Our country’s vulnerability to attack is entirely dependent on homeland security (see above) and good-neighborliness. “Blow-back” from US military action in other countries is probably the greatest risk factor for terrorism.

    “Not to mention its simply impossible to let something like 9/11 go with out repercussions.”

    I agree, the responsible parties should be acquired, tried, (hopefully) convicted and jailed in perpetuity. However, seeing as that is probably impossible at this point, our best response is to work on defending ourselves against future attacks. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if the Taliban had actually had the ability and the will to capture bin Laden and turn them over. I suppose we would have had no war in Afghanistan.

  11. dcrowe says:

    Sporkmaster:

    You’re rapidly becoming my favorite commenter who disagrees with me. 🙂 Thanks for your latest comment and your thoughtful replies. I appreciate your open mind.

    I think it’s important that we deal with how things are and not how we originally intended them to be, and I’m sure you agree. This has always been a persistent sticking point for me when talking about troop numbers. Back when Kilcullen and others first proposed a plan for the 30K troop increase in Afghanistan, they added the full number of Afghan national army and police numbers to their proposed U.S. troop numbers to claim 30K would get us to the required troop-to-local-population ratio for a counterinsurgency strategy. I always thought that was a smokescreen for a “down payment” strategy, where we’d say 30K originally and then plus-up. I objected to counting the full number of ANA and ANP for that purpose for the simple fact that a) they have not been proved to be reliable and b) they answer to a horrendously corrupt government in Kabul. When we’re planning an operation that puts the lives of Americans and Afghan civilians on the line, I’m absolutely not comfortable with counting them as solid numbers. Taking them out of the equation, though, would require we add several, several thousand more troops than what’s being proposed, and we simply could not afford it. Hence, the low-ball figure to get the ball rolling.

    No need to send a link re: the aid worker story. I totally understand your connection may not be up to par out where you are. I take your word for it.

    You said:

    I agree that there was fighting, but not on the level that many people thought. There was not a major invasion of Western Europe, and considering all the Nuclear weapons at hand, not one was used after 1945. Even the Cuban missile crisis did not causes anything. But one thing about a non-violence as a solution to work, the other side has to have restraint to not to used violence ether. For example the Eastern Guard on the Berlin wall did not open fire when people started smashing the wall down. The Russian army did not fire on its on population even when the Russian military tried to stage a coup in the early 90s. But in the Tiananmen Square in 1989 non-violence did not work because the Chinese military opened fire and siftly detained anyone who was still alive.

    I could agree with a lot of what you say here with a couple of caveats: First, I agree that the Eastern Guard in Germany and the Russian army did not fire, and those were themselves acts of nonviolence. I’d argue that that had as much to do with a shrewd assessment on the part of the Russian army and the EG as to the political consequences of those actions, as it had to do with human decency. Both the Russian Army and the EG wanted something, and the nonviolent resisters put them into a position where they could not get what they wanted with guns. That Gene Sharp link I posted above does a great job explaining this, and also does a great job explaining why nonviolence does not rely on the restraint of the oppressor to work. And it’s important to point out with the Tiannamen Square example: let’s not fall into the trap of trying to make nonviolence have a perfect success rate for it to be considered a viable option in acute conflicts. We don’t do that for violence.

    4. Again, I appreciate your open mind and would love to get your thoughts when you have time. Sharp is a sharp guy (har har har). In fact, his stuff has been used in some very hardcore conflict zones (Burma, Bosnia/Serbia, etc.) to put repressive regimes on the ropes. Chavez attacks him regularly, etc. Honestly, and this relates to the “security first” argument, our government would be much better served to teach Sharp’s material to locals rather than giving them weapons and paying them not to shoot them at us. Not only would you actually be addressing the root cause of violence, you’d be building civil society and an understanding of democratic principles. Here’s a link to all of his institute’s publications in English, and here’s a link to the Arabic-language versions.

    Re: your question about “what should I do?” I think even Gandhi would say “doing nothing is not an option.” So you do the best you can with what you know, right? Contrary to popular belief, a great many practitioners of nonviolence have a great respect for freedom fighters and troops in that you have to take the first step toward nonviolence to be a freedom fighter or troop: you have to risk yourself. That’s quite a bit more than most “peacemakers” ever get around to doing. What nonviolence asks is that you take a next step: risk giving up violence in pursuit of your ends.

    Let me know if you change your mind about the care package, and I’m serious about that. How long have you been in Iraq? Thanks for sharing the pictures…they’re really something. Do you know when you expect to go to Afghanistan, or is that just a feeling you have?

    Stay safe.

  12. Sporkmaster says:

    “We sufficiently defended ourselves against future hijacking terror attacks by putting locks on cockpit doors and restricting the carry-on of potentially harmful objects.”

    Really? Then can you explain how I was able to bring a Swiss army knife in my carry on bag through airport customs while I came back on leave? It got x-rayed and everything.

    I had forgotten it was there because I got it as a last minute gift a few days before. Right when you get on the plane the door to the cockpit is open. There is little room to move around, so if you had something you could charge it and have a hostage real fast. Even if you do not get off the ground, you have raised serious doubt the ability to ensure that people are safe when they fly.

  13. Sporkmaster says:

    I am will not be able to have a internet connection for a while, but I should have a reply for you in a few days and thanks for the well wishes.

  14. dcrowe says:

    Alright, stay safe!

  15. N. Dan Smith says:

    @sporkmaster: Now how does the war in Afghanistan keep terrorists from exploiting such weaknesses in security?

    God bless.

  16. Sporkmaster says:

    Well right now with Afghanistan I imagine that the troop numbers will be changed. It is dealing with the fact that we cannot just move troops that are in Iraq right now to Afghanistan. So any further increases will have to wait until the troops that are leaving from Iraq are ready to deploy again. The surge troops are made off units that where to go to Iraq, but got a change of orders because of the improving climate here.

    I understand that such set backs in China and such should not be a reason to discard non-violence, but things like this should always play a part in planning. Because something that works well in one area may fail miserably in another. Also with the development of today’s media and communication it is easier for acts of violence and terrorism to received more publicity then those of non-violence. That is why non-violence is often painted non-effective because it seems that humanity as a whole is gotten attached to instant gratification added with a chronic short attention span. That the effects of a long term non-violent moment can be overshadowed because it is cannot be described in 15 words or less.

    I think that ideally you have to consider using both violence and non-violence in any situation. But there have been some areas that I do not understand. For example; before we invaded Iraq, we had sanctions on Saddam to try and put pressure on him about his WMD programs (or lack of). But then there where people protesting the sanctions saying that they are hurting the population and should be stopped. But even with the sanctions Saddam still managed to find the fund to build many palaces. What other options did people want if they thought that sanctions where the wrong choice. Also with Gaza, aka Hamas, Sanctions where put on them because of Hama’s view that violence should be used against Israel and it’s refusal to stop rocketing rural towns. Again people where saying that sanctions are hurting the people but I doubt that Hamas will change it’s position without some kind of pressure.

    But back to topic, one people should consider is that if a nation does have a imposing government and the population wants the government gone, does not mean they have a willingness to work together when it is removed. I think Sharp was talking about Yugoslavia in that non-violence was used to help bring around the removal of the government. But because people had different aims for how the area should be run, plus the added hostility between the different groups that had been present for decades erupted into bloodshed. (It could also be argued that the Communistic government in Yugoslavia was preventing the groups from fighting and providing a common target of displeasure). That is what I think we did not consider as a nation when we took Saddam out. That we assumed that because there was a overall unity in the hatred for Saddam that it would equal a unified front on making a working government. That assumption is why fixing Iraq is taking as long as it is. But also any success or failures can be said to be influenced by events that happen elsewhere. For example, I would imagine that the events in Berlin might not have happened in Russia and likewise if not for Berlin the events in Eastern Europe might not have happened also.

    As far as helping the locals, the biggest thing is to come into the talk asking about their situation first before any plan of action can be made. The biggest answer that we have gotten is the need to improve the overall quality of life and be able to provide for their families. Because medical care is expensive considering that a doctors visit can be as high as 100 dollars and the average pay per month is 200. That is the weak spot that the insurgents have been using to plant IEDs in the past. The people may not have a interest in the fighting but if they have bills to pay, getting a 1000 dollars to dig a hole in the ground is very hard to pass up. That is why we started to use the Sons of Iraq and why they are not being put into the Iraqi police force. Because Democracy is not doing to do any good if it is unable help people survive. Also it helps that when you have leaders that are filmier with these problems. Pope John Paul the second was a major voice in helping the decline of the Iron Curtain because he lived in Poland when it was under Stalin. There is a story about a guy that held out in Afghanistan work with the local leader by the name of Michael Bhatia. It goes into how understanding the challenges can make a big difference in outcomes

    I still think that it is unrealistic to not use violence when the situation demands it. If I mange to have to fire my weapon in anger in this or any deployments I will be happy. But there is no guarantee that will happen. (it does not help that when I first got here I was told that there was a bounty of ten thousand dollars US for the death of any American medical personal). Also there is the welfare of the injured to think about. A example of that happen in America was a Paramedic team was working on a guy. Some one came over to ask about if the patient was going to live. The second the paramedics said yes, the guy pulled out a pistol and shot the injured guy several times. Even though the paramedics did not kill him, it would weigh heavy on me if I was in there shoes because the person died while in my care.

    Than you again for the offer, oh the newspaper that I read here is the “Stars and Stripes” so you have a idea of what stories I am referring to. I have been here fore a few months and Afganstan is just a feeling that I have given that I am reenlisting for another 4 years, so it is a good be that I will be going.

    As far as why we went to Afghanistan, it was because of the overall history of attack on and off US soil by the same group. Also the Fact that the Taliban was protecting them to allow them to conduct further attacks.
    If we had not gone there, it would be safe to assume that they would still be launching further attacks. They did not stop after the failure to destroy the twin towers in 1993 and was almost 10 years before they tried again.

    Does that translate in to safer flying, not directly because even if we do catch him, compliancy can be used against us in the idea that nothing has happened in the past does not mean that nothing can happen now. But there is a big issue of balancing safety against privacy rights that is still a big issue.

  17. […] have promised that troop increases will reduce airstrikes and therefore reduce civilian casualties, trends so far tell us that’s not the case. If counterinsurgency means continued civilian deaths, that only continues the cycle of violence […]

  18. […] have promised that troop increases will reduce airstrikes and therefore reduce civilian casualties, trends so far tell us that’s not the case. If counterinsurgency means continued civilian deaths, that only continues the cycle of violence […]

  19. Sporkmaster says:

    “If I mange to have to fire my weapon in anger in this or any deployments I will be happy”

    That should have read

    If I mange not to have to fire my weapon in anger in this or any deployments I will be happy.

    Sorry about the typo.

  20. dcrowe says:

    I figured. 🙂

  21. […] have promised that troop increases will reduce airstrikes and therefore reduce civilian casualties, trends so far tell us that’s not the case. If counterinsurgency means continued civilian deaths, that only continues the cycle of violence […]

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