Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Two ways of looking at counterinsurgency warfare:

From Islamabad Boys

During his December visit to Afghanistan, Mullen*--who strongly supports Obama’s troop surge--held a shura with a group of local elders on a U.S. base in Kandahar. "I would rather listen than speak," said the admiral, who wore a tan desert camouflage uniform. "Tell me what you think I need to understand that I may not understand." Mullen sat patiently as the men, grizzled under their turbans and dusty robes, bombarded him with rambling complaints about corruption and unemployment. He didn’t flinch when one tribal elder, upset that some Taliban detainees were being released by corrupt Afghan security forces, made a suggestion: In the future, he said, "just kill them on the ground. Do not turn them over to the Afghan forces." At the session’s end, Mullen assured the men that he’d heard their concerns, especially on corruption. Of the detainees, he added diplomatically, "The solution to just kill them on the street probably won’t work for us."

Whose way is better? Who's to say?
*Admiral Michael Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff

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