Permissible Arms

Best Kept Contained

Posted in afghanistan, american media, counterinsurgency, united states, us military by Karaka on 9 May 2010

There’s something of a culture of Brooks-bashing, I’ve noticed. Many folks respond to whatever he’s published at the NYTimes with skepticism, if not outright derision. Perhaps its because of his tendency to make sweeping claims in his opinion column without ever really backing them up, as if his audience is either expected to know the sourcing he is doing already or to take his word at face value. Those that I read, however, are less than inclined to accept what he says without first questioning, which is for the best, really.

Brooks’ current op-ed is Leading With Two Minds, an eight hundred word romp through the contemporary history of counterinsurgency. Ricks called it, effectively, an account of the dominant narrative, which I suppose is accurate enough, but wow are those some broad strokes Brooks is painting with.

The first women to be trained to serve on submarines in the USN have been selected and are preparing to train this summer.

From Kabul, Shootings of Afghans on Rise at Checkpoints:

Civilian deaths from aerial bombings have declined, General Rodriguez said. But in convoys and at checkpoints, “you’re faced with a different challenge of snap decisions” by troops “much closer to not only the people but the enemy.”

At least 28 Afghans have been killed and 43 wounded in convoy and checkpoint shootings this year — 42 percent of total civilian deaths and injuries and the largest overall source of casualties at the hands of American and NATO troops, according to statistics kept by the military.

In the same period last year, 8 Afghans were killed and 29 wounded in similar episodes. For all of 2009, 36 Afghan civilians were killed in the so-called escalation of force incidents by Western and Afghan troops, according to the United Nations. Over all, the Taliban and other militants account for a much larger number of civilian casualties than Western forces do, the United Nations found.

Since last summer, none of the Afghans killed or wounded in convoy and checkpoint shootings had weapons that would have posed a danger for troops who killed them, commanders said.

The new military guidelines instruct troops to “tailor” procedures to the local environment by consulting local Afghan leaders, and whenever possible, to remain at the scene of convoy shootings and take responsibility for their actions.

Can anyone point me to discussions on this, if there are any?

Finally, part of the 170th BCT are all shined up for their march on Victory Day. (H/t Danger Room.)

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