A surge of restraint 0

Again it is Diana West who says what needs to be said about the war in Afghanistan.

From the Washington Examiner:

Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s long-awaited testimony before Congress on the Afghanistan “surge” was, according to one account, “uneventful.” The general himself, another story noted, was “a study in circumspection.” And questioning from lawmakers was, said a third, “gentle.”

“Ineffectual” is more like it. Throw in “callous,” too, given House members’ obligations to constituents in the war zone, operating under what are surely the most restrictive rules of engagement in U.S. history.

But not a single lawmaker appears to have ventured one question about these dangerously disarming ROEs, which, in McChrystal’s controversial view, are key to the success of his “counterinsurgency” strategy. What kind of a commander puts his forces’ lives at increased risk for a historically unsuccessful theory that depends not on winning battles against enemies, but on winning the “trust,” or, as we used to say (and as Gen. David Petraeus put it in Iraq), the “hearts and minds” of a primitive people immersed in the anti-Western traditions of Islam?

That would have made a nice icebreaker of a question for any lawmaker troubled by the Petraeus-McChrystal policy of elevating Afghan “population protection” over U.S. “force protection” to win “the support” of this 99 percent Islamic country, and the rules that American forces must follow to do so. If, that is, there were any lawmakers so troubled.

Things really tightened up back in July, when McChrystal essentially grounded air support for troops except in dire circumstances. … The McChrystal counterinsurgency rules now include: No night searches. Villagers must be warned before searches. Afghan National Army or Afghan police must accompany U.S. units on searches. Searches must account, according to International Security Assistance Force headquarters, “for the unique cultural sensitivities toward local women.” (“Islamic repressiveness” is more accurate, but that’s another story.) U.S. soldiers may not fire on the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first. U.S. forces may not engage the enemy if civilians are present. U.S. forces may fire at an enemy caught in the act of placing an improvised explosive device, but not walking away from IED area. And on it goes.

Here’s another ROE that McChrystal should have been asked to justify to all Americans who hope to see their loved ones return home in one piece. The London Times recently reported that Marines, about to embark on a dangerous supply mission, were shown a PowerPoint presentation that first illustrated locations of IEDs along the way and then warned the Marines “not to fire indiscriminately even if they were fired on.”

The Times story went on to note: “The briefing ended with a projected screen of McChrystal’s quote: “It’s not how many you kill, it’s how many you convince.”

Another question: How many you convince of what, general? Of the depravity of child marriage? Of the injustice of Shariah laws that subjugate women and non-Muslims? Of the inhumanity of jihad?

Of course not. In an oblique reference that likely took in Islam, McChrystal told Congress: “I think it’s very important that from an overall point of view, we understand how Afghan culture must define itself, and we be limited in our desire to change the fundamentals of it.”

Fine. I don’t want to change Afghan culture, either. But acknowledging its roots in an ideology that is anti-Western is crucial to devising strategy for the region. That’s obvious. But not to any of our leaders.

Final question: Are such leaders, civilian and military, doing their duty when they send the nation to war with a strategy that totally ignores jihad, the war doctrine of the enemy?

Posted under Afghanistan, Commentary, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Terrorism, United States, War by Jillian Becker on Sunday, December 13, 2009

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