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McChrystal’s Tactical Priority: Avoid Civilian Casualties

I didn’t have time yesterday to blog this, but it’s remarkable. In keeping with his recent move to restrict U.S. airstrikes out of strategic concern for losing

Jul 31, 2020
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I didn’t have time yesterday to blog this, but it’s remarkable. In keeping with his recent move to restrict U.S. airstrikes out of strategic concern for losing Afghan support for the U.S.-NATO war effort, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, is putting forward new rules of engagement significantly restrictingNATO forces’ latitude to respond to hostile action in populated areas. To call this a bold move is an understatement. With the exception of protecting troops’ lives, McChrystal is prioritizing the need to prevent civilian casualties above attacking an enemy. Yochi Dreazen reports:
Military officials in Kabul said the “tactical directive,” to be released this week, came in response to incidents such as one last month that killed dozens of civilians. Under the new rules, the incident’s deadliest strikes wouldn’t have been authorized.
“We don’t want another Granai,” a senior military official in Kabul said, naming the village where last month’s incident occurred. “The tactical gains simply don’t outweigh the costs.”
This is a robust effort by McChrystal to prove that he means it when he saysthat the loss of Afghan popular support will mean the United States and its allies lose the war. And it’s sure to be met with opposition from some corners of the military and commentators who think a concern with population protection tips too far into the realm of tactical passivity. (That’s a charitable way of putting a sentiment that Ralph Peters expresses here.)
Dexter Cooke

Dexter Cooke

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Dexter Cooke is an economist, marketing strategist, and orthopedic surgeon with over 20 years of experience crafting compelling narratives that resonate worldwide. He holds a Journalism degree from Columbia University, an Economics background from Yale University, and a medical degree with a postdoctoral fellowship in orthopedic medicine from the Medical University of South Carolina. Dexter’s insights into media, economics, and marketing shine through his prolific contributions to respected publications and advisory roles for influential organizations. As an orthopedic surgeon specializing in minimally invasive knee replacement surgery and laparoscopic procedures, Dexter prioritizes patient care above all. Outside his professional pursuits, Dexter enjoys collecting vintage watches, studying ancient civilizations, learning about astronomy, and participating in charity runs.
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