US Colonel Greg Julian with Afghan village elders in Inzeri yesterday. US commanders distributed $40,000 and apologized to relatives of 15 people killed in a recent US raid. (Jason Straziuso/Associated Press)
Today's Boston Globe, reports testimony by Secretary of Defense (War) Robert Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs:
So what are they going to do about it? Afghan civilians get killed because U.S. forces sensibly would rather call in air strikes than walk into ambushes in a country they find impenetrable among enemies (people?) they find incomprehensible. They don't choose to take casualties in a war that makes no sense to the men who fight it. This isn't going to be cured by putting a few more U.S. troops in Afghanistan. More U.S. troops = more dead Afghans, many/most civilians. No way around it. Here's more from Robert Young Pelton on the ground with the troops.
That's not all that happened during early voting. Check out the whole story.
It seems likely that whatever happens on Saturday will be called a "success," showing that the Iraqis are taking back responsibility for their country. But really, in the United States, few will be watching.
In part, that is because many journalistic organizations have moved on to other, hotter, stories. Iraq is old news. And more and more, Iraqi reporters -- who are the eyes and ears of Western journalists -- are taking advantage of a program that offers asylum to people "tainted" in Iraqi nationalist eyes by their association with the occupiers. Few are more qualified or more likely to find a viable place in the U.S. than the loyal journalists who've worked with the news bureaus. But if they go, who will interpret Iraq to outsiders? Of course, maybe Iraq would just like to be left alone.