Even Insubordinate Assholes Have Their Upsides

OTB reminds us that one of McChrystal’s *other* noteworthy habits was his emphasis on avoidance of civilian casualties. Apparently this didn’t sit well with the “real” troops.

Despite the tragedies and miscues, McChrystal has issued some of the strictest directives to avoid civilian casualties that the U.S. military has ever encountered in a war zone. It’s “insurgent math,” as he calls it – for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies. He has ordered convoys to curtail their reckless driving, put restrictions on the use of air power and severely limited night raids. He regularly apologizes to Hamid Karzai when civilians are killed, and berates commanders responsible for civilian deaths. “For a while,” says one U.S. official, “the most dangerous place to be in Afghanistan was in front of McChrystal after a ‘civ cas’ incident.” The ISAF command has even discussed ways to make not killing into something you can win an award for: There’s talk of creating a new medal for “courageous restraint,” a buzzword that’s unlikely to gain much traction in the gung-ho culture of the U.S. military.

But however strategic they may be, McChrystal’s new marching orders have caused an intense backlash among his own troops. Being told to hold their fire, soldiers complain, puts them in greater danger. “Bottom line?” says a former Special Forces operator who has spent years in Iraq and Afghanistan. “I would love to kick McChrystal in the nuts. His rules of engagement put soldiers’ lives in even greater danger. Every real soldier will tell you the same thing.”

Does this mean we’re going to see a relaxation of the rules? Does it even make a difference when we’re going around blowing people up with drones?

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4 comments
  1. slimove said:

    I don’t know enough about the situation to know how good he was at his job – although “hey, maybe we should kill fewer civilians!” seems like a good plan to me – but my biggest problem with this whole kerfluffle is the shocking lack of judgment shown. wtf did he think would happen when he said these things to a rolling stone reporter?

  2. fauxpopuli said:

    Well apparently it started when that volcano blew up awhile back. McChrystal’s flight was grounded so he had to take a bus across Europe, which led to him and his boys getting shithoused* in close proximity to the reporter. Not that this speaks any better of his judgement, and for all we know is just a convenient excuse.

    *on Bud Light Lime, which speaks to bad judgement of an entirely different sort. not to mention being lightweights.

    • slimove said:

      even i know better than to say certain shit to certain people – even while drunk – and i am not a goddamned four star general in charge of a war.

  3. fauxpopuli said:

    i guess they could try to claim he got so hammered he blacked out and didn’t even know what he said. except, you know, bud light. that synthetic lime flavoring shit doesn’t make it any stronger.

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