Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan

The commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan took his apology for a weekend airstrike that killed civilians directly to the Afghan people Tuesday, with a video in which he pledged to work to regain their trust.

In the video, translated into the Afghan languages of Dari and Pashto on a NATO website, a stern Gen. Stanley McChrystal apologizes for the strike in central Uruzgan province that Afghan officials say killed at least 21 people.

Sunday's attack by NATO jets on a convoy of cars was the deadliest attack on civilians in six months and prompted a sharp rebuke from the Afghan government. It comes as NATO is struggling to win public backing for a major military offensive against the Taliban in the south with a strategy that involves taking all precautions possible to protect civilians.

We either go to war in a populated area, or we take all precautions to protect civilians. We can't do both.

And, we certainly can't win back popular support by apologizing for civilian deaths.

Again, our strategy makes no sense.

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