Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Civilian Casualties are Causing the War in the First Place: Rethinking Afghanistan pt. 4

A new study by America’s National Bureau for Economic Research looking at the circumstances around 4,000 civilian deaths in Afghanistan found a high correlation between NATO killing of even two civilians in an area and a spike of attacks on NATO and US troops. It turns out that Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s much-maligned stricter rules of engagement, especially limitations on blunt air strikes, actually likely reduced the number of attacks. Gen. David Petraeus is said to be considering altering the ROE.

There is only one way to interpret the NBER report, which is that President Obama was wrong to escalate the Afghanistan war, since US and NATO war-fighting, which inevitably causes civilian deaths, is actually ratcheting up the war. A heavy footprint and more NATO operations likely will create the monster Washington fears, a growing insurgency, rather than ‘blunting the momentum’ of the ‘Taliban’ as Obama and Petreaus hope.
Informed Comment

"In Afghanistan, when Isaf units kill civilians, this increases the number of willing combatants, leading to an increase in insurgent attacks."
"Local exposure to violence from Isaf appears to be the primary driver of this effect."

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