Understanding The Basics

by Patrick Appel

Andrew Exum is back from Afghanistan. His take on McChrystal:

Forget all that nonsense about a guy with decades of direct-action special operations experience not being mentally limber enough to adapt to protecting the population. About five minutes into a discussion of civilian casualties in my first week in Kabul, I watched McChrystal stand up and spell out for his staff in explicit terms exactly why killing civilians makes one operationally ineffective in an environment like Afghanistan. McChrystal is not inclined to draw attention to his storied history as a special operator. But when he tells you that it's impossible to kill your way out of this war, you believe him -- because Lord knows, he's tried.