The pressure to achieve "progress" on an artificially short time frame has guided the U.S. military to make regrettable choices across much of Afghanistan. The destruction and reconstruction of Tarok Kolache is only one example, if an especially sharp one. That pressure comes in part from the same political forces that led to the July 2011 drawdown date, and now the 2014 one. It also comes from officers' desire to show progress over a year-long tour of duty. You can hardly blame individual officers and politicians for the high-pressure environment driving their decision-making. In fact, some of these pressures, especially the desire to exceed expectations and accomplish great things, can be very beneficial. But each affects command decisions in unexpected ways, and when combined often undermine the ultimate strategic goals of the war.
We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to email@example.com.