Sunday, August 22, 2010

Preach It, Petraeus

Some common sense about the war from General Petraeus: Another thing that gets parsed a lot — do you find that it’s a false distinction between counterinsurgency and counterterrorism?

Petraeus: Well, in fact, operations by counterterrorist forces — in other words, by our special-mission-unit elements, which will remain nameless but which you know are absolutely part of a comprehensive civil-military counterinsurgency campaign. Not only are those [operations] not at odds with counterinsurgency, they’re a very important element in the overall approach. So are population-centric security operations — to clear, hold, and build [areas with] conventional forces. So are, of course, similar operations in partnership with Afghan forces.

And now, [there's] the Afghan local police initiative, just signed by President Karzai yesterday. That will enable the establishment of village guard forces: local police, under the Ministry of Interior elements in that district. There have to be very careful safeguards to ensure that these are not militia nor warlord forces or anything like that.

But then, as you know, you cannot kill or capture your way out of a substantial insurgency. Clearly, politics are a huge part of that. So that is where reintegration of reconcilable elements of the insurgency comes in. And that is already ongoing.

There is no contradiction between a strategy that protects people and kills the enemy.

Thanks for getting my six on this.