Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.
--C.S. Lewis--

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Military To Break Off Engagements If Civilians At Risk

The new U.S. commander in Afghanistan is finalizing a far-reaching change in tactics that will generally require U.S. troops taking fire in populated areas to break contact rather than risk civilian casualties, military officials said.

Hmm...Not to second-guess General McChrystal and his advisors, but something here doesn't compute. Won't this effectively cede cities to the bad guys? If the military's presumption is in favor of protecting civilian life over completing the mission, it seems like this policy will simply encourage the baddies to engage in more military activities in urban areas. Right now, as I understand it, (as as the article seems to corroborate) most of our fighting is done out in the back country. But, if they know the US military is allowed to use whatever means are necessary when in the countryside, where civilians are less concentrated and easier to avoid, what will keep them from shifting their operations into the cities?