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General Petraeus’ new rules


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Boston Herald:

Gen. David Petraeus this past week gave the American public - but even more importantly his own troops in Afghanistan - a new reason to respect his skill and his leadership.

Petraeus attempted in a new set of battle guidelines for U.S. and NATO troops under his command to strike a balance between the need to protect the lives of civilians and the need to allow soldiers to do what they need to do - essentially to fight.

“We must employ all assets to ensure our troopers’ safety, keeping in mind the importance of protecting the Afghan people as we do,” Petraeus wrote. “We must continue to demonstrate our resolve to the enemy. We will do so through our relentless pursuit of the Taliban and others who mean Afghanistan harm, through our compassion for the Afghan people and through the example we provide to our Afghan partners.”

The new rules surely don’t represent a repeal of the policies implemented by Gen. Stanley McChrystal prior to his dismissal in the wake of that Rolling Stone interview. Troops had complained, often bitterly, that they were being forced to fight with one hand tied behind their backs as the Taliban gained ever greater advantage.

NATO Brig. Gen. Josef Blotz agreed that Petraeus’ clarity counts for a lot.

“We also have now an absolutely clear wording and language on the necessary balance between the right of self-defense, protection of the people and . . . the necessary means and measures to achieve mission and success,” Blotz told The Associated Press.

This, America’s longest war, has been like no other. As of Thursday the Pentagon listed the death toll of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan at 1,113. And yet it continues to require that our military win the hearts and minds of the civilian population. The new directives at least make clearer that it need not happen at increased risk to our own sons and daughters, husbands and wives.

Words count. Petraeus knows that and he used them well.
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The ROE that has been in place the last year or so was a big reason my son refused to re-up last Jan


Don't blame him. It was a ridiculous way to fight a war.

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