Better force protection may be counterintuitive; it might come from less armor and less distance from the population. A foreign army cannot beat an insurgency. The insurgency in Afghanistan requires an Afghan solution. Conventional wisdom is not sacred. Security may not come from the barrel of a gun. International forces must redouble efforts to understand the social and political dynamics of all areas and regions of the country and take action that meets the needs of the people. We must change our operational culture - focus on protecting Afghan people - understand their environment, build relationships with them.US troops have been in Afghanistan for almost 8 years. 837 Americans have died in the war. An estimated 3,000-12,000 Afghan civilians have been killed. We have not learned the people's language. We have not learned their customs. We have not penetrated their tribal mindset. We have not adequately fed their hungry. We have not given them shelter from their enemies. Instead, it seems, we have protected our own forces. In the process of doing that, we've killed some fathers and brothers and sisters and mothers of Afghanistan.
We must put the Afghan people first. The insurgency can lose fighters and leaders...but, it cannot lose control of the population. - General McChrystalI hear it began snowing today in Colorado. I wonder when the hard winter begins in Afghanistan? May we be people who seek peace and pursue it.