U.S. Marines from Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines called in an air strike during a battle near Musa Qaleh, in northern Helmand Province, southern Afghanistan, Friday, July 23, 2010.
Before Gen. David Petraeus took his oath as the new Afghanistan war commander, he told Congress he would review the rules of engagement but hinted no radical changes were likely.
For a first step, Petraeus issued a 24-point Counterinsurgency Guidance on Monday. It reads as a list of pieces of advice, including: live among the people; walk, don’t ride, on patrols; take off your sunglasses when talking with locals. And drink lots of tea.
For anyone who has read his co-authored 2006 Army counterinsurgency manual, these are familiar themes.
“Hunt the enemy aggressively but use only the firepower needed to win a fight,” wrote Petraeus.
“Money is ammunition; don’t put it in the wrong hands.”
“Avoid knee-jerk responses based on first impressions. Don’t be a pawn in someone else’s game. Spend time, listen, consult, and drink lots of tea.”
It also gives advice on winning the public information war among Afghan populations. “Hang their barbaric actions like millstones around their necks,” Petraeus wrote. No word on how, exactly, to do that.
Sounding Yoda-esque, he wrote, “We must not give in to dark impulses.”
Details of the document first appeared online last week, but ISAF did not release it until Monday. While these are important, this is not the meat that reporters and troops are waiting for. Petraues is expected very shortly to release a new "tactical directive" which would reveal if, how, and how much he will change the unpopular air strike restrictions initiated by Gen. Stanley McChrystal last year.
McChrystal took the bold step to reduce civilian casualties and subsequent public backlash amid the war. But troops increasingly have complained the tight requirements endangered those ground troops engaged in firefights.
For now...we wait. Click here or on the link below the photo to read the COMISAF's COIN Guidance.