One of the best perspective pieces on the challenges in the Afghan war against the Taliban and the foreign insurgents was in this sunday’s NYT magazine. It’s told in my personal favorite style, focused on the activities on one individual, at a low level in the organization, in the middle of the maelstrom. It centers around Captain Kearney, a man with an impossible job: subdue the insurgents in the valley and win the support of the local populous. But with the local population working with and supporting the insurgents, even letting them use their homes as firing positions, he has an impossible job.
“The only reason anyone’s listening to me in this valley right now is
’cause I’m dropping bombs on them.” Still, he wasn’t going to let
himself shoot at houses every time his unit took fire: “I’d just create
more people that hate me.” -Kearney