This wasn't supposed to happen there. According to a "counterinsurgency" plan (COIN), anti-US, anti-infidel violence just wasn't supposed to erupt in Garmsir, Afghanistan, of all places. But it did. And at least eight Afghans died in this Helmand Province district in rioting this week inspired by rumors that U.S. troops had roughed up a Koran.
Somewhere between "one thousand" (UPI) and "several thousand" (The New York Times) Afghans converged on the central bazaar in response to these rumors. "The Taliban were provoking the people," an Afghan police official told the Times. "The Taliban were telling the people, 'This is jihad; you should sacrifice yourselves.'"
Jihad? What's jihad? Among see-no-Islam Western policymakers, Islamic war doctrine is a cipher, a taboo, so policy is made in ignorance. But thousands of uneducated Afghans knew exactly what the Taliban meant. And what's more, they acted on it.
It was "like watching the movie `Blackhawk Down,'" a Marine master sergeant told UPI, except "I was in it. My gunner kept yelling he had definite targets, people shooting at us but he couldn't fire back because there were unarmed people around them."
Ah, the Obama-McChrystal rules of non-engagement, a pillar of the see-no-Islam COIN strategy designed to eliminate civilian casualties from war -- maybe all casualties, and maybe all war, if McChrystal's latest interview is any guide. "It's not about destroying the enemy's cities," he told the German magazine Der Spiegel. "It's not even about destroying their army, their fighters.... "It's really about convincing the people that they want (the counterinsurgency) to stop and they ultimately will."
Or so thinks the man drawing on the limited power of infidel persuasion in an Islamic land. All that his soldiers must do, U.S. Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal says, is "interact" across the language, cultural and religious barriers with "the people" to "build that relationship" -- assisted by mega-sweeteners such as massive public works programs -- and "the people" in effect, will jilt the "insurgency." (Then what -- onto Yemen?) But don't shoot, please, because, as the general puts it, "you can't bring a civilian who has been killed back to life."
You can't bring a soldier who has been killed back to life, either, but this general, who values Afghan "population protection" over U.S. "force protection," didn't mention that.