Excerpt: WASHINGTON, DC -- Back in October, the military apparently wiped an Afghan village off the face of the Earth because it was too far gone to save. The story was reported this week. Taliban had run the civilians out of town and so thoroughly booby-trapped the village, Tarok Kolache, that troops felt entering it meant "certain death," Paula Broadwell writes at Foreign Policy. The commander of the Combined Joint Task Force 1-320th, Ltc. David Flynn, said the only way he could give his guys confidence to enter the area and not "lose momentum" was just to bomb the hell out of it.
On the bright side, they are now rebuilding the place. "I literally cringed when we dropped bombs on these places--not because I cared about the enemy we were killing or the HME destroyed, but I knew the reconstruction would consume the remainder of my deployed life," Flynn told Broadwell, a former adviser to Gen. David Petraeus. And in the months since the October bombing, Flynn's team has worked on replanting the pomegranate orchard and rebuilding infrastructure. Villagers will be compensated for their lost houses.
Broadwell and Flynn say there were no civilian casualties because the Taliban had forced villagers from their homes. But the bombing raises troubling questions about our counterinsurgency mission in Afghanistan, which is supposed to value protecting civilians--and earning their trust--above all else.