Minimizing collateral damage

NATO forces in Afghanistan are doing it, and human-rights groups have noticed.

Over the last eighteen months, NATO forces in Afghanistan have been trying to be more careful about killing civilians. The Taliban, not so much. Human rights groups have noticed. Amnesty International is calling for a war-crimes tribunal directed at the insurgents.

If the people of Afghanistan have also noticed, perhaps the prospects there aren’t as grim as we’ve been told.

Or perhaps not. In any case, it’s good to know that our side of the war has gotten less vicious.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact:

4 thoughts on “Minimizing collateral damage”

  1. “If the people of Afghanistan have also noticed, perhaps the prospects there aren’t as grim as we’ve been told.”

    The grimness of the prospects cannot be judged until we know WTF we are there for. What exactly is the purpose of the US/NATO mission in Afghanistan? I don’t have a clue, do you?
    If that mission is “convert them all to christian right-wing capitalists” (which as far as I can tell IS the mission) then, no, I’m afraid the prospects for that are still pretty grim.
    If the mission is “convert them to a functioning democracy, free to choose Islamic nutcases to rule them if they want”, well, that’s pretty unlikely as well (cf Egypt, both its internal behavior and the US reaction).

    So, sorry, Mark, but I honestly don’t see how this changes much of anything.

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