Tuesday, May 08, 2007

The Afghan people are our center of gravity

Today Col. John Nicholson gave a tele-briefing from Afghanistan on the war there, which he “humbly suggests[s]” we’re winning. He also said that “the Afghan people are our center of gravity” and “We feel genuinely appreciated by the Afghan people.” At least, the ones they haven’t shot up in hysterical rampages, as they did in March.

Nicholson just met with the families of the 19 civilians killed in that incident, “and I would comment that the response by the people was very positive. Showing them the appropriate respect is culturally significant, and seeing the genuine remorse that we have for incidents such as this is important in terms of keeping them with us.” He told the families that he “stand[s] before you today deeply, deeply ashamed and terribly sorry that Americans have killed and wounded innocent Afghan people.” He said that when such regrettable incidents occur, “we go to great lengths to try and make it right” and so we’re giving the survivors $2,000. Don’t spend it all in one place.

(Update: the Pentagon website’s article about Nicholson’s briefing is entitled “U.S. Soldiers Continue to Gain Trust of Afghan People.” Guess those $2,000 checks didn’t bounce.)

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