McChrystal on Civilian Casualties

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009 at 10:59 am

Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) asked Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal how he views the strategic importance of reducing civilian casualties and how he intends to reduce them in Afghanistan.

“I believe the perception caused by civilian casualties is one of the most dangerous enemies we face,” McChrystal said, as the loss of popular support “will be strategically decisive,” which is to say the war will be lost. He vows to review “all” U.S. procedures in Afghanistan to ensure that casualties will be minimized “except in self-defense.” McChrystal expects he’ll need more intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets to get “more precision … to reduce civilian casualties and to reduce the impact [of U.S. troops] on the civilian population.” It’s not “a panacea,” but “the more you’ve got, the smarter you are as a force.”

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