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For Petraeus, the same medicine for different wars

Some things, like counterinsurgency, don't change very much.

Gen. David H. Petraeus published on Sunday his counterinsurgency guidance for troops in Afghanistan. His recipe for waging war in the Hindu Kush borrows the same core principles that he advocated during the Iraq surge and the counterinsurgency doctrine that he helped author in 2007.

In both documents, troops are told to "Secure and serve the population," "Live among the people," "Walk," "Manage expectations," and "Live our Values." In both cases, soldiers and Marines are counseled that their primary focus should be on forging ties with the locals and building local governance.

The intelligence needed to destroy enemy networks will grow out of troops' closer relationship with the people, the Iraq and Afghanistan guidance states. Once soldiers and Marines have insurgents in their sights, they should pursuse "the enemy relentlessly."

So what's changed in Afghanistan?

Petraeus has become a bit pithier than he was as commandor in Baghdad.

In Iraq, troops were simply counseled to "learn and adapt." In Afghanistan, he advises: "Win the battle of wits."

In a few cases he's shifted the language to address Afghan sensitivities. In Iraq, for example, troops were told to "promote reconciliation." President Hamid Karzai has expressed unease with U.S. forces playing too prominent a role in the reconciliation process. Instead he favors the term "reintegration." So too does the new guidance, which urges troops to "promote local reintegration."

And in a reflection of the huge concerns about corruption in the Afghan government, the Afghan update of the guidance tells troops to "confront the culture of impunity" in Afghanistan. "The Taliban are not the only enemy of the people," the guidance states. "the people are also threatened by inadequate governance, corruption and the abuse of power -- recruits of the Taliban."

By Greg Jaffe  | August 2, 2010; 6:45 PM ET
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It did'nt work in Vietnam and it wonk work in afpak.

Posted by: rhusa | August 2, 2010 8:19 PM | Report abuse

The hope is gaining the confidence of the people, tribes town folk etc. So as to have
them trust America and Americans and soldiers.
The problem with this idea is the soldiers are all in fighting gear they don't look the
part of peace makers. If I were an Afghan citizen I wouldn't trust anyone carrying a
rifle either.
Weapons are for war peace is without military garb. In Afghanistan if you don't
carry a weapon your dead.
My point as along as we look like war mongers we will be.
This war is a vicious cycle and th e only way to stop it is too stop it. Cold Turkey
Right now America comes first our country is in turmoil we have to think of number 1.
first we are now the 3rd world whether we know it or not.

Posted by: 129346 | August 3, 2010 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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