You are going to want to have a beer in one hand and a shot of whiskey in the other before you read this.
"Q: "On Escalation of force, have you considered engaging the local community on the issue? We could explain at the brigade/battalion level what behavior we find threatening, and how we are trained to react when we feel threatened. We could negotiate with the community leaders over mutually agreeable actions and reactions that are better understood by both and gives part ownership of the issue to the community and empowers them in line with our approach to reintegration."
GEN McChrystal: "That's a great point. I don't know if we have, but we certainly ought to be doing that. We have so many escalation of force issues, and someone gets hurt in the process, and we say, 'They didn't respond like they were supposed to.' Well, they may not have known how they were supposed to respond, so as they approached an area or checkpoint or whatever, they may have taken actions that seemed appropriate to them, and when a warning shot was fired they may have panicked. I think this is a great thing to do, to engage people and tell them the kind of behavior on their part that would lower the chance that they would run into problems.
"I do want to say something that everyone understands. We really ask a lot of our young service people out on the checkpoints because there's danger, they're asked to make very rapid decisions in often very unclear situations. However, to my knowledge, in the nine-plus months I've been here, not a single case where we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a
suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it. That doesn't mean I'm criticizing the people who are executing. I'm just giving you perspective. We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force."
Hat tip to Josh Marshall over at TPM
My opinion...can we just throw in the towel already and say we're done?