Sunday, August 12, 2007

Fighting less & winning more

By Diane Silver

Nathaniel Fick, a former Marine captain, provides perspective today of why a new approach to terrorism is key, and how the kill-them-all strategy can't keep us safe.

In a Washington Post column, Fick talks about his experience teaching counterinsurgency tactics in Afghanistan. One of his key points is that fighting less, leads to winning more. Fick writes:
(O)ne of my many gratifying moments at the academy came at the start of a class on targeting. I told the students to list the top three targets they would aim for if they were leading forces in Zabul province, a Taliban stronghold. When I asked a U.S. officer to share his list, he rattled off the names of three senior Taliban leaders to be captured or killed. Then I turned and asked an Afghan officer the same question. "First we must target the local councils to see how we can best help them," he replied. "Then we must target the local mullahs to find out their needs and let them know we respect their authority." Exactly. In counterinsurgency warfare, targeting is more about whom you bring in than whom you take out.

It's a column well worth reading. In it, Fick provides a very real-world example of how what Carla Goldstein calls "spiritual activism" can work.

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