Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Afghanistan seemed far away just two months ago, but being here, though I am not facing down insurgents, makes the war feel very close. All wars cause tragedy, and none of us wants to fight them; but some, such as this one, can be considered "just wars." The U.S., along with other NATO forces, is fighting to bring stability to a severely threatened country.
Unfortunately, innocent civilians, those we are working hard to help, get caught up in the fighting and lose their lives. The American and NATO forces here take every precaution to avoid such casualties, but Taliban militants use noncombatants as human shields to scare the population. The Taliban have killed many more innocent civilians than Coalition forces have, but every innocent death is tragic, no matter who is responsible.
Recently, my boss, Brigadier General Michael Ryan, visited villagers after claims of civilian casualties following a fight between American forces and insurgents. Ryan went to a remote part of the country to offer condolences to the families of victims who lost their lives. I was touched by this action, and it has strengthened my resolve to work as hard as I can here to help bring about positive change for the deserving people of Afghanistan. The photo above shows Ryan sharing an emotional moment with one of the village elders. The world needs to see this side of the conflict.