On Sunday, a US Army Sergeant left his base in the southern Afghan province of Kandahar, walked a mile into a village, and going door to door, methodically murdered at least 16 civilians, 9 of them children. In the wake of anti-American riots prompted by Koran burnings, NATO officials fear this massacre will further inflame the Pashtuns against US involvement in their country.
The US Army tells us this is the action of a deranged individual, and I believe them. Perhaps I have been bamboozled by crafty public affairs officers but my experience with US combat soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan has convinced me that compared to most militaries, the Americans are extremely conscious of the need to limit harm to the innocent. The imperative to win the hearts and minds of the civilian population