I got in some hot water here last year for arguing that Gen. McChrystal, for all his undeniable valor, is a progressive big-thinker who has been conducting a sociology experiment in Islamic nation-building. It's a flawed experiment that assumes Afghan Muslims will side with us — i.e., the Westerners their clerical authorities tell them are infidel invaders and occupiers — against their fellow Afghan Muslims.
Nothing in the ensuing months changes my mind. To the contrary, what I've seen lately indicates that, while our troops are imperiled under strait-jacketing rules of engagement imposed by Gen. McChrystal to avoid offending Afghans, Christian missionaries have been suspended for preaching (proselytism for any belief-system other than Islam is illegal in Afghanistan). I've seen Asia News's report that Afghan converts to Christianity have been sentenced to death for apostasy. All this, moreover, is happening under the new constitution we helped write, which (as the State Department bragged in 2004) enshrines sharia as Afghanistan's fundamental law. That is, the Afghan Muslim population our troops are fighting and dying to protect has institutionalized the persecution of other populations (when the said Muslims are not otherwise busy killing each other).
Petraeus is to re-examine [McChrystal's] "courageous restraint" policy which some soldiers believe has prevented them from defending themselves.
"There will be no change in overall policy but all aspects of tactics and implementation will be looked at afresh," a Pentagon official told The Daily Telegraph. "The issue of 'courageous restraint' is a controversial one on the ground and there may be ways it can be modified." .... Changes to allow soldiers more flexibility in using lethal force are likely to be welcomed by both American and British troops.
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.