September 25, 2012
For Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta, a recent wave of "green-on-blue" (or insider attacks) on US and NATO troops - ie the Afghan version of friendly fire - are just the "last gasp" of a bunch of frustrated Taliban.
That does remind one of Don Rumsfeld's "remnants" of Saddam's regime, who duly morphed into hardcore Sunni Iraqi guerrillas and gave hell to the US occupation.
Back to reality, even US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey had to admit, "something has to change". Only in 2012, Afghan security forces killed 51 NATO soldiers - and counting.
That may not be much compared to scores of civilian victims, aka "collateral damage", of the shadowy CIA drone war against the Pakistani tribal areas. Not to mention the recent US raid that killed eight Afghan women and girls who were engaged in an extremely subversive plot to collect firewood.
Oh yes - but this is "them", not "us".
Anyway, something did change. NATO's new spin on "green-on-blue" is right up the scale down alley. From now on, joint patrols or any "interaction" with Afghans will only go on at least at battalion level (which group 500 or even 800 members).
It was - surprise! - a unilateral Pentagon decision. No NATO partners or even the Afghans themselves were consulted.
So here's the instant spinless translation - if any was needed.