Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fixing the collateral damage

This editorial piece in IHL starts off well:

ISAF's chief spokesman, Brigadier Richard Nugee, recently admitted: "The single thing that we have done wrong and that we are striving extremely hard to improve on is killing innocent civilians."

The point of the article is a good one, and doesn't escape the reader: gosh, but NATO really has to win the hearts-and-minds of the population over. Oddly, the subtext to the article is a bit 'off': avoid killing civilians, it suggests, as it's simply bad press, poor marketing for the success of our military effort. What about IHL? 'War crimes'?

Holewinski unpacks the issue competently, going further to understand why key states aren't willing to do more even for those civilians that do become collateral damage. She doesn't find more convincing answers there, either. Her conclusion?

'This is a war you can't win unless you win the people.'