Afghanistan and the West: The Difficult Relationship between Democracy and War - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International: "And because the German public is particularly sensitive, as a result of the two world wars, the Bundeswehr has even tried to create a new type of soldier: the good, good-natured warrior, a man with a rose in his gun barrel, friendly, helpful and devoid of the inner beast."
The COIN wielding General McChrystal was sacked. One reason could have been that the new aid worker like soldier did not function as expected. It is about winning hearts and minds but if the Taliban runs a full scale terror against this approach the question is if this does not require harder resistance? Someone on the Swedish radio proudly said that the Swedish soldiers were much better than the Americans on peace keeping. I guess the problem is that if there is no peace to keep this might represent a problem rather than an asset.
I'd like to continue from my last post and ask if the Talibans are an equivalent of the Indians? I don't think so myself. They are rather gangsters in the drug trade. Most Afghans probably see what their society could become if peace reined and if their economy could be boosted. They want to integrate with a world economy and live more comfortable lives, albeit with their own religion. The eternal question then is what kind of soldier is in need for fighting the Afghan battle? This is apparently a matter of intense debate. The Taliban's tactics, like Hamas', is to hide out among civilians and to use gangster methods to coerce these people. Is it possible to fight such battles without civilian casualties. I don't think so but politicians must face a debate on how high the losses can be before the mission is to be cancelled. The article above is asking the German politicians to do this.
Is the soldier depicted above a fictive construct or is it possible to generate such individuals? After all, when people start shooting at each other survival becomes paramount and stipulating examples is part of war fare. It is of course a great difference of coming in from outside and fight in somebody's else's war than to be engaged in a local conflict with age old internal problems and animosities that elicit demand for revenge that then would ignite the soldier's "inner beast" mentioned. The article is important because it brings up the current juggling of responsibility and judgment between the politicians and the military.