August 03, 2010

Civilian Casualties and ROE in Afghanistan

Check out blog alumna Erin "Charlie" Simpson mixing it up with Brian Katulis, Jake Shapiro, and Sarah Holewinski (of CIVIC) at the New America Foundation. Shapiro's thesis is really interesting and important: reducing civilian casualties actually reduces U.S. troop casualties as well. So the supposed trade-off involved between strict ROE and risking U.S. casualties isn't a trade-off at all once you bother to look at the data. (I met with LSE's Radha Iyengar before she left for Afghanistan and am excited to see her already kicking some analytical ass.) Update: I have actually really enjoyed this talk and am sorry I missed it live. Katulis makes some good critical points in his ten-minute presentation, and Charlie and Jake then respond to them very intelligently. (Charlie drops Schrödinger's cat on the audience like they all know what the hell she is talking about, which is awesome in and of itself.) Jake's point about where we're getting our intelligence around the one-hour mark is also really important. Update II: "Austin likes the Rangers too much." It is impossible to like the Rangers too much. You're banned from the blog, Charlie. RLTW.