Pete Singer sent me a link to the Admiral Mullen's speech at Brookings, and I notice the quote I excerpted in yesterday's post was actually part of a larger quote relating to drone attacks:
Q: Good morning, Admiral. Colin Clark, with DODBuzz.
Kilcullen appears to have tilted against drone attacks as a basic tactic. And I’m wondering if you think that we have, broadly speaking, devoted too much resources to the kinetic approach and not enough to COIN in Afghanistan, and if you really think that, over the next six to 12 months, that will start to change. And I guess also, should we stop the drone attacks?
ADM. MULLEN: We’re going through a review and a very difficult situation which occurred a couple weeks ago where there were Afghan civilians killed. And I believe that each time we do that, we put – we put our strategy in jeopardy, in terms of backing up. We cannot succeed in Afghanistan – or anywhere else, but let’s talk specifically about Afghanistan – by killing Afghan civilians.
The center of gravity in Afghanistan are the people of Afghanistan. And so we – and General McKiernan has worked hard in recent months, as we all have, to change our procedures, to be more deliberate and more precise about this. And yet clearly we had an incident the other day, and that investigation is both not through and – and I worry a little bit about the clarity of it, even in the end.
That said, we can’t keep going through incidents like this and expect the strategy to work. At the same time, we can’t tie our troops’ hands behind their backs. So we’ve got to – we’ve got to be very, very focused on making sure that we proceed deliberately, that we know who the enemy is. And in fact, the enemy uses this very effectively against us. We need to be more rapid in our information campaign with respect to this. And yet, as always, we’ve got to be truthful. So we still – we’ve got to – we’ve got a significant amount of work to do with respect to that.
As far as drone attacks themselves are concerned, the – we have – I have found them to be, and the commanders in the field have found them to be, very effective. I think they speak to not only effectiveness in these – in these kinds of campaigns, but also they speak to our future with respect to where we should go in the unmanned world. But they have to be done in a way that moves the strategy forward and doesn’t back us up.
The good news here is that Mullen understands the people are the center of gravity. The bad news is, he disagrees with me and Dave. Oh, and Colin Clark from DODBuzz? I do not know who you are, but you are on notice. The next time you ask a question, I expect you to phrase your question along these lines:
Admiral Mullen, Andrew "Abu Muqawama" Exum and some leg-spinning Aussie named Kilkearny (or something) appear to have tilted against drone attacks as a basic tactic. And I’m wondering if you think that we have, broadly speaking, devoted too much resources to the kinetic approach and not enough to COIN in Afghanistan, and if you really think that, over the next six to 12 months, that will start to change. Oh, and sir, who exactly are you to question the Father of the Resistance?