Fighters Showing Restraint: When US officers in Afghanistan told correspondent Danna Harman how they were working to prevent civilian deaths (page 7), she was skeptical. The rising death toll indicated otherwise. And aid workers in Kabul belittled the efforts of US troops reaching out to Afghans in rural areas. They were, after all, trained as fighters. But after several weeks of watching American soldiers in the field, she came away “impressed.”
“I found the best of American values evident. These guys were polite to the people. What I saw was a completely positive approach in how they dealt with locals, even though they were taking fire, and there was frustration underneath,” she says.
Were they putting on a show for her? “I don’t think so. I was at one forward operating base for two weeks, going out on patrols. After hours of hiking or riding in a Humvee, they forget you’re there. You can only fake sincerity for so long. I left with a lot of respect for these young men, who didn’t have a lot of life experience but behaved very well under difficult circumstances,” she says.