Tom Ricks posted a partial response to my criticisms by LTC David Flynn, the U.S. commander at Tarok Kolache during its razing. I’ve sent a response to Tom, and he promised to post it tomorrow. Stay tuned.
Meanwhile, Spencer Ackerman has been cataloging how Team Petraeus is responding to the growing criticism of the village razing policies. In short, it’s all the Taliban’s fault. Put less charitably, Petraeus is admitting the Taliban is setting the pace of operations, setting the terms of engagement, and forcing the U.S. to engage in property destruction. Classic insurgent tactics, in other words. It is not encouraging.
Finally, as a counterpoint to Paula Broadwell’s bubbly account of the destruction, in December Stars and Stripes reporter Megan McClosky covered Tarok Kolache. Far from accusing locals of engaging in theatrics, she reported their anger honestly and transparently, which is nice to see. She also described a slow process of winning over local acquiescence to what happened, which is also an important angle to the story. I do hope their acceptance is genuine and not just avoidance (which often results in anger being expressed long after the fact).