Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Hamid Karzai is nice, no?

"The pilots do not need to be told that civilian deaths soared last year in Afghanistan, the majority from Taliban attacks, but others from airstrikes called in by American and British troops under fire. President Hamid Karzai has so angrily condemned the strikes that in December he was invited to visit the Roosevelt, so that officers could try to persuade him that they took care where they aimed their bombs. As Vice Adm. William E. Gortney, the commander of United States naval forces in the region, put it: “We don’t drop when we’re unsure.” The visit, by the Navy’s account at least, went well. Mr. Karzai watched jets take off from the flight deck and was briefed on how the pilots try to minimize “collateral damage.” Afterward, he sent the ship one of his trademark karakul hats and a Christmas card. But for the pilots, tensions remain."