'Petraeus Generation' Is Making Muslim Allies

CO's learn that gun-blazing ways only sparked insurgency in Iraq
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2008 7:45 PM CDT
U.S. soldiers of 3rd Brigade Combat team, 3rd Infantry Division carry an injured Iraqi volunteer civilian 60 kilometers (40 miles) south of Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, March 7, 2008.   (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
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(Newser) – US officers in Iraq and Afghanistan are learning to talk first and shoot later—a sea change for CO's trained to win by force, Newsweek reports. But their early gun battles only sparked insurgency and mired them in baffling street battles. Now, says David Petraeus, “You can’t kill your way out of an insurgency." A generation of US officers is absorbing Muslim culture and trying to make allies of insurgent foes to win.

Commanders are even leaving mega-bases to live in Iraqi communities. "Stop by, don't drive by," Petraeus tells them. Newsweek recounts the triumphs of one captain in Iraq who has recruited and built the trust of powerful locals who once battled US troops. He calls it a rocky road, with allegiances often hanging on a thread, but he’s learned that human intelligence is built from the ground up.