Petraeus Credited With Ramping Up Afghan Killing

Legacy of Escalated Killings Spun as Success

After his repeated escalations left the situation dramatically worse, Gen. David McKiernan was replaced as commander in Afghanistan, leaving in failure. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, his replacement, escalated the war further, and after another year of rising death tolls, he was asked to resign in failure.

Officials were keen on Gen. David Petraeus, the next replacement, was seen as the silver bullet solution for this war. So after another year of escalation, and worsening violence, Petraeus is leaving too. Incredibly, however, ramping up the killings is being spun as a great success.

Top figures are citing a dramatic increase in raids, and in killings, as proof that the tide has turned in the war, even though the exact same thing could’ve been said about virtually every commander the war has seen, and the situation has continued to worsen.

Petraeus’ claim to fame goes a bit deeper, indeed, with the UN releasing a report only last week showing civilian killings are also at a record level in the past six months. After a year of riding the reduced civilian casualties produced by McChrystal’s strategic changes as proof that NATO is trying very hard, the toll is again on the rise, and the man responsible for that is somehow coming out of the disastrous conflict with his superiors pleased.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of