IN THIS SECTION Afghanistan: Barg-e-Matal Summer 2009 Iraq: Fallujah I Vigilant Resolve April 2004
Barg-e-Matal, Afghanistan summer of 2009: eastern Afghanistan’s rugged Nuristan province; a town with a river going down
the middle; the battle was expected to be lighter and ended up being two months long.
McChrystal was in charge; Barzai was giving orders which trickled down, Election/Voting Strategic Spot before August
Concepts of “courageous restraint” and avoidance of Blue-on-Blue friendly fire mistakes (p. 309)
Concepts of Compensatory Monies (p. 307) Paybacks for dead in battle - could be excess number counts enemy dead
Upcoming Elections spurring and shifting trajectories, intensities; could be excess number counts votes
Barzai (Afghan leader) encouraged a sense of political correctness, he worried about and perhaps played up battle-
related deaths at the hands of Americans/their allies
There was a lack of planning and preparation because the platoons and others involved did not really know for sure
what they were getting into
Watch for key strategic transitions: American or overseas target country elections, change of command, change of
president/cabinet, change of military group working an area, etc. dovetailing with ongoing key battle zone operations
Why We Lost: A General’s Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars
Author Daniel Bolger in: 2013 Retired Army Lieutenant General
The Spear, Major Jake Miraldi, 2018 Podcast (nine years after the fact)
Excerpt: In this episode of The Spear, John Amble talks to MWI’s own Maj. Jake Miraldi about the Battle of Barg-e Matal. In
2009, Maj. Miraldi was a platoon leader on his first deployment to Afghanistan. In July, Taliban forces overran the village of
Barg-e Matal in eastern Afghanistan’s rugged Nuristan province. Maj. Miraldi and his platoon were part of a force of 100 US
and Afghan soldiers sent to retake the village. They planned to be there for 96 hours. It eventually became a battalion
mission that kept US soldiers fighting there for two months.
Excerpts from Bolger:
“Stan McCrystal did more than just issue the tactical directive. Americans and other ISAF countries often paid
compensatory monies to families of civilians who’d died during operations. The desperately poor Afghans were quick to
arrive at the claims tables. As every dead person in country had worn civilian dress, more than a few dollars likely went to
Taliban families. The Pashtunwali emphasized resolving feuds with blood money, and if the infidels [ie, Americans] went
along, so much the better [this means Americans were used for payoffs that not only involved killing civilians, but involved
respecting - deferring to - Afghan customs and culture]. “
In summary, After a German controlled area of Afghanistan experienced US Air Force connected bombings of two Taliban
truck bombs, 15 died, although tribal chiefs claimed 179 with 69 known Taliban persons…the American leadership
apologized in the media “that he would make amends to the Afghan citizenry: and Germans paid out $5k for each killed
Afghan person…”they paid off the Taliban households, too.”
“It set a pattern. Allegations begat a public ISAF apology. A public ISAF apology begat more money. And then the various
ISAF [and other operations]…limited more aspects of the use of force. A week or two later, another event would occur, and
the cycle started again, with Karzai [Afghan leader] himself merrily turning the crank. The Taliban probably found it all
amusing, as the ignorant occupiers [ie, Americans and allies] essentially provided their foes’ death benefits.”
The bottom line: There are likely similarities between this sort of thing in Afghanistan and the civil rights related lawsuits in
the USA which are connected to the ACLU, CAIR and various groups with known terrorist connections.
This basically covers an older war zone period in Afghanistan in 2009.
Two basic things happened worth noting here: shifts in “collateral damage” approaches and also an increase in Afghan
publicity stints for payoffs of dead actually (or allegedly) caused by Americans in battle. This latter is particularly important
to our discussion because it is possible or even likely we are seeing signs of such tendencies through the Islamic connected
civil rights connected groups inside the United States with their plethora of lawsuits. We should study the tendencies and
parallels between Middle Eastern War Zone monetary pacification and stateside civil rights lawsuits to see the lines of
thinking, the language or terminology used, the types of spokespersons calling for the paybacks, and more.
Solid discussion in Afghanistan Section Nemesis, Chapter “The Good War” about a shift in approach from higher command
directions to lessen threat to civilians. Gives us the pros and cons but mostly has a pro-soldier protection orientation
In terms of lowered aggression until given incentive to attack in self-defense to avoid making a mistake in assuming a
threat, or in killing civilians: We can put ourselves in the shoes of being in a house or area filled with terrorists, and how we
would fill when the someone decides to bomb the terrorists, and we happen to be there, too. However, taken too far,
soldiers in the middle of difficult battle zones can be prevented from doing their jobs of taking out a threat before the
threat takes them out. It can prolong a situation, and it can allow too much lead time for the enemy to make in-roads
against us. There might be more American deaths and injuries because of all of this. Also, air power which can quickly
eradicate certain threats can only be called in during extreme emergencies with this approach.
Iraq Area Publicity Stunts
Daniel Bolger in his book Why We Lost (listed above) also indicates several incidents in which publicity stunts caused
Americans to withdraw when it probably would have been better to keep fighting until a win.
A primary example is Fallujah I. Marines were near success and were pulled back because Middle Eastern press was
showing a lot of pictures of Iraqi civilian deaths, including babies and other civilians.
Updates: 2020/11/06 additions Afghan/The Spear; Iraq/Fallujah I; Page Islamic Extremism/Publicity Stints page started 2020/11/02
Courageous Restraint, Publicity Stunts