Military to Rein in Special Ops

Reacting to widespread criticism and far too many civilian casualties, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the ranking American commander in Afghanistan, is gathering nearly all of the American Special Operations forces under his direct supervision. McChrystal is hoping to increase accountability and organization among those units in the field because even though civilian casualties are falling, he insists the number is still too hig —last year, according to the United Nations, most of the 596 civilian deaths in Afghanistan could be chalked up to Special Operations troops. “What happens is, sometimes at cross-purposes, you got one hand doing one thing and one hand doing the other, both trying to do the right thing but working without a good outcome,” General McChrystal told The New York Times. Still, others have said that a higher number of civilian deaths is inevitable for those units, if only because they conduct more night raids—operations that McChrystal is trying to scale back.