Gen. David Petraeus, the man sent to straighten out the troops in Afghanistan, has issued a new set of rules, strengthening the right of soldiers to act in self-defense. Under Petraeus’ predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, some complained that they felt battlefield rules restricted how they behave when fighting insurgents. The new rules emphasize that the troops’ priority should be protecting the lives of Afghan civilians. Officials tell the Los Angeles Times that the directive was intended to correct “misperceptions” held by soldiers that airstrikes and artillery were forbidden if civilians were thought to be present.
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