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25 February 2010

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EL

Ask Toyota.

Arun

CFR media conference

BARKER: You mention the idea of civilian casualties. What's different about how NATO is handling allegations of civilian casualties now versus, say, you know, before McChrystal arrived or even just a few months ago?

MARKEY: Well, it's clear, just in the latest incident with the aerial bombing of -- I guess 27 civilians were killed or thereabouts. McChrystal came out very quickly and apologized for that. That's meaningful because his predecessor wasn't able to move quite that rapidly, and the messages were mixed. Even McChrystal wasn't able to move as quickly on earlier go-arounds. With the Germans, things took longer to try to sort out.

So that's a positive sign. The rules of engagement are significantly different for the operation in Marja. There's been a fair amount of reporting on that. And some grumbling among those who are watching or suggesting that the U.S. forces are subjecting themselves to significantly greater risk because of those changed rules of engagement.

But I think there's a pretty -- or I would say a very strong consensus with U.S. military leadership that this is the right way to go. Just as a sort of a related example, I can say that, a very limited anecdote, in terms of my own driving around in Kabul with a military escort, this time, I can say that they were markedly more respectful of local driving rules than I have ever seen before. It was stunning actually. Slow and steady, letting people cross, not sort of just ramming our way through traffic and pushing people aside.

This is a big change. You know, it's hard to say whether all of these things together will be quite enough, but it's certainly, I think, a change for the better.

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