tv PBS News Hour PBS July 14, 2010 6:00pm-6:09pm PDT
captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> lehrer: good evening. i'm jim lehrer. it's been a deadly 24 hours for u.s. forces in afghanistan. eight americans were killed in separate attacks. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. on the "newshour" tonight, this month's u.s. death toll stands at 33 so far on track to top last month's record of 60. we have the latest on the violence, the dangers and the difficulties on the frontlines. >> lehrer: then, we assess the risks and benefits of the diabetes drug, avandia. >> ifill: we have another report
from haiti-- six months after the earthquake. tonight, ray suarez looks at the road ahead for the many amputees. >> thousands of haitians lost limbs in january's earthquake. international charities are bringing pros thesees, mobility and hope. >> lehrer: and margaret warner updates the charges against six new orleans police officers in the killing and cover-up of unarmed citizens after hurricane katrina. >> what appears to me is that the officers based upon the admitted statements immediately decided to not tell the truth. that's just disgusting. >> lehrer: that's all ahead on tonight's "newshour." major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by:
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and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> lehrer: u.s. forces in afghanistan added eight more names to the killed in action list today. it was the latest sign of the escalating war, as american commanders struggle to adapt. the first strike came in kandahar. three americans killed last night in a car bombing and gunfight at an afghan police headquarters. then, this morning, four more u.s. troops killed in a roadside bombing elsewhere in the south and a fifth shot dead. and three british soldiers died tuesday, when an afghan soldier attacked them with gunfire and a rocket propelled grenade in helmand province. british brigadier nick parker is the deputy nato commander in afghanistan. >> our afghan partners have got to look very carefully at what's happened, and they've got to reassure us that they're doing everything they can to minimize
it happening again. >> lehrer: in all, 45 nato troops have been killed so far this month-- 33 of them americans-- as fighting intensifies in the south, and the east. that's on track to top the record of 60 u.s. deaths in june. overall, roadside bombs now cause up to 60% of combat deaths, and car bombings are also taking a toll. in fact, the kandahar attack resembled recent assaults on much larger, american-run air fields at jalalabad, near the pakistani border, and bagram, just north of kabul. with violence peaking, the rules of engagement for nato forces have become a particular flashpoint. recently relieved u.s. commander stanley mcchrystal had instituted tight new standards, to lessen civilian casualties. the vast majority of civilians are killed by insurgents, but coalition killings bring routine
and widespread condemnation from president hamid karzai on down to the streets, as seen this past weekend in mazar-e-sharif. >> ( translated ): foreign forces have carried out an operation, and they have killed two civilians and have arrested three others. that is why we are out here demonstrating against them >> lehrer: coalition-caused civilian deaths have declined, but mcchrystal's rules also led to resentment in the ranks. troops said they increasingly found themselves with fewer options to respo and repel danger. the new nato commander, general david petraeus, underscored the core tenet of counterinsurgency warfare, in brussels, shortly after being appointed. >> the human terrain is the decisive terrain. and therefore, you must do everything humanly possible to protect the population. >> lehrer: petraeus said the rules of engagement would not be revised, but he did acknowledge the hard standard they demand. >> there are concerns among the
ranks of some of our troopers on the ground that some of the processes have become a bit too bureaucratic. >> lehrer: those concerns were borne out recently in reporting by james foley of "global post." he talked to soldiers in the volatile kunar province hard by the pakistani border. >> we're infantry guys and we're trained to count our victories with the number of bodies that we clean up afterwards. it's kind of a vulgar way to put it, but it's the truth of it. and we're kind of out of our element. >> lehrer: the core of these fighting units are the sergeants who run their squads and who routinely update their soldiers on the rules of engagement. >> feel like you life is in danger or the life of your buddies is in danger-- engage. you know what i'm saying? you got to use your escalation of force. >> lehrer: the nature of counterinsurgency, called "coin" in shorthand, is trying to separate the enemy from the people. and it is inherently difficult, complex and not a little frustrating to the troops
carrying it out. >> when you destroy fighters, it makes you feel like you've accomplished something. it's very hard to feel like you've accomplished something in a coin fight because it takes so long to accomplish that task, that miniscule task of winning one individual over to your side. >> lehrer: to help accomplish that task, the afghan government today approved an initiative pushed by general petraeus, to establish community police forces. the groups would be empowered to patrol their own villages. in washington today, pentagon, spokesman geoff morrell said the need was urgent. >> this is temporary solution to very real near term problem. this would be a stop gap measure, at least envisioned at this point, because we don't have enough police forces to provide security in populated areas.
>> lehrer: morrell also placed the effort in the larger context of the u.s.-led counterinsurgency. >> the onus is on us, even to protect them from the taliban. so we have to work double not just to win their trust and confidence but to protect them. and so there is a real risk to those who step up in afghanistan. >> lehrer: a top american commander in southern afghanistan said today security will improve as more u.s. and afghan forces move into violent areas. he said: "it's a rising tide." two perspectives now: major benjamin tupper was an embedded trainer with the afghan national army. he wrote a book about his experiences "greetings from afghanistan, send more ammo." he's still in the army national guard. the views he expresses are his own. and major general charles dunlap was the air force's number two lawyer until his recent retirement.