Petraeus To Face Soldier Complaints Over War Rules

by
staphni
Crouched in a field of opium poppies, a young Marine lieutenant pleaded over the radio for an airstrike on a compound where he believed a sniper was firing at his troops. Request denied. Civilians might be inside and the Marines couldn't see a muzzle flash to be absolutely sure the gunman was there.The lieutenant's frustration, witnessed by an Associated Press journalist in February in Marjah in southern Afghanistan, points to a Catch-22 dilemma facing the NATO force: how to protect troops against an enemy that lives — and fights — among the population without killing civilians and turning the people against the U.S.-led mission.Those complaints from the ranks are among the issues facing Gen. David Petraeus — along with relations with a weak Afghan government and jittery allies; slow and uncertain progress on the battlefield; and frayed ties to the civilian side of the mission.But among the most sensitive and important to the troops he commands and to supporters of the military at home