For some mysterious reason, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams augmented his tour of Afghanistan with an interview with The Huffington Post, where most bloggers think of the American presence as comparable to cancer, or maggots. One spot in his interview with Danny Shea suggested that the Americans weren't so welcome in Afghanistan:
SHEA: There's all this talk of making the cities more secure. Is there any sense that the people in the cities want the foreign troops there?
WILLIAMS: Whereas some of the locals in Iraq (depending on the circumstances) will often be comforted to see U.S. dismounted infantry patrols, (in ways they were not until fairly recently) and will ask them for help and to stay with them, the situation here in Afghanistan is different. The two societies are vastly different.
It is not helped by the fact that U.S. forces often take a very aggressive posture -- arriving in small towns in massive armored vehicles with machine gun turrets, each infantryman with his hands on his M-4 rifle in front of him...and often on the trigger with the safety off.
Of course there's a reason for this: they get shot at and killed, and they are soldiers in an unforgiving place -- surrounded by an enemy they often can't see. So it's a Catch-22 of sorts. It made big news here when Gen. McChrystal started the practice of removing his body armor while on walkabouts, or when meeting with local leaders. By his reasoning, the locals aren't wearing such armor. It should also be pointed out that he gets around in a massive, armored SUV with security vehicles in tow, dismounted infantry flanking him and able to unleash fearsome amounts of suppressing fire, and air support overhead whenever he is out and about.
But this part didn’t translate well. Why would "good" be in quotes, or in air quotes?
Even when U.S. troops are handing out something "good" -- food supplies, medicine, school supplies for the Afghan children, its not as if local villagers tending to their goats on a Thursday afternoon sit around thinking, "If only a dismounted platoon of heavily-armed American soldiers would come visit us today, preferably accompanied by an armored mechanized column..."