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Debate: Should US Civilian Aid and Military Operations be Conducted Together or Separately?

The US military is perhaps the greatest logistical operation in history and the best suited for transport and supply drops in out of the way places. And in countries where the US is not involved in political security or violence, it may be well suited also to provide medical and civil assistance as well. But during war time, should the US military provide aid alongside international and local civilian nonprofits at the same time and among the same communities in which it is conducting combat operations?

The question is important now because the US Agency for International Development, one of the largest planners of civil-military operations, may have new leadership in the nominee for Administrator, Dr. Rajiv Shah. Many supporters of the Obama and Clinton candidacies for President believed that the Bush Administration had not only gone to war for the wrong reasons but then conducted those wars poorly. Many remain hopeful that some of the more contraversial changes in how aid was delivered might be revised.

Questions about civil-military action during wartime heated up in 2002 when the US began these efforts in Afghanistan, relying largely on Provincial Reconstruction Teams (PRTs) which were military units working alongside state department employees to meet with nonprofits on the ground and distribute a variety of projects meant to help local communities recover while making the US military look more friendly. For example, I got a chance to see a tremendously successful PRT project restoring rice paddies in Kunduz…

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Filed under Bencana Manusia, Human Rights