Killing terrorists is not a strategy

Second, the looser the rules of engagement, the more we’ll wind up killing Afghan civilians. (Rules of engagement are put in place precisely to limit civilian casualties.) This isn’t just a moral issue; it goes to the heart of strategy. The Taliban, ISIS, and the other militias are waging an insurgents’ war. You don’t need to be an adherent of classical counterinsurgency theory to realize that insurgency wars are, in part, wars for the loyalty and fear of the people. You don’t win the people’s hearts and minds by killing a lot of them, however accidentally. If you kill insurgents in a way that also kills innocent bystanders, you create more insurgents, as the friends and relatives of the bystanders you killed join the insurgency or at least turn a blind eye to their organizing.