msnbc | February 10, 2013
>>> in today's office politics , my conversation with congressional medal of honor recipient colonel jack jacobs . we discussed the devastating effects of post- traumatic stress disorder on u.s. troops after being battle in iraq and afghanistan , and the difference between fighting in vietnam like he did and fighting wars today. first i asked the colonel about the use of drones in the fight against terrorism?
>> it's extremely successful if the infrastructure of the taliban and al qaeda , but by identifying the enemy on the ground through various means of gathering intelligence. the goal of the establishment is to destroy people and property. if you want stuff blown up and people killed, we're the guys to talk to. if you want political objectives achieved, the military establishment are not the people to turn to. to the extent of destroy enemy troops, we've identified. destroy enemy training camps and so on, using the drones, great. bomb them? sure, you bet. if what we're trying to achieve is stable government in afghanistan who has control of the majority of the area, we're not going to do that. military people are not the people to do that. do we use the economic instrument of power adequately? no. do we use the diplomatic instrument of power adequately? no. do we integrate all three of these -- military, economic, and diplomatic -- in a seamless fabric of the use of american power worldwide to achieve specific objectives and goals in various places around the world? no, we don't do that. we're terrible at that. we're terrible at the economic instrument, at the use of the diplomatic instrument, and at weaving all three of them. we don't have policy actually. we have short-term objectives, and that's why most of the time, if it seems like we're turning to the military instrument of power to achieve those objectives, it's objectives because the long-term guys don't know what they're doing.
>> what about ptsd? is it worse now than in past wars? if so, why?
>> i'm not a fan of single factor analysis . i think there are lots of reasons why it seems like and we do have more post- traumatic stress . one of them is that we're paying more attention to it. now people are encouraged to bring it to the attention of the chain of command or people close to them, if they're out to the va, they have lots of people who can help treat it. we're paying more attention to it. i'll tell you something else. the nature of why -- how we fight wars now is very much different. the enemy all the time, while you were scared, really actually felt like, if we're going to get out of this alive. partially attributed to you. you could affect your future by how fast you reloaded and how many bad guys you shot and whether you maneuvered properly, all that. as scared as you were, you thought that what you did could actually have an impact on whether or not you survived and whether or not your friends survived. not so anymore. the large majority of our casualties, killed and wounded, by improvised explosive devices.
>> so what? you're a truck, you're driving along.
>> you were fighting in a place that there was a field. there was an area. there was a combat zone . people in iraq and afghanistan , they're fighting in neighborhoods. they're fighting in homes, down a residential street.
>> it's extremely difficult to do. the most difficult fighting is in built-up areas. we had to train extensively for that. we didn't have any experience in doing that until the tet offensive . most of the times we were fighting out in the fields. but we still were fighting and had an idea we could affect the outcome. if you're just driving down the road and you have no -- your perception is that whether you live or die is totally outside your control, there's a lot of -- there's unresolved fear in that.