Yesterday Army Major General Harold Greene was killed in Afghanistan in one of two insider attacks that occurred that day against coalition forces. While touring Marshal Fahim National Defense University, in what a Pentagon spokesman described as a routine visit, Greene was shot and killed by an Afghan soldier firing into a crowd of coalition forces. 15 people were injured including other American soldiers and a German brigadier general.
The second insider or “green on blue” attack occurred elsewhere when an Afghan police guard opened fired on NATO troops near the office belonging to the governor of the Paktia province. The guard was killed and it remains unknown if the attack was connected in any way to the shooting at the military school.
General Greene is the highest ranking military official to be killed in the line of duty since the 9/11 attacks in 2001 and had a career in the US Army that spanned three decades.
Greene, 55, was commissioned as an engineer officer in the Army in 1980 after earning an undergraduate degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y. In addition to serving in Afghanistan, he had deployed to Iraq.
Before his current posting, he served as the deputy for acquisition and systems management for the assistant to the secretary of the Army. He also had worked in research and development in Aberdeen, Md., and Natick, Mass. His military awards include the Legion of Merit and the Meritorious Service Medal.
Greene held a masters from the Army War College and a PhD from the University of Southern California and was known for being innovative by using modern technology to help train the younger generation of soldiers.
But Greene’s accolades and experience only highlight how even the best the US military has to offer is proving ineffective in an increasingly pointless war. The people killing US military personnel all over Afghanistan are the very people the US is supposedly there to help. General Greene went to Afghanistan to, among other things, use his education and knowledge to train the Afghanistan military and instead has become yet another casualty fro an insider attack.
The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have already claimed the lives of over 6,700 American service members. How many more should we lose?