Via Spencer Ackerman and Joshua Foust (also see Steve Hynd). It is worth clicking through to this piece of horrible and stupid piece of colonial apologia regarding the village razing by someone called Paula Broadwell, a friend of Thomas Ricks. Foust is particularly scathing:
Look, war is hell. I have no illusions about that. But what is happening right now in Southern Afghanistan is inexcusable. There were rumors of this policy of collective punishment in the Arghandab before (see thisoverwrought Daily Mail story that stops right before the village actually was destroyed for an idea of what is going on), and I’m really struggling to see how such behavior does not violate Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention—that is, how this behavior is not a war crime, especially given the explicit admission that such behavior is merely for the convenience of the soldier and not any grander strategy or purpose.
This sort of abhorrent behavior is not limited to the Arghandab, either. [Paula] Broadwell explicitly states that it has the [David] Petraeus stamp of approval, and Pahjwok has reported U.S. Marines in Helmand province explicitly warning local villagers of collective punishment if insurgents hide out in their settlements. It is probably a safe assumption to say that this is a widespread phenomenon.