Skip to comments.EDITORIAL: Ready, aim, hold your fire--Our troops are saddled with dangerous rules of engagement
Posted on 03/06/2010 10:49:57 AM PST by jazusamo
The recent battle in Marjah in Afghanistan's Helmand province was a key test case for new rules of engagement that emphasized protecting civilians rather than killing insurgents. The town was taken, but whether that was because of the new rules or despite them remains to be seen.
The rules of engagement are probably the most restrictive ever seen for a war of this nature. NATO forces cannot fire on suspected Taliban fighters unless they are clearly visible, armed and posing a direct threat. Buildings suspected of containing insurgents cannot be targeted unless it is certain that civilians are not also present. Air strikes and night raids are limited, and prisoners have to be released or transferred within four days, making for a 96-hour catch-and-release program.
In Marjah, the enemy quickly adapted to the rules, which led to bizarre circumstances such as Taliban fighters throwing down their weapons when they were out of ammunition and taunting coalition troops with impunity or walking in plain view with women behind them carrying their weapons like caddies. If World War II had been fought with similar rules, the battles would still be raging. Paradoxically, America's most successful post-conflict reconstructions were in Germany and Japan, where enemy-occupied towns like Marjah were flattened without a second thought.
U.S. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the NATO commander, said, "The Afghan people are at the center of our mission. In reality, they are our mission." Yet protecting civilians is difficult in an unconventional conflict in which the battlefield has no front lines...
(Excerpt) Read more at washingtontimes.com ...
Shaking head Ping!
Agreed...If my son was still of the age to enlist I’d do everything I could to discourage him. Never thought I’d say that.
“With these ROE’s, the blood of our fallen is on Obama’s hands. “
Obama either cares less or is happy about it.
Certainly such injuries and deaths should be kept to a minimum, but I would prefer the death of several hundred of the enemy's friends and family to the death or injury of a single US fighting person. Period. No if’s, and’s or but’s.
Part of what keeps such collateral damage to a minimum is a knowledge on the part of, and a fear of, the fact that if you get too close to someone who is fighting a war you might be killed or injured. Avoiding such an ignoble fate is pretty much up to the victim in my book.
Once a population knows the enemy will destroy any human shields that are involved they will figure out it's worth the effort not get involved in someone else’s war. As long as they and the enemy know we won't attack if there are civilians in danger they will use that against us.
Sorry, what would normally be a good point becomes a bad point once the enemy begins using it as a weapon. Purposely putting women and children in harm's way as a means to avoid being attacked is much a weapon as an IED or RPG.
Can you imagine Patton giving the Nazi’s his play book?
ROE should include blasting any Taliban who is identified as one and taunts our troops. It’s outrageous that our troops have to submit to such humiliation!
1. Don’t hurt the Taliban
2. Homosexuals openly serving
3. Thousand ship Navy— rely on India and CHINA while we reduce our fleet to nothing
4. Cut back the Coast Guard! Let them ride their aging fleet to the bottom of the ocean while we pile even more responsibility on them!
5. If making our Armed forces less secure means preserving Fort Hood and Fort Jackson style diversity, then we must do it!
6. Prosecute our soldiers for fighting to win (Lt. Col. Jeffrey Chessani)
7. Women in combat
8. Women in submarines
Deconstruct, demoralize, decimate.
What am I missing in the list of things that will crumble our great military from the inside out? I think Mr. Obama, and Bush Clinton Bush before him are very nearly done with their work, don’t you?
Right you are. No modern war has ever been fought (or won) without them. Certainly WWI and WWII weren't.
That said, it appears that there must be a holdover mindset from 40 years ago in the Pentagon which appears to be even more restrictive than during Nam which can not but put our brave warriors at risk.
Yeah, hearts and minds are a good thing, but the Islamofacists care no a whit about our restraint and are laughing at us as they adapt to our ROE's.
Though we could have prevailed in Nam in as short a time as 6 months IF we had had the will to do so, it appears that we are not serious about "winning" in Afghanistan either.
My support is slowly waning and when I read BS like this, I am of the mind that I wonder if expending one more valuable American life is worth it???
Did you know that Obama has the War college and Naval Fleet resources studying what to do when global warming causes the oceans to rise in 100 years? That’s also a mission that ties up resources for actual military objectives.
Have you seen the new Navy pitch line? they’re a “Global Force for Good”. Who thought that one up?
The Afghan people are our mission? Really? WHY???
And to think that he may not be their ligitimate CIC but just a phony usurper. Let him prove that he is a rightful CIC.
Though I was never in Vietnam I distinctly remember the ROE you point out and the absolute fiasco of Johnson and McNamara and their micromanagement.
As to what’s going on now we’ll never win a war by making nice, IMO.
I hadn’t heard of either but I suppose it’s not surprising with Zer0 as CINC. Pathetic!
when the new gay rules start....just send in a squad of gays....that should have the mussies running....
We are in serious trouble as a nation when our soldiers fighting an enemy abroad face vastly more restrictive rules than domestic police officers enforcing laws against our citizens.
Dont shoot back!
Dont pick the poppies!
And dont bother the women and men in burqas!
These are the new rules of engagement for leathernecks in Afghanistan.
Welcome to the modern Marine Corps under Commander-in-Chief Barack Hussein Obama
On July 1, the U.S. military initiated Operation Khanjar or Strike of the Sword, an invasion of the Helmand Province by 4,000 Marines and 650 Afghan soldiers.
Strike of the Sword represents the first military operation to be ordered by President Obama.
The purpose of the campaign is to flush out Taliban operatives from southern Afghanistan in order to safeguard the re-election of Afghan President Hamid Karzai on August 20.
The military initiative is being conducted by the insistence of Kharzai, who fears that a strong Taliban presence will produce unfavorable results for him on election-day.
To accomplish this objective, President Obama remains determined to deploy 68,000 additional U.S. troops to southern Afghanistan within the next six weeks.
But the Marines, thanks to Mr. Obama, are conducting this mission with their hands tied.
The first order from Americas new commander is that the Marines must not return enemy fire for fear of killing an Afghan non-combatant.
ABC Correspondent Mike Boettcher, who is embedded with Golf Company, reports that the young Marines, when ambushed by Taliban forces with automatic weapons, were ordered to shoulder their rifles. Their command, Boettcher writes, warned them that one civilian casualty could negate the No. 1 objective of this operation – winning the trust and respect of the farmers of the Helmand River Valley.
How are the Marines expected to win the trust and respect of the farmers?
By not disturbing the opium poppy fields which remain in full bloom.
The Marines of Bravos Company 1st Platoon sleep beside groves of poppies Troops of the 2nd Platoon walk through the fields on strict orders not to swat the heavy opium bulbs. The Afghan farmers and laborers, who are engaged in scraping the resin from the bulbs, smile and wave at the passing soldiers.
The Helmand province is the worlds largest cultivator of opium poppies the crop used to make heroin.
Afghanistan grew 93 percent of the worlds poppy crop last year, with Helmand alone responsible for more than half of the opium production in the country, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
Heroin, as it turns out, represents the only staple of the Afghan economy. The country manufactures no domestic products for exportation and the rocky terrain yields no cash crops – except, of course, the poppies.
The poppies fuel the great jihad against the United States and the Western world. More than 3,500 tons of raw opium is gleaned from the poppy crops every year, producing annual revenues for the Taliban and al Qaeda that range from $5 billion to $16 billion.
Destroying the fields could very well put an end to terrorist activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
But the Obama Administration remains intent upon protecting the poppies so that the Afghan farmers and local drug lords can reap the benefits of what purports to be a bumper crop.
Many Marines in the field are scratching their heads over the situation.
Jason Striuszko a journalist embedded with the U.S. Marines in Garmser, reports that many of the leathernecks are scratching their heads at the apparent contradictions calling in airstrikes and artillery on the elusive Taliban while assuring farmers and drug lords that they will protect the poppies.
Of course, Striuszko says, those fields will be harvested and some money likely used to help fuel the Taliban, and the Marines are thinking, essentially, huh?
Its kind of weird. Were coming over here to fight the Taliban. We see this. We know its bad. But at the same time we know its the only way locals can make money, said 1st Lt. Adam Lynch, 27, of Barnstable, Mass.
Richard Holbrooke, the Obama Administrations top envoy in Afghanistan, says that poppy eradication for years a cornerstone of U.S. and U.N. anti-drug efforts in the country has only resulted in driving Afghan farmers into the hands of the Taliban.
The new approach, Holbrooke maintains, will try to wean the farmers of the lucrative cash crop by giving them help to grow other produce, like wheat, corn and pomegranates.
Most of the 33,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan operate in the east, where the poppy problem is not as great. But the 2,400-strong 24th Marines, have taken the field in this southern growing region during harvest season.
An expert on Afghanistans drug trade, Barnett Rubin, complained that the Marines are being put in such a situation by a one-dimensional military policy that fails to integrate political and economic considerations into long-range planning.
All we hear is, not enough troops, send more troops, said Rubin, a professor at New York University. Then you send in troops with no capacity for assistance, no capacity for development, no capacity for aid, no capacity for governance.
Staff Sgt. Jeremy Stover, whose platoon is sleeping beside a poppy crop planted in the interior courtyard of a mud-walled compound, said the Marines mission is to get rid of the bad guys, and the locals arent the bad guys.
Poppy fields in Afghanistan are the cornfields of Ohio, said Stover, 28, of Marion, Ohio. When we got here they were asking us if its OK to harvest poppy and we said, Yeah, just dont use an AK-47.
And the third order from Commander Obama, who has never spent a day in uniform (not even as a Boy Scout), is that no enlisted man must ever question or detain, let alone stop and search, any Afghani in a burqa.
Even glancing at a Muslim woman, the young Marines are told, is a grievous offense in the Islamic world.
This order has resulted in Taliban militants escaping from the clutches of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade on July 8.
Members of the Brigade had managed to trap the Taliban fighters in a mud compound within the village of Khan Neshin, about 60 miles north of the Pakistani border.
With the help of a translator and a village elder, the Marines, under orders from their commanders, persuaded the trapped insurgents to free the women and children in their custody.
Within minutes, according Afghan Army Commander Mahaiddin Ghorr, thirty to forty figures in full burqas emerged from the mud – some holding the hands of children – and sauntered off into the hills.
When the Marines entered the compound an hour or so later, the place was empty.
The latest military operation has resulted in the relocation of Taliban fighters to the western and northern provinces.
This has prompted complaints from German and Italian commanders who now must deal with hundreds of enemy combatants.
Thanks for posting, Smooth.
It really is to the point of sickening what our troops are having to do over there, what’s happening is wrong!