Skip to comments.Family of Fallen Soldier Petitions Top General for War Policy Changes (Petraeus Responds ASAP)
Posted on 06/28/2010 7:03:39 PM PDT by kristinn
The father of a slain local soldier has taken public a message about the war's rules of engagement.
William Osborn, the father of Spc. Benjamin Osborn, who was killed in action in Afghanistan on June 15, sent a letter to Gen. David Petraeus on Sunday asking him to change rules which he said tie soldiers' hands.
"Our son, SPC 4 Benjamin D. Osborn, volunteered to man the one heavy gun his unit had mounted on top of an MRAP vehicle," the e-mail states. "Finally, ordered to fire, Ben was able to get off 10 rounds before falling silent."
Four minutes after Osborn sent the e-mail, Petraeus responded with condolences for the parents and asked them to listen to remarks he'll make at a Senate confirmation hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, where he planned to address the issue.
On Monday morning, William Osborn appeared on the Fox News cable channel to deliver the same message and said troops need to be empowered to use force when they deem it necessary.
The current rules of engagement call for firing only after being fired upon, Osborn said, and that rule is what led to the death of his son.
Cyndie Wade, a friend of the Osborn family who said a contact she knows helped Osborn get on the national cable network, sent an e-mail to NBC on Monday and said she is working to get the parents to appear on MSNBC and the Today Show.
"For whatever reason, my feelings seem to have caught on with some people," Osborn said. "It's too late for my son, but if this could help the men and women out there now, this is Ben's legacy. It's about Ben and the men that he fought with over there. They just deserve a lot better than what they're getting."
E-mail by Mr. & Mrs. Osborne to Gen. Petraeus:
Our son, SPC 4 Benjamin D. Osborn was killed in action June 15, 2010 in Kunar Province Afghanistan, on a mission. On that day, his unit of 20 was ambushed, coming under heavy fire from a Taliban force of between 70 to 100 strong. Due to the "Rules of Engagement," our soldiers could not return fire to protect themselves until ordered to do so.
Our son, SPC 4 Benjamin D. Osborn volunteered to man the one heavy gun his unit had mounted on top of an MRAP vehicle. Finally, ordered to fire, Ben was able to get off 10 rounds before falling silent.
This illustrates to us that there is a very basic flaw in our "Rules of Engagement." We believe that it led to the demise of our son, SPC 4 Benjamin D. Osborn and other warriors like him. We have the greatest fighting force in the world with the most technologically advanced weapons known to man. We spend enormous resources to teach, train and prepare our fighting men and women for battle; then send them out with one hand tied behind their backs.
It appears that our current administration is anti-military because of the limits placed on field personnel. The "Rules of Engagement" are such that we allow our enemies one break after another: we can not fire unless fired upon, if enemy combatants are around civilians we must retreat, before we can enter buildings we must consult with Afghan National Security Forces. Such "Rules of Engagement" allow these terrorists to escape to come back stronger and fight another day.
Immediate reply by Gen. David Petraeus:
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Osborn, please accept my condolences on the loss of your son.
And please listen to my opening statement at the confirmation hearing on Tuesday morning at 0930. I will address the ROE issue. I will note that commanders have a moral imperative to ensure that we provide every possible element of support to our troopers when they get into a tight spot. And I will ensure that we meet that imperative if I am confirmed to command ISAF in Afghanistan.
Sincerely, and with sympathy
- General Dave Petraeus
Don’t hold your breath waiting for B. Hussein to change the rules of engagement.
I am sure that General Petraeus wants to change the ROE in order for us to achieve complete victory. The problem is Obama who would say yes to Petraeus in public but behind the scenes he will keep the same disastrous strategy in Afghanistan. Obama is a socialist coward who considers the war as annoyance that distracts him from imposing his destructive socialist domestic agenda.
Four minutes after Osborn sent the e-mail, Petraeus responded with condolences for the parents and asked them to listen to remarks he'll make at a Senate confirmation hearing at 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, where he planned to address the issue.Thanks kristinn.
I sent this letter to the committee Senators and a bunch of papers and talk shows. The Seattle Times published it and don’t know of anyone else.
Questions for General Petraeus
Successful counterinsurgency warfare first provides security by destroying or expelling the insurgent forces. Regardless of time or place, people suffering in these lawless, feral regions evaluate security by whoever is most lethal in firefights. Their allegiance goes to whoever wins the battles, regardless of civilian deaths due to collateral damage or deliberate executions seeking to retain control. Only by crossing the armed conflict boundary at the cruelest point in revolutionary war can the next phases of counterinsurgency warfare commence.
Therefore, the Senate Committee on Armed Services should ask General Petraeus the following questions.
Will NCOs be able to call for illumination rounds to reveal enemy firing positions?
Will troops be allowed a round in the chamber of their weapons?
Will troops be allowed to engage insurgents in the act of burying a roadside bomb?
Will troops engaged in combat now be able to call bombing and strafing runs to extricate themselves and win firefights?
Will crucial decisions be made by warriors in contact with the enemy, or by staff officers in remote bunkers?
Will you obey Articles 28 and 29 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which say Protected Persons within the enemys physical control cannot be used to render certain points and areas immune from military operations, or will you serve a political agenda?
Will our troops be given permission to win, or will the survivors be ordered to leave in 18 months after being regarded with derision and contempt by the Afghans?
Well a four minute reply does say something...
Will this confirmation hearing where Petraeous speaks on the rules of engagement be on C-Span?...
It appears to me that the good general understands the strategic leverage (political) he holds right now. I won’t be surprised given his response that he lays down the rules he wants...and demands. How can they deny him?
So many parents, wives, children, and loved ones are mourning their wonderful sons (fathers, husbands, fiances)who have been killed in Afghanistan.
It must be agonizing for all who have a beloved hero in Afghanistan to know that their boys are sitting ducks, clay pigeons, and cannon fodder for the enemy over there.
These foolish and insane Rules of Engagement must be changed ASAP!
The White House said Monday that the July 2011 deadline was intentionally flexible, but had had some desired effect. We want the Afghans to understand that were going to be expecting more out of them, so to the extent that it conveys a sense of urgency, thats an important message, said Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser.
At the same time, he noted that the president had not decided how quickly the drawdown would take place. Theres clearly going to be an enduring commitment to Afghanistan past 2011, whatever the slope, he said.
But that part of the message has not transmitted to many in the rural reaches of Afghanistan, where American troops regularly encounter Afghans who assume they are all leaving next year.
In the village of Abdul Ghayas in Helmand Province last month, for example, a local resident exasperated two Marines when he told them that he was nervous about helping with their plans for a new school out of fear that the Taliban would retaliate after the Americans went home next year.
Thats why they wont work with us, Cpl. Lisa Gardner, one of the Marines, told a reporter traveling with the unit. They say youll leave in 2011 and the Taliban will chop their heads off. Its so frustrating.
Later in the day, Corporal Gardner and the other Marine, Cpl. Diana Amaya, reported the villagers reaction back at the base. Lance Cpl. Caleb Quessenberry advised them on how to deal with similar comments in the future. Roll it off as, Thats what somebodys saying, he told them. As far as we know, were here.
A senior American intelligence official said the Taliban had effectively used the deadline to their advantage. He added that the deadline had encouraged Pakistani security services to hedge their bets and continue supporting militant groups like the Haqqani network.
Theyve been burned and theyve seen this movie before, the official said, noting the American disengagement after the Soviet war in Afghanistan in the 1990s. Should the war deteriorate, he added, Pakistani leaders are thinking, We dont want Haqqani turning around and coming this way.
I’m afraid the answers to all these questions will be no.
So, what the hell are we doing in Afghanistan? What is the mission? Is it essential to the defense of the United States of America?
Even if they untie the hands of the soldiers there is a bevy of POS prosecutors and their ilk waiting in the shadows to retie those hands with crap persecutions. Before I really get rolling I’ll leave it at that.
I hope Patraeus reads the entire letter to those yellowbellied Dems, and then tells them he has already changed the ROE, and if they don’t like it, too bad.
I’m not sure about live C-SPAN coverage. I’m sure it’ll be on live somewhere.
(( ping ))
I say screw the collateral damage and bomb the living shit out of those countries till they can’t even THINK about being a problem for us for another few decades and get the troops back home and on our borders where they belong....and i don’t CARE if that seems heartless. we had a ton of collateral damage when we dropped the bombs in japan and it got the desired results. they already hate us there. they can’t hate us worse.
I agree with you. I say that if the people there despised their terrorist overlords as much as they claim they’d have cleaned up the problem themselves.
Thanks for the heads up, kristinn.
I’ll be looking forward to seeing Gen. Petraeus’ remarks on the ROE. I may be wrong but I believe he already covered this with Obama before he accepted the nomination, we’ll soon see.
NOTE The following text is a quote:
fghanistan Timeline Not a Withdrawal Date, Officials Say
By Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael J. Carden
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 16, 2010 President Barack Obamas directive calling for the start of a conditions-based drawdown of U.S. troops from Afghanistan in July 2011 shouldnt be considered as an exit date, but rather the beginning of the transfer of security responsibilities to the Afghans, the top U.S. military commander in the region told a Senate panel today.Video
U.S. Central Command commander Army Gen. David H. Petraeus and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. The hearing was a continuation from yesterdays meeting, which was postponed after Petraeus had fainted due to dehydration.
The officials picked up where they had left off, explaining the essence of Obamas Afghanistan strategy and the significance of setting a timeline. They also provided an update on Afghanistan operations.
As I noted yesterday, I did believe there was value in sending a message of urgency — July 2011 — as well as the message the president was sending of commitment — the additional, substantial numbers of forces, Petraeus said. But it is important that July 2011 be seen for what it is: the date when a process begins, based on conditions, not the date when the U.S. heads for the exits.
Petraeus added that his agreement with Obamas policy was based on projections of conditions in July 2011.
Were doing all that is humanly possible to achieve those conditions, he said.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and his experts and leaders in the region will conduct rigorous assessments throughout the year to determine progress and, if necessary, make adjustments in the strategy as July 2011 approaches, Petraeus said.
I will provide my best military advice to the secretary and to the president on how I believe we should proceed based on the conditions at that time, and I will then support the presidents decision, the general said. Providing ones forthright advice is a sacred obligation military leaders have to our men and women in uniform, and I know that that is what the president expects and wants his military leaders to provide.
Although pleased with Petraeus explanation of the meaning of the July 2011 timeline, some on the committee voiced concerns.
Petraeus attempted to assuage the legislators concerns, pointing out that some journalistic accounts have misconstrued the presidents strategy. The July 2011 timeline is subject to conditions on the ground at that time, he explained.
What I have tried to explain today is my understanding of what July 2011 means and how it is important, again, that people do realize, especially our partners, especially our comrades-in-arms in Afghanistan and in the region, that that is not the date when we look for the door and try to turn off the light, but rather a date at which a process begins, he said.
July 2011 is an inflection point, Flournoy said. It is a point at which the end of the surge will be marked and a process of transition that is conditions-based will begin.
Setting a goal to begin the transition U.S. military forces out of Afghanistan shouldnt be considered as detrimental to the U.S. governments long-term commitment there, Flournoy continued, noting a recent strategic dialogue held with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and his cabinet, in which U.S. officials discussed long-term security assistance, long-term commitments to build capacity, governance [and] development.
And, the participants at that meeting departed with no questions in their mind about the depth and enduring nature of the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan, Flournoy said. I think that has to be [an] important context in which this conversation happens.
In his opening remarks at todays meeting with the Senate panel, Petraeus noted initiatives, such as the formation of the NATO Training Mission Afghanistan command, that are pursuing greater partnership with Afghan forces. Such initiatives, he said, are intended to help Afghan forces achieve the capability to assume the leading role in operations.
To that end, I think we should note that Afghan forces are in the lead in Kabul and in a number of other areas and missions, Petraeus explained. And they are very much in the fight throughout the country, so much so that their losses are typically several times U.S. losses. Our Afghan comrades on the ground are indeed sacrificing enormously for their country as are, of course, our troopers and those of our [international] partner nations.
Army Gen. David H. Petraeus
Defense Officials Cite Progress, Challenges in Afghanistan
Our prayers and condolences for Mr. and Mrs. Osborn regarding the loss of their son.
In regard to why bother, accomplishing Afghan stability means thwarting efforts to turn a nuclear Pakistan into a feral state, by eliminating the safe haven al Qaida and the Taliban would use to destroy the government. Such a country would then fuel with nuclear devices the ambitions of Islamic regimes determined to wage a War of Terror regionally and internationally.
Afghan stability also encourages the actions of African, Oriental and Asian Islamic countries, which bring victory in the Global War on Terror. The U.S. and other Western countries must prove themselves to be dependable allies against jihadist factions determined to rule by violent means. In such an environment, we are able to ally with a host of countries in a host of actions short of war.
African/Oriental/Asian actions then frustrate plans, break alliances, and fracture Islamic jihadist organizations into ever less effective units. Without cities, countries or armies bin Laden, and successor sociopath prophets live out unnaturally shortened lives as pariahs.
Exactly! I say NUKE ‘em. No need to worry about “killing one civillian leads to making 3 insurgents” or some such tommy-rot. While we’re at it let’s nuke saudi arabia too. It’s called CONQUERING people. Oh yes and any ACLU vermin should be hunted down and used for bayonnet bait.
I’m begining to like you. I think some well placed, micro- (<1kt) neutron bombs need to be placed in some liberal enclaves also ;)