Skip to comments.Commander to troops: Fight by the rules (high moral values "distinguishes us from our enemy")
Posted on 05/10/2007 2:05:05 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
BAGHDAD - The top U.S. commander in Iraq reminded troops Thursday they must fight by the rules after a Pentagon survey found many of them support torture in certain cases and would not report a comrade for killing or wounding civilians.
In a letter to U.S. service members, Gen. David Petraeus said that adhering to high moral values "distinguishes us from our enemy" and is essential to winning support among the Iraqi population the cornerstone of the new U.S. counterinsurgency strategy.
By contrast, Petraeus said al-Qaida's "indiscriminate attacks" had finally begun "to turn a substantial proportion of the Iraqi population against it."
"This fight depends on securing the population, which must understand that we not our enemies, occupy the moral high ground," he said in the letter, addressed to "soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen" serving in Iraq.
The Associated Press obtained a copy of the letter, which was dated Thursday.
Petraeus' message followed a Pentagon survey which found that fewer than half of Marines and a little more than half of Army soldiers said they would report a member of their unit for killing or wounding an innocent civilian.
More than 40 percent support the idea of torture in some cases, and 10 percent reported personally abusing civilians, the Pentagon said last week in releasing its first ethics study of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The survey found that 44 percent of Marines and 41 percent of soldiers said torture should be allowed to save the life of a soldier or Marine. Thirty-nine percent of Marines and 36 percent of soldiers said torture should be allowed to gather important information from insurgents.
Only 47 percent of the soldiers and 38 percent of Marines surveyed said noncombatants should be treated with dignity and respect. About a third of them said they had insulted or cursed at civilians in their presence.
In the letter, Petraeus said he understood that watching a fellow trooper killed by "a barbaric enemy" can "spark frustration, anger and a desire for immediate revenge."
"Hard as it might be, however, we must not let these emotions lead us or our comrades in arms to commit hasty, illegal actions," he said. "In the event that we witness or hear of such actions, we must not let our bonds prevent us from speaking up."
The general also reminded troops that torture is not only illegal but often produces information "of questionable value."
"We are engaged in combat, we must pursue the enemy relentlessly and we must be violent at times," Petraeus said. "What sets us apart from our enemies in the fight, however, is how we behave."
Petraeus acknowledged that troops suffer from stress because of long deployments and brutal combat. But he said stress was not a sign of weakness and encouraged troops to turn to their commanders, chaplains and medical experts.
On Monday, Petraeus told the annual meeting of The Associated Press that he was concerned about the survey's findings and called for a "redoubling of our education efforts" to identify potential for abuses among soldiers.
"We have done that at times in theater and it has cost us enormously," he said by video link from Baghdad, referring specifically to the torture and humiliation of prisoners at the Abu Ghraib prison.
The Iraq war has seen other high-profile incidents of alleged abuse, including the killings of 24 civilians by Marines in Haditha and the rape and killing of a 14-year-old girl and the slaying of her family south of Baghdad.
Pentagon officials said they were studying the results of the survey and were revising training programs to focus more on values, suicide prevention, rules of warfare and behavioral health awareness.
Just what the Brits in N. America said in the mid-1770’s......
FIGHT TO WIN is what Patton would do. Hey General, go be an enlisted man and find out what’s real and what’s fantasy.
You win wars by making the other guy die for HIS country....Patton.
when is the MSM gonna start cornering muslims and asking them why they don't condemn beheading, why they don't condemn the killing of innocent women and children, why they will not allow us to "search" a mosque but knowingly with a wink/wink hide weapons in schools, hospitals and mosques,
He should have said the "We fight by rules of international convention against states in war, but the forces of the islamo-facist insist on indiscriminate murder, theft, lies, cowardice and betrayal. Instead of the best efforts by our men to protect civilians that are compared to the cowards that hide behind women and children."
Instead he came out with another propaganda point for the opposition, cause our troops have to me reminded to not violate international law but the jihadist are just innocent honorable combatants......
Well F#*k You! .....sir!....
And how did the Confederates actually DO in that war?
The outcome of the war is not the issue, and you know it. You do not like the fact that Lee was a fine Christian man.
You know, how did Mr. Lincoln actually DO at Ford’s Theater? That kind of thing. As if the outcome has something to DO with Lincoln’s faith or character.
God help those soldiers and Marines, because it sounds like the in-the-rear-with-the-gear scumbag commanders don’t give a rat’s behind. Simply disgraceful.
Norm, my feelings are not mixed at all. Dead is dead, and dead Marines don't say to themselves, "Well the other guy cheated when he killed me but at least I have the moral high ground because I played by the rules." This crap makes me throw up in my mouth a little. It's time to unload this idiot Petraeus and get somebody decent in there. Cripes, we'll never win this thing.
Scumbag commanders and their “rules of engagement” PING.
This idiot Petraeus has to go.
1. The timing on this sucks.
2. WHY is he addressing the ANNUAL MEETING OF THE AP?!
3. when at the last of the article they turn right around and call Haditha the killing of 24 CIVILIANS!
The idea of 'war' is to WIN! With the jihadis, we need to beat them before they beat us. They are the ones hidding behind and among civilians.
Is it possible to win 'nicely'? I don't want indiscriminate slaughter of innocents, but I want to win!
Patton would have told US leaders that terrorists have no honor, and they have no God. He would have told them that terrorists who hide behind women and children while shooting at US forces are cowards and reprobates who know no morality...that they are the bile of Satan.
Patton would have read the damned Geneva Convention and reminded the sissies in power that Al Qaeda terrorists are not protected by the Convention’s articles as written. He would have told them that torturing a member of Al Qaeda in order to extract information to protect innocent civilians or US solders “IS,” in fact, the moral “high ground.”
Patton would have said that protecting the innocent from harm at the hands of evil forces is the essence of morality.
Oh, really? So then you don't care if we win or lose this war so long as we observe Emily Post rules of etiquitte regarding a vicious and brutal enemy?
Your comparison is apples and oranges. Lincoln was not in Ford's theater trying to win a war. It was not a battlefield.
Our military has fallen once again into the political trap. So many here have voiced this concern for some three years or more regarding this unfortunate situation. The winners of course are all the radical criminal muslims.
You should check the status of current events. Not the MSM's version, but reports from people on the ground. We are winning. Petraeus is doing better than any US Commander to date. Let the man do his job.
Concentrate on the Democrat surrender monkeys here at home. They are the real danger.
Better that the dead Marine wakes up to find himself in heaven rather than kickin’ it with old Satan.