Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Current Rules of Engagement in Iraq (i.e. Why We Could Lose)

The current ROE's in Iraq:

(1) You must feel a direct threat to you or your team.
(2) You must clearly see a threat.
(3) That threat must be identified.
(4) The team leader must concur that there is an identified threat.
(5) The team leader must feel that the situation is one of life or death.
(6) There must be minimal or no collateral risk.
(7) Only then can the team leader clear the engagement.

That is all fine and well for someone sitting at a desk in Berkeley, but I can only imagine the reality of completing all seven requirements will bullets whizzing or a car refusing to stop at a check point, etc is terrifying and impossible.

As I and many have said to the President before: What is the point of sending in more troops if they remain shackled with the same PC rules? If they have to risk their lives for logistics? If each Marine and Soldier needs a lawyer at their side before they engage a terrorist?

"... If our soldiers or Marines see someone about to level an AK-47 in their direction or start to are receive hostile fire from a rooftop or mosque, there is no time to go through a seven-point checklist before reacting. Indeed, the very fact that they see a weapon, or begin to receive hostile fire should be sufficient justification to respond with deadly force.

We do not need to identify the threat as Sunni, Shia, al Qaeda or Mahdi Army. The "who" is immaterial. The danger is not. The threat of imminent attack must be immediately suppressed. And while we must always respect the lives of the innocent, the requirement of minimal or no collateral damage cannot preempt an appropriate response...

The insurgents, be they Sunni or Shia, are well aware of our restrictive ROEs and they use them to their advantage...

We cannot, therefore, afford to keep our combat troops shackled by a naive, legalistic disadvantage that takes no note of the real world, or the real battlefield. Moreover, our combat forces are currently fighting a two-front war: a literal battlefield in Iraq, and a virtual front in Washington, where politicians snipe at our troops with words, threats of budget cuts, and unrealistic strictures on our warriors' behavior...

Our combat forces have never lost an engagement in Iraq. Let's make sure they don't lose the war in Washington. Unshackle the military and let our soldiers and Marines do their job. This will quickly silence the critics, as well as the insurgents and radical Islamist fundamentalists." (Read the entire article)

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