Marine Times

By Dan Lamothe - Staff writer
Posted : Saturday Oct 16, 2010 9:32:31 EDT


The House Armed Services Committee has quietly received a confidential briefing about the rules of engagement used by the U.S. military in Afghanistan after numerous members expressed concern that they handcuff U.S. troops in combat.


The briefing was held Sept. 22, said a source with knowledge of the committee’s schedule, speaking
on background due to the sensitivity of the issue. A spokesperson for the committee confirmed it occurred but declined to say when or who testified, citing its classified nature.


The briefing was held as a growing number of service members, veterans and military families
express concern that the rules of engagement — guidelines for how and when U.S. forces can use force — handcuff service members in combat, putting them at unnecessary risk.


Specifics of the ROE are classified, but they have come under sharp criticism since July 2009, when Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, issued guidelines directing “leaders at all levels to scrutinize and limit the use of force like close-air support against residential compounds and other locations likely to produce civilian casualties.” He also restricted the use of air-to-ground munitions and indirect fire, such as artillery rounds,
against residences.


The briefing was originally called for this spring by Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C. He said active-duty Marines in his district, which includes Camp Lejeune, and the families of troops killed in combat contact him regularly about the issue.


Committee Chairman Rep. Ike Skelton, D.-Mo., agreed in August to hold the briefing, telling Jones and two other lawmakers who expressed concern about the issue — Reps. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., and Jeff Miller, R.-Fla. —that he shared their “deep interest in ensuring that the members of the
armed forces serve in conditions which allow them to act in self-defense and provide sufficient force protection.”


In an interview, Jones said he could not comment on specifics of the briefing, but is still skeptical the ROE are fair to U.S. troops. He has not spoken to Army Gen. David Petraeus, the current commander in Afghanistan, but was told by military officials that he is free to do so, he said.“I sadly say that I don’t think anything is going to change,” Jones said. “I think the policy that is in place now will probably be the policy of the future unless things on the ground change significantly. The military is making the call. I still believe that a soldier or Marine needs not be handcuffed.”’


Critics of McChyrstal’s directive had hoped that the rules of engagement would be altered this summer, after he resigned in June under pressure after incendiary comments from his staff appeared in the media. But Petraeus issued a tactical directive update in August that reinforced many of the
previous rules.


Declassified portions released by military officials in Afghanistan stress the need to not kill Afghan civilians while hunting insurgents. “We must continue — indeed, redouble —
our efforts to reduce the loss of innocent life to an absolute minimum,” the Petraeus directive said. “Every Afghan civilian death diminishes our cause. If we use excess force or operate contrary to our counterinsurgency principles, tactical victories may prove to be strategic setbacks.”


Retired Marine 1st Sgt. John Bernard, a frequent critic of the ROE whose son was killed in Afghanistan last year, said he isn’t surprised that the discussion was held behind closed doors, and thinks it needs to be brought out into the open. U.S. officials need to not only consider the restrictions placed on U.S. troops, but whether the counterinsurgency doctrine that drives them is
effective, he said.


“The suggestion that you can’t openly discuss the rules of engagement is ridiculous,” he said. “The bloody Taliban knows what they are. They’re absolutely ruthless, and they know when they can act and when they can’t act. The people who should be interested in having that discussion aren’t interested, so nothing is going to change.”


Related reading


Congress to scrutinize rules of engagement


Jones: Hold rules of engagement hearing now


Families outraged over engagement restrictions




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I'm sorry but this is war, you have to be the biggest baddest M-F'er out there if you expect to win. You carpet bomb the whole country for about two weeks and then go through the country Kill everything that's left, take all the spoils and burn everything else.
End of story. If they don't like that than don't mess with us. Do this once or twice and they will think before starting war with us.
While civilians should NOT be targets. There should be no questions about killing the enemy anywhere, anyway, any time you can.

To not allow troops taking hostile fire TO NOT use all tools in their training to PROTECT their lives is criminal.

Any politician up to and including the POTUS that does not allow them to defend themselves MUST BE REMOVED from office. Any MILITARY COMMANDER above LT Col should be REMOVED from command and dismissed from the service.
This is disgusting! This is war, not a police action! If they hide behind civillians, to kill them, sorry to the civillian but I would rather be judged by 12 then be carried by 6! And stop all this "nation building crap"! They can rebuild their own damn nation using all the oil money they rip us for!!!!! Let the messiah go on his knees to the saudi prince again and this time kiss his ass if he prefers, and tell them to use their billions and trillions to rebuild these stinking 7th century countries. Better yet, they should get allah to rebuild their damn countries! IMPEACH NOBAMA BEFORE HE KILLS US ALL!
Thought war had not been declared...except by an edict from the U.N. and Bush said it was OK...
The U.N. and Bush started it.
The purse strings are supposed to be held by our so called representatives.
Ain't seen them do much other than save bankers either!
Maybe we should send them? Our representatives, that is...
We could save a lot of BS and money too.
Ain't it funny how they wanna play til they get to dodge bullets?
Introduced a officer to a dead gook up close an personal like...got all over his strached uniform too.
An AK cut loose and I walk right out in a creek an drop a frag on the dink, an just blew up his house.
Guess I must not be follerin them rules they kept yellin about...maybe that's why all veterans be terrorists? Hmmm?
That officer was holdin on very tight, givin his new friend a good squeeze...til the stinky ran down his neck anyway.
Reality check anyone?
That would be "RFE". Try Of.
The only rule should be kill anybody that so much as frowns at an American and then get the rest of his family and friends too. Go into every mosque, haul out the imams and clerics and hang the bastards by their gonads until dead. It's what Atila the Hun would do and it's what the muslims would do if they were the winners.

Ron

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