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 would think that we should kill'em All and let their gods sort them out.
These are our Sons and Daughters and we need to be as vocal as ever that these ROE's and the catch and release policies change. Our Soldiers are fighting with their hands tied behind their backs and all the advantages go to the terrorists! Didn't we learn anything from Marcus Luttrell and the fatal effects of fighting a war of where the fear of liberal retribution rules the better judgement of our Warriors?!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Those Beautiful and Brave Navy Seal Warriors died because of their fear of being charged with murder in the execution of their mission! We have Brave Warriors sitting in Leavenworth, charged with premediated murder??!!!! Well then I guess they better charge the entire military because as they train in boot camp, aren't' they trained to go kill the enemy, so isn't that premediated murder???!!!! We now are allowing terrorists captured off the battleifeld who have admitted to killing American Soldiers, to sign The Pledge that they won't return to the battlefied, and then we let them go home to their families. Nice, huh?!!!!!!!!!! Our Warriros mothers cry themselves to sleep at night as their sons serve 20 to 40 years in Leavenworth for stepping up to the plate and fighting the enemy!
Please sign this online petition to allow our Sons the same courtesy we are affording the terrorists. Let the Warriors at Leavenworth sign the same Pledge and return them to their families! What is good enough for the terrorists should certainly be good enough for our Warriors!

Thank You
Beverly Perlson
The Band of Mothers
A BROTHER of mine informed me after 3 tours in Vietnam with a Marine Recon that Charlie was so cool that during the day he walked among them on occasion fought with them but at Nite he was full "BLOWN NVA".

And he contributed this to most of the casualties along with the rules set forth for engagement dew to the fact the enemy hid in the villages dressed as civilians/non combatants.
Yup, if you type in WMDs found(you tube), we found them as soon as we went over. WMDs aren't nukes necessesarily, Small arms are WMDs ,and chemical agents. Here it is.
Don't forget all the ones Hussein discharged on his own Kurdish citizens before we actually invaded there, slaughtering thousands of them.
Run the fricking media out of the country and get er done.............
Used as written, the rules ain't all that bad.
Use of discression is the key, both for troops and leadership.
McCrystal was correct, like it or not.
In Nam we were treated to 'free fire zones', where engaging the enemy was the priority.
Civilians ain't the target, so don't kill them.
The book, A Bright and Shining Lie, covers the reason for our loss in Nam from our policies, followed by politics.
The movie, Rules of Engagement, should be noted as one problem, and then look at changing these rules.
Israel did operation Sling Lead, killing just about everything, like Sherman's march to the sea of the civil war.
The decisions involved ain't simple or easy.
It must be understood that the whole area is 'tribal', AND has no society akin to our ideas.
I suggest that this type of situation is to be avoided, simply because of the question of how exactly do you wage war against a no country, no army, and fudal/tribal rule?
Not possible, unless of course you just kill at will...!
The other part of this is that these same Rules Of Engagement apply right here in our country.
Some of the Constitutional Rules Of Engagement are already being violated here, posse comitatus.
Troops on security check points in our neighborhoods indeed! Patrols, too?
Without a declaration of war, it might be time to hold all our representatives to these laws...hmmm?
How many body bags does it take? How many severely wounded?
Then there is the fact of our assisting in the drug trade, flights of heroin, not burning the crops, etc.
Well past time to leave.
When will they ever learn? Oh, when...?
The problem is 'When he is shooting at you, you can return fire. If he shoots at you then lays his weapon down, you can not return fire. He is then a civilian, not a combatant.'
This has happened and the guy walked off laughing.
Awww, well gee whiz, I musta fogot the safety wuz off...
Used to be a terrible problem...
For the enemy.
After a friend was tortured to death (I got to listen), we only took 2 prizoners in six months.
This HAS to be tempered and agreed upon by the whole unit.
I was known as the walkin death, willy peter, and may still have a price on my head.
The reality of this can be handled in the field, just as so many other official things were.
We simply didn't play by the rules any more than they did, no problem.
Very common, it was.
Saves lives.
Sadly, this administration is convicting soldiers for doing that. And it's wrong. Our military, like all militaries, are trained to kill, and when we send them into combat without the weapons to do so, or ordered to not do so, lest some civilians be injured, then we need to pull them out of that place, because that's cold blooded murder on the part of our GOVERNMENT and whomever is ordering them to act thus! That some have rebelled is no great surprise; and yet they're penalized far worse than the enemies who are killing their comrades in arms on a daily basis. Obama proves every time he acts that he's Muslim and won't act against them in any realistic sense; instead he'll encouraged them to murder Americans!
If you recall the CIA was quite active in supporting and aiding the drug trade out of the "golden triangle" during Vietnam too; and they're the ones doing it with the Afghanis now as well as the Mexican cartels just below our border; the one Obama refuses to secure and defend. Yes we need to return to the Constitution in all matters including this one about declarations of war, and not just send our troops off shore to protect business interests. especially those that are against our own laws!



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