Obama’s rules of engagement: Calling lawyers for permission to kill terrorists

posted at 10:43 am on February 23, 2010 by Patterico

When we have the terrorists in our crosshairs, we are still calling the lawyers to ask permission to fire.

Quite literally.

An excellent Wall Street Journal article highlights the infuriating rules of engagement that we are operating under in Afghanistan:

When Capt. Zinni spotted the four men planting the booby trap on the afternoon of Feb. 17, the first thing he did was call his lawyer.

“Judge!” he yelled.

Capt. Matthew Andrew, judge advocate for 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, advises the battalion about when it is legal to order the airstrikes. He examined the figures on the video feed closely. “I think you got it,” Capt. Andrew said, giving the OK for the strike.

But, the story reports, Zinni (son of Anthony Zinni) ended up spotting kids nearby — so the strike was called off. The terrorists ended up getting away.

Is it just an accident that some kids were wandering near insurgents planting a booby trap? Almost certainly not:

Capt. Zinni had seen this scenario before in Marjah. Insurgents using women and children for cover as they moved weapons or crossed open spaces into fighting positions in buildings. In this case, the captain was certain that the children were acting—either by their own volition or under coercion—as shields for the men planting the bomb.

The way the Taliban see it, he thought, they’d win either way: The Americans might hold their fire and allow them to plant a bomb unmolested. Or the Americans might kill a few civilians, a propaganda victory for an insurgent force increasingly adept at using the media to spread its message.

Leftist critics will point to another Journal article that shows what might happen when the rules of engagement are not followed. In an airstrike far from Marjah, 27 civilians were killed. The attack appears to have been a mistake — an attack on a purely civilian target.

My view is that, like friendly fire casualties (which are shockingly commonplace, far more than most people realize), casualties like this are a tragic but unavoidable result of war. War is not clean and it is not perfect. But that doesn’t mean that we should hold our fire when children are being used as human shields, as apparently occurred in the initial example above. Those insurgents may have successfully set another bomb that might kill our soldiers elsewhere. We shouldn’t be putting soldiers’ lives at stake for the sake of a propaganda victory.

There are no easy answers. But I fear that our enemy’s lack of morality, coupled with Obama’s hyper-concern for the good opinion of Afghanis, may be costing us the blood of our young men in uniform.

If so, that is not acceptable.

We should change the rules of engagement, so that the next time we have some killers in our crosshairs, we kill them before they kill us.

Pull the trigger . . . and leave the lawyers out of it.


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Comment pages: 1 2

If the US military was fighting with the gloves off, maybe those women and children would be more interested in staying away from the bomb-planters.

Afghanistan is a rough, rugged place. Wouldn’t they understand the need to deal a punishing blow to the enemy?

hawksruleva on February 23, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Dude…

Nobody wants to kill women or children. Even if these the ROE were more relaxed, our soldiers are not barbarians…they wouldn’t shoot innocent people unless it was totally necessary.

That being said, does anyone in the forum understand what COIN is?

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Fine. We can’t shoot because they’re too sneaky for us. We sure as hell could and should “mark” them with paint-ball guns loaded with bank-note-dye, so we can Id them later, including the children. It’d hurt like hell too.

Any jihadi observed but not killed should be literally marked for death.

Maquis on February 23, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Speaking as a civilian, if you have fired a Hellfire without an explosive warhead, from 7000m, onto a human being, wouldn’t it still, uh, neutralize him?

Chris_Balsz on February 23, 2010 at 11:46 AM

I thought they were working on low-explosive Hellfires — the objective being to kill a truck in the middle of the street without a lot of collateral damage.


And then there’s this.

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2010 at 12:21 PM

Do you have a loved one out there?

ladyingray on February 23, 2010 at 11:58 AM

Not in this war, but a member of my family has served in every war since the Spanish-American War. My eldest brother is a disabled vet and I have two cousins currently serving in the military. One is in the Air Force in Korea while the other is a Marine in Iraq. If it is was not for my many health problems I wound be serving as well. Any particular reason you wanted to know?

txaggie on February 23, 2010 at 12:21 PM

I wonder if in the short, but meaningful period of time between when the kill order was first requested and then granted we could have had a clean shot at the terrorists, and not endanger the kids.

Yes, there will be civilian casualties; you’re right – war is a messy game. Let’s not make it messier by handing over precious moments in the battlefield to lawyers when life or death decisions need to be made.

And if Obama insists on legalizing the battlefield to this extent, let’s get the lawyers out of their robes and into uniform.

redfoxbluestate on February 23, 2010 at 12:22 PM

I’m hoping I’m misunderstanding what you are implying….

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Nope. You got it. It’s right out of the school of “kids are tiny adults”.

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2010 at 12:22 PM

The snake comparison also strikes me as a little disingenuous. One is a creature with a complex thought process; the other is almost machine-like in the way it acts on instinct, and that’s why you kill it – not because it’ll come looking for revenge.

Heresy of Cain on February 23, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Given all the accusations that Islamists are all mindless fanatics and their religion a death cult, I wouldn’t have thought anyone would protest that description.

Dark-Star on February 23, 2010 at 12:23 PM

Pull the trigger

You can bet that word will spread fast and “innocents” wouldn’t be so eager to offer themselves as cover.

GarandFan on February 23, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 12:19 PM

COIN is short for Counter Insurgency and is used to win the “hearts & minds” of the enemy. You use it to fight an enemy that you cannot defeat on the field. It is 100% needed in the Afghan theater because of the political structure and mentality of the region.

We are in a very precarious position. If we unleash our military we most likely lose the population. If we reign in the military we will incur more casualties. The problem we face is that our military has erred on the side of extreme caution, and cannot fight effectively.

txaggie on February 23, 2010 at 12:27 PM

ncc770 on February 23, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Excellent–I had forgotten that episode..

You are so right!

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 12:27 PM

We seemed to have WON in Iraq with equally restrictive rules of engagement. Counter-insurgency isn’t the same as all out war. Read the official manual if you believe otherwise.

The 45 minutes that followed help illustrate why it is taking coalition forces so long to secure this hotly contested part of Afghanistan.

So in 45 minutes, there wasn’t a gunship available that could fly in and interdict the bomb planters, with much less risk of collateral damage???

Maybe that’s what the problem is.

When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

We care about minimizing collateral damage. That’s what makes us both different, and better then our enemy.

Keith_Indy on February 23, 2010 at 12:30 PM

I remember a 2008 GOP debate when a former governor named Romney was asked how he would respond to a terrorist attack and he said the first thing he would do is call his lawyers. That is one of many reasons I am bearish on Mittens.

Terrie on February 23, 2010 at 12:33 PM

You can bet that word will spread fast and “innocents” wouldn’t be so eager to offer themselves as cover.

GarandFan on February 23, 2010 at 12:24 PM

Or you’ve just turned another family/clan/city against us.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it was as clear cut as people here think it is.

Keith_Indy on February 23, 2010 at 12:35 PM

This was a situation that called not for an airstrike, but for a .50 cal sniper rifle.

Having been in the Air Force, I know how tempting it is to rely on the relative safety airstrikes provide. But really, if you’ve got a situation that’s custom made for precision shooting, take THOSE shots.

Besides, it’s a whole lot cheaper to send a Barrett out humping your patrol with you than an air sortie.

James on February 23, 2010 at 12:41 PM

When I was in Iraq, the Legal building was bigger than the chow hall. That is problematic.

otherkid on February 23, 2010 at 12:41 PM

Pull the trigger . . . and leave the lawyers out of it.

Said the lawyer. :P

TheUnrepentantGeek on February 23, 2010 at 12:42 PM

hawksruleva on February 23, 2010 at 12:02 PM

You obviously don’t get out very much.

Liberality dominates the moves and the TV airwaves, radio and print media. FOXNews is only a tiny slice of that pie. Rush, Hannity and Levin don’t get heard like Tom Brokaw. As for differences, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Before FOXNews, we had Cronkeit broadcasting the Tet Offensive live and lying his ass off. After FOXNews? We have the ‘Scud Stud’ lying about Fallujah. The old saying goes: ‘a lie will be halfway around the world, before the truth can get out of bed and get its pants on’. It was true, then, its still true, now. Conservative sources remind Americans? Of what? Most people have never heard of Hot Air, but they know Newsweek.com. They don’t know about Powerline, but I’ll bet they know about the NY slimes’ web page. Who the Hell is Bryan Preston? I know who Anderson Cooper is, though! Information is still blocked. If it was so readily available, we wouldn’t still be teaching evolution in school and that arabs had airspace opened for them September 11th by President Bush.

Virus-X on February 23, 2010 at 12:43 PM

The children of the enemy are the enemy also. If you have a nest of rattlesnakes under your porch or in your barn you don’t just kill the adult ones, you kill them all, or you risk the threat at a later time when the ones you spared come back to repay you.

thomasaur on February 23, 2010 at 10:54 AM

I’m not sure that’s something I can agree with.

Heresy of Cain on February 23, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Are you familiar with The Tale of the Heike? What thomasaur says makes perfect sense.

AsianGirlInTights on February 23, 2010 at 12:44 PM

txaggie on February 23, 2010 at 12:27 PM

Exactly. What the vast majority of people on this forum don’t understand is that you make the situation far worse in Afghanistan (as well as elsewhere) by killing innocent civilians, regardless of the circumstances. Every dead civilian opens up the possibility of another Afghan taking up arms against our soldiers and marines, and decreases the likelihood of civilian cooperation with intelligence. That means fewer tips about IEDs, and that inevitably means more dead Americans. Force protection is a dangerous strategy to pursue in a counterinsurgency. It almost always results in the alienation of the population, which is the prize in a counterinsurgency. You all should do yourself a favor and read The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq, 2006-2008 by Thomas Ricks. The surge worked not only because of the increased troop numbers, the Awakening, and the “disarmament” of the Mahdi Armym but also because of the COIN strategy pursued.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 12:50 PM

I’m hoping I’m misunderstanding what you are implying….

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 12:07 PM

No, that low life made a shocking and disgusting attack on me.

Honda, Bozo did change the RoE last year.

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Welcome to the brave world of Lawfare, folks.

Frankly, I can’t blame the Captain for being careful as I wonder at times if this administration would stand up to the ICC if war crimes charges were leveled against one of our servicemen or women.

On the same vein and in the subject of human shields, you guys understand that the majority of the Taliban come from Pakistan. So for them, the use of involuntary martyrs is not skin off their noses and actually a win-win situation. As regardless what we do, they win. This is guerrilla warfare.

El Coqui on February 23, 2010 at 12:55 PM

Obama and his commie brethren are trying to lose the war while attempting to appear as if they are trying to win it.

From a distance it looks as if they are continuing Pres Bushs goal, but from the inside they are shoveling sand in the gears and looking for a quaqmire to get stuck in.

The commie left are on the side of despots and tyranny make no mistake about it

the last thing they wanted was reform in the middle east, not because it can’t be done, but because they derive their power from the associations with these monsters

they are the pure antithesis to being an American and they know it while posing as such

in a microcosm, Obama and his commie merry men supported the attempt by zelaya to sieze permanent power

a move that the useless UN coulnt condone

there are real traitors to America in powerful positions

Sonosam on February 23, 2010 at 1:01 PM

Are you familiar with The Tale of the Heike? What thomasaur says makes perfect sense.

AsianGirlInTights on February 23, 2010 at 12:44 PM

Eeek! Haven’t thought of that book in years.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 1:02 PM

I read this last year:

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2384383/posts?page=137

Also, two of my family members are active duty Marines.

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 1:04 PM

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 1:04 PM

Do you understand the reasoning behind this?

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 1:06 PM

Eeek! Haven’t thought of that book in years.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 1:02 PM

It is an old book ;)

AsianGirlInTights on February 23, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 12:50 PM

COIN is an option, based on a choice: excusing the bulk of the Afghan population from the consequences of tolerating a yahoo regime that bombed on New York City.

IF you can pull that off, well and good.

But to me, it’s still Plan B.

Chris_Balsz on February 23, 2010 at 1:09 PM

It is an old book ;)

AsianGirlInTights on February 23, 2010 at 1:08 PM

Even older than I am.:) Great comparison. They had it all.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Do you understand the reasoning behind this?

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 1:06 PM

The reasoning behind what exactly?

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 1:15 PM

Even older than I am.:) Great comparison. They had it all.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 1:11 PM

Here’s a great summary on YouTube

AsianGirlInTights on February 23, 2010 at 1:18 PM

This is exactly the problem the IDF has trying to kill terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank. They are usually surrounded by family or at least people in the neighborhood. There was a famous incident in which they had a major mastermind in the sight of their drone as he was driving, then they learned some of his wives and children might be in the car with him, so they let him go.

I agree with sparing non-combatants as much as possible even if it doesn’t generate goodwill (which it doesn’t – the people who want to shout “war criminal” will do it anyway). But calling the lawyers every time you have someone in your sights is ridiculous.

YehuditTX on February 23, 2010 at 1:23 PM

Chris_Balsz on February 23, 2010 at 1:09 PM

Well obviously it is an option, but it is the right option. Considering that we are fighting an insurgency, the logical strategy to employ would be a counter-insurgency.

Moreover, overwhelming force does nothing than alienate the people we are trying to protect. You try to achieve the support of the populace so you can whittle away the support from the insurgence. Without the support of the population, the insurgent is dead. Look at Malaya with the British. Look at Iraq post 2007. How does overwhelming force work? Look at the Battle of Algiers. How’d that end up?

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 1:29 PM

Here’s a great summary on YouTube

AsianGirlInTights on February 23, 2010 at 1:18 PM

Thanks!

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 1:31 PM

Some very uncomfortable questions here. The Muslims use children to good effect against the Israeli’s in Gaza and the west bank. The tanks, training, helicopters, etc mean little if you will not use them.

The Muslims have a very good understanding of our weakness/virtue in this regard.

But in November 1975, Moroccan King Hassan II ordered a “Green March” of over 300,000 Moroccans into the territory. As the marchers reached the border Spanish troops were ordered not to fire to avoid bloodshed. Spain backed down and negotiated a settlement with Morocco and Mauritania, known as the Madrid Agreement.

So what happens if, or when, this sort of thing is tried again?

Will western government order their troops to fire on women and children?

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 1:34 PM

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 1:15 PM

The reasoning behind McChrystal’s ROE from that link.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 1:37 PM

COIN might work for dealing with communist insurgencies. Islam is not communism. The Afghans never asked anyone to free them from the Taliban if anyone can remember. Islams ears only open when an iron shod boot is on their throat, not a silk sandal.

There are some skilled lingual/scrotal apologists for the innocent blood of Islam here today.

BL@KBIRD on February 23, 2010 at 1:49 PM

BL@KBIRD on February 23, 2010 at 1:49 PM

An insurgency is an insurgency regardless of the ideology behind it. COIN worked in Iraq. The Iraqis we faced were Muslim. I don’t know how advocating a successful military strategy makes me an “apologist.” Considering that I leave for BCT in 4 months, I’d like to make sure that we’re pursuing the right strategy because ultimately it’ll be my @ss on the line and not some of the ideologues on this board.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 1:56 PM

The reasoning behind McChrystal’s ROE from that link.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 1:37 PM

I understand but disagree. Those helping the Taliban and Al Qaeda are not civilians regardless of their dress or appearance. By all accounts these ‘civilians’ are helping our enemies, they certain are not driving them out, nor are they themselves leaving.

Could our enemies remain there long if the people harboring them didn’t want them there? Why do you think the Taliban and AQ ran there in the first place? The great food?

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 2:06 PM

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 2:06 PM

Not all of these people willfully collude with the Taliban and al-Qaeda. As you know, the Taliban control their territory ruthlessly. These people who are being used as human shields are not probably not doing so willfully.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Not all of these people willfully collude with the Taliban and al-Qaeda. As you know, the Taliban control their territory ruthlessly. These people who are being used as human shields are not probably not doing so willfully.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 2:15 PM

People are drafted during wartime. That doesn’t mean they aren’t the enemy. Do you believe that every drafted German soldier wanted to be there? During war we bombed factories, docks, oil fields, railyards, etc.

Civilians die, and war isn’t nice. That is the one certainty in war, the innocent will die.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 2:25 PM

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 12:53 PM

Yes, that’s what I thought, but was hoping he meant to put a sarc tag on it….

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 2:35 PM

We seemed to have WON in Iraq with equally restrictive rules of engagement. Counter-insurgency isn’t the same as all out war. Read the official manual if you believe otherwise.

Keith_Indy on February 23, 2010 at 12:30 PM

There is a big difference in the ROE that was used in Iraq compared to the one used in Afghanistan:

To regular readers of The Captain’s Journal, this isn’t news.  Recall that we said:

http://www.captainsjournal.com/2010/02/02/are-the-rules-of-engagement-making-any-difference/

Based on recent communications with enlisted Marines (of various ranks), a perspective is developing around the current rules of engagement for Afghanistan.  There is no such thing as air or artillery support any more.  The ROE General McChrystal has set in place is killing Marines.  Sure, there was the ROE in Iraq, but Marines were genuinely encouraged to think for themselves, assess the situation, and ascertain the best course of action independently.  This is not being done in Afghanistan, where rules are micromanaging the tactical situation.  Many Marines with combat experience in Iraq are leaving the Corps for various reasons, but at least one reason for the exit can be traced to a lack of willingness to deploy to Afghanistan under the current circumstances.  Deploying Marines to Afghanistan are mostly inexperienced.

Our Soldiers are left second guessing and having to watch the enemy get away on a regular basis so that they can try and kill again.

The difference in Iraq is that we actually “defeated” the enemy and worked with the population to drive them out.

This is not the case in Afghanistan.
We are now trying to carve out the “radical” Taliban and then negotiate with the “moderate” Taliban (I would love to see a definition of what a “moderate” Taliban is) because we plan to leave them with control of the rural areas and a part of the Afghanistan government.

It will basically be a “Pakistan II” when we are done.

These restrictive ROE’s that put our Soldiers in more danger are not necessarily bringing the results that they were intended to bring according to many Soldiers:


Privately, ground troops see that the restraint is putting them in greater danger, and they aren’t seeing results.

Afghans seem no more willing to provide information to U.S. forces, the troops say, despite U.S. efforts to minimize civilian casualties, even in a province such as Nangarhar, where education levels are relatively high.

The Afghans have always respected strength and leadership…these ridiculous ROE’s have actually made us look weak and unable to protect the population:

the Taliban feel utterly protected by being amidst the population.  While it may be backed with all of the nice intentions mankind can muster, the unintended consequences of less robust rules of engagement are that more noncombatants die.  Many, if not most, of these townsfolk would never have been there if they had believed that they were in mortal danger, and the Taliban wouldn’t have been there to instigate the event(s) if we were giving chase to them and they were running for their lives.


When townsfolk can pelt the Marines with rocks and Taliban fighters can run amok in the crowds, U.S. forces are not respected.  It’s an ominous sign – that the most feared fighting force on earth, the 911 forces of America, the most deadly, rapid and mobile strike forces of any nation anywhere, can be pelted with rocks and hit with sticks without any fear whatsoever.  This isn’t likely to ensure belief by the population that they will be “protected” by our forces.

This ROE is getting a lot of our Soldiers killed

Baxter Greene on February 23, 2010 at 2:43 PM

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Counter-insurgency operations (COIN). Used by GEN Petraus in Iraq during the surge Modified and being used bt GEN McChrystal in AFPAK theater. I am heading there in July I will be part of the COIN. Petraeus studied COIN for a long time at the war college before implementing it. One if the books he studied that influenced his strategy was by David Galula, “Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice”. This book was written in the 60′s but it detailed insurgency operations and counter-insurgency operations. A good read.

alohapundit on February 23, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Not all of these people willfully collude with the Taliban and al-Qaeda. As you know, the Taliban control their territory ruthlessly. These people who are being used as human shields are not probably not doing so willfully.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 2:15 PM

Most of them willingly enable the Taliban and its been written repeatedly that the tribal areas are their safe haven. Of the truly innocent remaining they are few. Look how many folks are refugees from these areas to other places in Pakistan and Afghanistan. The innocent fled.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 2:25 PM

Also a valid point.

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 2:54 PM

This incident in Kunar Province is a good example of how the current ROE is getting our Soldiers killed:

It now appears that this may be yet another example of a rules of engagement problem.

GANJGAL, Afghanistan — We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.

Dashing from boulder to boulder, diving into trenches and ducking behind stone walls as the insurgents maneuvered to outflank us, we waited more than an hour for U.S. helicopters to arrive, despite earlier assurances that air cover would be five minutes away.


U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines — despite being told repeatedly that they weren’t near the village.

“We are pinned down. We are running low on ammo. We have no air. We’ve lost today,” Marine Maj. Kevin Williams, 37, said through his translator to his Afghan counterpart, responding to the latter’s repeated demands for helicopters.


Four U.S. Marines were killed Tuesday, the most U.S. service members assigned as trainers to the Afghan National Army to be lost in a single incident since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion. Eight Afghan troops and police and the Marine commander’s Afghan interpreter also died in the ambush and the subsequent battle that raged from dawn until 2 p.m. around this remote hamlet in eastern Kunar province, close to the Pakistan border.

What a crime to leave fellow Soldiers to be gunned down because someone “thinks” that civilians could be killed.

…and there is little evidence that the Afghanistan population is turning against the Taliban in a significant way that will turn the tide of Taliban control.

After all…they know we are leaving soon….Obama has already set the date:


But the local elders and villagers aren’t fighting the Taliban.  Bing West reports that:

http://www.captainsjournal.com/2009/11/16/battling-the-rules-of-engagement-in-afghanistan/

It is not obvious that winning the hearts and minds of village elders, or linking villages to Kabul, wins the war. Our soldiers note that the Afghans are happy to accept what we give them but do not reciprocate by turning against the Taliban. The elders don’t raise militias or secure recruits for the army, and they don’t fight; there has been no replay of that scene from The Magnificent Seven in which the terrorized villagers finally rise up against their oppressors. Instead, fearful locals plead with migratory Taliban gangs to move on. A rural population, no matter how content with its government, cannot stand up to such a tough enemy…

Of course protecting the population is important and a crucial part of COIN….but another crucial part is actually defeating the enemy and gaining the confidence and support of the population.
Projecting weakness and allowing the enemy to play us like fools is not going to help very much with building confidence with the Afghan people.

Baxter Greene on February 23, 2010 at 3:02 PM

I’m hoping I’m misunderstanding what you are implying….
lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 12:07 PM

Nope. You got it. It’s right out of the school of “kids are tiny adults”.

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2010 at 12:22 PM

You surely are not calling dogsoldier a member of N*mbla????(As per you comment before 12:07–which has been scrubbed by the new mods, obviously)

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 3:03 PM

This is the Monty Python ROE’s.

Obama is corkscrewed by his own megalomaniacal fixation on this suicidal simplemindedness.

profitsbeard on February 23, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Fine. We can’t shoot because they’re too sneaky for us. We sure as hell could and should “mark” them with paint-ball guns loaded with bank-note-dye, so we can Id them later, including the children. It’d hurt like hell too.

Any jihadi observed but not killed should be literally marked for death.

Maquis on February 23, 2010 at 12:20 PM

Stop being reasonable and thoughtful, this is Obama’s military now!

profitsbeard on February 23, 2010 at 3:11 PM

COIN is short for Counter Insurgency and is used to win the “hearts & minds” of the enemy.

You may want to check the “hearts & minds” bit w/ Gen Petreaus…

I do not think it means what you think it means…

It’s not a popularity contest.

BadBrad on February 23, 2010 at 3:13 PM

The Taliban have adapted to the current ROE and are using it against us…


Militants plan to wait out looming offensive disguised as civilians)

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35293212/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

“a Taliban commander told NBC News’ Richard Engel that many insurgents would wait out the offensive.”
“They (U.S. and coalition troops) will come in and announce that they have conquered the area. We will let them come in. They are welcome.
“They will ask, ‘Are there any Taliban in the area?’ We will say, ‘Yes, but they have left’,” the Taliban leader added.
“We will not fight them face-to-face,” he said. “We will shake their hands, as civilians. Then they will leave.”

The Taliban will continue to hide amongst civilians,stay in the rural areas that our military will not pursue,and maintain support from Pakistan because they are taking out some leaders,but not taking out the training camps and jihadist network that still remains.

If we do not do what it takes to eradicate the Taliban’s hold on Afghanistan(which would take a much larger commitment and much more time) ,then when we leave,it will pretty much be the same as when we got there in 2001.

Baxter Greene on February 23, 2010 at 3:16 PM

People are drafted during wartime. That doesn’t mean they aren’t the enemy. Do you believe that every drafted German soldier wanted to be there? During war we bombed factories, docks, oil fields, railyards, etc.

Civilians die, and war isn’t nice. That is the one certainty in war, the innocent will die.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 2:25 PM

People are drafted during war and they become soldiers. I’m no pacifist, but innocent women and children being held at gunpoint are not soldiers. Moreover to equate them with German soldiers in World War II is ridiculous. I’m not buying that. Yes, innocent people die in war, but using that as an excuse doesn’t win us any support. That’s why we are trying to limit the amount of civilian deaths.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 3:36 PM

The difference in Iraq is that we actually “defeated” the enemy and worked with the population to drive them out.

This is not the case in Afghanistan.
We are now trying to carve out the “radical” Taliban and then negotiate with the “moderate” Taliban (I would love to see a definition of what a “moderate” Taliban is) because we plan to leave them with control of the rural areas and a part of the Afghanistan government.

Baxter Greene on February 23, 2010 at 2:43 PM

We “defeated” the enemy in Iraq? Then why did it take from 2003 – 2008 to see final victory?

How quickly people have forgotten that this is exactly what we did in Iraq. Co-opted the militias we could (one could say the moderates,) against the hard-core radicals.

Keith_Indy on February 23, 2010 at 3:37 PM

Moreover to equate them with German soldiers in World War II is ridiculous. I’m not buying that. Yes, innocent people die in war, but using that as an excuse doesn’t win us any support. That’s why we are trying to limit the amount of civilian deaths.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Those weren’t soldiers in those factories and dockyards.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 3:44 PM

alohapundit on February 23, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Thanks for the info. I’ll have to check that out. I just finished reading Alistair Horne’s “A Savage War of Peace.” That’s a great read as well.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Now that terrorists know we won’t pull the trgger without a legal call, there won’t be any firing at all.

Turn in your machine guns, boys. It’s back to single shot rifles.

madmonkphotog on February 23, 2010 at 3:46 PM

Those weren’t soldiers in those factories and dockyards.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 3:44 PM

They weren’t innocent women and children being held at gun point. The comparison is worthless. This popular support for the Taliban b.s. is a ridiculous thought. These people are more afraid of the Taliban than they are of us, so who do you think they listen to?

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 3:47 PM

No, that low life made a shocking and disgusting attack on me.

Honda, Bozo did change the RoE last year.

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 12:53 PM

No, you shot your own foot. I just pointed out the blood…

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Any particular reason you wanted to know?

txaggie on February 23, 2010 at 12:21 PM

My so is in the Air Force in Korea, his best friend is in the Army in Afghanistan. I’d rather we not try for any middle ground. These people want us dead, regardless of if we are in the ME or the US, and their willingness to hide behind children only proves how much they are willing to do in order to accomplish their ultimate goal.

ladyingray on February 23, 2010 at 3:49 PM

Monkey, I guess you missed this posted by Baxter Greene:

GANJGAL, Afghanistan — We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.

Nor have you responded to the fact that the truly innocent fled and are no refugees in other areas. There’s much evidence backing up the claim those remaining are actively supporting our enemies and none to suggest otherwise.

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 3:53 PM

They weren’t innocent women and children being held at gun point. The comparison is worthless. This popular support for the Taliban b.s. is a ridiculous thought. These people are more afraid of the Taliban than they are of us, so who do you think they listen to?

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 3:47 PM

The bombers took out targets in France killing French civilians as well as POW’s, and civilian worker-slaves held by the Germans to work in German factories.

So yes, actually they were civilians held at gunpoint and the allied forces killed them anyway!

See… Here

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 3:55 PM

*son

ladyingray on February 23, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 3:44 PM

Cool. I will definately check that out. Stay safe over there. Maybe I’ll see you in July when I get in-country.

Another great read by David Galula is “Pacification in Algeria 1956-1958″ which a lot of our Surge strategy can be seen in what the French did in Algeria as well. In those days, Algeria was a lot like Iraq was from 2005-2006 and secular violence was everywhere. Galula was on the ground and he complained that no one in Paris wanted to take the politically suicidal task of quashing the insurgency in Algeria. Consequently, the insurgency grew out of control. Galula details how he put into practice COIN tactics that we use today. If I understand correctly, Petraeus implemented some of those tactics during the Surge of 2006 as well. This was all new stuff for the Army intelligentsia at the war college, and Petraeus was one of the only ones deeply studying it. Until then, they were still studying Clauswitzian theory and line formations (or so I am told by some of my Army brethren who were at the war college, and they still do but COIN is also a subject of study now). Now all of the war colleges study it to some degree. Hope that helps, and once again stay safe brother.

alohapundit on February 23, 2010 at 3:57 PM

No, that low life made a shocking and disgusting attack on me.

Honda, Bozo did change the RoE last year.

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 12:53 PM

No, you shot your own foot. I just pointed out the blood…

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2010 at 3:49 PM

uncle, you are being an a$$–to equate this statement:

when children are being used as human shields
Mister, they volunteer for the job. They are not civilians any more than all the other enablers. Its this sort of stupid squish brained thinking that gets our people killed.

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 11:28 AM

with dogsoldier being a member of N@MBLA is the height of stupidity–I was giving you the benefit of doubt that you were referring to the Taliban…

To slur dogsoldier like that is undefensible!

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 3:57 PM

You surely are not calling dogsoldier a member of N*mbla????(As per you comment before 12:07–which has been scrubbed by the new mods, obviously)

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Nope, but I am pointing out how his thinking matches theirs with respect to a belief in children as miniature adults. Dogsoldier said kill the kids, which implies that the kids are acting as adult autonomous agents in this matter.

If a kid points a gun at you, you kill him, no questions asked (other than in your own mind afterward), but if a kid is playing nearby (is acting as a noncombatant), then the issue becomes a lot fuzzier. In fact, the fuzziness leans definitely in the direction of inaction (which, in itself, is a form of action).

Anyone who’d kill the hostages to get the perps doesn’t belong on a police force, and any soldier who’d deliberately kill a noncombatant civilian to get to a combatant is certainly a candidate to be taken off the battle field.

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2010 at 4:03 PM

alohapundit on February 23, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Haha it’ll be a while before I get deployed anywhere. I’ll be in Benning of BCT and OCS until November of this year. After that I have BOLC-B and then hopefully IOBC. I should’ve signed up earlier.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 4:04 PM

with dogsoldier being a member of N@MBLA is the height of stupidity–I was giving you the benefit of doubt that you were referring to the Taliban…

To slur dogsoldier like that is undefensible!

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 3:57 PM

I do not believe it was a slur, and it was definitely defensible. From the quote, he is imputing motive to the children which may or may not be present. From the article, one cannot tell. Certainly, once our enemy knows our rules of engagement, they can plan around them, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the civilians they use as screens are willing, or that our rules of engagement should change to “Let Allah sort ‘em out”…

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2010 at 4:06 PM

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Godd. Then you have plenty of time to read :P

By the way BCT and OCS are all mind games. Don’t get caught up, keep your eye on your ultimate goal and you’ll be fine.

alohapundit on February 23, 2010 at 4:07 PM

*Godd = Good

should’ve used preview heh.

alohapundit on February 23, 2010 at 4:07 PM

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 3:55 PM

It’s still a ridiculous comparison nonetheless. To equate ROE in World War II to OEF defies logic. In one instance you have conventional “total war” and another you have a comparatively low-intensity insurgency. The prescription to prosecute both wars are not the same.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 4:09 PM

In one instance you have conventional “total war” and another you have a comparatively low-intensity insurgency. The prescription to prosecute both wars are not the same.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 4:09 PM

The point is how many of your own soldiers are you willing to lose just so we can play their game? It is a game, and is played by the Palestinians constantly against Israel.

I am not suggesting the deliberate targeting of civilians, but rather abandoning the entirely too squeamish ROE. They should be designed to WIN, first and foremost, and reduce casualities second.

There are no wars without tears.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 4:18 PM

A German bomb fell through the roof of my wife’s grandmother’s house in the East End of London in 1943 and lodged, unexploded, in her bedroom wardrobe. When the bomb disposal unit opened it up, they found a note inside. “Don’t worry, English,” it said, “we’re with you. Polish workers.”

unclesmrgol on February 23, 2010 at 4:14 PM

Thanks for that. Interesting!

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 4:21 PM

They should be designed to WIN, first and foremost, and reduce casualities second.

There are no wars without tears.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 4:18 PM

And that’s exactly what they are doing. An insurgency can’t survive without the support and collusion of the populace. Win the support of populace and you cut off the life line for the insurgency. You win support by providing security, services and improving their lives in general(oh that and not killing innocent people). By loosening the ROE we allow every dead innocent to become a posterchild for the Taliban. That will allow the Taliban to gain greater support. More support means more Taliban, more IEDs, and less intelligence for us. That means more dead Americans. So in essence, by subjecting our soldiers to greater danger now, they will be safer in the long run.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 4:25 PM

More support means more Taliban, more IEDs, and less intelligence for us. That means more dead Americans. So in essence, by subjecting our soldiers to greater danger now, they will be safer in the long run.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 4:25 PM

I know the reasons, I just don’t buy it as a rationale.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Stop being reasonable and thoughtful, this is Obama’s military now!

profitsbeard on February 23, 2010 at 3:11 PM

Roger that! SNAFU

Maquis on February 23, 2010 at 4:33 PM

These ROE have been in effect for a while; 2-3 years. They are still dumb.

The military is nothing if not political. CYA was not invented here but was accepted as doctrine too long ago to count. BTDT

Generals are worse than politicians for accepting responsibility. Hence need rules to require and codify ordinary good practice. Try reading USA FM 3-24 Counterinsurgency Field Manual the one that Petraus is famous for. It is a manual for social workers IMNSHO.

The worst killers of A’stanis in numbers or methods are T’ban, al Qieda or whatever they are called today. The civilians around terrorists are not there by choice. That is what terrorists do; they terrorize and they prey on anybody weaker. Agree with the comment that .50 or .308 also work well. Small problem. T’s are seldom in your sights when you want ‘em.

Regardless, ROE are on response to a lying MSM, a world wide lying MSM.

Caststeel on February 23, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Awwww. “One response…”

Caststeel on February 23, 2010 at 4:37 PM

I know the reasons, I just don’t buy it as a rationale.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Well like you I don’t want any of our soldiers to be hurt, particularly by ROE that you and others see as excessively tight. Those ROE serve a specific purpose, and you know what that is. However do not be mistaken..the rules of engagement still allow our soldiers from calling CAS or the big guns when it is necessary.

Speaking of ROE, has anyone seen the hilarious movie with the same title starring Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones? “I said waste the m*tha’f*ckas!”

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 4:47 PM

These people are more afraid of the Taliban than they are of us, so who do you think they listen to?

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Given the above truth how will our restraint change the minds of those being intimidated by a force willing to kill them?

chemman on February 23, 2010 at 4:47 PM

chemman on February 23, 2010 at 4:47 PM

Well it requires military action. They need to feel secure. We provide security by removing the Taliban. Once the Taliban is gone, we can demonstrate our competence in providing security. Far too often, particularly in Helmand, our soldiers/marines would clear a village only to leave. Once we left the Taliban would simply come back. That’s why you hear the phrase “clear and hold” so often. That’s essentially what we’re doing in certain areas.

However if we chose not to exercise restraint, and we kill innocent people, we risk turning the population against us. People that may have been on the fence about cooperating or at least accepting our authority will side with the Taliban.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 4:57 PM

First the Precedent runs the economy like Carter and now he fights terrorism like Clinton, who wouldn’t scoop up Bin Laden from the Sudan because his lawyers didn’t support it.
I say if you want to fight a war with lawyers, then draft all you can get and stick their a$$eS on the front lines. We got too many who do the country too much harm as it is so this would be a nice solution to two problems!

chickasaw42 on February 23, 2010 at 5:06 PM

Logical consequences.
Sigh.

Bruno Strozek on February 23, 2010 at 5:08 PM

I’ve read scores of reports like this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2001/10/21/magazine/21WOMEN.html?pagewanted=1

And watched quite a few videos of the same thing.

I am not suggesting the deliberate targeting of civilians, but rather abandoning the entirely too squeamish ROE. They should be designed to WIN, first and foremost, and reduce casualities second.

There are no wars without tears.

sharrukin on February 23, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Exactly. And for those who missed what I posted earlier the RoE in use now started last year.

The civilians around terrorists are not there by choice.
Caststeel on February 23, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Please explain the scores of reports of refugees fleeing the Taliban and AQ to cities in Pakistan.

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 5:09 PM

We “defeated” the enemy in Iraq? Then why did it take from 2003 – 2008 to see final victory?

How quickly people have forgotten that this is exactly what we did in Iraq. Co-opted the militias we could (one could say the moderates,) against the hard-core radicals.

Keith_Indy on February 23, 2010 at 3:37 PM

From 2003-2008 for victory…..I am not aware of a timetable for victory when the Iraq war was voted on.

What does the time span have to do with winning in Iraq and how it was done.
The bottom line is it was done.

Co-opted the militias we could (one could say the moderates,) against the hard-core radicals.

When the population had enough of the atrocities inflicted on them from al-qaeda and the shia militias combined with the Iraqis knowing we were not going to run out on them again is when the awakening happened.

This involved the population joining with coalition forces to DEFEAT the enemy….not work with them and allow them to join the government and have safe havens like is being done with the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The coalition was able to do this with much better ROE than they have now.
You can bet the battle of Fallujah was not won by having to seek legal advice before shooting or refusing air support because civilians could be hurt.

Baxter Greene on February 23, 2010 at 6:02 PM

And the Surge might not have worked without Fallujah 2004.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 1:29 PM

How about Sri Lanka, 2009?

Chris_Balsz on February 23, 2010 at 6:09 PM

Have they published Holders phone number? I might want to take out a terrorist in my home town.
On second thought, I might just inscribe “approved by the atty. gen.” on my reloads.

Cybergeezer on February 23, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Well it requires military action. They need to feel secure. We provide security by removing the Taliban. Once the Taliban is gone, we can demonstrate our competence in providing security.

I understand your points concerning COIN and how it applies…but most of your rational for using these points seems to be backed up with “we are removing the Taliban”.

You do know we are not “removing the Taliban”.

The Taliban have now been divided up into “radical Taliban” and “moderate Taliban”.

I have yet to hear what makes up a “moderate” Taliban but I am sure that what may seem “moderate” will still carry the same dangers that the Taliban have always presented.

It appears that the Obama administration wants to secure the Population centers and leave the rural areas to Taliban control (like Pakistan).

In Now Zad Taliban fighters have been so unmole%ted that they have used that area for R&R.  The city of Now Zad – with an erstwhile population of 30,000+ civilians – is deserted with only insurgents remaining to terrorize the area so that inhabitants don’t return.  The Marines are so under-resourced that they can only fight the Taliban to a standstill.  It is so dangerous in Now Zad that the Marines deployed there are the only ones to bring two trauma doctors with them.

The Obama administration has also made it clear that they are going to negotiate with the Taliban and bring them into the Government.


New White House spin: Taliban not really an enemy, has role in Afghanistan’s future

posted at 5:14 pm on October 8, 2009 by Allahpundit
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/10/08/new-white-house-spin-taliban-not-really-an-enemy-has-role-in-afghanistans-future/

Bowing to the reality that the Taliban is too ingrained in Afghanistan’s culture to be entirely defeated, the administration is prepared, as it has been for some time, to accept some Taliban role in parts of Afghanistan, the official said. That could mean paving the way for Taliban members willing to renounce violence to participate in a central government — though there has been little receptiveness to this among the Taliban. It might even mean ceding some regions of the country to the Taliban…


This report even shows Gates being on board with accepting the Taliban into government and the population:

NY Times -  The United States recognizes that the Taliban are now part of the political fabric of Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said here on Friday, but the group must be prepared to play a legitimate role before it can reconcile with the Afghan government.

That means, Mr. Gates said, that the Taliban must participate in elections, not oppose education and not assassinate local officials. 
“The question is whether the Taliban at some point in this process are ready to help build a 21st-century Afghanistan or whether they still just want to kill people,” Mr. Gates said.

 

This is not “getting rid of the Taliban”.

The Taliban have no intentions of integrating or taking on anything other than total sharia law.

And that’s exactly what they are doing. An insurgency can’t survive without the support and collusion of the populace. Win the support of populace and you cut off the life line for the insurgency.
Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 4:25 PM

I don’t see how you can win support from the populace to reject the Taliban when the Taliban are part of the populace.
The results of getting the Afghan people on board have been mixed at best:

The Taliban have easily integrated into the population and are simply waiting for us to leave:

Militants plan to wait out looming offensive disguised as civilians)

“a Taliban commander told NBC News’ Richard Engel that many insurgents would wait out the offensive.”
“They (U.S. and coalition troops) will come in and announce that they have conquered the area. We will let them come in. They are welcome.
“They will ask, ‘Are there any Taliban in the area?’ We will say, ‘Yes, but they have left’,” the Taliban leader added.
“We will not fight them face-to-face,” he said. “We will shake their hands, as civilians. Then they will leave.”

The civilians know this…Obama has already made it clear we will be on our way out soon….so many civilians will align with the Taliban since they will be the strongest presence there when we leave:

It is not obvious that winning the hearts and minds of village elders, or linking villages to Kabul, wins the war. Our soldiers note that the Afghans are happy to accept what we give them but do not reciprocate by turning against the Taliban. The elders don’t raise militias or secure recruits for the army, and they don’t fight; there has been no replay of that scene from The Magnificent Seven in which the terrorized villagers finally rise up against their oppressors. Instead, fearful locals plead with migratory Taliban gangs to move on. A rural population, no matter how content with its government, cannot stand up to such a tough enemy…

This ROE is not projecting a superior fighting force and puts our Soldiers in unnecessary danger.

It allows our enemy to reign free and use the population against us.

I just don’t see how allowing the Taliban to be a part of the government and remain in the overall population makes Afghanistan free from becoming the terrorist supporter it was before 9/11.

Baxter Greene on February 23, 2010 at 7:10 PM

I believe that you will find that these ROE have been in place for a very long time.

Unless returning direct fire JAG approval is part of the process.

It has been thus since the 1990s. The MSM in America is always on the lookout of “atrocity” stories to lay at the feet of U.S. soldiers. The civilian casualties caused by our opponents are treated as one day, little interest stories because they’re expected to be brutal and uncaring.

Now the global media has picked up the method and the wailing about “civilian casualties” has grown.

Whether it is fair or not; whether it is right or not; public perception, what used to be called ‘propaganda’, is a huge component of fighting a war. But since we are forbidden to control the media directly, and because of their built-in bias against the U.S. military, we are somewhat at a disadvantage here.

While our enemies can put forth whatever story they want without being questioned, we have to prove that we have forced our troops to jump through hoops and contort their actions to fit the PC standard.

That’s the reasoning behind the JAG involvement. We’re having to defend ourselves that call us friends as well as our enemies.

schmuck281 on February 23, 2010 at 7:47 PM

It’s a FREAKIN WAR!!!!!!
Kill ‘em all and let Allah sort ‘em out.

ic1redeye on February 23, 2010 at 11:31 PM

As a Vietnam vet and retired (25 years USAF) need I remind all that this is just like our last conflict, which we did not win but received an honorable mention.

The current battle with extremist Islamic radicals who do not wear uniforms because they are not members of a standing military of a specific country. Further, this group of soldiers use unconventional means to wage war in an attempt (rather successfully). Therefore, we cannot use conventional tactics against guerrilla tactics, nor can we allow the ability of civilian oversight of the U.S. military to become construed as civilian control of our Military forces.

Because, this is exactly what occurred in the last conflict we were involved in and we came out with an honorable mention. We need to understand, if the enemy does not clearly identify themselves from the civilian community then collateral damage and death is unavoidable.

Further, untrained civilians waging war using Political Correctness as the Rules of Engagement assures defeat not just of our military forces but of all of U.S., because that is the enemies goal.

The outcome of this conflict is far greater then that of Vietnam. The outcome will determine our way of life forever, and I personally do not want to live in the 7th century again.

MSGTAS on February 24, 2010 at 10:00 AM

That being said, does anyone in the forum understand what COIN is?

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 12:19 PM

Yep, and it’s not the correct TTP for OEF!

hawkdriver on May 7, 2010 at 1:12 AM

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 12:50 PM

Dude, you really don’t have a handle on what we’re doing there or what the Afghanis are like. COIN won’t work. Especially when we only focus on Pakistan and not on the freaking Iranians who are the bigger problem.

But please, go on with your war lecture. Tell us poor rubes what we need to know.

hawkdriver on May 7, 2010 at 10:25 AM

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