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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Unreal! I have no words. This is…….

milwife88 on February 23, 2010 at 10:46 AM

WWII was won because our ROE’s were designed with victory and the safety of our men in mind.

Today’s ROE’s are designed to save political ass.

darwin on February 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM

This is no way to win a war.

Legal question: if it can be proved that a president was deliberately trying to lose a war while causing servicemembers unnecessary casualties – would that be grounds for impeachment?

Rebar on February 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Next up, terrorists will have to be appraised of their rights before being fired upon, and told that they can sue the U.S. government for civil damages due to any injuries they incur.

Bishop on February 23, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Wow. That’s a bit sobering, yeah?

Weight of Glory on February 23, 2010 at 10:48 AM

Those insurgents may have successfully set another bomb that might kill our soldiers elsewhere.

Or civilians.

sammypants on February 23, 2010 at 10:49 AM

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.

Thanks! When will America wake up and figure out whose side Bambi is really on?

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 10:50 AM

The end of the story was good.

“That evening, the scheduled Marine supply convoy rambled down the dirt road. Warned of the booby trap, the vehicles stopped short of the spot where the men were seen digging. The Marines removed a buried triggering device, set to detonate the explosives when a vehicle passed. As is often the case, the Taliban had been working in shifts, with one team responsible for digging the hole and planting the trigger, and another team detailed to bury and connect the homemade explosives.

On Friday, the Marines spotted three men digging on the same road. This time there were no civilians around.

A Marine attack helicopter blasted them with cannon fire.

AnninCA on February 23, 2010 at 10:52 AM

I wonder how many ‘civilians’ are killed by the rop type and blame our military on the killings? I feel so sorry for our wonderful military having to have this bho as cic. I pray for their safety daily.
L

letget on February 23, 2010 at 10:52 AM

Rebar on February 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM

I hope it would be. I come from a long line of military members from my grandfathers, father, uncle, cousins, and brother. It is hard for me to believe that our CIC would handcuff our men and women in uniform in order to “maintain good standing” with the very people we are fighting against. I promise you they are not making sure it’s “ok” to blow up our men and women. They are the ones who think it is acceptable to use women and children as human shields but, we have to get approval to defend ourselves? WTF?

milwife88 on February 23, 2010 at 10:53 AM

would that be grounds for impeachment?

Rebar on February 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Not to Democrats

MarkTheGreat on February 23, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Amen

gwelf on February 23, 2010 at 10:54 AM

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 hope somebody’s saving this information for the “Obama” movie (remember how the Clinton’s screamed when the movie came out about his administration in a similar scenario? Historical sources are your friend!)

cs89 on February 23, 2010 at 10:56 AM

If WW2 was fought like this, we would be speaking German or Japanese today.

grapeknutz on February 23, 2010 at 10:56 AM

It’s a little late for Afghanistan whine about civilians being killed when they have used them as cannon fodder.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 10:56 AM

This is exactly what hawkdriver was says a couple of weeks ago. This is no way to win a war or run a country.

Cindy Munford on February 23, 2010 at 10:56 AM

While I disagree with the war itself, this is the height of insanity. “Shoot first, ask questions later” is the rule of thumb that must be followed if you don’t want your soldiers to come home in body bags. That’s just the reality of war.

Dark-Star on February 23, 2010 at 10:58 AM

It seems that in the incident cited above an airstrike was thought to be the only option available. Maybe because of the distance involved, but if small arms fire could have been used I don’t see an issue. A couple of well placed shots from some snipers would solve the problem.

So, yeah ROE’s suck, but we have to keep in mind what resources the guy on the ground has at his disposal.

I saw a wonderful show on the History channel recently that showed the use of snipers in Fallujah and some of the truly amazing shots and things they accomplished. They even tried to recreate some of these shots on a rifle range with varying degrees of success just to show how impossible some of those shots were.

Just A Grunt on February 23, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Legal question: if it can be proved that a president was deliberately trying to lose a war while causing servicemembers unnecessary casualties – would that be grounds for impeachment?

Rebar on February 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Grounds for impeachment are entirely up to the House of Representatives. There is no judicial review of an impeachment. Then the Senate gets to decide whether the impeachment warrants removal from office. And again, there is no judicial review of that. But due to political grounds, it is very rare (not just with presidents, but others subject to impeachment). You don’t want a House controlled by one party to impeach everyone they can simply by being a member of the other party. On the other hand, if, just for an extreme example, if you had an incredibly incompetent & inexperienced president who hates the traditional American system of natural rights and free markets, and you can’t tell whether he’s merely incompetent or is deliberately trying to sabotage the US, well then you could impeach him on those grounds & hopefully get the Senate to kick his sorry ass to the curb.

But that would never happen. The American people would never vote for someone like that. The media would shred such a candidate to pieces in their role of watchdog.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to feed my invisible ghost unicorn, Thunderbolt.

rbj on February 23, 2010 at 10:59 AM

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

Well…………….I am not going to say it.

VegasRick on February 23, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Not to Democrats

MarkTheGreat on February 23, 2010 at 10:53 AM

After November, it will matter a whole lot less what democrats think.

Rebar on February 23, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Bring on the tactical lasers. Zap.

the_nile on February 23, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Would that be grounds for impeachment?

Rebar on February 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM

Presumably yes, but you’d have to make the case for treason and prove it during a Senate trial. That’s a rather high bar.

More to the point, IMHO Obama is not actively trying to lose the war, or anything of the sort. He just doesn’t care about it and wants it to go away. Now that is deplorable but not, in my opinion, grounds for impeachment.

jwolf on February 23, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Send lawyers, guns, and money cause the s**t has hit the fan…

Kuffar on February 23, 2010 at 11:02 AM

help illustrate why it is taking coalition forces so long to secure this hotly contested part of Afghanistan.

. . .

That evening, the scheduled Marine supply convoy rambled down the dirt road. Warned of the booby trap, the vehicles stopped short of the spot

. . .

On Friday, the Marines spotted three men digging on the same road. This time there were no civilians around.

A Marine attack helicopter blasted them with cannon fire.

“Soffee Soffee catchee monkey. . .”

Skandia Recluse on February 23, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Seems to me the problem is the Captain is only looking for opportunities to phone for high-speed high-explosive bombs. If he had a MG hooked up to that camera, he’d probably exploit more opportunities.

Chris_Balsz on February 23, 2010 at 11:04 AM

posted late after others made the same point…American knowhow!

Chris_Balsz on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

OT: I just read Brian Fischer’s article at RenewAmerica.com on the HotAir coverage of GoProud at CPAC. As a result of the article and subsequent perusing of the site, I can proudly say that I have bookmarked RenewAmerica.

Unintended consequences strikes again.

pugwriter on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Question.

When will Obama/Holder be releasing the names and addresses of our soldier’s spouses, siblings and parents? Come on guys, if you really want to bend the rules in favor of our sworn enemies why not go the extra mile?

We don’t have Rules of Engagement, we have Rules of Surrender.

These inept clowns should be tried for treason.

fogw on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

In other words, B.O. is playing a merry game of “Mother-May-I” when it comes with how to deal with terrorists?

“Pathetic” doesn’t even begin to describe this one!

pilamaye on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

Who in their right mind would institute an ROE like this? Never mind. I answered my own question. This is ill-conceived and unacceptable, if not downright traitorous.

kingsjester on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

When I was reading this post I just assumed that AP had written it. Then I saw a definite opinion at the end.

jaime on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

More to the point, IMHO Obama is not actively trying to lose the war, or anything of the sort. He just doesn’t care about it and wants it to go away. Now that is deplorable but not, in my opinion, grounds for impeachment.

jwolf on February 23, 2010 at 11:01 AM

Agreed. Many presidents before him have wished the same thing about countless other issues while they were in office. While neglect of an active shooting war is pathetic, it’s still just neglect.

Now if you think you can prove that he’s actively sabotaging the effort, then you might have a case.

Dark-Star on February 23, 2010 at 11:05 AM

These rules of engagement changes happened back in Sept of last year and was the Obama administrations response when some civilians were killed in an attack. It seems now months later they media is finally starting to report about the full ramifications of it.

JeffinSac on February 23, 2010 at 11:06 AM

No one wants to endanger civilians, but in the long run it might be the kindest thing. If they learn that hiding behind kids no longer works, maybe they won’t do it so often. Either way, we could kill more bad guys faster, thereby shortening the war. Prolonged conflict isn’t good for our soldiers or for Afghan civilians.

juliesa on February 23, 2010 at 11:06 AM

WWII was won because our ROE’s were designed with victory and the safety of our men in mind.

Today’s ROE’s are designed to save political ass.

darwin on February 23, 2010 at 10:47 AM

This isn’t World War II. Also World War II wasn’t won because of ROE, but through sheer economic strength and manpower. If you understand COIN, then you know you are supposed to be protecting the population. The ROE exist to assist the protecting the population. That being said, the men/women on the ground are still going to get CAS when the sh*t hits the fan.

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 11:06 AM

A couple of well placed shots from some snipers would solve the problem.

I thought about that, too, and wondered. I guess snipers aren’t with the ground troops. Or drones are replacing them?

Anyway, this was always going to be the challenge in Pakistan. And ignoring the problem of civilians would lead ONLY to horrible public opinion problems. Israel did a very good job, in my opinion, of sorting out the civilians from the actual forces in their last war, and it was still a huge battle for them to get due credit for that.

I take it that this “judge” is a euphamism for a drone supervisor, of sorts.

AnninCA on February 23, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Shock the Monkey on February 23, 2010 at 11:06 AM

That is a good point.

juliesa on February 23, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Lionel Hutz: I move for a bad-court-thingy.

Judge: You mean a mistrial?

Lionel Hutz: Yeah! That’s why you’re the judge, and I’m the law…talkin’… guy!

Judge: The lawyer.

Lionel Hutz: Yeah.

———————————–

And other classics.

Ferris on February 23, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Any earthquakes in Riverside,Ca. are entirely the responibility of my Dad. His ashes are spinning in the Memorial Wall.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 11:09 AM

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

This is a judicious decision by the military to negate collateral damage. They’re waging a population centric COIN, essentially winning the “heats and minds.” Is it FUBAR to the average grunt? Hell yes, but the generals (i.e. Petraeus and McChrystal) are looking at the big picture, the macro side of things. If Afghan khans turn their backs on the Taliban because we haven’t had heavy collateral damage in their distracts, then that will save more American Soldiers lives in the long run.

If WW2 was fought like this, we would be speaking German or Japanese today.

grapeknutz on February 23, 2010 at 10:56 AM

The nature of this war is totally different from WWII. Propaganda is much more effective in largely rural country with one of the lowest literacy rates in the world.

Cr4sh Dummy on February 23, 2010 at 11:09 AM

I take it that this “judge” is a euphamism for a drone supervisor, of sorts.

AnninCA on February 23, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Ignorance can be reduced through effort. . .

Capt. Matthew Andrew, judge advocate for 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, advises the battalion about when it is legal to order the airstrikes.

Skandia Recluse on February 23, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Can you imagine a world without lawyers?

Ferris on February 23, 2010 at 11:11 AM

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 11:09 AM

My daddy’s been spinning in his grave since The Magnificent One got elected. His new nickname in Heaven is probably “Pinwheel”.

kingsjester on February 23, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Muslims hate you if you are not muslim.

They want you dead if you are not muslim.

This is not hard to understand. They want you dead.

Islam is NOT a religion.

Islam is a DEATH CULT that brainwashes.

ms on February 23, 2010 at 11:11 AM

I thought about that, too, and wondered. I guess snipers aren’t with the ground troops. Or drones are replacing them?

AnninCA on February 23, 2010 at 11:06 AM

I’d highly doubt that drones are replacing our snipers, Ann. A decent marksman with proper equipment isn’t vulnerable to AA fire or to electronic warfare. We’re having serious problems with hackers right now.

Plus there’s cost: drones and their upkeep costs are rather expensive even compared to a very well-paid sniper.

Dark-Star on February 23, 2010 at 11:12 AM

I take it that this “judge” is a euphamism for a drone supervisor, of sorts.

AnninCA on February 23, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Looks like Judge Advocate General to me. Ever watch the JAG tv show?

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.

cs89 on February 23, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Related parody: After Granting Terrorists Miranda Rights, Obama Authorizes Use of Lawyers to Act as Terrorists’ Human Shields http://optoons.blogspot.com/2009/06/after-granting-terrorists-miranda.html

Mervis Winter on February 23, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Presumably yes, but you’d have to make the case for treason and prove it during a Senate trial. That’s a rather high bar.

More to the point, IMHO Obama is not actively trying to lose the war, or anything of the sort. He just doesn’t care about it and wants it to go away. Now that is deplorable but not, in my opinion, grounds for impeachment.

jwolf on February 23, 2010 at 11:01 AM

First point:
It’s the House that impeaches, it’s the Senate that decides to fire the president or no. Example is Bill Clinton – the House impeached him, but the Senate failed to remove him.

Second point:
This new RoE is unprecedented in history, moreover from any military standpoint it is completely insane. A policy forced onto the military by the president that is guaranteed to result in not only Americans being killed, but the loss of a war – sounds like treason to me, or at least a “misdemeanor”.

Rebar on February 23, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Typical ROE for an operation run from the States instead of allowing the experts on the ground set them. I have stressed that to my young Marine that he will be frustrated beyond belief with these and other ROE’s if he gets deployed.
I was fortunate not to have been held to these types of rules while I served.

Semper Fi Marines

the Coondawg on February 23, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Why does the Taliban need armored vehicles when they can just strap children on top?

RBMN on February 23, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Amen

gwelf on February 23, 2010 at 10:54 AM

My sentiments exactly.

I have no doubts, this has less to do with Obamas standing in Afghanistan, than it has to do with Obama’s disdain for the military.

capejasmine on February 23, 2010 at 11:15 AM

Those insurgents may have successfully set another bomb that might kill our soldiers elsewhere.

Not to mention that defusing the trap, even when you know where it is, is risky. From accidental explosions to being targeted in the open by an enemy combatant who knows exactly where the mine was laid…not the preferrable method to deal with the problem.

It’s not nice to think about, but the backlash won’t come unless human shields are dying. So long as we let them play that game sucessfully, the locals may even come to believe they can support and protect the Tali by shielding them. Only when human shield=death sentence will they have cause to resist being used in this way. I’m not suggesting we target civilian shields, but to this armchair quarterback it seems that we can’t effectively prosecute the war if we allow them to handcuff us in this way.

TexasDan on February 23, 2010 at 11:17 AM

There’s no surprise here; muslim terrorists from iraq/afghanistan/gaza/everywhere have been doing this forever.

Human shields, setting up shop and firing weapons from hospitals, etc.

And we, ‘the good guys’, always hamstring our folks, and more of our folks (and civvies, as the conflict is prolonged) die as a result.

Midas on February 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM

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.

The terrorists in Gaza have elevated this to an artform. They hustle women and children into buildings for ‘safety’, then fire rockets from the rooftop into Israel. Or lock them in their apartments before firing the rockets. And even use the basement of these apartment buildings for munitions storage, daring the IDF to bomb it.

A couple of well placed shots from some snipers would solve the problem.

Indeed. You can’t always fight a war from a distance. (Mogadishu ring a bell?)

Phil-351 on February 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM

When I hear stories like this I think of two things: Patton and Russia. Why Patton? Because Patton (and most WWII generals for that matter) wanted to win the war by any means necessary. The thought of Patton actually calling someone to ask permission to engage is ridiculous. In today’s military though, the possibility of going to jail or at the minimum a bad review going into your permanent record is very real. War is terrible and it should always be so. If war becomes bloodless then why should we avoid it?

Why Russia? Because Russia is not afraid to use their military to its full potential; two examples come to mind. First, soon after the Marine barracks were bombed in Lebanon the terrorists thought they would try and scare the Soviets as well. They took a diplomat and his aides hostage and demanded some prisoners released. Instead of talking or negotiating the Soviets did something drastic: they fought back. Spetsnaz (Russias equivalent of Navy SEALS) took the terrorists families hostage and began sending fingers and toes to the terrorists. The terrorists soon surrendered.

The second example is when Russia invaded Chechnya. The first invasion was a total clusterfark because they cared about what the world thought. The second invasion was when Putin was in charge and went entirely different. During the Battle for Grozny the Russians fired 10,000 artillery shells a day into an area the size of a city block. They also wiped entire villages off of the map. With such overwhelming force thrown against them the Chechnyans soon surrendered. Compare that to how we fight in Afghanistan.

I don’t believe in wholesale slaughter, but intentionally crippling our military is wrong. We are in a war, and we need to start acting like it.

txaggie on February 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM

the Coondawg on February 23, 2010 at 11:13 AM

Thx for your service, and for your young Marine as well. Here’s praying he has success in his mission, and returns home safely.

Midas on February 23, 2010 at 11:19 AM

With ROE like these, I can’t imagine anyone wanting to sign up. Well, that’s one way to trash the military: no recruits and retirements left and right. I also can’t see conscription returning to the military unless something huge happens, by which time it might be too late anyway.

Maybe not all to a plan, but the result would be the same.

Liam on February 23, 2010 at 11:20 AM

Please read Mcchrystal’s memo on afghanistan.
He criticizes our previous polciy of ” being preoccupied with the security of our own forces”
and he announces our new policy puts Afghans first.

He freely admits this will result in more Americans killed.
He is a vile POS.

Can I link the Wapo from last Sept article? it is all right there

RWGinger on February 23, 2010 at 11:20 AM

My daddy’s been spinning in his grave since The Magnificent One got elected. His new nickname in Heaven is probably “Pinwheel”.

kingsjester on February 23, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Love it! I’m also expecting some tremors in Baltimore from one uncle and in the Ardennes Cemetary in Belgium from another.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 11:20 AM

OK, so the gloves are half off? Are we really supposed to believe that “Obama” is some kind of hawk?

High reports of strikes not withstanding, Obama is pulling a half-Clinton. This situation would have been easier to manage with the proper air assets.

In Somalia, Clinton refused C-130 gunship deployment. It would have made the difference here, or even A-10s, Apaches – anything with “guns”.

But it’s all drones, baby – because their so “clean”.

Agrippa2k on February 23, 2010 at 11:22 AM

There are no easy answers.

Actually, there are very easy answers, as we have fought wars before, without having to contort ourselves into all sorts of odd positions or spent months navel-gazing about the collateral damage that is part and parcel of war. War is hell, but we have never had problems fighting them, before.

The answers are too easy. It’s the leadership that is the problem and they are a problem that we have no parallel in history for. Of course, the US government used to understand that it works for the interest of US citizens and not for the rest of the world.

But, what do you expect from someone who campaigned in friggin’ Germany. That is certainly not a person who respects US sovereignty or cares one whit about US interests. The answers are far too easy, which is what makes this situation all the more pathetic.

neurosculptor on February 23, 2010 at 11:23 AM

My opinion: Nuke it from Orbit…It’s the only way to make sure.

Seriously, I wanna as many of the Taliban and their supporters (coerced or not)dead.

Rather than trying to win their hearts, we should make them fear us. Same result at a lower cost of American lives.

Tim Burton on February 23, 2010 at 11:24 AM

neurosculptor on February 23, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Truth.

Midas on February 23, 2010 at 11:24 AM

Plus there’s cost: drones and their upkeep costs are rather expensive even compared to a very well-paid sniper.

Dark-Star on February 23, 2010 at 11:12 AM

Please define ” very well paid”. Thanks.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 11:25 AM

Good post by Patterico. I saw the Fox Panel discuss this the other day and to my surprise, Charles K supported the ROE because Obama’s generals support the ROE. Charles apparently assumes that the Generals are not political animals. Big, big mistake.

james23 on February 23, 2010 at 11:26 AM

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

UNFORKINGBELIEVABLE!!!!!!
I am so sorry for those who have family members over there fighting…

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Actually, there are very easy answers, as we have fought wars before,

neurosculptor on February 23, 2010 at 11:23 AM

You are correct. Did the NAZI’s employ children? Did we or the Russians hesitate to shoot them when fired upon?

dogsoldier on February 23, 2010 at 11:32 AM

Their children will just take up arms in a few years anyway. Might as well end the threat now, when they’re just human shields. This isn’t a Steven Speilberg WWII movie. It isn’t pretty. Those kids taken human shields are either being trained as jihadists or abused literally to death. Read some of the reports of Taliban rape rooms. Instant death from a bomb seems rather humane in comparison. When Americans can no longer say that the blood of their children is more important than the blood of foreign children we no longer have the stones to wage war.

chicagojedi on February 23, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Spetsnaz (Russias equivalent of Navy SEALS) took the terrorists families hostage and began sending fingers and toes to the terrorists. The terrorists soon surrendered.

txaggie on February 23, 2010 at 11:18 AM

According to unofficial reports at the time, they did more than that, in at least one case, sending a — how can I put this — male souvenir from one terminated hostage back to his family. The, uh, message was received. I’m not sure I endorse the Russians’ method, but on the other hand they did convincingly demonstrate what language terrorists understand.

jwolf on February 23, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Blood on your hands, Obama. Blood on your hands.

TXUS on February 23, 2010 at 11:37 AM

AnninCA on February 23, 2010 at 10:52 AM

That’s great Ann, but beside the point, which you miss as usual.

DarkCurrent on February 23, 2010 at 11:38 AM

chicagojedi on February 23, 2010 at 11:35 AM

Thanks. Maybe the WON might think about the safety of our children first. Oh, silly me!

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 11:39 AM

I’m always skeptical of these reports about “civilians” anyway. Much of the enemy wears no uniform. We don’t know who all these people are. Plus, when we hit a terrorist camp and the families of the terrorists are killed…in my opinion, the terrorists are the ones responsible for putting their families in harm’s way. You can’t win a war by second guessing and micromanaging everything. You win a war by overwhelming the enemy and destroying their will to fight.

CP on February 23, 2010 at 11:40 AM

That’s great Ann, but beside the point, which you miss as usual.

DarkCurrent on February 23, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Hey, got to give her credit for good reflexes. Never met a point she could’t duck.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 11:41 AM

I can see both sides of this. It does long-term harm to have repeated collateral damage which is then splashed over the world by the media both unfriendly (I include CNN in this group) and not. It will do no good to be an occupying force until we leave. This is the very nation building that liberals love.

At the same time the very idea that lawyers are out there playing referee in active military operations is absurd. The fact that the enemy knows the ROE and is exploiting the weaknesses is a lack of leadership from high military officers. At the very minimum, the ROEs should be flexible enough that the enemy is kept guessing.

highhopes on February 23, 2010 at 11:42 AM

That’s great Ann, but beside the point, which you miss as usual.

DarkCurrent on February 23, 2010 at 11:38 AM
Hey, got to give her credit for good reflexes. Never met a point she could’t duck.

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 11:41 AM

Great pass and dunk!

ladyingray on February 23, 2010 at 11:44 AM

I remember an anecdote from way back early in the *war*. Canadian troops were about to storm a compound and a Jdam was delivered on it as a wake up call to the Muslims. As soon as the noise died a Canadian shouted out to the Muslims, “Is that where you wanted that well drilled?”

I imagine he would be harshly reprimanded today for mocking nation building and hurting Muslims feelings.

BL@KBIRD on February 23, 2010 at 11:45 AM

jwolf on February 23, 2010 at 11:36 AM

I don’t advocate going to this extreme, but we must find some middle ground. We know that our current system isn’t discouraging terrorists. They believe, correctly, that if they produce enough blood we will give up. It is irrelevant if it is civilian or military. Our political class is so used to using the carrot it has lost the stick. Why should anyone fear the US if they know we will stay our hand unless conditions are perfect.

txaggie on February 23, 2010 at 11:46 AM

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’ve told this story several times on HotAir …

During the opening of the Afghan War … My ship was in the Persian Gulf cruising back out to the NAS when we encountered an obvious Iraqi smuggler who was violating the UN sanctions.

Long story short – we prepared to board the vessel and seize it if necessary but, we needed approval to do that first from the lawyers at 5th Fleet.

Two hours after our request – we received permission to board. Too bad the smuggler was already safe and sound in Iranian territorial waters – where we couldn’t follow him. He made a beeline for their waters as soon as he spotted us following him.

But … It was still a happy ending. Two days later the Iranians pumped 10 5-inch shells into his pilot house – because they didn’t like him there either.

Guess the Iranian Revolutionary Guard doesn’t have to deal with lawyers.

HondaV65 on February 23, 2010 at 11:48 AM

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

That’s not the way Dick the butcher sees it.

/cryptic?

LegendHasIt on February 23, 2010 at 11:48 AM

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

This is the kind of thinking and action that could well get us all killed! More liberal convoluted thinking!

GFW on February 23, 2010 at 11:49 AM

At least Dear Leader is consistant–same principles apply when we catch a terrorist also–and the enemy has the army field manual on interrogation memorized…
Great rule of the new ROE–advertise in advance what your plans are…and don’t change a thing…

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 11:50 AM

I don’t advocate going to this extreme, but we must find some middle ground. We know that our current system isn’t discouraging terrorists. They believe, correctly, that if they produce enough blood we will give up. It is irrelevant if it is civilian or military. Our political class is so used to using the carrot it has lost the stick. Why should anyone fear the US if they know we will stay our hand unless conditions are perfect.

txaggie on February 23, 2010 at 11:46 AM

There is no middle ground in a war. We need to be feared, not loved. cc: bambi

katy the mean old lady on February 23, 2010 at 11:50 AM

When one side uses civilians as shields, they are responsible FOR ALL CIVILIAN CASUALTIES.

Every press briefing should begin with a list of the Taliban/al’Qaeda war crimes committed in the last 24 hours, using civilians as shields first and foremost. Then the following: “Due to their constant violations of the most basic of the laws of war, they are responsible for all civilian casualties. If those of you in the media and international community truly are interested in minimizing civilian casualties, you will put all your efforts towards either forcing the Taliban/al’Qaeda into compliance with the laws of war, or towards their destruction.”

Crawford on February 23, 2010 at 11:51 AM

Back to Viet Nam, so don’t be surprised to have Viet Nam’s results.

My squad leader told me he got reduced several steps in rank for firing upon a vicious animal that was attacking his squad. It was a ‘civilian no-fire zone’, so apparently they couldn’t even defend themselves from enemy fire. This is why America is in the toilet. Flamboyantly anti-American 60s radical Obama won’t be satisfied until the War on Terror ends up like the Viet Nam War (which I’m sure he protested), complete with exterminations, thanks to Special Forces protection being taken away from those that were stupid enough to cooperate in trying to free their countries (Afgnanistan/Iraq). I wonder how many millions will die, this time, and if we’ll be stuck with more Boat People. I think of scenes of helicopters EVACing our embassy, and civilians massing at the gates, kept at bay by Marine security guards, desparate to do anything to get on one of those copters, so they won’t wind up dead in the streets with their head sawed off. When Osama bin-Laden establishes his pan islamic states, will he be able to beat Pol Pot’s body count? I think so.

Like then, our Congress will cut funding, and leave Soldiers high and dry to die. The Viet Nam War was suddenly called a ‘police action’, because the bureaucrats were cowards, afraid of war. Now, we’ve got the ‘overseas contingencies’, or whatever the Hell they’re calling it. Our servicemen are already becoming even more popular as targets to malign; look at your movies & TV. We’ve got people protesting recruiters in their towns. Liberals that call themselves Soldiers using the limelight to blame us for everything.

Sound familiar yet?

Soon, the spitting on Soldiers in public airports will start, again, as in my father’s days. Then, of course, with some entertaining mental gymnastics this will all be spun out to be Bush’s fault. And people can’t understand why I’ve just seemed to give up, become sick of America and fall into a depression.

Virus-X on February 23, 2010 at 11:52 AM

I would like to say that these new ROE’s are…retarded

lovingmyUSA on February 23, 2010 at 11:53 AM

Before anyone gets egg on their face …

Might want to verify that this “lawyer thing” and the “ROE” is due to Obama.

As I posted above – it could be a leftover from the Bush years.

We dealt with these very things in theater back then.

Just sayin’

HondaV65 on February 23, 2010 at 11:53 AM

I take it that this “judge” is a euphamism for a drone supervisor, of sorts.

You’re mentally deficient, aren’t you?

Crawford on February 23, 2010 at 11:54 AM

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

I don’t advocate going to this extreme, but we must find some middle ground. We know that our current system isn’t discouraging terrorists. They believe, correctly, that if they produce enough blood we will give up. It is irrelevant if it is civilian or military. Our political class is so used to using the carrot it has lost the stick. Why should anyone fear the US if they know we will stay our hand unless conditions are perfect.

txaggie on February 23, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Do you have a loved one out there?

ladyingray on February 23, 2010 at 11:58 AM

FUBAR

Kini on February 23, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Sound familiar yet?

Soon, the spitting on Soldiers in public airports will start, again, as in my father’s days.

Virus-X on February 23, 2010 at 11:52 AM

There’s a big difference. Vietnam-era news was a lot more restricted. The 3 networks and the major newspapers had a lot of control over the narrative coming out of Southeast Asia. Today, the truth gets out. It may not be the most-read version of events, but it helps remind Americans that the story may not be exactly what they see in the NY Times. And independent coverage keeps the MSM closer to honest.

hawksruleva on February 23, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Well when you have a president (and party), who (falsely) believes America is an imperialist power and global bully that is to blame for much of the suffering in the world and hence goes around apologizing to the very same enemies who attacked us (muslims) on 9/11 (and continues to wage war against us), naturally he’s going to agonize over every decision that might lead to the deaths of ‘innocents’ (fellow muslims?) in foreign lands in wars that he (in his heart) completely opposes. Hence the ROE will be an extension of his guilt-plagued fecklessness.

Obama doesn’t consider this to be a legitimate war-in fact no war is justifiable to any leftist. In this case he’s also a crypto-muslim, who’s adopted the OIC (57 muslim nation block) resolution to ban criticism of Islam in the UN (hence all member nations) and has appointed muslims to key positions and has sent billions of dollars to muslim countries like the terror-state of Fakeistine.

Whatever the truth is in Obama’s heart and soul, his actions speak for themselves. The ROE in its current form is design to eliminate enemy causalities while putting at huge risk or maximize friendly ones. This is beyond ludicrous that our valiant men and women have to call a lawyer to get permission to kill a terrorist/enemy combatant on a battlefield in the middle of a war.

There is ample evidence to impeach Obama and have him (and his minions like Eric Holder) tried for treason, if not sheer incompetence. Only one year in office and he’s brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy and is causing us to lose the war against Islam. Just imagine how much more damage this unamerican, unpatriotic, unqualified buffoon of a leader will cause in the next 3 years if people let him get away with it.

Arguably the most disturbing issue that is being avoided by the Obama administration is the nuclearization of Iran. Iran’s a theocratic tyrannical thug state which believes a 12th “hidden” Imam will emerge and bring peace once they initiate a war or holocaust against the great and little Satan (US/Israel). You can’t negotiate with lunatics of a death cult. Imagine the scale of devastation that we would’ve had if 9/11 happened with nukes instead of passenger-jets. To allow Iran to go nuclear would mean giving our implacable enemies the means to wipe us out. The Republicans need to start taking these things seriously and light a fire under Obama to force him to live up to his campaign promises-the most important being to prevent Iran from acquiring nukes.

thinkagain on February 23, 2010 at 12:10 PM

Stories like this about ROE designed not for victory but to avoid collateral damage and upsetting the enemy, always reminds me of a Star Trek (TOS) episode — A Taste of Armaggeddon. Two planets have been at war for centuries. But instead of actual battles, they have computerized virtual battles. The computers record hits and tally casualties. If you had the misfortune of being declared dead, you had 24 hours to report to a disintergration center. This way the civilizations could survive without too much real damage. It was all clean and bloodless and the war just went on and on and on. Failure of one side to disintegrate designated casualties could trigger a real war. Kirk, being Kirk, destroys one side’s computers and disintegration centers arguing that war SHOULD be ugly, messy, and bloody, so as to make it something to be avoided. Making war clean condemns the combatants to never-ending (even if low-level) battle.

ncc770 on February 23, 2010 at 12:13 PM

ncc770 on February 23, 2010 at 12:13 PM

Nice illustration!

daesleeper on February 23, 2010 at 12:16 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.

If you want to make the case for “collateral damage,” greater good, or whatever else, that’s one thing. But the children of your enemy are still just children, and I find it hard to hold them accountable for someone else taking advantage of that position of trust. I mean, when a teacher or priest molests a child, would you have the child arrested, too?

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

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