In an interview with NPR about the Rules Of Engagement, Tom Bowman, observed Marines forced to cease engaging insurgents planting a roadside bomb, due to the ROE.
“…we were inside this center, a command center, watching a video screen. They were watching live while these guys were digging a hole for a roadside bomb. And there were other indicators, too, besides digging the hole. There was a guy swimming across a canal with this wire, and the wires are used to detonate the bomb… They had all the indicators that these guys were insurgents planting a bomb. So they thought about using a machine gun to shoot these guys. There was another combat outpost not too far away. The problem was there was a compound of houses between where the Marines were with their machine gun and the guys planting the bomb. So then they decided to bring in the helicopters and use the machines guns and the helicopters to shoot these guys. As the helicopters came in, these guys look up in the air and start walking away. One of the guys was carrying a yellow jug – and that’s become the icon of the roadside bomb. They mix fertilizer and diesel fuel in this, and that becomes a part of the bomb. And then we saw one of these guys throw this jug into a haystack.”
With the arrival of the helicopter gunship the insurgents departed unharmed, as the Marines no longer had the permission to engage the now unharmed enemy.
Now this is as absurd as Rumsfeld trying to fight and control Iraq with the small amount of forces we initially used there. If you are going to fight a war, FIGHT! Yes, civilians die in a war, but so do our soldiers. I watched this morning a video shot by a British soldier wearing a camera on his helmet as a buddy was shot in the face. This was of course, horrible footage to see and it was “brought to you live” by our ridiculous Rules of Engagement. Where was the air cover, the gunships to cover the battlefield? They were not present!
What were the rules of engagement in Dresden, during WW2? Did anyone cringe amongst the allies at the many thousands of civilians killed in the firebombing. NO, they applauded as this was a fight to the death with Nazi Germany. When the Israelis last fought Hezbollah, the Iranian supported terrorists in Lebanon, the end result was a de facto loss of the engagement by Israel. I say de-facto as it was essentially a draw. Now the Israeli army does not have a history of battles ending in a draw. However this battle did, which is why I refer to it as a “de facto loss”, as they were fighting the war for the TV cameras and their rules of engagement were in effect and trying to mitigate any harm to civilians. Well, when these terrorists stop hiding among the civilians, civilians will be safe.
I am not a proponent of war, but if we are going to wage war in our national interests, and they best be good ones, then FIGHT the damn war and do your best to protect civilians from harm, but in no way should the best of us, fighting for us, be put in any more harm’s way then is necessary due to the unrealistic Rules of Engagement.
Wake up Obama, this policy is killing our men in uniform unnecessarily. Yes, they know they risk harm when entering battle, but do you know you risk extra and unnecessary harm to them with these rules?