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The 5 Biggest Insults to American Manhood by the Rules of Engagement in Afghanistan

Bing West and Vince Flynn make the case against the castration of our military.

by
David Forsmark

Bio

February 15, 2013 - 2:20 pm

3. It Doesn’t Protect the Innocent

The first manly virtue is to protect the weak. Women and children first may be considered chauvinistic in some circles, but… good. Who cares about those circles, anyway? More from West in The Wrong War  :

However, coalition and Afghan rules covering crime and punishment lacked purpose, consistency and reliability. A few kilometres south of Jakar, an 11-year-old boy often waved at passing patrols. The Marines took to chatting with the boy, who pointed out a trail the Taliban occasionally used. A few weeks later, the Taliban executed him and his brothers, sisters, mother and father. Although shocked neighbours knew the identities of the gang that had gone to the farm in the middle of the day, no one would testify.

The tragedy illustrated a disquieting truth: American military doctrine didn’t know how to confront evil. On the one hand, the Taliban were portrayed as extremists who stoned women to death, burned schools and whipped men. On the other hand, the generals indicated that most Taliban were misguided youths.

“In the Taliban ranks,” Gen. Stanley McChrystal said, “there’s a tremendous number of fighters and commanders who would like to come back in.” Among the fighters who might come back in were the local Taliban farm boys who murdered the 11-year-old and his family. The American military and judicial systems were so tied up in political knots that in Afghanistan there were no coalition trials for murderers or terrorists. If they renounced the insurgency, the coalition would give them jobs.

Worse, Afghans as a society denied that fellow Afghans were capable of evil. The locals knew the killers. But there was no penalty for murder if committed in the name of Islam.

(By the way, the above quote is worth considering before conservatives like Sean Hannity put McChrystal on a pedestal just because he is critical of Obama.)

Our only concern for the innocents in Afghanistan seems to be the politically motivated desire to avoid collateral civilian deaths. But by instituting the most restrictive rules of engagement since Vietnam, we have given the Taliban and al-Qaeda incentive to use human shields.

And by making American soldiers, Marines, and airmen stand around and let this happen, we murder their martial spirit, and ask them to be less than the men they are.

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All Comments   (9)
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This is an eminently wrongheaded article. It is not surprising that much of the supporting documentation comes from novels. You can't boilerplate any strategy but current counter insurgency methods have to available in the range of capabilities that we deploy.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
"...kill them whenever and wherever we can find them and let the Afghan government build its own society..."

If properly done, it would also reduce the size of the Afghan government to a core of less-corrupt individuals who have gotten the message and could build that society that could rule a country that has never been ruled before at anything larger than a tribal level.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
US Military strategy and tactics has been White House approved since 1950, per the 1948 law which formed the Air Force. Generals doing dumb things are doing dumb White House things.

The US, a contractual nation, does not understand that trader nations are different and involve routine presentation and use of deadly force to sort out the pecking order in power relationships and to do deals.

The US has tried to use military intervention in the Musim religious activity in various nations. The US has not come up with anything which works, other than compliance and pretending it is not compliance. When US intervention fails, the only fallback position which is not a self-inflicting wound would be to separate from the Muslim nation in question, limiting dealings with them to be similar to what we have with North Korea. We should respect Islam. Their foreign students should not study subjects in the US which would be frowned upon by the Koran, such as nuclear physics. They should be offered more suitable and non-offending subjects like literature, religion, and ethnic studies. Refugees from such places who are not Dhimmi can be directed to Europe or other places, but not to the US.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
In my view, this all started with the creation of the U.N. WWII was the last war we actually fought to win. As in win the war, let the hearts and minds take care of themselves.

One could make the argument that we fought the first gulf war to win, and accomplished what we set out to do, kick Iraq out of Kuwait, but to win, we would have gone up to Baghdad and Saddam then. Saving us the trouble of going back later. But that would have been viewed as aggression. Well duhhh.

We fought WWII in Europe and the Pacific by massive destruction and killing of the enemy and the civilian populations that supported him. Then we helped patch up what was left after we destroyed the desire to keep fighting on the other side. Created two solid allies and two of the strongest capitalist economies in history.

since then, it's been all about containment and winning hearts and minds. Muslims aren't interested in capitalism or democracy. Let them live in the 7th century and if they attack us, respond with such ferocity they won't want to try it again for many generations.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
Greetings:

One of my favorite counter-insurgency stories comes from T.R. Fehrenbach's "Commanches: The History of a People". Back in the mid-1800s, the Texicans were having some difficulties with their aforementioned neighbors. Those neighbors had a kind of "good cop, bad cop" theory of intertribal relations in which a certain amount of gifting might preclude a certain amount of raiding.

Understanding the inexactness of thes proclivities, the Texicans invited the Comanches to a meeting (pow wow ???) at the courthouse in old San Antone to hash out some specifics. When the Amerindians arrived, the Texicans locked the courthouse and began shooting them. Those Indians crafty enough to escape the building set upon and were, in turn, set upon by local citizenry.

The author, based on his years of study, concluded that the Texicans' trap resulted in the killing of many Comanche leaders and its long term effects contributed significantly to the Comanches demise.

Americans used to know how to do these things.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
And those in charge are wondering at the jump in suicides in the military....
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
It is Deja Vu all over again: Keith Laumer witnessed the S.E. Asian
version of this and wrote it into his stories of an...unconventional
officer of the Corps Diplomatique Terrestrienne:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jame_Retief
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
The stuffed shirts in business suits who infest Washington & work for the government don't care,they have their careers to think about. Troops get killed or maimed every day because of idiotic rules dictated by these careerists.They can always get more troops from the underclass,why question their policies & jeopardize their careers for the benefit of the troops!
PS: I recall reading something many years back about classified/secret documents in Washington.A majority of these classified documents had little or nothing to do with national security.They were classified to protect the reputations of government hot-shots who had been responsible for bad policies.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
The cruels of engagement are an insult to mentalhood.
2 years ago
2 years ago Link To Comment
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