Theodore's World: Anti-Military Obama's New Military Rules Of Engagement More Rules In How To Kill Our Troops

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December 15, 2009

Anti-Military Obama's New Military Rules Of Engagement More Rules In How To Kill Our Troops

It's not just the enemy killing U.S. soldiers

You won't believe new rules of engagement in Afghanistan


by F. Michael Maloof

New military rules of engagement ostensibly to protect Afghan civilians are putting the lives of U.S. forces in jeopardy, claim Army and Marine sources, as the Taliban learns the game plan based the rules' imposed limits.
The rules of engagement, or ROEs, apply to all coalition forces of the United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Their enactment is in response to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's complaints over mounting civilian deaths apparently occurring in firefights.

Despite the fact that the newly arrived U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, imposed the more restrictive ROEs to minimize the killing of innocent civilians, however, the Taliban is well aware of them and has its own forces acting in ways to counteract them.

The impact of new restrictions has created increasing frustration and concern among U.S. Army and Marine Corps troops who now are compelled to follow these rules despite the danger of letting the Taliban live to fight again another day.

Critics see the new ROEs being more oriented toward defensive rather than offensive operations, as evidenced by recent charges of murder against two U.S. Army snipers because they had targeted a Taliban commander who reportedly wasn't holding a weapon.

The actual ROEs are said to be classified U.S. and NATO secrets, but based on individual soldier accounts, those restrictions include the following:

* No night or surprise searches

* Villagers are to be warned prior to searches

* Afghan National Army, or ANA, or Afghan National Police, or ANP, must accompany U.S. units on searches

* U.S. soldiers may not fire at insurgents unless they are preparing to fire first

* U.S. forces cannot engage insurgents if civilians are present

* Only women can search women

* Troops can fire on insurgents if they catch them placing an IED but not if insurgents walk away from where the explosives are.

Often, rules of engagement require varying levels of approvals before action can be taken. In one case, villagers had tipped off U.S. forces of the presence of a Taliban commander who was threatening village elders.

To get permission to go after him, U.S. troops had to get 11 separate Afghan, U.S. and international forces' approval to the plan. The approval, however, did not come until well into the next day. By then, the Taliban commander had moved on, to the consternation of the villagers who had provided the tip. Observers have claimed that it can take some 96 hours to acquire all the permissions to act.

In other cases, the use of force against insurgents may be blocked if they lower their guns, only to have those insurgents return later to attack.

Also, ISAF troops cannot engage insurgents if they are leaving an area where an IED has been planted. In one case, insurgents planting an IED had detected the presence of U.S. forces and immediately began leaving the area, tossing evidence of their preparations along the way. U.S. forces could not fire on them.

The ROEs in some cases have gone beyond limiting ISAF troops in their operations. In one case, ROE restrictions were in effect when four U.S. Marines twice pleaded by radio for artillery support in combat action in Kunar Province in Afghanistan – and twice they were refused, before they were killed.

Rules Of Engagement Are A Dilemma For U.S. Troops

Tom Bowman and Renee Montagne

December 11, 2009

As part of the new American counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, soldiers and Marines must work first to protect the Afghan population. Given the choice between killing the enemy or risking civilian lives, they have been willing to let the enemy go. NPR's Tom Bowman was in Afghanistan earlier this year and witnessed troops grappling with the dilemma of whether to shoot.


Next, we have a story that underlines the difficulty of fighting a war amid a civilian population. It's the story of U.S. Marines who had Afghans in their gun sights, Afghans who looked like they might be planting a bomb. The Marines had to decide whether to pull the trigger. Their decision says a lot about the rules of war against insurgents in Afghanistan.

NPR Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman watched the story unfold during a recent visit to the country, and he joins us now to talk about it. Hello.

TOM BOWMAN: Hi, Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now the rules of engagement have changed lately for troops in Afghanistan.

BOWMAN: That's right. General Stanley McChrystal, the overall commander there, tightened up these rules on when soldiers can fire. And he did this because there was - there were too many civilian casualties in Afghanistan. But this all illustrates the basic dilemma for U.S. troops. They want to kill insurgents who are trying to kill them, but their job is to make sure they only fire when they're very sure of their targets.

MONTAGNE: So, Tom, tell us what it was that you saw?

BOWMAN: Well, Renee, we were in this combat outpost down in southern Afghanistan, in the Helmand River Valley, and 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.

Unidentified Man #1: I have two guys on the west side of the cow buoys(ph) running wires across the canal to the west side, where a (unintelligible) an IED the other day. So, they're watching them right now.

BOWMAN: There were a couple of guys keeping watch and stopping traffic. And the Marines were intercepting a radio call from these suspected insurgents while they were doing these other activities.

MONTAGNE: And on the radio, they were saying we're planting a bomb?

BOWMAN: And on the radio they were talking about planting a bomb.

MONTAGNE: So from the Marines perspective, the Afghans really did appear to be insurgents. So what did they do?

BOWMAN: Well, they felt comfortable. 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.

Unidentified Man #2: And hiding the jug into the hay pile right now, and then are walking near the open field, so just wait until...

BOWMAN: And they were gone. It was all over. They could no longer shoot at them.

MONTAGNE: So why didn't they shoot at them?

BOWMAN: Well, they thought that they were still too close to this compound of houses to allow these helicopters to use their machine guns to shoot, so they decided against it.

MONTAGNE: So, in being very, very careful about shooting at what they absolutely believed to be insurgents, they ended up, in effect, losing these guys. How did that make them feel?

BOWMAN: Well, they weren't happy at all. And some of them stormed out of this command center. And we talked with one of them afterwards. This is Lieutenant James Wendy(ph).

Lieutenant JAMES WENDY (U.S. Marines): There's no way that anyone other than the enemy would've been injured.

BOWMAN: So, why weren't you allowed to shoot?

Lt. WENDY: Honestly, I don't know. I'd like to say I wish we could play by the big boy rules, you know, but, you know, it's just the way it is. And if I had known how frustrating it'd be and was able to better prepare myself for that mentally, I think that maybe I would've been better off.

MONTAGNE: What about the military leaders? Is it reaching the top? Are they hearing these complaints about these rules of engagement that are so restrictive?

BOWMAN: You know, they are hearing these complaints. And I had a few minutes this week with their overall commander, General McChrystal, and I told him the same story, Renee, I told you. And I asked him about the rules of engagement. Here's what he had to say:

General STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL (U.S. Commander, Afghanistan): I've been at this a long time now, since 9/11, and there were a tremendous number of times when I've seen activities done, which, on the surface of what was seen, looks exactly one way, looks completely convincing. And then in the aftermath, what you saw was incomplete. In fact, what we find is civilian casualties who are unarmed civilians.

I think when we err on the side of maturity and caution, there is a cost. And I know that we're asking an extraordinary amount from them to operate with such restraint and self-discipline, but I think it's how we win the war.

BOWMAN: So, that being said, there's still a widespread frustration among the troops, of feeling that their hands are tied in going after insurgents.

MONTAGNE: NPR's Pentagon correspondent Tom Bowman. Thanks very much.

BOWMAN: You're welcome, Renee.

Wild Thing's comment.............

I can’t tell you the level of rage this makes me feel!

"And I know that we’re asking an extraordinary amount from them to operate with such restraint and self-discipline, but I think it’s how we win the war." ~ McChrystal

He actually said this...OMG! And the other things as well.

Obama and McChrystal presented these ROE back in July of this year. IMO I think McChrystal is of the same mind set as Obama, I truly do.. A good Commander would NEVER sacrifice his troops the way McChrystal has and do so willingly. McChrystal has done this willingly. NO RESPECT for the man. He deserves none. not from me, and not from the Troops he is PERSONALLY endangering. And OBAMA does not care about our troops in any way, shape, or form. BUT McChrystal is NOT. He is supposed to care. He is supposed to protect the lives of those under HIS command, even if he must defy obama to do it.

And LOOK at this POS in our military! The Generals are part of the problem. PC Islamic bootlickers.

Look at this one.

US Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond: Islam is a Beautiful Religion - June 26, 2009

Representatives of the Islamic Society of Colorado Springs met Thursday with Fort Carson military leaders at the Army base to discuss ways to improve cultural awareness and an understanding of Islam among deploying soldiers.
Maj. Gen. Jeffery Hammond, commanding general of the 4th Infantry Division, initiated the meeting in hopes of developing a better cultural-awareness program for the thousands of soldiers already at Fort Carson and the hundreds expected to arrive this summer.
We want to talk to (soldiers) about this beautiful religion,” Hammond said at the one-hour meeting, attended by local Islamic leaders Arshad Yousufi, Farouk Abushaban and Dawud Salaam; 4th Infantry Division cultural adviser Al Azim; and four other Army leaders.

OMG, this is so totally insane!

Nothing good will come from Obama's anti- military R.O.E.'s. You can't micromanage a firefight and as the case of the Marines killed in the Kunar province in August demonstrates, micromanaging is deadly to our troops. It is impossible to prevent civilian casualties during a time of war. We will only lose more of our troops attempting to do so and the enemy knows the Achilles heal by which to exploit and use to their advantage. The enemy gets to use their full arsenal and tactics on our troops but our guys have to fight hamstrung by the ROE’s. Utter and complete BS.

“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. ~ RIP Major Williams, 9/09/2009

Here are two more that I have heard of from our troops.

Can’t fire on women carrying ammo to the fighters who are shooting at our troops. Cease fire when the women are passing out the ammo.

Can’t fire at the Taliban with the binoculars, adjusting the mortar fire on our troops. He is not holding a “weapon,” merely binoculars to help improve the aim of the mortar teams killing our troops.

Here are MY own R.O.E.

Consider no target off limits under any circumstances if our troops are being fired on.

No exceptions.

Using the killing R.O.E.'s of Obama, if a soldier has a doubt it can cause a hesitation that could cost them their life and the lives of the rest of our troops.

Fight to win

There is great danger to our troops and other NATO troops as well.

....Thank you Mark for sending this to me.

3rd Mar.Div. 1st Battalion 9th Marine Regiment
1/9 Marines aka The Walking Dead
VN 66-67

Posted by Wild Thing at December 15, 2009 02:55 AM


So now we have islamic terrorist cultural advisors in our military?

As much respect as I have for the troops since I used to be one, the Gold Leaf boys need a good old fashioned butt kicking to bring them back to reality.

And for those planning to join to escape the economic problems brought on by Adolph Obama, my advise is to stick it out as the military isn't up to protecting the troops they send into battle.

Posted by: cuchieddie(Enemy of the State) at December 15, 2009 06:57 AM

You cannot fight a winning battle with rules! Wm T Sherman once said, "War is Hell". Puller said, "We're surrounded? Good, now we can kill 'em in all directions!" Things we don't like happen during wartime. It's inevitable, but to tie our kids hands behind their backs so they can't fight is simply stupid and the most absurd thing I have witnessed. Why would anyone want the Taliban or Al Qaeda in charge of any nation? They are the bad guys, people. Let's not lose sight of who the good guys are. This administration just gets worse and worse by the minute.

Posted by: Lynn at December 15, 2009 08:08 AM

If anyone comes to this post and claims that these ROE are reasonable, ban them immediately, as they are so hurting for brain cells that they could do something that could hurt themselves or us. Anyone that believes that these ROE were designed by a warrior is dumb, dumb, DUMB!
What a crock of feces. This is what has been killing cops for years, and now it is extended to our military who is fighting someone who don’t give a damn about ROE, Life, or living.
Just shoot ‘em in the FACE! How difficult is that to comprehend?

“Never Forget Ft. Hood Texas 11/5/09!” Where the troops are unarmed and the bad guys are fully armed!

Posted by: Frankly Opinionated at December 15, 2009 08:54 AM

My ROE for all US military actions:
1 Find the enemy,
2 Kill the enemy,
3 Laugh at the dead enemy,
4 repeat 1-3 until no more enemy are alive.

Once again...the side who plays by the rules gets to die by the rules while the jihadists laugh and laugh. Geez.

Posted by: petesuj at December 15, 2009 09:12 AM

If we continue to follow these ROE or even add more ROE, the war is lost. We had some ROE in Vietnam, but nothing like these. We also had free fire zones which I haven't heard mentioned in this conflict.

When the generals go along with restrictions like these, the war is lost and every casualty we suffer is needless.

Posted by: TomR at December 15, 2009 10:26 AM

Remember, McChrystal was hand picked by Obama for this job.

You've got to get over the glitter of their brass to realize many officers aren't worth sh_t. Many only care about their next promotion and will sacrifice anyone they think will get them promoted. Face it, Democrats are in power and for a general officer to retire at the 3 and 4 star level, requires congressional approval. The difference in pay between a 2 and 3 star general is over $15,000 per year.

Posted by: BobF at December 15, 2009 10:33 AM

Sgt, why are your men shooting? There are friendlies out there!
Sir! They are not friendly and they are shooting at us, Sir!

The view from 5000 ft. is a hell of a lot different than that from 100 ft. Saigon Warrior
Looks to me like Casey's testicles never descended and he's spent his entire career as an armchair general. One of many staff officers in battle zones only there to get their tickets punched for that next star.
Thanks Eddie, I feel the same way. Damned politicians. This is the real 'statesman' crock of shit that's peddled.
Keep your offspring home, let these ungrateful spineless bastards pack the load for a change. Maybe one of those 'patriotic Danes will step forward and take Mo's knife away just before your throat is slit.

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2009 12:32 PM

"Take only those losses that are unavoidable, if you can't smart your way out of it. Soldiers are entitled to leaders who can usually smart their way out of it."~ Arthur David Simons
"If history is any teacher, it teaches that when you get indifferent and you lose the will to fight, some other guy who has the will to fight will take you over." ~ Arthur David Simons

Posted by: Jack at December 15, 2009 02:16 PM

Part of the problem is there are too damn many reporters over there. They see something and report it as fact, not knowing for sure what they are looking at. It use to be 'what happened in the bush stayed in the bush'. Now you got a goddam reporter hanging around to report every time the platoon commander took a leak.

These ROEs are worthless. Do nothing but turn the troops into targets. If a woman is carrying Ammo then she's part of the problem. And where is she getting it ? Her house ? Nieghbor ? A blind man can see whats going on over there. It doesn't take the enemy long to figure out that in certain situations you can't shoot back, they take advantage of that.

The troops can't search without warning them they are coming, giving them plenty of time to hide it.

If this is the way we have to fight this thing then one American life is not worth the price.

Posted by: Mark at December 15, 2009 02:35 PM

Rules written by attorney who have probably never held a gun and certainly never experianced enemy fire. I would love to see these bleeding heart progressives out there being shot at with these rules restricting them. Yes this will cost the lives of some US soldiers and those who are responsible should be held liable. But that will never happen. The only ones that will suffer are US troops and certainly not the enemy.

Posted by: Ron Russell at December 15, 2009 02:57 PM

Dejavuuuuu all over again, eh Vietnam War warriors? The DC CCCP Pentagonners are setting our warriors up to FAIL all over again and this time there is no President Nixon around - who ended the Vietnam War with Operation Linebacker II with B-52s over Hanoi! That's right... over Hanoi!! The Soviet Red Army had TEN YEARS of FULL engagement, lost 38,000 reds but killed one million Mujahideen rebels and collaborators...
Forget about our measley 30,000 troops entering the Khyber Pass of Doom in Afghanistan!

Posted by: darthcrUSAderworldtour07 at December 15, 2009 04:03 PM

The Obama war strategy in Afghanistan:

1. Me Me Me Me Me!!!

2. Dither Dither Dither Dither Dither 90+ Days!!!

3. ROEs that threaten every soldier within US Armed Forces to die prematurily in the Afghan war.

4. Victory Is Not Our Goal In Afghanistan.

Impeach Obama

Posted by: Anon at December 15, 2009 06:53 PM

As a mother of two Marines, both of whom will be deploying next year to Afghanistan, along with several other young men that we know personally. They all are not in the Marine Corp, but other branches of the services. Each one of them chose to do this, but when they enlisted the rules were different!

Why don't we just assist the terrorists by giving them arms so that they can use it against our sons and daughters?

I can only hope that the young men I know will do what needs to be done to come home safely! If there are ramifications of this, so be it, at least they are alive and we will do whatever is necessary for them.

Posted by: jada at December 15, 2009 07:48 PM

Let's pray they do Jada. And God Bless you and keep your sons safe.

Semper Fi

Posted by: Mark at December 15, 2009 09:13 PM

Thank you for all of your input about this.
It means a lot to me to hear your thoughts
about this.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 16, 2009 12:42 AM

Jada, thank you for sharing about your
sons. I am adding your sons to my prayers
to keep them safe. Your in my thoughts and
prayers too Jada. Please let your sons
know they have a lot of people that
are so grateful for their service.

Posted by: Wild Thing at December 16, 2009 12:45 AM