Tuesday, December 08, 2009

ROE: The Real Outrage of Obama’s Afghanistan Strategy

President Obama's decision to name a pullout date from Afghanistan, and to state it publicly has angered anyone who thinks seriously about all aspects of waging war on a fearsome enemy, but Obama's timing decision was not the worst of it.

I trust everyone has been noticing the recent news reports coming from Afghanistan of the increasing numbers of the deaths of American soldiers. Just about everyday we hear of four soldiers killed in ambush or fifteen Americans killed when a position has been overrun. So far, the number of military deaths has doubled this year over last year, and the year has not yet ended. What the mainstream press is not telling us, however, is the real reason for the great increase in American casualties recently: the reason is called, ROE.

In the above graph provided by, American deaths in Afghanistan total 155 in 2008 and 302 in just 11 months this year.

ROE stands for Rules of Engagement, the rules soldiers and their commanders have to follow when fighting the enemy. In Afghanistan, the enemy we are fighting have no ROE; they hide in civilian houses and in mosques; they position themselves in wedding and funeral processions; they use women and children as shields, and send women and children wrapped in bombs to kill Americans. They maim, mutilate and behead any prisoners that they capture.

Earlier this year the Obama Administration made significant changes in the ROE, exposing our soldiers to greater danger and, in many cases, making it impossible for them to defend themselves. I leave it to you to decide whether these changes are due to stupidity or whether more insidious motives are at work here. In my view, when we send American soldiers into battle, every attempt should be made to achieve the objective at minimum cost in American casualties, and anything else is treason.
Marines' plea for help under investigation: US

By Dan De Luce (AFP) – Sep 9, 2009 (Excerpt)

WASHINGTON — "NATO-led forces are investigating the death of four Marines in eastern Afghanistan after their commanders reportedly rejected requests for artillery fire in a battle with insurgents, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

Tuesday's incident was "under investigation" and details remained unclear, press secretary Geoff Morrell told a news conference.

A McClatchy newspapers' journalist who witnessed the battle reported that a team of Marine trainers made repeated appeals for air and artillery support after being pinned down by insurgents in the village of Ganjgal in eastern Kunar province.

The US troops had to wait more than an hour for attack helicopters to come to their aid and their appeal for artillery fire was rejected, with commanders citing new rules designed to avoid civilian casualties, the report said.

Morrell said the helicopters were not hampered by any restrictions on air power but had to travel a long distance to reach the Marines at the remote location near the Pakistan border.

"I think that it did take some time for close air support to arrive in this case, but this is not a result of more restrictive conditions in which it can be used," he said.

"It was the result, as is often the case in Afghanistan, of the fact that there are great distances often between bases where such assets are located and where our troops are out operating."

Morrell could not confirm whether appeals for artillery fire were denied by commanders.

According to the McClatchy report by Jonathan Landay, the US advisors assisting Afghan forces had been assured before the operation that "air cover would be five minutes away."

The incident comes after the top commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, issued new restrictions on the use of military force and air raids in a bid to prevent civilian deaths." AFP
Airstrikes in Afghanistan drop by almost half

By Jim Michaels, USA TODAY (Excerpt)

"Airstrikes by coalition forces in Afghanistan have dropped dramatically in the three months Gen. Stanley McChrystal has led the war effort there, reflecting his new emphasis on avoiding civilian casualties and protecting the population.

NATO fixed-wing aircraft dropped 1,211 bombs and other munitions during the past three months — the peak of the fighting season — compared with 2,366 during the same period last year, according to military statistics. The nearly 50% decline in airstrikes comes with an influx of more than 20,000 U.S. troops this year and an increase in insurgent attacks.

The shift is the result of McChrystal's new directives, said Air Force Col. Mark Waite, an official at the air operations center in southwest Asia. Ground troops are less inclined to call for bombing or strafing runs, though they often have an aircraft conduct a "show of force," a flyby to scare off insurgents, or use planes for surveillance, Waite said.

The decrease in air attacks may also be the result of having more ground troops, Waite said. Air attacks are often used when ground forces aren't available to secure an area or seize an objective.

Protecting civilians is generally more effective than large combat operations, McChrystal said in counterinsurgency directives issued to NATO forces in Afghanistan. "Destroying a home or property jeopardizes the livelihood of an entire family — and creates more insurgents," McChrystal wrote. "We sow the seeds of our own demise."

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said civilian casualties have been "dramatically reduced."

Airstrikes that accidently killed civilians have angered the population, undermining efforts to win over civilians.

Despite the reduction in airstrikes, a U.S. aircraft attacked two fuel tankers that had been hijacked by the Taliban last week in northern Afghanistan, killing civilians.

McChrystal has appointed a high-level commission to investigate the attack. An initial assessment concluded that civilians had been killed or injured in the blast, according to a statement issued Tuesday by NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The strike was authorized by German forces operating in the area. Tuesday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned against rushing to judgment regarding the airstrike.

U.S. forces have been told to exercise extreme caution before ordering airstrikes.

By exercising so much restraint, the U.S. military may sacrifice a key firepower advantage on the battlefield and expose ground troops to more risk, some officers and analysts say.

"There is a tradeoff," said Col. Gian Gentile, a former battalion commander in Iraq who has publicly criticized counterinsurgency doctrine. "You reduce civilian casualties, but you potentially increase your own casualties."

Doug Macgregor, a retired Army colonel and military historian, says the emphasis on having conventional forces trying to win over the population is futile.

"You surrender whatever military advantage you have by compelling the U.S. conventional soldier or Marine to fight on terms that favor the enemy, not the American soldier or Marine," Macgregor said." USAToday

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At 3:38 PM, Anonymous Joe said...

This is the problem when you have Liberals like Obama interfering in a war with stupid tactics that only help the enemy. We seen that same thing in the Vietnam War. Yellow cowards like Obama could never survive these kind of conditions that he is trying to impose on our soldiers in combat. Either fight this war to win, or get the Hell out of there! Obama should have given McChrystal the 40,000 or 60,000 troops when he asked for them so that they would have enough boots on the ground to protect the people so these terrorists couldn't use them for shields. If that big eared jackass ever had to fight in the front line under the conditions that he's imposing on our troops, his tune would be changing real quick. It's far easier for Obama to put someone else's son or daughter in that position though, and when they come home in a box he'll have a few of his choice empty kind words to say about their bravery. I can hardly wait till we're rid of Obama and his Communist ilk!

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