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U.S. shifts Afghan battlefield rules


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Here we GO. R military will have there hands tied as to when to send in air strikes. If they see the enemy go in to a house they can NOT call in air support because they will not know for sure if that building has anyone else in there. This is a BIG mistake and it will cost US big time in injurys and death. What the hell is OBAMA doing to the military now. Jeff and Dave need your wisdom on this lol. Read this

 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31764129/ns/wo...nd_central_asia

Edited by BLOWN
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U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who took over last month as the commander of U.S. and NATO forces, has said he wants his troops' first priority to be protecting Afghan civilians, not using massive fire power. McChrystal's new guidelines went into effect last week, and officials released a declassified version Monday.

Obama didn't do this. Gen McChrystal did.

Edited by AFBLUE
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Obama didn't do this. Gen McChrystal did.

 

I suspect that McChrystal actually gave the order after discussions with his Commander in Chief who told him how he wanted it done.

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Instead of looking to blame Obama (or Bush for that matter) for everything, why don't we seek the truth instead?

 

WASHINGTON — A military investigation has concluded that American personnel made significant errors in carrying out some of the airstrikes in western Afghanistan on May 4 that killed dozens of Afghan civilians, according to a senior American military official. The official said the civilian death toll would probably have been reduced if American air crews and forces on the ground had followed strict rules devised to prevent civilian casualties. Had the rules been followed, at least some of the strikes by American warplanes against half a dozen targets over seven hours would have been aborted.
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/03/world/asia/03military.html

 

As a good commander, General McChrystal is trying to fix a problem...a problem which is causing us to lose hearts and minds of the Afghan people...The Afghan people are the center of gravity in this conflict. If we lose them, we lose the war.

 

So unless you think, the military investigation was conducted by the "Obama controlled" military and McChrystal is a Obama puppet...

 

Too many of you guys on both the left and the right are so eager to blame the other side for everything...conspiracy theories galore.

 

JMO.

Edited by AFBLUE
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I suspect that McChrystal actually gave the order after discussions with his Commander in Chief who told him how he wanted it done.

 

 

I agrree. McChrystal does NOT do anything with out Obama knowing about it first hand.

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The fact remains that the rules of engagement have changed with Obama in control. What matters is how effective this new arrangement becomes. What concerns me is that all terrorists have to do now is fight the US behind human shields and easily win the war.

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They've been hiding behind human shields for years. Obama knowing about something and directing it are two different things.

 

As a Counterinsurgency expert, McChrystal understands that innocent civilian causalties are not helping our cause. This is counterinsurgency 101.

 

 

Commanders change their rules of engagement all the time based on the operational environment.

 

I beginning to think, I'm wasting my breath here.

Edited by AFBLUE
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They've been hiding behind human shields for years. Obama knowing about something and directing it are two different things.

 

As a Counterinsurgency expert, McChrystal understands that innocent civilian causalties are not helping our cause. This is counterinsurgency 101.

 

 

Commanders change their rules of engagement all the time based on the operational environment.

 

I beginning to think, I'm wasting my breath here.

 

No, you're not wasting your breath. We're just respectfully discussing the issue and have different feelings about what's going on. In any event, we're not going to affect it anyway, so all we can do is wait and see what the result is!

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No, you're not wasting your breath. We're just respectfully discussing the issue and have different feelings about what's going on...

Good point ilmor. It just seems that in these political threads, most of us tend to talk past each other, trying to score debating points rather than actually considering each views. I can understand not considering an irrational point view (and there are plenty on here), but I'm not an Obama zealot feeling the need to come to his defense.

 

As a former member of the military, I look at this issue a little differently. To me McChrystal's decision is very rational. Therefore I doubt he got it from Obama :D. Just kidding. But it makes military sense. This isn't World War II where the goal was to bomb the whole country (civilians, military, industry) back into the stone age.

 

As can be seen in Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq, populations can turn against religious extremism.

 

From 03-06 our rules of engagement on the Iraqi highways and check points resulted in many innocent deaths. The rules of engagment and procedures on the Iraqi highways were changed...became more restrictive to reduce civilian causalties. At the time I didn't hear anyone say Bush was telling Gen Petraeus to change the rules of engagement...it was just a good counterinsurgency tactic, which helped to reduce the animosity of the Iraqi population toward US forces and contributed to much of the Iraqi population viewing Al Qaeda, rather the US, as the bigger threat.

 

The goal in Afghanistan and Iraq is not to kill all the bad guys (as there is an endless supply). It's to create an enviromment where the local population will not tolerate/shelter the bad guys. We can't do that if we keep making mistakes resulting in the deaths of innocent Afghans. They will turn against us/not trust us. We must do a better job, like we did on the Iraqi highways and checkpoints if we are going to turn this around.

 

In other words, this is a smart move in my opinion.

Edited by AFBLUE
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They've been hiding behind human shields for years. Obama knowing about something and directing it are two different things.

 

As a Counterinsurgency expert, McChrystal understands that innocent civilian causalties are not helping our cause. This is counterinsurgency 101.

 

 

Commanders change their rules of engagement all the time based on the operational environment.

 

I beginning to think, I'm wasting my breath here.

 

 

AFB is absolutely correct. We cant go around killing innocent people, even though it may cause us more injuries

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Good point ilmor. It just seems that in these political threads, most of us tend to talk past each other, trying to score debating points rather than actually considering each views. I can understand not considering an irrational point view (and there are plenty on here), but I'm not an Obama zealot feeling the need to come to his defense.

 

As a former member of the military, I look at this issue a little differently. To me McChrystal's decision is very rational. Therefore I doubt he got it from Obama :D. Just kidding. But it makes military sense. This isn't World War II where the goal was to bomb the whole country (civilians, military, industry) back into the stone age.

 

As can be seen in Pakistan, Iran, Lebanon, and Iraq, populations can turn against religious extremism.

 

From 03-06 our rules of engagement on the Iraqi highways and check points resulted in many innocent deaths. The rules of engagment and procedures on the Iraqi highways were changed...became more restrictive to reduce civilian causalties. At the time I didn't hear anyone say Bush was telling Gen Petraeus to change the rules of engagement...it was just a good counterinsurgency tactic, which helped to reduce the animosity of the Iraqi population toward US forces and contributed to much of the Iraqi population viewing Al Qaeda, rather the US, as the bigger threat.

 

The goal in Afghanistan and Iraq is not to kill all the bad guys (as there is an endless supply). It's to create an enviromment where the local population will not tolerate/shelter the bad guys. We can't do that if we keep making mistakes resulting in the deaths of innocent Afghans. They will turn against us/not trust us. We must do a better job, like we did on the Iraqi highways and checkpoints if we are going to turn this around.

 

In other words, this is a smart move in my opinion.

 

I appreciate what you've said and how you've said it.

CC

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"Nam" all over again!

I disagree.

 

In Vietnam, the South Vietnamese government and the US sought to control the South Vietnamese population as a means to fight the Viet Cong insurgency. Just as we've done in Iraq, we (the US) are seeking to illicit the support of the local populous through empowerment.

Edited by Dig-It
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I disagree.

 

In Vietnam, the South Vietnamese government and the US sought to control the South Vietnamese population as a means to fight the Viet Cong insurgency. Just as we've done in Iraq, we (the US) are seeking to illicit the support of the local populous through empowerment.

 

 

 

 

In war there should be no "rules", that's what gets our people killed. This is not a volleyball game, the enemy has no "rules" to play by, it's simple, if you want to win you have to do all you can to achieve this, otherwise you will be mired in the same muck as we were in Nam.

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What most of you non military, and even some that are, don't understand about this war on terror is that we are not in a war. We are driving around in convoys waiting on someone to attack us so we know who to go after. We are not fighting a military we are fighting ramdom individuals. Most of them are not even part of any organization.

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In war there should be no "rules", that's what gets our people killed. This is not a volleyball game, the enemy has no "rules" to play by, it's simple, if you want to win you have to do all you can to achieve this, otherwise you will be mired in the same muck as we were in Nam.

The "ends" do not justify the "means" just as AFBlue just pointed out. Adherence to the principals of war will win over ruthlessness every time. You must be mindful of our strategic goal for Afghanistan, our operational guidelines must follow this strategy if we're ever going to leave Afghanistan on our terms.

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The U.S. Army/Marine Corps counterinsurgency (COIN) field manual page 245.

 

7-24. Ethically speaking, COIN environments can be much more complex than conventional ones. Insurgency is more than combat between armed groups; it is a political struggle with a high level of violence intended to destabilize and ultimately overthrow a government. COIN forces using excessive force to limit short-term risk alienate local residents. In doing this, they deprive themselves of the support or tolerance of the populace. This situation is what the insurgents want. It increases the threat they pose. Sometimes lethal responses are counterproductive. At other times, they are essential. The art of command includes knowing the difference and directing the appropriate action.

7-25. A key part of any insurgent's strategy is to attack their domestic and international opposition's political will. One of the insurgents' most effective means to undermine and erode political will is to portray their opposition as untrustworthy or illegitimate. These attacks are especially effective when insurgents can portray the opposition as unethical by their own standards. To combat these efforts, Soldiers and Marines treat noncombatants and detainees humanely and in accordance with America's values and internationally recognized human rights standards. In COIN, preserving noncombatant lives and dignity is central to mission accomplishment. This imperative creates a complex ethical environment that requires combatants to treat prohibitions against harming noncombatants as absolute. Further, it can sometimes require combatants to forego lethal solutions altogether. In practical terms, this consideration means that mission accomplishment sometimes obligates combatants to act more like police than warriors. That requirement imposes a very different calculus for the use of force.

We are not "playing by rules" to hinder ourselves. We are conducting operations under rules of engagement designed to enable us to ultimately win over the insurgents using proven COIN principles.

 

Restrictions over North Vietnam were not put in place to enable us to win, but rather over political concerns of drawing the Chinese into a wider conflict.

Edited by AFBLUE
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First of all just let me say i understand the whole "hearts and minds" thing. I have seen it work. That being said i am in Afghanistan right now and this new directive, is already having a negative impact on what we are trying to do. And although civilian casualties are a horrible thing it happens. I still have very little respect for a people who will not stand up for themselves, even though in most cases they vastly outnumber the forces that are threatening them. So it sounds bad but better looser rules for us less US deaths/casualties, than stricter rules for them more US deaths/casualties. If someone runs around my neighborhood with a gun, that results in some military coming in and shooting up my house and town trying to kill him, Im going to get the boys together and take care of him. But i digress. I know we are trying to do the right thing but we are shooting ourselves in the foot doing it.

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I don't think the Soviets were hindered by a moral obligation to play by the "rules" in Afghanistan during the 1980s and look where it got them.

Not a good comparison, IMHO. They were hindered by lack of talent, tactics, etc. Then there's 20 some years of advancement in technology.

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First of all just let me say i understand the whole "hearts and minds" thing. I have seen it work. That being said i am in Afghanistan right now and this new directive, is already having a negative impact on what we are trying to do. And although civilian casualties are a horrible thing it happens. I still have very little respect for a people who will not stand up for themselves, even though in most cases they vastly outnumber the forces that are threatening them. So it sounds bad but better looser rules for us less US deaths/casualties, than stricter rules for them more US deaths/casualties. If someone runs around my neighborhood with a gun, that results in some military coming in and shooting up my house and town trying to kill him, Im going to get the boys together and take care of him. But i digress. I know we are trying to do the right thing but we are shooting ourselves in the foot doing it.

Thank you for your service as well as your perspective. I was in The Corps during the Beirut bombing, and I hate how politicians screw with the sensible conduct of war that puts more of our brave service members in the grave. Then they wonder why we lose, and blame the military for it just like they did in Vietnam.

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Saw this in the London Times today

 

General McChrystal arrived in Afghanistan last month after several years commanding special forces in Iraq. He is determined to end the costly bombing errors that he believes have threatened the entire success of the Afghan campaign.

 

Last Thursday, when he sent 4,000 US Marines on Operation Khanjar, a thrust into Taleban strongholds in Helmand, he wrote a stark tactical directive. The Taleban cannot defeat us militarily, but we can defeat ourselves, it said. We will not win based on the number of Taleban we kill, but instead on our ability to separate insurgents from the centre of gravity the people. Following this intent requires a cultural shift within our forces.

The Times has learnt that since the directive came into force the proportion of gunfights that resulted in calls for close air support has dropped from 35 per cent of all engagements to 17 per cent. Seven dead British soldiers in one week, and a significantly large number of wounded personnel, will be testing General McChrystal’s claim that he has to put his men at increased risk now to save lives later...

So far the US general’s fighting philosophy is unwavering. “One thing I would want the British public to know is that there are multiple ways to do this and one of them is to use overwhelming firepower,” he said. “We could use artillery and airpower and that would do tremendous damage to the infrastructure and cause a tremendous number of civilian casualties — and in so doing we would probably seal the fact that we would lose the fight over time, because we would convince the Afghan people that no matter what we said, we are not much concerned about their wellbeing.”

He added: “Even if all our good intentions say we are here to save them it goes back to the old cliché of ‘we destroyed the village to save it’. If you own the village you feel differently about that. If we operate in a way that creates damage or that actually, God forbid, kills innocents, it is pretty hard to see how the population could do anything but associate our arrival with something that hurts them.”

 

http://ebird.osd.mil/ebfiles/e20090709688766.html

Edited by AFBLUE
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Another article about the change in ROE in Afghanistan

http://ebird.osd.mil/ebfiles/e20090714689866.html

New York Times

July 14, 2009

 

Mindful Of Civilians, Pilots In Afghanistan Alter Tactics

 

By Eric Schmitt

 

ABOARD U.S.S. RONALD REAGAN, in the Gulf of Oman — After taking repeated fire from Taliban fighters holed up in a building last week, a group of American Marines in southern Afghanistan called in airstrikes to wipe out the threat.

 

But the Navy F/A-18 fighter pilots who responded worried that bombing the militants could hurt civilians, and suggested a different solution to the ground troops. The airmen then roared in low and fast, without firing a shot, in a deafening pass that frightened the militants into silence.

 

“It used to be, where do you want the bomb?” said Capt. Thomas P. Lalor, the commander of the air wing on this aircraft carrier, which provides about one-third of the combat support flights for American ground forces in Afghanistan. “Now, it’s much more collaborative.”

 

The adjustment reflects orders last month by Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the new United States commander in Afghanistan, that sharply limit the use of airstrikes to try to reduce the civilian deaths that he and other top officers said were eroding support for the American-led mission.

 

General McChrystal said the use of airstrikes during firefights would in most cases be limited to when American and other allied troops were in danger of being overrun.

 

Pilots in the four F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet squadrons aboard say the new orders spur them to coordinate even more closely than before with spotters on the ground.

 

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Cmdr. Rich Brophy, the commander of one of the squadrons, VFA-115, based in Lemoore, Calif. “We certainly don’t want to cause civilian casualties.”

 

On Saturday, Commander Brophy, 42, who has also flown combat missions in Kosovo and Iraq, said he responded to reports of Taliban fighters shooting at Marines in Helmand Province by strafing a line of trees where the militants were firing with his warplane’s 20-millimeter guns. The hostile fire stopped, he said.

 

“It makes our judgments more important,” said Cmdr. Art delaCruz, 41, the commander of another squadron, VFA-22, of the new caution. “There’s a saying that the most important bomb is the one you bring back.”

 

Commander delaCruz, whose squadron is also from Lemoore, said the pilots and commanders worked with military lawyers and operations officers at higher headquarters to plan responses safer for civilians.

 

On Monday, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited the carrier on a six-day tour of the region. As Admiral Mullen spoke to hundreds of crew members in the ship’s cavernous hangar, a steady battle rhythm played out up top.

 

One by one, F/A-18s streaked off the flight deck, hurled into the hot, hazy sky by a giant catapult below decks. The warplanes soared north to Afghanistan, a mission the commanders here said could last between 2 and 10 hours (with aerial refueling).

 

For the air wing aboard, the 125 combat missions flown over Afghanistan in its first week here have a familiar feel. The same carrier and its aircraft were on duty here for nearly four months starting in August and conducted 1,150 combat missions supporting troops in Afghanistan. The commanders said there had been no reports of civilian casualties from any of the missions.

 

On combat missions, pilots are assigned an area to patrol, flying “overwatch” until summoned to action. Pilots and air controllers talk by radio to identify a threat, its location and how to respond. Choices range from making loud shows of force to dropping 500-pound bombs, guided by lasers or satellites.

 

“When they talk to each other and see the same thing, that’s the key to success,” said Rear Adm. Scott Hebner, the commander of the naval strike group that includes the carrier and 40 attack planes.

 

While the ship is conducting the same number of flights as it did here last year, Captain Lalor, the air wing commander, said the number of requests from ground troops has risen by about one-quarter.

 

“We’re definitely seeing an increase in business this year,” he said.

 

The Hornet squadrons are fighting the Taliban in other ways. Pilots use infrared thermal sensors to detect disturbed earth alongside the roads, a telltale sign that militants have buried powerful roadside bombs, their most lethal weapons.

 

“It’s kind of a needle in a haystack to find one of those things,” Captain Lalor said.

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In war there should be no "rules", that's what gets our people killed. This is not a volleyball game, the enemy has no "rules" to play by, it's simple, if you want to win you have to do all you can to achieve this, otherwise you will be mired in the same muck as we were in Nam.

 

Not only do you need RULEs.....you also need Order & Direction. With out them, you just have a bunch of people with Guns running around not knowing what to do, where to do it and who to do it to. What we need is more Trained Snipers who can hit the Target in a Crowd. Put our people in the Field under cover in shifts as Snipers and pick them off one at a time.

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