Rules of Engagement for Marines in Iraq

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 10 months ago

In The Deadly Strategy of Propaganda, I had earlier predicted that the combination of enemy propaganda, false charges against U.S. servicemen, and the movement towards a more politically correct warrior would cause hesitation among the troops and thus lead to conditions less safe than would otherwise have been the case.

Via e-mails home prior to his death, the recently deceased Marine Captain Robert Secher gives us a sad story of the mismanagement of the war in Iraq, and there are many noteworthy things from this moving investigative story.  To pick just one, note the ”rules of engagement” under which the Marines were operating in the al Anbar Province:

Anytime an American fires a weapon there has to be an investigation into why there was an escalation of force. That wouldn’t have stopped us from firing, but it prevents us from just firing indiscriminately. We have to have positively identified targets. That is why I am now a big fan of having the Iraqis with us. They can fire at whatever the hell they want, we call it the “Iraqi Death Blossom.” These guys receive one shot and the whole unit fires at everything in sight until the attached American unit gets them to control their fire. That’s fine with me.

Captain Specher’s assessment is that the ROE prevents us from “just firing indiscriminately.”  Perhaps Specher’s comments are on target for all of his reports, but we don’t know unless all of his reports are interviewed.  Note that the ROE described above are similar to the ROE for police in the U.S.  When an officer fires his weapon, he is given office duty and relieved of his firearm until an internal affairs investigation has been completed.  In the case of U.S. Marines in the most dangerous place on earth, there is an investigation into why there was an escalation of force “any time an American fires his weapon.”

This is no longer a war.  As if anyone needed further proof, the situation in Iraq had devolved into a huge police action in which around 25 servicemen per week are losing their lives, while the enemy hides behind women and children, fires from homes, and kills U.S. servicemen with IEDs.




You are currently reading "Rules of Engagement for Marines in Iraq", entry #362 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Iraq and was published October 31st, 2006 by Herschel Smith.

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