10 years, 2 months ago
In Politically Correct Rules of Engagement Endanger Troops, I used main stream media reports of soldiers and marines conveying the problematic nature of the rules of engagement under which they operate. As a result of this article, two NCOs who were in Iraq (one near Ramadi and the other in Kirkuk) wrote me to express their agreement, sharing even more detailed and remarkable stories of U.S. forces being hamstrung by overly restrictive rules of engagement. I discussed this in The NCOs Speak on Rules of Engagement.
As a result of both of these articles, my readers have paid close attention to similar stories, and faithful reader David Neumann sent me the link to the Hugh Hewitt Show where rules of engagement were discussed. After listening, I contacted Milblogger T. F. Boggs, Sergeant in the Army reserves, who recently completed his second deployment in support of OIF. Sergeant Boggs was happy to converse with me on rules of engagement, and gave me permission to transcribe and publish the portion of the show in which he discussed this topic. The transcription follows, after which I will offer an assessment and commentary (the content of which is only my responsibility).
T.F. Boggs on Rules of Engagement
I wanted to ask, regarding the rules of engagement, it’s frustrating to me and I think a lot of people that our troops have to be held to such a stringent set of rules in a war like this where everything seems blurred. And I was wondering how the troops feel about it?
Yes, we feel the same way you do, and one story from my experience probably best expresses this … and officers would probably tell me that I should know the rules of engagement … I should act thereupon. But the point is that the rules of engagement that are there now are hamstringing the soldiers because we think about what we’re doing before we can actually do it. The second IED we got hit by – I was in the first truck – we saw the guy who blew the IED up on us. So we were chasing after him, we were on the fly … seems like an eternity but it was like seconds … we were trying to figure out, okay, do we engage this guy, what’s going to happen to us if we engage this guy, are we going to get into trouble, what are we going to say, what are we going to do when this is all over with … so we shoot flares at him, and he doesn’t respond. So we shoot another, doesn’t respond, so what do we do? So we shoot warning shots to the side, warning shots to the other side. Ten seconds of this stuff goes by, and this guy is gaining speed, taking off on us, and I finally tell my gunner, “just go ahead and kill this guy – I’ll take the rap for it.