8 years, 10 months ago
My coverage of rules of engagement has been sweeping and continues to get traffic, especially The NCOs Speak on Rules of Engagement, and Rules of Engagement and Pre-Theoretical Commitments. I have argued for more robust rules of engagement, but I have nowhere argued that the lack of robust ROE is felt throughout Iraq in every unit and in every engagement. In the comments section to the later article, I responded to Charlie B. of OpFor that:
… those individuals who have had good experiences with the ROE will tend to side with you, while those individuals who have been in specific circumstances where the ROE have let them down will tend to agree with my article (some to greater and some to lesser degrees).
Second, I still believe that our pre-theoretical commitments determine the outcome of our thought. For instance, suppose that we began the discussion by asking the question, â€śwhy does such a thing as ROE need to exist?â€? The answer to that will differ per person, one saying something like â€śin order to comport with the LOAC,â€? another (like Victor David Hanson) saying something like â€śso that we do not lose momentum in our combat such as happened with the withdrawal from Fallujah the first time and as occurred with the failure to shoot looters.â€? When the Iraqis saw that we would not / could not protect their assets, they had to consider militias. Yet another person may respond on utilitarian grounds (the potential consequences of overreaction are more important than anything else). There are other potential answers.
… the discussion MUST begin on pre-theoretical grounds. One must know why an individual believes that ROE should exist before he can know how that person wants the ROE to look. The two are that connected. They are inseparable.
I do not purvey or traffic in propaganda. If there is another side I want to show it. There is one particulary poignant example of robust rules of engagement that is interesting, and the video is worth watching completely. The reporter is somewhat propagandistic, but if you ignore the reporter and focus on the facts, this is a worthwhile example to consider and discuss.
There are only three choices: (1) engage in recon by fire, (2) send Marines into the thicket with a high likelihood of taking casualties, or (3) allow the shooter to escape, living to kill Marines another day. Which choice would you have made?