9 years, 8 months ago
I have tried to report the good and bad concerning rules of engagement, and most recently reported on an instance of what I consider to be robust ROE, entitled Recon by Fire. In keeping with the main theme of comprehensive honesty, we should briefly discuss a recent contrary viewpoint reported in the Mental Health Advisory Team (MHAT) IV, Operation Iraqi Freedom 05-07, Final Report, 17 November 2006, Office of the Surgeon, Multi-National Force Iraq, and Office of the Surgeon General, United States Army Medical Command.
More than one third of all Soldiers and Marines continue to report being in threatening situations where they were unable to respond due to Rules of Engagement (ROE). In interviews, Soldiers reported that Iraqis would throw gasoline-filled bottles (i.e., Molotov Cocktails) at their vehicles, yet they were prohibited from responding with force for nearly a month until the ROE were changed. Soldiers also reported they are still not allowed to respond with force when Iraqis drop large chunks of concrete blocks from second story buildings or overpasses on them when they drive by. Every groups of Soldiers and Marines interviewed reported that they felt the existing ROE tied their hands, preventing them from doing what needed to be done to win the war (pages 13 – 14).
The entire report is worth serious study by professional military and policy-makers. To be precise, I do not believe that the rules of engagement were “changed” to allow the engagement of insurgents who hurled Molotov Cocktails at them. The most recent version is CJCSI 3121.01B, and it is more likely than not that a field grade officer felt that he could not make the decision on principles of application of the existing ROE and a JAG had to be consulted.
And also to be precise, I would not have consulted a JAG if I had been that field grade officer.