7 years, 6 months ago
Briefly following up on Taliban Ambush in Eastern Kunar Kills Four U.S. Marines, we know now that there will be an investigation of this incident reviewing whether the ROE was a contributing cause to four Marines perishing. There have been some blog posts and other discussion forums questioning the veracity of the reporting done that day by McClatchy. Christian at Defense Tech (whom I respect) says Jonathan Landay with McClatchy is “a well-respected journalist whom I’ve known for years.” I see absolutely no reason prima facie to doubt the veracity or accuracy of the report.
If the report had vacillated I would be less strident about this incident. But the report was clear. The Marines were under fire and demanded artillery not once, but twice. They were denied artillery and CAS not once, but twice – for the stated reason that the ROE didn’t allow it.
“If you are in a situation where you are under fire from the enemy… if there is any chance of creating civilian casualties or if you don’t know whether you will create civilian casualties, if you can withdraw from that situation without firing, then you must do so,” said McChrystal.
There is always a chance. Always. But here is something that has no chance of happening. No investigation will find that a tactical directive written or endorsed by a four star general was responsible for anything bad. The directive will be exonerated and the field grade officers responsible for denying artillery had better begin looking for another line of work.
You heard it here first.