Friday, May 1, 2009

Don't Fire until you see the whites of thier eyes!

I am in the Army Reserves after spending 10 years active. I have wrote before about how the military saved my life by getting me off the streets, but some things the Army does is just plain stupid to me.

For example:

ROE (Rules of Engagement) and LOW (Laws of War), for all you folks that do not know your standard military jargon.


I get the basic premise behind these two "ideas", but to me both of them are useless.

I am currently on my two week annual deployment that is mandatory for all Reservists. I was given a class yesterday on the "current" ROE and LOW. I was also tasked by the Brigade JAG Officer to train every member of my company, since everyone needs to know what the ROE and LOW are for this particular exercise.

Anyways, while I was sitting through this boring as all hell class, my mind got to wondering and I had an epiphany about how absurd all this shit is.

Why are there "rules" for warfare?

War is not supposed to be civil. The whole purpose of a war is to KILL your enemy.
If I perceive that you are a threat to me, then I should have the right to eliminate that threat, by any means necessary.

I should not have to wait around for permission to protect myself or the ones I am assigned to protect if there is danger afoot.

I should not have to worry about the repercussions of hooking a captured enemies nuts to a car battery if he refuses to give me information I might need that could save myself and the people I am assigned to protect.

I should not have to worry about the repercussions of blowing up a school, hospital or a religious establishment if my enemy is using those establishments for their base of operations.

I am supposed to KILL my enemy.


There are no parts of killing that is nice and orderly.I understand that soldiers should not Rape and Pillage and those that do need to be dealt with, but...There is always a but...

Don't tell me how to protect myself when you are sitting in a nice plush office 3 thousand miles away.

All those rules look nice and politically correct on paper, but until you have 'boots on the ground' and can see first hand that the enemy does not play by our rules or even give a damn about our rules, all those "rule makers" and Gentlemen scholars that think that War is sexy and still believe that Wars should still be fought like the 10 step turn and shoot duels of the 1700 and 1800's need to sit down and shut the fuck up.

Those "rules" make us look weak. They bind us to a standard that cannot be met. They limit our effectiveness on the battlefield.
I understand that there are some things that just should not be done, but all that can be eliminated with proper training and recruiting.

But anyways that is my rant for this week.

Hollar at me in the comments!!


truth said...

Great post,
I think you give folks great insight into the mind of a soldier. You've lived it and no one can challenge your loyalty to this country.

I believe being a soldier is the most stressful job on the planet. You're literally dealing with life and death everyday. I could see how from your perspective that the torture conversation is silly. If you have had friends that you served with, killed or tortured, it becomes natural to want payback.

The only thing I can think of is the idea of being honorable in combat. Something like a Samurai, I guess. You stick to your code no matter what and never lose your honor. I don't know in war if it makes sense to have honor and your enemy not play by those rules. It would seem your enemy would have the advantage, but I assume the samurai would say it's not about "their" honor but "his."

Rules also may be in place so someone does not go overboard. While you may know not to rape innocent female civilians, someone else in your company may have other ideas on the matter.

Mo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mo said...

I don't know anything about war. I don't know anything about the army either so maybe I'm just talkin out of my ass in the following but while you present yourself as a pretty sane/levelheaded guy, would these rules serve to reign in those that aren't as even keel? I mean...are there folks who may take the whole eletricity to the nuts thing way too far?

Walt Bennett said...

War is diplomacy by other means. Yes, the point of combat is to kill your enemy, but the point of war is to impose a new order. You can lose a war without losing your life.

Otherwise, there would be no such thing as "war crimes."

The main purpose of rules of engagement is to limit collateral damage; i.e, civilian casualties.

In a situation where it is difficult to tell the civilians from the combatants, it is less than desirable to be in an exposed condition where they can shoot at you but you have no idea who you are supposed to shoot at.

The real problem is leadership putting soldiers in positions where their main purpose is to draw fire so the enemy can be smoked out. The entire Iraq war was fought in such a way, and it is disturbing in the extreme.

I suspect that even those who "survive" such engagements come home with a lot going on between their ears.

RiPPa said...

Nothing wrong with rules. Without rules women wouldn't get raped in the military. Of course you know they never do, right?

Her Side said...

In a general sense, I have a problem with any set of rules "handed down" by a group that sits far removed from the reality and experience of the environment.

But I must co-sign with truth, Mo, and Walt on the potential benefits of ROE.

Of course, this opinion comes from a reader far removed from the reality and experience of the (war) environment. LOL

Dirty Red said...

Thanks for the continued support man. And your right, a soldier can be the most stressful job, that being a fireman and the police. Honor is everything, as long as a soldier is honorable in his actions, then all the other shit would disappear.

You are right also. There will be some people that vilolate their oath, but they should be dealt with severly.


I agree with you also. War is diplomacy. But also you made a good point about leadership. A team is only as good as it's leaders.

There are some assholes in the military. There are some punks that are power hungry and there are punks that have a fucked up mind set before they even enlist. That goes with what I said about proper recruitment and training. Of course soldiers need to excercise restraint, but why should we be held to a higher standard than say, the police?
Isn't our jobs basicully the same? To serve and protect? And we all know that the police are the most honorable men also right?

Her Side,
Thank's for the comment.
I value your opinion. ROE can be beneficial, but some of the guidelines that they expect us to uphold are just damn right ridicoulous.

Freeman Press said...

With anything when people don't like it someone will politicize it. I don't think people can understand War just like people don't really understand anything they haven't lived personally. So some smart guy comes up with a theory and then all the smart people 2nd it and then it becomes some dumb ass law. The issue is we are a nation of theorists and as such push down the practical and realistic. Instead of asking soldiers what's going on we ask reporters. Instead of asking people on the ground we ask people who pour over paperwork aka politicians. War and the process of it is just caught up in the same BS. No one really wants to know they just want to come up with a theory based in total ignorance then get the congregation to say AMEN!

Hawa Bond said...

"So some smart guy comes up with a theory and then all the smart people 2nd it and then it becomes some dumb ass law."For some reason that really hit my funny bone today.

I read a pretty good business book once called "The E-Myth Revisited." In the book the authors offer a sure-fired way to build a business that will flourish.

When you start the business, the management team (i.e. the CEO's, COO's, etc) do all the work. For each position, they must work it until they finish writing a manual that makes the job simple, productive, and essentially dummy proof. They hire somebody for the position who must work by the manual and move on to the next job.

This way, nobody gets stuck following a stupid process written by a "higher up" that never had to do the work and doesn't understand the needs/challenges of the function.

(And of course, to keep it fresh, the person taking over the position is free to update the manual from lessons learned).

Hawa, author of Fackin Truth Blog and Cleanse Master Remix

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