Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Obama on Afghanistan: Meaningless?

Tonight's speech on Afghanistan will be carefully unpacked by every pundit.  Every single one.

But a speech doesn't win (or lose) a war.  What actually counts is what goes on where the rubber meets the road.

The Captain reminds us of the existing Rules of Engagement for our warfighters in Afghanistan:

• No night or surprise searches.

• Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.

[Afghan Army] or [Afghan Police] must accompany U.S. units on searches.

• U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.

• U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.

• Only women can search women.

• Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid.

Having read those, perhaps you better understand why SF operators are now put on trial for the 'war crime' of inflicting a bloody lip during capture of a war criminal.


Anonymous said...

We have not learned anything from Vietnam. The methods to conduct conventional or limited wars have changed forever. Unquestionably, American soldiers are hamstrung by politicians and their "rules", but its politics which are required to even maintain current Afghan support for our presence in their homeland. It's downright ignorant, however, for people to say, "The hell with geopolitics, let's get the job done alone" or "The hell with the Afghan civilian population, too bad if they die".


The days that brute force alone will "win" a conventional or limited war are long gone.

I always laugh at this quote from Unky Ronnie (1965)...

"We should declare war on North Vietnam. We could pave the whole country and put parking strips on it, and still be home by Christmas."

Dad29 said...


I don't think that those who object to the ROEs in my post are advocating slaughter of civilians, nor Total War--which was used by Churchill's WWII machine, by the way.