Since allied NATO cats have displayed a coldblooded penchant for shooting first and quizing dead civilians later - part of 44's AFPAK Surge featured a new, more better set of Rules (more like guidelines, really) of engaging enemies and potential enemies - in an effort to keep from tossing innocents on the pile.
Great Satan's Climb to Glory premier voltiguer Captain Crispin Burke pointed out "...that misinterpertation of RoE at lower levels (one of the most shocking aspects of the Rolling Stan article) reflects a grossly risk adverse culture..."
One of Great Satan's most decorated combat soldiers in the New Millennium - actually the first American to sturm und drang western Baghdad in 2003 - an actualizer in Surging the living daylights out of Iraq during three additional tours - graciously consented to exclusively consort about the Rules of Engagement.
The super sharp edge of Great Satan's broadsword is the world famous Army Major Michael Few:
Rules of Engagement are a norm in any Army, regular or irregular.
These rules define the left and right limits of our actions providing
our moral compass as we proceed time and again onwards towards the
breach risking our lives in service to our nation.
The interpretation of the rules is in constant flux as conditions
change, an ebb and flow of the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. We just
want to turn the washer on and have our dishes clean at the end of the
cycle, but the machine keeps jamming along the way. Unfortunately, the
cycle changes every year in every theatre.
According to some accounts, the problem in Afghanistan arose when
FOB-based lawyers with no combat experience and risk adverse
commanders and staff misinterpreted the rules of war from providing
guidance to the man on the ground to micromanaging his every movement.
In the words of famed COIN expert Dr. David Kilcullen,
“The rules have been interpreted too restrictively," Kilcullen said.
"They've been too legalistic — and also too apologetic."
A paratrooper might translate that as the cowards in the FOB wanting
to play Army won’t let me do my job. This disconnect proved a burden
of the bureaucracy lost in translation towards a lack of trust towards
As a young troop commander, in training, I emplaced too restrictive
rules on my soldiers. After the mission, as we discussed what had
happened, my men asked me, “why do you not trust us?” It gave me
great pause, and I tried to learn from it in the future.
In war, trust and truth are often elusive. The details get muddied and
dirty in the fog of war. Rules of Engagement, mission orders, and
commander’s intent must be built on the trust of the lower level
leader. In truth, this problem is easily corrected.
Train your subordinates, give them specific guidance and clear
mission, and then let them do their thing with your support. If they
cross the line, then replace them, but DO NOT ever hamper them from
completing the mission that you asked them to do. This involves trust
both up and down, left and right along the line.
Dr. Kilcullen goes further to describe the realities of small wars,
“Again, in practice, this population-centric approach often involves
as much fighting, if not more, than an enemy-centric approach, because
putting in place effective population protection forces the enemy to
come to us, so that we fight the guerrillas on our terms, not on
Ironically, an effective population-centric strategy usually results
in far greater losses to the enemy-- in terms of insurgents killed,
wounded, captured, surrendered, or defected-- than does a
superficially more aggressive enemy-centric approach.”
If we accept this to be true, which holds true in my combat
experience, then we must give all trust and confidence to the boys on
the ground. Do not keep them in the wash cycle when they’re trying to
Pic "Train your subordinates, give them specific guidance and clear
mission, and then let them do their thing..."