With the appointment of Petraeus as his replacement, and this report that the General is preparing to modify the rules of engagement in Afghanistan, “to make it easier for U.S. troops to engage in combat with the enemy”, I’d say, resoundingly, yes.
Troops on the ground and some military commanders have said the strict rules — aimed at preventing civilian casualties — have effectively forced the troops to fight with one hand tied behind their backs.
Petraeus spokesman Col. Eric Gunhus pushed back on the claim Friday, telling Fox News it’s too soon to tell whether Petraeus would change the current rules. But he said it is one of many issues he’ll take under consideration during his assessment after he’s confirmed and after he takes over command in Afghanistan.
Any adjustment to the rules of engagement does not mean the counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan will change. President Obama stressed Wednesday — after he accepted Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s resignation in the wake of a magazine article in which he and his staff were critical of the administration — that the change-up does not represent a shift in war policy.
Rather, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Thursday that Petraeus, currently head of U.S. Central Command and the former U.S. commander in Iraq, will have the flexibility to reconsider “the campaign plan and the approach.”
Last October, I linked to this commentary – McChrystal’s Folly: Let Them Fight Or Bring Them Home, written by John Bernard, the father of late Lance Corporal Joshua Bernard. Joshua Bernard is the soldier who, thanks to the Associated Press, was last seen in a photo, bleeding to death after being mortally wounded by a Taliban rocket.
We have been listening to General McChrystal for some time now. His doctrine has become his mantra; integrate, integrate, integrate and, oh yeah protect the ‘innocent’ civilians – at all cost. The problem is the cost is the lives of the sons and daughters of the United States of America. I don’t mean to sound like I am disregarding the contributions and sacrifices of other NATO Nations but frankly; they aren’t our concern. The welfare of soldiers from other nations should be the concern of those nations whom they represent.
The General’s premise is that there are factions that are easily identified as friend or foe and that we need to defend the defenseless innocents of Afghanistan – at all cost, to assure their willing cooperation in the future and, along the way, build a whole new infrastructure for them. This makes for nice dreams but is just that; a dream. He cannot point to a single instance of general support for a non-Islamic force, on Afghan territory in the entire history of Afghanistan. All one might be able to do is find isolated incidents of occasional support in some remote corners of the operation of the time.
The fact is that all parties within the borders of Afghanistan agree with one another on the only level that really matters here and that is religious ideology. They are all Islamic and while you can make the case that some are more loyal to the tenets of the faith than others, the fact remains that they have more in common with one another than they do with the ‘Great Devil from the West’. When they do show support or at least cooperation it is a matter of convenience. All they understand is force. If you are the strong man in the back yard they will support you. If the Taliban has the upper hand (controls the battle space), they will support them.
Read the whole thing.
At long last, this folly is coming to an end.
Hat tip: Ace