Monday, January 22, 2007

Rules of Engagement

Herschel Smith at The Captain's Journal has a very vested interest in the ROE. His son graduated from the Marine's 'School of Infantry' in June last year. His comments and interest in the ROE must be read in that light.

Mr. Smith has spent a great deal of time, thought and effort in putting together a series of articles that outline problems that must be resolved in order to maintain the full support of those most closely connected to our efforts in Iraq - and elsewhere. There is no question that morale remains high among our active duty forces. Retention and accession rates are the single most important indicator of that fact and the DoD continues to announce that goals are being met every month.

Attention to the voices that clearly state that the current ROE are not conducive to mission accomplishment will have a beneficial effect upon the maintenance of high morale and upon the successful accomplishment of missions with minimal casualties.

Mr. Smith links a Thomas Sowell article from which he pulls the following quote:
Having pushed the “democracy” vision for Iraq, we could not simply disregard the country’s elected government. But democracy arose in Western civilization centuries after law and order had been established. We tried to do it in the reverse order in Iraq. When push comes to shove, people will support tyranny rather than suffer lethal chaos that makes normal everyday life impossible for themselves and their children.

The success or failure of the troop surge in Iraq may depend far more on whether those troops can again be hamstrung by politically restrictive “rules of engagement” than on how many troops there are.
Let's hope that the President effectively addresses the ROE issue in his State of the Union speech tomorrow night. Otherwise we will be seeing more idiocy such as that being conducted against Col. Michael Steele and a much lower willingness among our armed forces to pursue their mission to successful completion.


terrye said...

I am trying to remember just what Bush said in his speech, but I got the impression that there will be a change in tactics as well as strategy and I know I read somewhere that there was going to be some change in regards to ROE. But I am sorry to say I can not remember where I read this and so I can not source it.

I would be surprised however, if Bush discussed Rules of Engagement in his State of the Union Address.

I guess we will see.

I do think you can bring democracy to the region, but order and democracy are not mutually exclusive. If Baghdad were a western city they would not hesitate to institute martial law if that was what was necessary to restore security.

Rick Ballard said...


It depends on what this means:

Greater integration of economic strategy with military effort.
Joint civil-military plans devised by PRT and BCT.
Remove legal and bureaucratic barriers to maximize cooperation and flexibility.

That's from the last speech. I agree that he won't mention ROE specifically but I will be surprised if there isn't a bit more - possibly about Petraeus and "moving forward". More hopefully, he'll focus on Adm. Fallon. I don't know how much harder he will rub the Army's face in their failure than by appointing an admiral to head CENTCOM. Especially an admiral with a success record.

Reliapundit said...

lookit uys:

there is no effin way in hades that we can win on this front in ww4 or any other if we tell the enemy how many forces we're moving in and where they're going and what their mission is and their ROE!

all this is info should be secret. bush was stupid to announce it. he shoulda just done it. he has the constitutional authority and congressional authorization.

and it's just as bad that the leftie dove appeasers are whining about it. it sends the wrong signal to the enemy: it tells the enemy that all they have to do is keep up the fight for another year.

if we really want to win then we should fight with no holds barred - the way fdr and truman fought.

and we must keep moving - as patton said. we probably shoulda dropped a small nuke on tra bora - fdr and truman woulda. that woulda got binladen and sent a powerful signal to all other binladen-wannabes.

fdr and truman would have leveled ramadi and fallujah.

and they woulda pushed harder to get rid of assad and nasrallah and they wouldna ever allowed al sadr's party onn the ballot as long as they were an armed militai. HECK even blair demanded that the IRA disarm!

ditto bush and sharon vis a vis hamas: they should NOT have been allowed on the ballot UNTIL AFTER they recognized israel and disarmed.

these were near fatal flaws.

now we should be ramping up our counter-attack and not be telegraphing it to the enemy.

instead the enemy knows everything from watching TV - and googling satellite images.


terrye said...


That was what I was trying to remember.

reliapundit, I understand what you are saying but I am sure that there is a lot Bush will not come out and tell us. As for Hamas, I don't know, putting them on the ballot sort of made it plain even the Pals that they are a bunch of incompetent thugs.

Reliapundit said...

we have given the enemy too many chances, too much info, and too much time.

this makes them stringer and reduces the safety of our troops, and makes us more vulnerable to an attack.

i agree that gwb and the penatgon are fighting the global enemy on many fronts and that many are below the radar. this surge should have been too.

Rick Ballard said...

That depends upon the purpose of the surge doesn't it?

Suppose that the purpose of the announcement was to get Maliki off his fat crooked ass. It's already worked to a certain extent. Sadr and Hakim have got their thugs to sit quietly for a moment and apparently Sadr is scared enough ( or has been promised their release) to allow some of his lieutenants to be picked up.

The biggest "surprise" that we can spring on the thugs in Iraq is to kill more of them without the "pretty please" and "mother may I" dumb ass rules.

I'm just hoping that the President includes one strong paragraph that Adm. Fallon can use in a "Gentlemen, let me explain my interpretation.." briefing. He's got the ball now and he's the one that has to generate the actual changes.

terrye said...


I think we should remember that over 100 people were killed in Baghdad today and we lost over 25 troops this weekend and in all probability Maliki and the thugs had nothing to do with that. It was probably AlQaida, they are Sunni and they are the reason the militias were tolerated in the first place. To obsess about the Shia and their thugs while we ignore AlQaida killing people whenever they damn well fell like it own't make thosose troops any safer.

In other words, if we go in there and disarm the militias and stuff like this keeps happening, it won't make things all that much easier. They need to get AlQaida.

terrye said...

But Rick is right about the surge I think. And what is more I think that is part of the reason some people oppose the surge as well. People want the Iraqi government to know and understand that it is time to stop screwing around.

Reliapundit said...

i for the surge. i am for telling maliki to put up or we are splitting now. i am against telegraphing stuff to the enemy.

it is bad when the nytimes does it and bad when gwb does it.

sure, he's fighting this war now, not in 1943 when things were different. fdr could get away with more then. but gwb should have fought this thing wioth both hands and all our weapons, halfassery never wins, it's almost as bad as appeasing.

gwb has given hawks a bad name.

he - like mccain and lieberman - is essentially a liberal 1/2 hawk. we need a conservative full hawk. alas: there is not one running...

i wish we could elect inhofe or kyl or cornyn or ashcroft.

instead we're gonna end up with jimmy carter II.

Anonymous said...


instead we're gonna end up with jimmy carter II.

Don't know. At times I think so. They certainly will try. But the whole dynamic has changed. Back in 1979, Europe wasn't Islamizing and in fact Islamic fundamentalism wasn't really on the horizon at all. Or when it happened under their noses, as in the Tehran embassy siege, they didn't comprehend what they were seeing. But today they do comprehend it. Now, how they react to it is another matter.

My point is that a lot of water has gone under the bridge since 1979. Hopefully, this makes swallowing Carterian platitudes much harder to do.

Rick Ballard said...


I've been reading some interesting pieces reflecting a necessary change in attitude about "naming names" wrt Islam. Perhaps it should have happened much earlier but I don't think it could have. Frost's "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors" keeps rolling around.

I'm trying to figure out how to write about it without giving heart attacks.

Anonymous said...


Perhaps it should have happened much earlier but I don't think it could have.

No, it couldn't. It will be interesting to hear the language, say, ten years from now, if all this stuff continues unabated.