Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Soldiers can be court-martialed for protecting selves American fighters endangered by violations of 'rules of engagement'

Violating the U.S. military's "Rules of Engagement" in Afghanistan could guarantee a U.S. soldier a court martial, according to sources, even though there are significant concerns the rules actually damage the ability of soldiers to protect themselves in the heat of combat with the Taliban, according to report from Joseph Farah's G2 Bulletin.

U.S. soldiers are being told to consider an Article 15 investigation "as part of the AAR process," or After Action Review, one informed source said. "This is simply incredible. It's like saying 'court martials (sic) will happen, just consider that to be part of your counseling process,'" the military source said.

G2 Bulletin reported last December that the new rules of engagement ostensibly designed to protect Afghan civilians were putting the lives of U.S. forces in jeopardy as the Taliban began to learn to game plan their imposed limits. The ROEs were put in place in response to Afghan President Hamid Karzai's complaints over mounting civilian casualties during firefights.

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But soldiers are worrying that the rules, said to be classified U.S. and NATO Secret, imposed serious restrictions to include no night or surprise searches, warning villagers prior to searches and no firing on insurgents if they are walking away from having just planted an explosive.

The more restrictive rules were imposed by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the former U.S. forces in Afghanistan commander. He recently was dismissed over his published comments criticizing the national security civilian leadership and replaced by Gen. David Petraeus.

Military sources said the rules offer a six-step escalation of force (EOF) to include visual warning, audible warning, non-lethal weapons and tactics, point weapons at potential threat, disabling shot and shoot to kill.

But they are complicated by the necessity to protect such sites as hospitals and religious and historical sites. And the rules also must be coordinated with a page-long list of specific points imposed by Karzai.

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