May 21, 2010

Politically-correct ROE Seeks to Turn Afghanistan into Beirut

God forbid we send out soldiers into battle with loaded weapons:

Commanders have reportedly ordered a U.S. military unit in Afghanistan to patrol in a manner that could handicap them.

Some soldiers are being ordered to conduct patrols without a round chambered in their weapons, The US Report has learned from an anonymous source at a forward operating base in Afghanistan. Our source was unsure if the order came from his unit or if it affected other units.

On war correspondent Michael Yon's Facebook page, commenters stated that this is a common practice in Iraq, while others said that it is occurring in Afghanistan as well. According to military protocol, "Amber" status requires weapons to have a loaded magazine, but the safety on and no round chambered.

"The idea that any combat unit would conduct any operation, including patrolling and even manning a security post -- in which direct action may-or-may not take place -- and not having weapons loaded, borders on being criminally negligent in my opinion," says Lt. Col. W. Thomas Smith Jr., a recognized expert on terrorism and military/national defense issues. "This is nothing more than infusing politically correct restrictions into already overly restrictive rules of engagement. And this PC nonsense is going to get people killed."

I wonder how high up this order originated, and with good reason. The order to put the Marines in Beirut on "amber" status is rumored to have come when then Senator Joe Biden became infuriated when he visited the base and found that the guards were armed with locked and loaded weapons.

This email came to me from a Marine roughly two years ago:

I am a former Marine, having served from '78-'86 When the barracks in Beirut went down, three Marines I knew went with it. Two were Marines I had attended a school with, and were acquaintances at best. The third was a Marine captain that had, immediately before his mission in Beirut, been my company executive officer.

Many years later, I met another former Marine who had been a senior NCO there. We began to exchange stories of our time in the Corps, as former Marines are prone to do. When the subject of the Middle East arose, he told me a disturbing tale. In a nutshell, Biden, a few weeks before the bombing, had visited the barracks. He had a fit at the defensive posture of the unit, which had prudently set up barricades, automatic weapons emplacements, etc. Per Biden, they were not deployed as appropriate to their "peacekeeping" mission - too warlike, and "sending the wrong message."

He demanded that the fortifications be dismantled. The senior NCO on the scene respectfully reminded the senator that he was not in the chain of command. After throwing a tantrum, Biden and the rest of the congressional fact-finding mission left for home. A few days later, word came down from the Pentagon to comply with Biden's instruction. Evidently, Biden had located a spineless officer at the Pentagon. Also included in the order were some changes to the ROE (Rules of Engagement) that slowed response to any attacks. (Marines were not allowed to keep their weapons loaded) The one Marine, a young lance corporal, who was able to fire on the truck as it headed toward the barracks was only able to do so because he had kept his weapon loaded in spite of the order, after the unit first sergeant had hinted he would turn a blind eye. This is the same young Marine, that suffering from survivor guilt, took his own life shortly after.

I was unable to confirm this story at the time, just as I am unable to confirm it now. We do know, however, that our troops in Afghanistan are faced with absurd rules of engagement created by REMFs (I'll let you look that up on your own), bureaucrats, and politicians like those presently in power.

It appears they won't be satisfied until they get our soldiers and Marines massacred... again.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 21, 2010 12:11 PM

Marines, as well as other military personel are expendable for the chickenhawk button pushers of both parties who fancy themselves warriors strutting on the world tv networks. The last time any american was defending American soil and not killing for empire was 1860 to 1865 and Jefferson Davis was president. Marines should be standing on American soil, and no where else. Put and end to the welfare/warfare state and return to liberty. That solves problems like being defenseless in another country.

Posted by: ranger at May 21, 2010 01:48 PM

This cannot be true and if it is; I would disobey that order. When I got home I would hunt down that weenie who made the order.

Posted by: Odins Acolyte at May 21, 2010 04:07 PM

Shades of 1968-1969. Although I was in the Air Force, I saw the ROE's come through that limited free fire areas, limited weapon status (loaded, unloaded, round chambered, etc.) based on where field actions were located. Most of us who pulled base perimeter guard duty became very compentent at quickly (and silently) ejecting that chambered round when the Guard Captain made his rounds. You always had enough notice as the Sgt. that accompanied him would make enough noise for a full flight. I couldn't understand the logic of standing guard with an unloaded weapon. Didn't make sense then, doesn't now.

As my TI was want to intone - grab your left ear with your right hand ....

Posted by: Rubber_Ducky at May 21, 2010 04:29 PM

The problem has been around since Biblical times, remember the bricks without straw? If we are going to put our military in harm's way the least we can do is give them the tools to do the job, define what the job is and then leave them alone to do it.
The consequences are terrible when Congress is micro-managing the civilian sector and horrific when the military is the victim.

Posted by: NevadaDailySteve at May 21, 2010 05:39 PM

Son mentioned, after first tour in Iraq, that when in the watchtowers on one base they were supposed to have the chamber clear. Didn't understand it then, still don't.

Posted by: Firehand at May 21, 2010 08:43 PM

During the Baader-Meinhof/Red Army Faction days in Germany, I was living in one of the bases that the gang had threatened to attack, because of all the dependents there. It was considered serious enough to post "armed" guards all around the kaserne (base) for several weeks, if I recall correctly.

I do recall that none of the troopers had a loaded weapon. They were completely empty. I suppose the troopers were supposed to use their rifles as clubs if an attack were to occur.

So this sort of nonsense is not new.

Posted by: iconoclast at May 22, 2010 10:40 AM

What is strange is that I live next to one of the largest air bases in the US. The guards there are chambered and ready to fire. In fact, if you get on the flight line after dark, it is shot first then identify who you used to be. Why are the rules more lax in the US than abroad?

Posted by: David at May 22, 2010 04:37 PM

I remember well standing perimeter guard duty at night, at Da Nang AB in 1970. Those were the longest 12 hour shifts I ever endured. Two of us in a tower 20' up. We were always safed and loaded, and no one ever checked on us except by radio. We each had an Ammo can full of loaded clips, plus one in the rifle. This was right after TET, so everyone was tense.

Our Kill zone was a 100' cleared strip with three coils of Razor wire on each side. It was lit with just about enough light to see by. Not fun.

Posted by: Marc at May 23, 2010 03:57 PM