Half-In, Half-Out: The Modern State of Military Policy

War is hell. That is what I am told. I have never served in the military, but I have the utmost respect for those that have or do. Because war is hell, if a war must exist, I favor a war that lasts exactly how long it takes to meet the objective and not a minute longer. For that reason, I have advocated from 2003 onward the “Sherman’s March” style of warfare- get over there, kick some… butt, and get home. It’s over-simplified, I know; but it’s the gist. I don’t spend unnecessary time at the dentist’s office, and soldiers should spend as little time as possible in a warzone. Win and then get home. But our modern military is dragging their feet, endangering our troops and advocating a contemptible style of “fighting.” America needs to get serious about war- after all, it is a very serious thing.

I have been called every name in the book. I have been called “insensitive,” I have been called a “hawk.” I am neither. I believe someone should never raise their fists unless they’re prepared to fight to win. One should never draw his gun unless he’s in mortal danger and he is prepared to shoot to kill in defense of himself or someone else. America should carefully consider going to war, but when they do, they should give it all they have, and do their absolute best to bring as many soldiers home alive while still achieving the objective. I am not a hawk; a hawk pushes for war. I am for careful consideration beforehand, and absolute, stunning commitment once engaged.

Too often, I am hearing trickled-down stories of soldiers being court-martialed for insensitivity to the enemy. I am hearing of too-harsh of tactics being used, and soldiers being reprimanded. Lieutenant Colonel Allen West now endures criticism from a snot-nosed punk running against him in Florida because West, having obtained information of an assassination plot against him and his men, interrogated an Iraqi police officer by firing a gun next to his head. This episode is now used against him in his Congressional race by a spoiled brat who knows nothing of honor. I am proud of Lieutenant Colonel West and his actions. It should be noted that he must have done something right; he made it home, and is now a Congressman.

As I discussed yesterday, the Obama Administration purposefully leaks information to brag to the world of our military accomplishments, but gets our elite troops killed by voicing such classified information. Our soldiers deserve better.

In 2010, it was reported that the military was considering issuing medals for “courageous acts of restraint.” The idea was that soldiers should be awarded medals for refraining from endangering civilian lives. While I, too, hope to minimize civilian casualties, I detest any policy that second-guesses our soldiers’ decisions and undermines their ability to do all that they can to protect themselves and their comrades.

“The idea is consistent with our approach,” explained Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Tadd Sholtis. “Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians. In some situations our forces face in Afghanistan, that restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those seen in combat actions.”

Wanton carnage wrought upon civilians should never be the goal, but soldiers should worry about soldiers and such a medal would be an unwelcomed distraction from that principle. Ultimately, the idea was scrapped; but having it considered was nonetheless, ridiculous.

If that’s not enough to demonstrate our government’s lack of commitment to our soldiers on an individual level, then let’s explore the case of Lance Corporal Greg Buckley Jr.  Buckley was deployed to a violent outpost in Southern Afghanistan where he and his fellow Marines were constantly at odds with the Afghan soldiers they were training. After weeks of being told how despised him and his countrymen were by an Afghan soldier, Buckley confronted the Afghan soldier regarding his disrespect and was actually forced to apologize to the Afghan soldier. Buckley, knowing that an “insider attack” was imminent, called his family and told them that he was sure he would be killed soon, and that he would not be coming home. Sadly, Buckley was right, as just two days before he was scheduled to leave Afghanistan, he was gunned down by an Afghan soldier, for whom Buckley and his fellow Marines continually risked their lives to train.

Finally, according to recent reports, U.S. soldiers and British Royal Marines have been asked to stand down and not shoot Taliban soldiers who are seen placing IEDs at night because- get this- the gunfire might wake up and upset the locals, and we must appease them. There is nothing wrong with not arbitrarily ticking off the local population, but that concern has to come as a distant secondary concern when compared to the safety of military personnel!

The military gives our soldiers guns and Kevlar, but seems all-too-content with tying one hand behind their back. It has to stop. The aforementioned examples are but a drop in the bucket of outrageous policies and acts of appeasement that have occurred. I do not pretend to be an authority on military policy, nor do I posture as someone that can honestly relate to the difficulties a soldier faces. However, it seems apparent that the “modern, friendly-face” of the U.S. military is being crafted at the expense of our soldiers, and that I cannot stomach.

 

I often like to offer solutions where I can. In this instance, I urge readers to thank service members for their sacrifices. I also suggest checking out Wounded Wear- an organization that raises the national awareness of the sacrifice of wounded warriors, their families, and the families of fallen service members. Supporting Wounded Wear will not make these problems go away, but this is an organization in which I believe, and I encourage people to donate if they’re looking to get involved.

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4 Responses to Half-In, Half-Out: The Modern State of Military Policy

  1. Constance Strait says:

    EXCELLENT article,Greg and Yes, I am checking into Wounded Wear!!
    Thank You!

  2. Jason Sapp says:

    You have hit this one right on! I served in the US Army Cavalry in the “surge” of Bahgdad in 2006-2007 and the rules of engagement had changed significantly since I was there in 2003-2004. Our hands were tied when snipers were killing their own people and blowing our trucks up. Having a soldiers hands tied by these means only stopped us from performing our mission. We need to enable our troops in order to protect them and accomplish the mission. That way they can come home faster!

  3. Pat Coburn says:

    Dustin; During the Vietnam conflict, one tour of duty was standard, and most troops served only one, if that. You had to volunteer to serve multiple tours, unless you had a specialty MOS and were designated critical. Now, our troops are serving 3,4,5 tours and more, back to back. They are fatigued, mentally and physically. Their home lives are a shambles, and the suicide rate is atrocious. Our president’s response? Hey, let them buy their own health care. Oh yeah, and let’s call them ‘terrorists’ when they come home.
    In a race between the Muslim and the Mormon, I choose the patriot, Romney. He is not ashamed of my country, my service, or my God.

  4. victor gillings says:

    My father fought in Afghganistan in 1897, as a soldier in the Kings Royal Rifle Corps, at one time known as the Royal American Regiment. From the time I was big enough to sit on his knee, until I joined the army at the age of 17 years, here is what my dad taught me ” you cannot win in Afghanistan because our leaders make us fight through the mountains then install a base camp,which is immediately surrounded by the enemy. Also our supply lines cannot get through because there is only one supply line – covered by the enemy. ” Forward to 2012, we install base camps and have to bring in men and supplies. We only have one supply line which is covered by the enemy and heavily mined by explosives – causing the most appalling injuries to our troops. What have our half-brained polititians and military leaders learned from the time I sat on dads knee?

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