9 Sep

Obama’s Rules Of Engagement In Afghanistan Costing Our Troops Lives

                                       

Four Marines died yesterday in Afghanistan when the Taliban laid a trap:

Four U.S. Marines died Tuesday when they walked into a well-laid ambush by insurgents in Afghanistan’s eastern Kunar province. Seven Afghan troops and an interpreter for the Marine commander also died in the ambush and the subsequent battle, which lasted seven hours.

Three American service members and 14 Afghan security force members were wounded.

It was the largest number of American military trainers to die in a single incident since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

The battle took place around the remote hamlet of Gangigal, in a valley about six miles from the Pakistani border, after local elders invited the U.S. and Afghan forces for a meeting.

American officers said there was no doubt that they’d walked into a trap, as the insurgents were dug in at the village, and had preset their weapons and their fields of fire.

It was a trap alright….but one they could of extradited themselves out of if not for the rules of engagement laid out by Obama’s General, General Stanley McChrystal:

Airstrikes by coalition forces in Afghanistan have dropped dramatically in the three months Gen. Stanley McChrystal has led the war effort there, reflecting his new emphasis on avoiding civilian casualties and protecting the population.

NATO fixed-wing aircraft dropped 1,211 bombs and other munitions during the past three months — the peak of the fighting season — compared with 2,366 during the same period last year, according to military statistics. The nearly 50% decline in airstrikes comes with an influx of more than 20,000 U.S. troops this year and an increase in insurgent attacks.

The shift is the result of McChrystal’s new directives, said Air Force Col. Mark Waite, an official at the air operations center in southwest Asia. Ground troops are less inclined to call for bombing or strafing runs, though they often have an aircraft conduct a “show of force,” a flyby to scare off insurgents, or use planes for surveillance, Waite said.

The Marines who were killed were not the ones less inclined to call for a bombing run, in fact they were depending on it to get them out of the trap….and none came:

We walked into a trap, a killing zone of relentless gunfire and rocket barrages from Afghan insurgents hidden in the mountainsides and in a fortress-like village where women and children were replenishing their ammunition.

“We will do to you what we did to the Russians,” the insurgent’s leader boasted over the radio, referring to the failure of Soviet troops to capture Ganjgal during the 1979-89 Soviet occupation.

Dashing from boulder to boulder, diving into trenches and ducking behind stone walls as the insurgents maneuvered to outflank us, we waited more than an hour for U.S. helicopters to arrive, despite earlier assurances that air cover would be five minutes away.

U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines — despite being told repeatedly that they weren’t near the village.

“We are pinned down. We are running low on ammo. We have no air. We’ve lost today,” Marine Maj. Kevin Williams, 37, said through his translator to his Afghan counterpart, responding to the latter’s repeated demands for helicopters.

While the enemy was directly responsible for their deaths, those rules of engagement, and those leaders who refused to send help also have blood on their hands.

The Marines were cut down as they sought cover in a trench at the base of the village’s first layer cake-style stone house. Much of their ammunition was gone. One Marine was bending over a second, tending his wounds, when both were killed, said Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer, 21, of Greensburg, Ky., who retrieved their bodies.

Herschal Smith:

The new ROE should have been dealt with as a classified memorandum of encouragement and understanding to consider holistic consequences of actions rather than a change to formal rules by which our Marines and Soldiers are prosecuted by courts. Yet the damage has been and continues to be done by poor decisions at the highest levels of leadership.

Damn the ROE.

Herschal also takes issue with the leaders using the Anbar tactics in a completely different theater. Take for example the mission these Marines were on. To go talk to village leaders in an attempt to gain an alliance. But without the necessary force to back them up if it goes bad….and it did:

This was my fear – that counterinsurgency tactics advocated in FM 3-24 would become so religiously ingrained into the thinking of the armed forces that they would believe that it applies in any situation and without the necessary force projection to back up the nice intent.

Carrots and stick, folks. All carrots and no sticks makes for brave warriors who perish on the field of battle because the local fighters have little to fear – not because of our own warriors, but because of the lack of resourcing and tactics being implemented.

Things are going to turn real bad in Afghanistan because of the poor decisions being made by Obama, his Generals, and NATO. And my fear is that once enough of our bravest have died he will cut and run and leave that country to our enemy instead of doing what is necessary to win as Bush did in Iraq.

UPDATE

The calls for help was witnessed by a reporter:

A McClatchy newspapers’ journalist who witnessed the battle reported that a team of Marine trainers made repeated appeals for air and artillery support after being pinned down by insurgents in the village of Ganjgal in eastern Kunar province.

Press Secretary Geoff Morrell says it was the distance the helicopters had to fly that was responsible for the late help but the reporter who was with the troops disputes this as well as the soldiers on the ground.

According to the McClatchy report by Jonathan Landay, the US advisors assisting Afghan forces had been assured before the operation that “air cover would be five minutes away.”

UPDATE

Check this out

Lt. Fabayo and several other soldiers later said they’d seen women and children in the village shuttling ammunition to fighters positioned in windows and roofs. Across the valley and from their ridgeline outposts, the Afghans and Americans fired back.

Read the whole account in the link I just gave, written by the reporter who witnessed the whole thing. In the reporters own words:

I wasn’t as terrified as I was angry: angry at the absence of air support, angry that there was no artillery fire

It’s a must read.

About Curt

Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 20 years.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Foreign Policy, Military, NATO, War On Terror. Bookmark the permalink. Wednesday, September 9th, 2009 at 4:56 pm
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49 Responses to Obama’s Rules Of Engagement In Afghanistan Costing Our Troops Lives

  1. bill-tb says: 1

    Yep, our troops are driving around waving guns, running over bombs.

    ReplyReply
  2. Scrapiron says: 2

    A once proud party called democrats is now a party of cowards who cut and run at a cost of millions of lives. They are awash in blood and none of them care. I expected this from President O’Dumbo, an enemy of America. but thought a few members of congress would stand up. Guess that’s what I get for thinking. As a vet of Vietnam I know how it feels to watch democrats make the lives of 50,000 true American hero’s worthless. I still pray I outlive the traitor Hanoi John Kerry so I can piss on his grave.

    ReplyReply
  3. Hard Right says: 3

    Typical dems. More concerned about looking bad to their countryclub buddies than keeping American soldiers alive.
    Those soldiers died just so the left can pat themselves on the back over no “civilians” being killed by the big bully USA.

    ReplyReply
  4. joesixpack31 says: 4

    Based on the above eyewitness account of events, what I feared with the election of Obamanista appears to be unfolding. The objective of the new administration is to forge retreat/exit from the conflict…and victory to the jihadists…by ramping up/maximizing US casualties thereby gaining support at home from the sizable left wing “retard” element. And this placates the lunatic left which has been on his ass to surrender now. The thing they love most next to “balls out” retreat is high US military casualties. The EFFING islamo-marxist cowards hiding in the whitehouse and on capitol hill are no differant than the jihadists that hide behind women and children or in mosques. There is NO DOUBT the village elders and the jihadists worked in concert to set up this “bushwack”. Based on the way the air support fell apart, it would appear that US commanders responsible for providing air cover were accomplices in the “bushwacking”. Looks like the same trick Clinton pulled on the US rangers in Mogadishu (sp??). In short, this took coordination between the jihadists, the village elders, Obama’s military commanders and of most importance…restructuring the rules of engagement by Obama to enable this trap to work. Obama and his marxist lawyers are not totally stupid. This had to have been intentionally rigged. The big question for the near term is: How many more similar ambushes will our troops be ORDERED into before either they mutiny, or the “chicken shit” chain of command mutinies or both??

    ReplyReply
  5. Buffalobob says: 5

    What we are seeing is Vet Nam ll. When you restrict the troops from using all deadly force in a firefight you will repeat Mogadishu. When you have a community organizer and his leftest Chicago hacks directing a military operation you are doomed to failure. Our troops will suffer and again be taunted by the same radicals (only now they are grey bearded activists and University professors) who will again spit on them like they did when they returned from Vet Nam. You cannot fight a war without civilian casualties. We must either accept that fact or pull all of our troops.

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  6. tfhr says: 6

    If we’re going to withhold close air support, helicopter support, and/or artillery when it is needed then we will kill morale just as fast as we’ll be killing our own troops. I pray that this does not repeat itself and that these glaring flaws in the ROE are corrected immediately.

    ReplyReply
  7. tfhr says: 7

    So now that I’ve finished reading the McClatchy article, I see we did get some white phosphorous called in to cover the withdrawal. Start the clock for the first complaints of “chemical warfare”.

    ReplyReply
  8. kathie says: 8

    How dare they not protect American lives….it is nothing more then a PR stunt. Bring our guys home. Did you see the pictures of the Iranian munitions they have found? Some packaged to look like American ones. Get bin Laden by bombing the place to smithereens. They had the chance to turn him over, and they didn’t. So they get what they get.

    ReplyReply
  9. Is this on purpose????..costing American troop lives…to alter American opinion and push to withdraw troops as was requested all along by leftists?

    Barry continued military presence/Sec of Defense… but neutered the military efforts to get what he wanted….if you think this is just my opinion…you are very wrong..I live in NC and I can speak up from what is being volleyed about by military personnel who cannot speak up.

    This is becoming similar to Gulf War, VietNam, Korea…Lefties want familiar political named examples?

    If this Barry War continues, bring back the draft and put some of the government elitists’ family members in — I bet we would have artlllary back-up again, at immediate request. Fight the war or tell us what the game plan is (you kept demanding from Bush) why not, Barry?????

    ReplyReply
  10. ThomNJ says: 10

    Damn……..I’d send the artillery rounds in anyway. They could courts martial me later.

    ReplyReply
  11. Pingback: UPDATED: Does Barack Obama Want to Lose the Afghan War? : The Pink Flamingo

  12. joesixpack31 says: 11

    I am unable to comprehend a Marine Corp artillary commander or a helicoptor commander, hearing a call for support from a pinned down force and responding in the negative with a dissertation on Obama’s ROE. You’re right ThomNJ. They should have responded IMMEDIATELY and dropped a few artillary rounds on McChrystal’s headquarters as well. These “EFFING” kiss asses in the chain of command need to learn their #1 priority is the support of the troops on the ground, NOT kissing the ass of some islamo-marxist usurper of the presidency who is not even able to supply a bonifide birth certificate. How long are our military commanders going to “GO ALONG” to “GET ALONG” sacrificing the lives of our young people under their command to promote the policies of this espionage agent in the whitehouse???

    ReplyReply
  13. Ira says: 12

    Obama=Lnydon JohnsonII, two incompetents micro managing a war, Obama wants to loose to humble this country that he hates so much. It is time for a coup.

    ReplyReply
  14. joesixpack31 says: 13

    DITTO’S IRA.

    ReplyReply
  15. imtired says: 14

    Of course this is intentional.The more of our children they let die over there will be less that can come home to protect us.And we will need that protection here at home soon me thinks……

    ReplyReply
  16. Jonny says: 15

    UNTHINKABLE!

    ReplyReply
  17. All servicemen knows about ROE. It did not start with Obama. This is a all volunteer force. If you crybabies want changes write your elected officials who created this. ROE favors the enemy, it should not be like this but it is. Protest the military generals who thought of this crap. Do not blame the President.

    ReplyReply
  18. Skookum says: 17

    Myron are you sure that isn’t Moron Hadiman

    ReplyReply
  19. @Myron H re:Protest the military generals who thought of this crap. Do not blame the President
    ====================

    Sorry to break it to you but THE US President IS the Commander-in-Chief. If a policy is put in place — he/she is responsible. . . . regardless of political party.

    Even a CiC who votes present or allows continuance of a bad policy IS responsible. . . sorry to burst you leftist leaning bubble. . . maybe you should read the US Constitution.

    ReplyReply
  20. Skookum says: 19

    Thank you American Voter, I was so shocked by this imbecile that I was at a loss for words. I couldn’t let a thread end that way. Thank you again.

    ReplyReply
  21. Pingback: Obama’s Rules of Engage story: http://www.floppingaces.net/2009/09/09/obamas-rules-of-engagement-in-afghanistan-costing-our-troops-lives/ | Bally

  22. John in Michigan, USA says: 20

    Reading these comments suggests that no-one here has bothered to educate themselves about McChrystal’s counter-insurgency doctrine.

    The US and NATO have just made very, very difficult decisions to attempt what should have been attempted much earlier. As frustrating as this is, I feel strong that it is too soon to start second-guessing.

    It sounds like hell for those Marines and their Afghan brothers in arms.

    But, simply loosening the rules re air strikes or arty is NOT the answer. In an ambush that is so well prepared, the enemy almost certainly had a plan to deal with air strikes or arty barrages. Probably, they would have attempted the infamous “self-cleaning battlefield”.

    This is an utterly insidious tactic in which the basic, decent, Muslim practice of burying the dead ASAP is perverted into a powerful weapon in the information war. The bodies of all fighters are removed within minutes or hours, but the bodies of other Muslims, who are civilians or who can be sanitized to look like civilians, are left behind to rot…in some cases, the enemy performs additional desecration on the corpses.

    All this is done for the cameras which the enemy has ensured will have access (the typical close-up photos of bodies is yet another desecration, and also a war crime); the video is distributed world-wide according to plan. The text is “the West has committed another 100% civilian war crime for no reason other than blind, impotent hatred of Muslims”; the sub-text is “ha ha we’ve snookered you again, look how we turn defeat into victory” and so on.

    Imagine if we had fallen for the full, multi-layered ambush, instead of simply falling for the initial ambush. That could have caused the NATO deal to collapse, perhaps even caused Obama to loose control of his domestic coalition. The surge might have been defeated right there.

    Once the ambush was sprung, I think the commanders were 100% correct to suspect a trap within a trap.

    Their failure, for which heads should roll, was in not having a plan vs this trap within a trap, or having that plan, but failing to execute.

    It seems to me that, once our guys had pulled back (and lured some of the enemy out of the village), there should have been enough flexibility to cover their retreat with carefully coordinated strikes.

    That would give the enemy cameras some explosions to film, but it would also force the enemy to stage the atrocity out in the field, instead of in someone’s hut in the village. Next, perhaps we could have had our own cameras there documenting the self-cleaning battlefield and exposing it for the obscenity it is. Also, showing how we saved the village, etc.

    But that is all guesswork and hindsight. Perhaps the initial ambush was just too good, and such an organized retreat was not possible. Sometimes we get the bear, sometimes the bear gets us. We weep, and we return to the fight.

    If counter-insurgency is done right, in the future we will have warning that the village has been infiltrated, or perhaps, was never interested in talking with us in the first place. Thus we will avoid the encounter, or better still, be able to turn it to our advantage.

    Only time will tell if Obama truly “gets” all this, or if he is just playing politics. I did NOT vote for Obama, but even in my most partisan moments I know I a duty to give the commander-in-chief the benefit of the doubt during wartime, at least long enough to give the McChrystal plan time to work.

    ReplyReply
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  25. Tex Dad says: 21

    @Scrapiron: Very well put…thank you for your service to our great nation….we lost one of those cowardly bastards today..old murtha croaked.GOD BLESS YOU.

    ReplyReply
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  27. Rockandrollpsyco says: 22

    :evil: I think it is about time to do a little house cleaning; oh ya senate bastards 2 :?:

    ReplyReply
  28. I AM SHAKING WITH HORROR ,again and again it is repeated,treason from MCCRYSTAL COMMANDER,who should be arrested on the spot,he forsake his braves lead them to bloodshed and

    ReplyReply
  29. RidgeRunner says: 24

    Land of the free and the home of the brave? Where the hell are they? They must all be over there already cause they sure as hell are no longer here!!! Just when will enough be enough?!! At what point do we bare arms against against a government that sacrifices its army to make friends. At what point would all us fine Americans have locked and loaded on Hitler? Or would we have cowered in our homes and let him take over just like the cheeze-assed Germans did?

    I’m not afraid to say it… Gommer-Pile-Obama is our own version of Hitler. He has no redeeming qualities. What a sorry-assed mother-effen African-born carpet-baggin lyin sack of sheep-she-et… where’s a good sniper when you need one? NEXT!!!!

    ReplyReply
  30. joesixpack31 says: 25

    Right on Ridgerunner. As I see it, an espionage agent is currently in residence in the WhiteHouse. The controlling legal authorities…US Military, FBI, CIA, US Supreme Court are all in bed with the perp. The upper echelons of these agencies have all been “queered” out during the Clinton and Bush administrations. So when Obama was ordained, everything was “wired” to GO for him. Lower level Fed Law Enforcement, Military and American Patriots must do the “house cleaning” job.

    ReplyReply
  31. JOHN IN MICHIGAN USA;you said;it’s sound like hell;,it is sir,do they fight that war for the evening news?no,:that prolonged war is not logic;the ennemies would not have a chance to remove theirs owns deads and desecrate the bodys of dead civiliens ;if you let ours soldiers fight them first;:if you deny the air support that they need;it is wrong strategy,:a trap is likely have been set up by AFGHANS soldiers as it happen before;so why do they embed with them,;and why not give confidence to the soldiers that made a career to destroy ennemies..?

    ReplyReply
  32. John in Michigan, USA says: 27

    @ilovebeeswarzone – If you understand the counter-insurgency strategy, then your questions answer themselves. If you don’t understand it, or understand it but don’t agree with it, then there’s probably little I can say to change your mind.

    But, I’ll try.

    Others have considered the points you raise carefully and have answered them far better than I could. Have you read what the neo-cons actually have to say in their own words?

    The Patton of Counterinsurgency
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/014/822vfpsz.asp

    Anatomy of the Surge
    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/viewarticle.cfm/special-preview-br–anatomy-of-the-surge-11265

    If you don’t follow these journalist / bloggers, you’re missing critical information:

    http://www.michaelyon-online.com/
    http://www.michaeltotten.com/
    http://www.longwarjournal.org/

    The Surge worked in Iraq (so far at least). To me, after all the blood and treasure, failing to at least attempt a Surge in Afghanistan would be a waste of all those lives. Maybe you think we shouldn’t be there, but we are there. Wishing it were otherwise won’t change that fact.

    America makes great warriors, and I am thankful for every one of them. But, at heart we are not a warrior nation. We are a nation of citizen-soldiers, and that is very different. We don’t just destroy, we build.

    ReplyReply
  33. JOHN IN MICHIGAN USA;i thank you;and i have just began to read the links;but i have to come back to it until i done it all:thoses are high expertises,very full of intelligence knowledge from IRACK ;and previous experiences i agree with as they have work in there;my comment come not from there,as i wrote it was more toward the need to preserve the soldiers as a number one priority in the warzone of AFGHAN;i don’t pretend to be the COMMANDER’s plan,as i respect his intelligence; my logic is coming totaly from what i read on AFGHANISTAN’s warzone reports of casualtys;specialy of EIDs,that got my attention and desire to include my own logic in my view ,when i began to comment,the fact that i read was priority of civiliens over our own soldiers that did not have an equal chance to thoses explosifs;as you know that war is not the same so to my mind;the same strategy does not apply,,the best to you ;i appreciate bye

    ReplyReply
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  35. George S says: 29

    I watched the same type of political mistakes unfold in Vietnam. Johnson’s war room safely located deep under the White House was staffed by fools moving flags around on a map. The flags were men. But these political whores that wouldn’t ever be seen in a military uniform were costing men their lives. Now they are doing it again. When this gang of parasites have cut and run, how many men and women will have given their lives, limbs, brains, futures away needlessly? Where will they build another black wall inscribed with the names of the dead this time? Who will we hold responsible for this Peace with Honor? How many years will pass before we are able to admit who was responsible for the loss? I spent twelve years in the military and fought in two conflicts/wars. No battle or war should be started without a clear political courage to win. Its not fast food, the enemy doesn’t always toss away their weapons and surrender in mass, so you can make it back home before dinner. I read the other day that Dumbo called in two high ranking generals chewed them out then had them swear a personal oath to HIM, not the country, the Constitution, or to their men, but to the the president. Hitler also forced his generals to do the same.

    ReplyReply
  36. i agree, that war should be over by now,but they installed the rules of engagment to please the leader, not to protect the civiliens, where many hang around to help the ennemies; to my view it makes them ennemies as well,and if you keep them alive,they will not change their views, and continue their supports. :roll:

    ReplyReply
  37. Steve says: 31

    Let start a serious arm chair general discussion.

    What would you do to win the war in Afghanistan? Give me you best 5 step plan.

    ReplyReply
  38. STEVE: hi, how about including air support as an every day action to let go bombs and the next
    day change location and let drop some more as only the militarys would know where at the last minute, for a couple of months, and before starting they would drop papers telling people a warning to some vague operation of war , surrender or be kill. no details . bye

    ReplyReply
  39. designer replica handbag: hi, yes you are correct, I would’nt do without my BLOG,now that I found it. bye :roll:

    ReplyReply
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  42. Leslie says: 34

    @Scrapiron: If you outlive Hanoi Kerry to piss on his grave, there will probably be a line…so get up early and bring a chair and something to read.

    ReplyReply
  43. Leslie, here we are again, may 23 2011, I have tears again, nothing have change,
    EXCEPT MORE OF THOSE HEROS GOOD AND BRAVES WITH FAMILYES ROOTED DEEP
    IN THE AMERICA’S LAND OF THE BRAVES, yes more have joined those MARINES,
    more came back with hurts painfull scars, our youngs, are seeing a COUNTRY CHANGED,
    AND FULL OF UNRECONISE BEING AROUND THEIR NEIGHBORDHOOD, THEY ARE CONCERNED, they wander around trying to find the SPIRIT OF AMERICA, they hear speechs of hate and division,
    they are very worry.

    ReplyReply
  44. that POST FROM SEPTEMBER 2009,
    NOW OCTOBER 2011, WHERE is the difference in AFGHANISTAN WAR?
    EXCEPT THE WARRIORS DIE IN MULTIPLE NUMBER,
    THE HATERS HAVE GROWNED INTO A GIGANTIC BEAST,
    there is small number of warriors all over the haters’sground, all over their world
    WHAT IS THIS, so many more WARS ad infinito,

    ReplyReply
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  46. Dr. Tracy M. Baker says: 37

    What no one but me wants to talk about is that the reason for these crazy Rules of Engagement is that Obama does not want his Muslim brothers killed. He is not concerned about American lives, particularly if they are Christian or Jewish. But he’s going to protect the Muslims, even though they are the enemy. Can’t the rest of you see that? I am a fairly intelligent person, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see what I am saying. Certainly, the media isn’t going to say this. Not even Fox News will say it. But it is obvious. Of all people, Obama should be patriotic because it is the greatness of this country that enabled him to get where he is. Yet, he apologizes for America and does all he can to hurt the very country that made him. Disgusting!!!

    ReplyReply
  47. Dr. Tracy M. Baker
    how right you are SIR, WE ARE EXPERIENCING ANOTHER PROOF NOW DEVELOPING, WE HAVE READ THE ABOVE FROM 2009 TO 20011, WITH SADNESS AND OUTRAGE,
    NOW WE COME HERE IN SEPTEMBER 19 IN 2012,
    AFTER THIS YEAR’S 9/11 DAY REMEMBRANCE,
    And they are gathering their mobs from all the MUSLIM COUNTRIES
    EVEN GATHERING THEM FROM THE FREE COUNTRIES WHO WITHOUT KNOWING OR TOO IGNORANT TO FOR-SEE THE DANGERS THEY CREATE IN THE FUTURE, HAVE ALLOWED THEM TO EMIGRATED,
    BUT THEY EMIGRATED TAKING WITH THEM THEIR HOME GROWN HATE OF ANYONE NOT LIKE THEM AS THEY CLAIM. WHICH COUNTRIES ARE NOW CLAIMING TO BE FREE? THAT IS THE QUESTION OF TODAY, PLUS WHAT CAN WE DO TO ANSWER THE SOLUTION QUESTION?
    WHICH MUST BE AS RADICAL AS THEY ARE, AS MUCH AS CUTTING OUT A CANCER ON A HUMAN BEING INFECTED AND DYING SLOWLY IF NOT BE ERADICATED FROM IT.
    BEST TO YOU.

    ReplyReply
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