Exclusive: Roe v. The Right To Life Of American Troops
by RUTH KING
June 24, 2010
The big news today is the aftermath of General McChrystal’s insolent comments to Rolling Stone Magazine. The media, legislators and some brass were scolding McChrystal and calling for his resignation. He’s been humbled, has apologized, but is now bound for a stint in the woodshed.
In the interview, McChrystal criticized President Obama and ridiculed Vice President Biden and Richard Holbrooke. An aide described National Security Adviser Jim Jones as a “clown” mired in 1985.
General McChrystal himself is mired in a combination of Woodstock’s August 1969 “Aquarian Exposition: three days of Peace and Music,” and a redneck “Jedi” commander. He hates fancy restaurants and what he calls “Gucci” stuff and indulges in a lot of barroom vulgarity. While he talks tough, often using the word “kill,” he has always urged the minimal use of force in the belief that civilian casualties and damaged property win propaganda points for the insurgents. Make love more than war.
He did romance Afghan civilians whose culture he admires, whose safety he put above that of our soldiers, whose homes he protected and whose "peaceful" religion was treated with overweening sensitivity. In sixty six pages where he outlined his war strategy, his only mention of Islam was the tired old cliché that the Taliban was guilty of hijacking the noble principles of the Koran. He remains blind to the mounting evidence that the local civilians actually prefer the Taliban to the Western infidel soldiers.
In fact, Gen. McChrystal owes a public apology to the armed forces and to their dependants and loved ones for the Rules of Engagement (ROE) described by Diana West in 2009 as “criminally irresponsible” and
“predicated on a politically correct, see-no-Islam, hothouse-academic, socially-engineering vision of the world as it isn’t that has cost all too many of our men’s lives, limbs, and well- being, not to mention countless billions of dollars, and lost power and prestige that once safeguarded us against our enemies.”
General McChrystal was obsessed with avoiding any civilian casualties. While he inspired and was liked by many under his command, he has sent mixed messages as in: "You better be out there hitting four or five targets tonight," McChrystal will tell a Navy Seal he sees in the hallway at headquarters. Then he'll add, "I'm going to have to scold you in the morning for it, though."
Furthermore his directives to avoid civilian casualties intimidated soldiers as one U.S. official is quoted: "For a while the most dangerous place to be in Afghanistan was in front of McChrystal after a 'civ cas' incident."
Today’s troops are not drafted. They choose to enlist in defense of our nation. These are some of those ROEs that contribute to their mounting casualties as listed for me by John Bernard of http://letthemfight.blogspot.com/:
“If there are or may be civilians in the area, and you are under attack, disengage; if an (insurgent) has dropped his weapon, you can’t fire on him even if he was firing at you; if you see an (insurgent) walking away from an IED, you can’t engage him; no surprise night searches of homes; no searches of homes without Afghan police or Afghan Army present to conduct the search; even when fired upon do not fire indiscriminately; do not tear down the homes of insurgents. And, never, ever use words like Jihad or call the terrorists anything but ‘insurgents’.”
Why has congress whose doyennes Clinton and Boxer were so hostile to General Petraeus (again for the wrong reasons) been mute about the endangerment to our troops brought about by the Rules of Engagement? What about John McCain, Joseph Biden, Sarah Palin and other legislators whose children serve in our wars? What about Senator Webb of Virginia who penned a fine novel made into a better movie “Rules of Engagement” where a sergeant is acquitted after being tried for firing on civilians while rescuing an ambassador in an Arab country?
Exactly whom are we protecting? What sane nation risks its blood and treasure to capture the hearts and minds of barbarians who hide among civilians and who are propelled by a blood lust to destroy the West and all its civilizing Judeo-Christian values?
Even though McChrystal has departed, the overriding strategy of constraint formulated by General David Petraeus will continue. General Petraeus whose chest sports a plethora of insignia and medals and oak leaf clusters must treasure the “Humanitarian Service Medal’ and probably the “Gold Award of the Iraqi Order of the Date Palm” and “United Nations Mission in Haiti Medal” because they are for good deeds. His entire Counterinsurgency strategy is focused, like McChrystal’s, on winning the war by showing mercy to the enemy.
Petraeus, who replaces him, clearly shares General McChrystal’s stated mantra: “It’s not how many you kill, it’s how many you convince.” And he also shares the commitment to the notion that the overriding concern must be the protection of civilians whose hearts and minds he seeks to change through dialogue and respect.Along the way, that becomes “It’s not how many of us are killed but how many of them are spared.”
That is a perversion of a General’s role and a perversion of the concept of mercy.
General George Patton observed: “Wars may be fought with weapons, but they are won by men. It is the spirit of men who follow and of the man who leads that gains a victory.” One could add that the lack of spirit of the man who leads gains the loss.
General William Tecumseh Sherman disdained critics thus: “If the people want to raise a great howl against my barbarity and cruelty, I will answer that war is war, and not popularity seeking. Every attempt to make war easy and safe will result in humiliation and disaster.”
Curtis Lemay knew: “Every soldier thinks something of the moral aspects of what he is doing. But all war is immoral and if you let it bother you, you’re not a good soldier.”
The ultimate judgment comes from the Old Testament and the Hebrew sages:
...' (Deut. 20:1)"'When you go out to the battle against your enemies, confront them as enemies. Just as they show you no mercy, so should you not show them any mercy."
Generals Petraeus and McChrystal are not evil men. They have chosen defense of our nation as their career, but they have a misplaced definition of mercy….. which the Sages referred to as “The Mercy of Fools” and the wise Rabbi Moshe Ben Nachman (12th Century Rambam) added.
“Through the mercy of fools all justice is lost.”