View Full Version : Caution Backfiring In Afghanistan

Rocky C
06-16-10, 02:49 PM
By Jim Michaels - USA TODAY
Posted : Wednesday Jun 16, 2010 12:49:24 EDT
<FORM id=hidden></FORM>
Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have been reluctant to launch more secret operations because of an excess of caution about violating military rules and international law, a top Army officer says.

The tentative approach to “deception operations” has cost the U.S. military opportunities to weaken the enemy without firing a shot, said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, commander of the Pentagon’s task force to counter improvised explosive devices.

The anti-IED task force has advocated dismantling insurgent networks as an effective way to combat improvised explosive devices, or IEDs.

Earlier this year, Marines in Afghanistan’s Helmand province read announcements over a loudspeaker to trick insurgents into thinking their specially modified roadside bombs couldn’t be found by U.S. minesweepers.
As a result, the insurgents didn’t bother hiding them well and Marines were able to easily find the bombs, said Marine Maj. Don Caporale, an information operations officer.

“We started finding all kinds of mines with this (modification), which, of course, was a complete hoax,” Caporale said.

Still, Oates said in an interview, “there’s a Gordian knot of law, regulation, procedure and risk aversion. We have got to do some due diligence on this problem.”

He said the main problem is a fear of violating regulations that govern when and how the military can use deception. “Mostly it is a risk aversion, in my opinion,” Oates said in an e-mail.

Such regulations and international treaties include provisions forbidding the faking of surrender to draw out an enemy and then kill them, according to the Pentagon’s guidelines on military deception.

Oates’ comments reflect a broader concern among commanders that the U.S. military is too cautious when it comes to deception.

“The common complaint is the guys in the field don’t think they have the authority to do these things,” said Dan Kuehl, an information operations professor at the National Defense University. “When, in fact, they do have the authority.”

Oates and other military officials declined to detail specific deception operations, which are highly classified. The Pentagon declined to discuss who can approve such operations.

“We’re not going to discuss specific authorities because of classification issues,” Air Force Lt. Col. Rene White, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said in a prepared statement.

The military is barred from launching operations that could be picked up by U.S. media. That is a particularly difficult line to walk in an age of the Internet and continuous news — a lie aimed at the enemy could inadvertently wind up portrayed as truth on American television or in newspapers.

“That can be tricky,” said Thomas X. Hammes, a retired Marine colonel and counterinsurgency specialist.

Oates said he raised the issue publicly because of a concern that commanders may be discouraged from using creative plans to weaken insurgents.

“We owe it to ourselves” to look for creative deception operations, he said.

Deception operations are as old as warfare — the Trojan horse of Greek legend is an example — and many have proved decisive.
Among the most successful was Operation Mincemeat in 1943, a scrupulously planned British operation in which fake invasion plans were planted on a corpse, which was dressed to look like a British officer and dumped off the coast of Spain.

The corpse washed up on the Spanish shores where, as hoped, the fake plans found their way to the German high command.

The Germans prepared for an invasion of Greece, allowing the Allies to land at Sicily, the intended target, with relative ease.

06-16-10, 03:01 PM
are you kiding me? We cant lie to the people trying to kill us? Gob bless obama

06-16-10, 05:13 PM
aa87, where the hell do you think these policies come from. If you want to be an ignorant nasty civilian go SOMEWHERE else and do it turd. You do remember this is a MARINE forum correct. Square yourself away before you make your stupid comments

06-16-10, 09:51 PM
better to ask forgiveness than permission

06-16-10, 10:03 PM
Wheres the pen and paperwork, I'll solve this problem :D