DOD Lawyers and Politicians Are At It Again!
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    Cool DOD Lawyers and Politicians Are At It Again!

    DOD Lawyers and Politicians Are At It Again!

    Two Marine officers recently returned from Iraq have lifted the Wizard's curtain, revealing that DOD lawyers and politicians (military and civilian) are a major contributing factor in the increased casualties being experienced by US forces (particularly in the Sunni areas).

    The DOD lawyers exercise this influence on behalf of their political-appointee clients by their dominance in defining, interpreting and enforcing the Rules of Engagement that too often determine whether America's Grunts fire first, or die first. (At every level of flag-officer command there is a Staff Judge Advocate who gets orders through a lawyers-only comm channel to ensure the E-ring view of the ROE is the only view permitted.)

    Consider the recent Iraqi election on a constitution and its focus on the issue of whether enough Sunni's would vote to meet the minimum requirement to consider the election "legitimate."

    As the run up to that election day progressed, the DOD lawyers' edicts to America's Grunts made it clear that the principal political objective of not "alienating" the Sunni population had trumped the tactical imperatives of US combat forces.

    Here are just two ways this misguided emphasis on the "hearts and minds" of an implacable enemy surfaced:

    n First, a demand that Marines no longer use their 9mm pistols for warning shots toward Iraqi vehicles that failed to give US forces sufficient security space. (God forbid that some US Grunt use a burst of automatic weapon fire in front of an approaching Iraqi vehicle!)

    n Second, since Marine Grunts are an innovative group, their reaction to the prohibition on pistols for warning shots meant that the US troops began to use "flash-bangs" as a warning to the Iraqis about to violate the security distance.

    In very short order, the DOD "Tactical Judges" decided that this was a violation of the sacrosanct Rules of Engagement. The flash-bangs had a disturbing tendency, like a football, to bounce in erratic ways, meaning that some few might bounce the wrong way and detonate too close, or even under, the Iraqi vehicle being warned. The DOD lawyers' solution -- forbid the use of flash-bangs altogether. (It's unclear what the Marines reaction this latest stupidity was. Maybe the Marines can wave their hand in an aggressively hostile manner to warn the Iraqis?)

    This new information is all the more astounding when one reads today's DOD-sanctioned press reports that a US Grunt prevented much serious damage and many deaths when he shot and killed the driver of the suicide IED, i.e., the cement mixer truck, that attempted to ram the Baghdad hotel filled with western journalists across the river from the Green Zone.

    The irony is just too much. This Soldier is praised (and rightly so!!) for killing a suicide "muj" who threatened the media VIP's ensconced in these relatively luxurious quarters. Meanwhile, Grunts are being disciplined for exercising their "inherent right of self-defense" because it doesn't fit some E-ring lawyer's view of "reasonable use of lethal force."

    One of the recently returned Marine Grunts first reported the role of military lawyers in dictating tactics earlier this year when the pre-deployment training of his unit suddenly changed. The first several months had been almost totally focused on tough, effective field exercises with a solid connection to tactical operations. The Marines were "pumped" and confident!

    Then, a few weeks before shipping out, the focus suddenly changed. DOD lawyers presented hour after hour of instruction on the Rules of Engagement that would define and constrain the unit's tactics. While the switch was very noticeable and commented upon at the time, it was not until the unit arrived in Iraq that the Marines saw and felt the full consequences of the E-ring dictates on the individual Grunt.

    Let's not forget that this administration has harshly criticized the Clinton administration for seeing terrorism as an issue to be handled as a law enforcement matter. Yet, from the first days after 9/11, we saw DOD lawyers allowed to wield incredible influence, and not for the better, over tactical engagements.

    The classic incident was when Gen. Tommy Franks was asked by the CIA for permission to allow one of the Agency's Predator UAV's to fire a Hellfire missile at the head of the Taliban, Mullah Omar. The CIA had made a positive identification of the target. All that was needed was for a 4-star Army General to exercise his command authority and approve the destruction of one of our nation's two-most wanted enemies.

    But, evidently Franks had left his cajones on his nightstand. Ignoring the four-silver stars on each collar, Tommy decided that he'd better check with his Judge Advocate General, a Navy captain whose qualifications for advising a "war-fighting" commander on ground combat are still somewhat mysterious.

    By the time this "warrior lawyer" -- back in Tampa, Florida, where she truly had a "feel" for the battlefield in Afghanistan -- weighed the legal issues at play, and recommended to Franks that he could safely (legally) approve the attack/killing, it was too late. Mullah Omar escaped and remains today on the list of most-wanted enemies of our nation.

    It comes as no surprise that the reports from the two Marines recently back from The Big Sandbox show this increased influence of lawyers. In the best tradition of consigliore serving their mafia bosses irrespective of moral issues, DOD lawyers are crucial player in imposing Rules of Engagement on America's Grunts in Iraq that might be appropriate for the police departments in Arlington, Virginia, and Tampa, Florida (where most of these lawyers work).

    Even a short conversation with these two combat veterans makes it clear that the injurious effect on morale in our combat forces is palpable. DOD lawyers, few if any of whom are in harm's way, are contributing to the deaths and maiming of American Grunts. These stout-hearted lads and lasses know it, and they ain't happy campers.

    Neither are they whiners. They are prepared to fight and die for their country. But, they do expect that their on-scene tactical commanders -- those actually on the battlefield -- should have more to say about the Rules of Engagement than some DOD lawyers who sit safely, thousands of miles from where the IED's lie in deadly wait, and where the Dragonov rounds search for the seams in defective or 2d-rate body armor.

    In all fairness, there is another major player in this tragedy. The uniformed officers in the chain of command must acquiesce in the promulgation of the Rules of Engagement. The ROE are drafted to support the political goals defined by the National Security Council. Any military commander in the chain of command, from the Commander of Central Command to the Battalion Commanders theoretically has the right to question the ROE issued by the Secretary of Defense. (And he also has the right to look for a new career!)

    A quick look at the 1983 disaster of the Marine barracks in Beirut is instructive.

    L., Mushroom cloud was all that remained of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon after suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden truck into the USMC compound and detonated it.

    When the suicide truck with its massive IED approached the Marine facility, the ROE prevented the Marine guards from having rounds "locked and loaded" in their weapons. Unlike the Army guard whose quick reaction and superb aim killed the driver of the cement truck IED in Baghdad this week, the Marine sentries at the barracks were unable to respond in time. 241 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers died in the blast and rubble that Sunday morning.

    "Then-Colonel Tim Geraghty was the commander of the Marine Expeditionary Unit that suffered these horrendous casualties. One can only wonder whether if given a second chance, Geraghty might have protested the asinine restrictions -- including those in the ROE -- imposed upon him and his unit."

    But, the reality of the profession of arms is that such second chances are not granted. You acquiesce, and you take your chances, weighing the likelihood of becoming another Tim Geraghty against ending your career by balking at the imposition of ROE that you know place your Grunts -- unnecessarily -- at higher risk.

    Your own professional judgment matters not at all, when placed next to the influence of some E-ring lawyer advising the Secretary of Defense that "policy objectives," such as not alienating Sunni zealots, demand these restrictions in the ROE.

    We haven't suffered a Beirut-barracks-like disaster in Iraq to date, but will it take that level of jihadii success before some commander stands up to the E-ring lawyers and politicians to demand that our troops deserve a better choice than fire first or die first?

    SFTT President Roger Charles is an Annapolis graduate, a retired USMC Lt. Col. who commanded an infantry platoon in I Corps during the Vietnam War, is the winner of the prestigious Peabody Award for news coverage, and was a protégée's of the late Col. David H. Hackworth. Rog can be contacted at sfttpres@aol.com. Please send comments to DWFeedback@yahoo.com.

    Ellie

    http://p089.ezboard.com/bthefontmanscommunity


  2. #2
    Marine Free Member bigdog43701's Avatar
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    who remembers the Marine Barracks incident in 1983 in Lebonon? Lets see, go to a hostile zone, place sentries out (WITH UNLOADED WEAPONS) put the remainder if the Battalion landing Team in one (1) multi story building don't worry nothing bad is going to happen.

    YEA RIGHT

    POLITICIONS- They are only good for screwing things up.


  3. #3
    yellowwing
    Guest Free Member
    We haven't suffered a Beirut-barracks-like disaster in Iraq to date, but will it take that level of jihadii success before some commander stands up to the E-ring lawyers and politicians...
    If that does happen, I think it would only imflame the Cindy Sheehans.


  4. #4
    Phantom Blooper
    Guest Free Member
    "A quick look at the 1983 disaster of the Marine barracks in Beirut is instructive.

    L., Mushroom cloud was all that remained of the US Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon after suicide bomber drove an explosive-laden truck into the USMC compound and detonated it.

    When the suicide truck with its massive IED approached the Marine facility, the ROE prevented the Marine guards from having rounds "locked and loaded" in their weapons. Unlike the Army guard whose quick reaction and superb aim killed the driver of the cement truck IED in Baghdad this week, the Marine sentries at the barracks were unable to respond in time. 241 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers died in the blast and rubble that Sunday morning.

    "Then-Colonel Tim Geraghty was the commander of the Marine Expeditionary Unit that suffered these horrendous casualties. One can only wonder whether if given a second chance, Geraghty might have protested the asinine restrictions -- including those in the ROE -- imposed upon him and his unit."

    But, the reality of the profession of arms is that such second chances are not granted. You acquiesce, and you take your chances, weighing the likelihood of becoming another Tim Geraghty against ending your career by balking at the imposition of ROE that you know place your Grunts -- unnecessarily -- at higher risk.

    Your own professional judgment matters not at all, when placed next to the influence of some E-ring lawyer advising the Secretary of Defense that "policy objectives," such as not alienating Sunni zealots, demand these restrictions in the ROE.

    We haven't suffered a Beirut-barracks-like disaster in Iraq to date, but will it take that level of jihadii success before some commander stands up to the E-ring lawyers and politicians to demand that our troops deserve a better choice than fire first or die first?"


    In defense of Colonel Gerahty...I was there. Once the Marine positions started getting fired upon it was asked that the outposts and patrols lock-and-load weapons with a round in the chamber. It was balked upon from the higher echelon in D.C. and the dog and pony shows and parades of congressman and dignitaries continued for the photo ops for the hometown newspapers. When the **** hit the fan everybody backed out and let Gerahty and BLT 1/8 commander LtCol. Gerlach take the fallout and repercussions from the higher echelon and elitists in our nations capital. Semper-Fi! "Never Forget" Chuck Hall


  5. #5
    Phantom Blooper
    Guest Free Member
    A day late and a dollar short. After the BLT barracks on the morning of October 23rd 1983,it was an unwritten turn your head type deal. About 95% had a magazine in the chamber of the weapon and most had a round in the hot seat. Because after the BLT incident only a few of Washington's finest came back to Beirut to access the situation...end of photo ops..unless beside a dead constituents casket. Semper-Fi! "Never Forget" Chuck Hall


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