View Full Version : An Enlisted Man's Point of View

07-04-2009, 05:35 PM
An Enlisted Man's Point of View

By George H. Wittman on 7.2.09 @ 6:07AM

As anyone who has served in the U.S. Armed Forces knows, avoiding civilian casualties where possible is an integral element of American war fighting. These "rules of engagement" go all the way back to General Washington's Continental Army. There was a time in the beginning of the Korean War when it was not uncommon among basic training cadre to remind new recruits that "No one shoots at somethin' in a pagoda, no matter what's goin' on -- unless, of course, you get an order from some officer above the rank of a butter bar [2nd Lieutenant]."

With all due respect to "second looey's" of the "brown shoe" army of the early fifties, neither they nor the enlisted ranks were quite sure what to make of those ornate oriental buildings that were supposed to be treated as if they were churches -- and thus sacrosanct in American eyes. The communist North Koreans, on the other hand, viewed pagodas as very useful sniper sites, field aid stations, and often excellent booby-trapped hospitality suites -- sort of exploding Motel 6's. They also hid among the streams of refugees as they moved south. The collateral casualties didn't bother them; the Americans could always be blamed.

It seems that the U.S, military is once again being urged to avoid civilian casualties. This time Afghanistan is the new theater of operations where American soldiers, Marines, and airmen are supposed to kill the enemy, but do it as decorously as possible to avoid civilians becoming collateral damage.

I'm not a vet so I posted this in general instead of veterans. I found it to be of interest.

07-04-2009, 06:46 PM
Aussie troops have the same orders...but they also have orders to ensure that their own people are protected. They dont really ever need those orders, because we know that the best way to win is to co opt the locals to help..we do the best we can.

Rock,, you nailed one thing,micromanagement from anywhere is the best way to lose a war, those who make the decisions should be those on the front lines..a combat commander in the heat of battle has to make hard and fast decisions, both to protect his own men and that also of the civilians.

Good find.:)