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Thread: Targeting mosques: Help me understand

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    Default Targeting mosques: Help me understand

    Hello Small Wars Council! I'm new to the forum: I joined to ask for help with my research. I am a political scientist writing my third book on war: this one is about religion as a constraint on modern warfare.

    My question is about NSLs and SPINS during the 1st and 2nd Gulf War. I have a general understanding of how US troops avoid striking mosques. I've read various joint publications. What I'd like to see is an example with some specifics. Who draws up a list of religious sites? How do they know where they are located? Who identifies them? Who makes the final decision?

    Is it at all possible to get hold of a copy (no matter how outdated) of SPINS or NSLs? Thanks for your advice!

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Welcome aboard Hassner I have moved your request to teh RFI area, experience shows this tends to get better result either via PM or on the thread itself.

    For the non-US military reader please what are:
    NSLs and SPINS
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Those are classified targeting procedures, and you won't find NSL or SPINS governing the process or results in the unclass realm (or at least shouldn't). The level of detail found in those joint pubs is about as far as it goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    Welcome aboard Hassner I have moved your request to teh RFI area, experience shows this tends to get better result either via PM or on the thread itself.

    For the non-US military reader please what are:
    Thanks! SPINS are "Special Instructions". NSL means "No Strike List".

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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    Those are classified targeting procedures, and you won't find NSL or SPINS governing the process or results in the unclass realm (or at least shouldn't). The level of detail found in those joint pubs is about as far as it goes.
    Thanks, jcustis. Do you think there might be a way to learn more about procedure (i.e.: who is responsible for making decisions and in what order)?

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    Hassner, your research in this regard will be useful to those who may end up in conflict with the US at some stage.

    Take a look at Gaza and see how the use of mosques and schools etc are used as 'shields' for insurgent activities because of the protection so afforded and the propaganda potential should this sites be struck.

    Democracies (western countries) apply such self imposed limitations which are akin to tying one hand behind their backs while the opposition (whoever that is) apllies no such restrictions and takes advantage of US self imposed restrictions.

    In the end the opposition always win.


    Quote Originally Posted by Hassner View Post
    Hello Small Wars Council! I'm new to the forum: I joined to ask for help with my research. I am a political scientist writing my third book on war: this one is about religion as a constraint on modern warfare.

    My question is about NSLs and SPINS during the 1st and 2nd Gulf War. I have a general understanding of how US troops avoid striking mosques. I've read various joint publications. What I'd like to see is an example with some specifics. Who draws up a list of religious sites? How do they know where they are located? Who identifies them? Who makes the final decision?

    Is it at all possible to get hold of a copy (no matter how outdated) of SPINS or NSLs? Thanks for your advice!

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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hassner View Post
    Thanks, jcustis. Do you think there might be a way to learn more about procedure (i.e.: who is responsible for making decisions and in what order)?
    There's not much more to tell, and I think we're done here. US forces do not deliberately target mosques. US forces will certainly engage hostile enemy forces firing from mosques and at friendly forces, so it is not as though they automatically get a free pass.

    You might be better served by submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Defense.

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