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Thread: "We're pinned down": 4 Marines die in Afghan ambush

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  1. #1
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    Default "We're pinned down": 4 Marines die in Afghan ambush

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/227/story...ink=MI_emailed

    Can this part possibly be right?

    U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and tree lines despite being told repeatedly that they weren't near the village.
    And if it is, what sort of impact will this story have on domestic support for the war?

  2. #2
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    Even if the denial of fires occurred as the reporter claims, I wonder if he has his facts right as to the cause (new rules to avoid civilian casualties). Generally speaking, restrictions on the use of artillery are nothing new. Even in early deployments to Iraq, we needed BDE-commander approval for any fire mission of artillery into the city that we operated in, or the immediate vicinity (battalion commander approval for mortars). I generally cringe when weapons organic/OPCON to battalion are controlled by BDE, but in that case I think it made sense. Certain fires need restrictions.

    Whatever the case, the quoted passage is a bit odd. I just read the full article (a very short article, considering the length of the firefight) and the reporter notes that the Captain requested artillery or attack aviation and the response was that no helicopters were available. Later, a specific request for artillery was a smoke mission, not HE. They did not get smoke, but they did get WP. Firing WP doesn't seem like something you do if you are worried about civilian casualties.

    The report is very light on details.

  3. #3
    Council Member Greyhawk's Avatar
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    Default Always worth noting the obvious...

    (I'm thinking here of the question "what sort of impact will this story have on domestic support for the war?")

    Detailed ROE are not in the public domain. We know a bit from the unclass (and publicly released) portion of General McChrystal's tactical directive, and we know a bit about this battle. From that, those who want to draw broad conclusions from scant knowledge will proceed without much caution.

    So much for the obvious, here are my thoughts.

    What percentage of the US public will do that? It will certainly be incorporated into the current level of noise, and some will consider it signal. I'd bet the number is close enough to zero not to matter - not because few are quick to judgment sans knowledge but because few are concerned with that degree of detail.

    Now if some high-visibility public figure were to begin banging this particular drum, and if enough media attention was paid to that banging, then all bets are off. But in this case I don't know who that drummer would be.
    Last edited by Greyhawk; 09-09-2009 at 01:33 PM. Reason: typo

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    Council Member IntelTrooper's Avatar
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    I am very frustrated by this report. I can absolutely see this happening, although in the past units in Konar were not shy about using artillery to support troops in contact. What is especially disturbing to me here is that the Marines in contact are clearly ETT or PMT mentors -- and it is par for the course for the local battlespace commander to not provide adequate support for these troops, or to try to ignore them altogether.
    "The status quo is not sustainable. All of DoD needs to be placed in a large bag and thoroughly shaken. Bureaucracy and micromanagement kill."
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    Council Member jcustis's Avatar
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    I for one don't buy very much of this story, for a ton of reasons.

  6. #6
    Council Member Greyhawk's Avatar
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    Default You know what this war really needs...

    ...is a few more Generals:

    Weeks before his son's death, John Bernard said he had been raising red flags about the military's new rules of engagement policy, which stipulate when and how U.S. soldiers are and are not allowed to use force. The new rules, issued by U.S. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the new top commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan, were aimed at reducing civilian casualties.

    Now, a month after his son was killed, John Bernard, 55, says he is on a mission to spark a national discussion about the new rules, and the military's broader strategy in the Afghanistan war, which he believes led to Joshua's death and continues to endanger U.S. soldiers serving in the embattled country.

    ...Bernard's efforts are gaining traction among Maine's congressional delegation. Rep. Michael Michaud and Sen. Olympia Snowe have written letters directly to Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Sen. Susan Collins, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, has spoken with Gates.

    For those who don't recognize the names, John Bernard is the father of Marine Lance Cpl Joshua Bernard, whose photo the AP published over his father's wishes.

    Now...
    Had it not been for the policy of U.S. forces working closely with Afghanis and the new rules of engagement that restrict use of force in the name of preventing civilian casualties, Joshua Bernard might not have been killed that day, John Bernard said.

    The drum is being banged.

  7. #7
    Registered User raptor10's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jcustis View Post
    i for one don't buy very much of this story, for a ton of reasons.
    +1
    Who shall I send? ME

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