Skip to main content


Showing posts from October 12, 2015

Rules of Engagement--the Most Common Bitch I Heard in Iraq

The serious complaint I heard most often in Iraq was about our Rules of Engagement.  The rules that say when we could fire and, mostly, when we could not.

In movies and on TV, this is most often illustrated by showing an American unit taking fire from a mosque and not being allowed to fire back.  And to the soldiers I served with, it seemed to them like the concept of Rules of Engagement was a new to their war.  I will admit that the ROE in Iraq was more restrictive than anything that preceded it.  The whole idea of fighting a war and "winning hearts and minds" seems crazy in an actual war.  It sounded crazy when I heard it in connection to Viet Nam. It sounded no less crazy in Iraq.

But American soldiers suffered and died with ROEs in Viet Nam and Korea also.  At different points in every war since World War 2, American soldiers have not been allowed to go all out for victory for political reasons.

Given our track record of success in Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq and Afghanistan…