Let's start with a simple fact. Yes the change in Rules of Engagement (ROE) in Afghanistan was a major factor in the combat deaths of 4 US Marines recently. Unfortunately they will not be the last, but the change is designed to save US lives in the long run. Tough to swallow, but let's discuss.
We have had a policy of making dead tangos for a good while now, and while I rejoice over every jihadi sent on to 72 goats we have killed too many others to get ahead of that power curve and win.So as part of a larger strategy of population-centric COIN, we are placing limits, even extreme ones, on the use of mass-casualty producing weapons. While the situation where we just lost 4 Marines is not fully understood, it seems that either following the ROE or over-following them, the chain of command denied the use of artillery to this unit in contact. If I were a family member of one of the fallen would I be angry, you're damn right I would. But that does not mean that the ROE were wrong. If there was a case of gutlessness up the chain then I have no qualms about that individual being taken to task and out of a position of authority. But again that does not mean that we should not be extremely judicious in our use of firepower. We cannot win unless we do.