UPDATE: You gotta give the guy credit, he is everywhere. Here is Gen. McChrystal's response:
Thanks for your note and I take the importance of providing clear
guidance to the force to be a responsibility that is critical.
While I respect the concerns you outline, I believe the existing ROE
and Tactical Directive provide clear intent to the force. We look into
every instance where the issue arises where a misunderstanding or poor
application of the intent could endanger our force - but detailed review
has convinced me that most concerns don't prove accurate when all the
facts are known - like the Gangigol valley fight.
That said, I will continue to watch this closely. Balancing the need
to conduct ourselves in a disciplined way that gives us a chance to win
this (by gaining the support of the people) - with the need to protect
our force is difficult - but something we must do.
That seems fair to me and he seems to say that all the facts about Gangigol aren't public. I think it is safe to say that there were messages that have been passed on private channels (as is appropriate). We will have many similar situations facing our troops in the coming months and they need to know that their higher echelons have their backs. Thanks for the reply sir and as I said good luck and godspeed to all out forces.
I just sent the following correspondence to Gen. McChrystal and his Public Affairs officer. I believe he should reaffirm to all members of his command that, consistent w/ the ROE, legitimate calls for fire support must be granted.
Dear Gen. McChrystal,
I was heartened when President Obama put you in command in Afghanistan
as it showed a seriousness about our efforts there. You have taken a
long hard look at the situation and made some hard decisions about how
we should operate in order to achieve our goals.One of these was to
focus on creating better relations with the civilian populace. As a
former Special Forces Weapons Sergeant I understand completely that
safeguarding them builds rapport and shows that we are focused on
helping them build a better way of life.
One of the major changes you made was to the rules of engagement as
announced in your tactical directive last year. These limited strikes
conducted against civilian dwellings and required all other methods of
breaking contact to be used before a strike can be called. This is a
good and necessary decision and I have supported it in many cases at BLACKFIVE. By announcing this publicly you made this known to the Afghan people and it became a way to show our concern for their lives.
This was also obviously distributed down the chain of command along
with other guidance about how to effectively interact and operate among
the locals. This has helped our progress and operations like Moshtarak
demonstrate that restraint does not stop us from effectively clearing
areas of the enemy.
But you have a problem sir. Some of your officers have taken an overly
restrictive view of the ROE and consequently there have been instances
where troops in contact were denied fire support. In some of these
cases the ROE explicitly authorized such support, but these officers
failed to provide it. The recent report on the incident in the Ganjgal
Valley shows a clear example. A Marine ETT called for fire and the fire
support NCO and the AF air controller were ready to provide it but were
over-ruled by officers higher up the chain. This is not the only time
something like this has happened.
It is time sir to issue another tactical directive reaffirming your
intent and ensuring that everyone in your command understands that they
are required to provide fire support when it is proper. The
restrictions calling for all other tactics for breaking contact to be
used is the right answer, but all of your officers and NCOs need to
know that once that is done and there is no alternative, or if
civilians are not at risk, then they should pull the trigger. All those
serving under your command deserve to hear this and given the amount of
email I'm getting from family members, so do they.
Thank you for your amazing service and good luck and godspeed for the difficult mission you and all our troops face there.
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
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Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
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Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
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Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
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A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
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Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.