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Afghanistan R.O.E. - Clarify, Not Change

While Crush and apparently 91% of you want a less restrictive Rules of Engagement for our troops in Afghanistan, I disagree and had been saying all along:

...if GEN Petraeus was McChrystal's boss during the current ROE decisions and quite possibly approved it, why would he change it now?  Or perhaps he needs to gauge how the ROE is being communicated down the chain of command (as evidenced in the Rolling Stone article and the Stars & Stripes Rumor Doctor, there were some problems).

I agree that soldiers need to be able to protect themselves.  Personally, I think that the ROE was not that restrictive.  I believe that some commanders on down the line took it upon themselves to interpret the ROE in order to ensure that no civilians were killed under their watch in order to protect their careers.

Sometimes you have to figure in the psychology of the chain of command and its effects on the battle just as you would with psychology on any system (or market).

Jimbo's posts have been illuminating on this topic as well.

Now the Stars & Stripes has an article about the (guess what?) interpretation of the ROE by the commanders.

Petraeus sees the problem as one of “implementation and interpretation” as the tactical directive moves down the chain of command, Gross said.
<...>
Frustration has been mounting over the stricter tactical directive imposed last year by former ISAF commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal. Parents, politicians and some troops on the ground have been voicing frustration about soldiers being forced to take unnecessary risks because of overly restrictive regulations.

“I think what we will see (from the new directive) is all along they’ve always had ability to use force when they need to,” Gross said.

McChrystal wanted to reduce the number of civilian casualties caused by coalition airstrikes, which turned some Afghans against the Americans and their NATO allies. Those casualty numbers declined as ISAF forces scaled back on the use of air-to-ground assaults.

But if a unit is receiving fire from a civilian house, a commander can and should determine what the best course of action is in a counterinsurgency campaign, Gross said. Bombing the house probably is not the best option, but that doesn’t mean soldiers can’t take action and also guard against civilian casualties.

“We’re trying to get commanders to think about what force to use,” Gross said. “Absolutely take the fight to the enemy when you need to.”

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