Monday, December 11, 2006

Hostile Intent+ Hostile capability = Bang Bang, you're dead.

Matty got me thinking with this post, and then I wrote this at his place, and decided to re-post it here. Go read his post first, then come back, I'll wait.

Hostile Intent+ Hostile capability = Bang Bang, you're dead.

It's the way it was when I was there, before I was there, and after I was there.
We often shined lasers at cars approaching checkpoints, because the hand signals briefed to us were worthless. The lasers (red or green) often let the drivers know what we were thinking, and they stopped. You gotta understand, these folks make drivers around Logan Int'l Airport look like they drive Ms. Daisy. These drivers SUCK, most don't have any form of drivers ed, they just get in and drive. It's easy to see how they get distracted, don't pay attention, and miss cues.

Sometimes they get shot for doing so. An "investigation" in my case was a simple commander's inquiry, where I found out what happened and why, and "put it in the memo" to my boss. Soldiers simply explained what happened to me, and even if they were in the wrong and violated ROE, without malice, they are simply poorly trained and need further ROE instruction. I can't think of a single serviceman who has gone to trial for violation of ROE, Can you? One? Violation of the laws of land warfare, yes, those I can point out, but not ROE violations.

If a servicemember were just wantonly shooting at civilians, that's not an ROE violation, that's murder. If a car is racing toward the checkpoint, and you neglect steps 3-137 and shoot it, you may get counselled and maybe even yelled at, but it'll end with "Did you feel your life was in danger?" and if you say yes, the boss should say "Well I'd rather sit next to you on the plane home than have you ride in the baggage compartment."

YOU ALWAYS HAVE THE RIGHT OF SELF DEFENSE. We found that the people most ready to pull triggers were the folks who were unfamiliar with the sector, situation, or were displaced fobbits looking for badges. The trained soldier had a keen eye for what didn't look quite right, and the boys knew, down to the lowest private, that they could decide when it was appropriate to move the selector a quarter turn, and I as their commander had their back.

Unfortunately, if J-TAS doesn't feel this way, then I think he has some seriously flawed leadership, who don't support him. I also am glad he's here (@B5), to "Scream into the void" as I felt a few years ago. Now look at me. Sheesh. I was keenly aware that the newsies had little interest in telling non-agendized truth, that people at home only got half (if that much) of the story, and our day to day lives are completely unfathomable to Mr. and Mrs. America. We represent such a small sector of American Society that we should, in our own right, be considered a minority once we enlist.

I digress. Joel Leggett is right, JAG just interprets the ROE and tries to explain it to the soldier. They are often seen as weenies (no thanks to the TV show, since those Jag-Offs are not just lawyers, but also former navy fighter pilots and seals. Our are just lawyers, and are seen as the evil ones because commanders don't stress the need for ROE. In the long run, it keeps you sane, because you don't suffer nightmares from the time you shot up a car full of schoolkids because dad was illiterate and didn't read the sign you put up, or wasn't paying attention, or thought the checkpoint was actually something else and wanted to go around, etc.

The MSM just don't get it, they don't tell our story, their facination with our enemy borders on Stockholm syndrome, (i.e. hangin' with the snipers), they only preach tales of death and woe, and of how bad things are. The mullahs and the clerics and the educated radicals read our papers and watch our TV, and use them to incite followers, and even garner new ideas for attacking us, by the pictures drawn in the papers on "how the insurgents attacked X." They use those as blueprints. Same goes for "How an IED is built." I saw lots of these things printed or broadcast, and then we'd find them later in our AO. Coincidence? The MSM will go wherever their sponsors want them to go. Not hearing a lot about Darfur? Why not, Millions die there. There's no rating in in it. Ratings=Money. More people vote for the American Idol, or the latest Castaway, than turned out in the last elections. Someday, K-Fed could be your next state senator!

But the thing that pissed me off so much then, and now, are the people who tell me they don't believe in the MSM, but don't know how to get real news from theater, or how to help, or how to even get in touch with any soldier.
They simply don't care. They aren't trying. They won't be affected if I die, or 10 soldiers, or 10,000 soldiers die. We don't matter to them, we don't matter to our elected officials (unless it is expedient to be seen with us--and then, only for as long as it takes for the Photo-Op, Right, senator McCain?) We are fodder for the defense of the nation, dispossesed, and readily forgotten once the war is over and patriotism fades. How many flags fly on your street?

Sorry to ramble on, I'm tired and have to pee.


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