Colonels' Corner: Rules Of Engagement

Col. David Hunt
September 15, 2006

We are witnessing another unbelievable fumble by our leadership, both military and civilian, in the war on terrorism. The president of Pakistan has come out and said that the Taliban is more dangerous than Al Qaeda. Uh, what? Did I hear him right? Four years after our Special Forces and CIA and Air Force took that country from the bad guys, the forces we supposedly defeated are back, Afghanistan's raw heroin production has increased 100% and the Taliban are putting up a fight against 10,000 NATO troops.

We have done great things in Afghanistan. We have inoculated children, given millions of women the right to vote, and given the people of Afghanistan a new government and new freedom. We have given that country hope. But — and this is a huge but — we are in trouble there.

Our guys are being killed by the Taliban, car bombs are blowing up in Kabul — right across the street from the U.S. Embassy — and the sad fact is that we are not even shooting back. Recently — and by recently, I mean this week — up to 250 Taliban (reminder here, these are the bad guys) were having a funeral. They all lined up in a pretty formation (are you getting the picture here?), and we had perfect intelligence. We had pictures from an armed drone. We had airplanes in the air and still, with all of this, we did not pull the trigger. WHAT?

Our government has things called Rules of Engagement (ROE). These are rules drawn up by lawyers and approved by generals that tell our soldiers when and where they fight. So, we have rules on the books that say if you see hundreds of bad guys who have just killed and will continue to kill Americans, you cannot shoot at them if they are in or near a cemetery.

I cannot say this in strong enough terms. FIRE THEM ALL! DO IT NOW! We cannot win any war, and certainly not this war, with rules like this. The idiots who wrote and approved rules that prohibit our guys from killing the enemy have got to go. We have been fighting this war with both hands tied behind our back, and our guys are being blown up and killed because of it. We have had enough of the kind of leadership, be it political or military, which allows this level of incompetence. Do not let this stupidity go unnoticed or unpunished; our soldiers deserve nothing less. Their safety as well as our safety is at stake.

When our government allows rules to be written and approved which allow terrorists to go free, we are not winning — and when you are not winning a war against terrorists, well, you are losing.