Quit bailing the boat with a teaspoon

I get is Gen McChrystal, I really do. I know why you have implemented so many new rule and restrictions as protecting the Afghan people is important and well the enemy is kicking out butt in the Information Operations (IO) campaign. But these little one-off rules that are so micro in nature don’t really do much in the grand scheme of trying to keep the locals happy. Limiting night raids, carte-blanche is  like using a teaspoon to bail out your sinking boat. I mean, yeah it may help a teeny, tiny bit but in the overall objective of keeping the boat a float, it will not help any.

Our country used to “Own the night” and we did it for a reason. Because it gave us the tactical advantage in combat and I know you know this General. You know it better than most based on your career. Rather than limiting night raids, how about micro-manage the intel gatherers a little more or vett the intel through one or two more loops before acting on it. Conducting raids at night is not a bad thing, it is a great thing. It keep our foes on edge and keeps them awake at night. They never know when we are coming after them and if we keep the heat on long enough they will make mistakes and we will be there to capitalize on them.

We don’t need to stop the night raids, we just need to make 100% sure that the location we raid is the right place with the right bad people in it at the time. I ask you sir, to please reconsider this directive and to let our professional warriors do their job…the one they perform superbly at night.


The commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan has ordered troops to limit nighttime raids to avoid alienating Afghan civilians, U.S. defense officials said on Wednesday.

The classified directive was issued last month by Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who has stressed the need for coalition troops to win the support of Afghans and prevent civilian casualties, officials told AFP.

"It’s important that we not make new enemies while catching old ones," said one defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The directive was first reported by CNN television.

The orders advise coalition soldiers to rely on Afghan troops when possible to knock on the doors of Afghans’ homes and to take the lead where force becomes necessary, another defense official said.

NATO-led forces, taking advantage of night-vision equipment, often stage operations at nightfall as it provides an element of surprise over insurgents, officials say.

But the night raids, with coalition troops entering private homes, can provoke tension with civilians in a culture that often keeps women from public view.

A report issued on Tuesday said the night raids by NATO-led forces are widely resented, often based on bad tips and can lead to the detention of innocent civilians.

The paper by the New York-based Open Society Institute and an Afghan nongovernmental organization, The Liaison Office, said the raids alienate Afghans and feed a negative image of international forces in the country.

The report was based on research in the eastern provincies of Paktia and Khost, the groups said.

The move to restrict night raids comes amid efforts by McChrystal to reduce civilian casualties from international troops after three mistaken bombing raids in a week.

The commander recorded a public apology to the Afghan people this week after a NATO air strike killed 27 civilians.

3 thoughts on “Quit bailing the boat with a teaspoon”

  1. This is not a new directive but rather a refresher on one in place. I did a 13 month tour in Afghan in 05-06 qith the 82d and was attached to multiple SF units. During that time, we recevied directives stating the same information in this post. We thought it was ridiculous at that time after we had spent our entire military career operating at night! This is a horrible directive and needs to be fixed. Thanks for all you do Bouhammer and keep it up!

    1. Jason,

      Really? I was there as an ETT in 06-07 and I never heard of this limitation or did I have to work under such a limitation. Granted 10th MTN was in charge at the time so maybe that was the difference.

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