I talked about One of the Worst Ideas Ever! the other day on this blog when it was recommended to have a medal or award an existing medal to troops for NOT SHOOTING. In fact in that blog post I pleaded with GEN McChrystal to shoot that idea down.
I have a lot of respect for Gen McChrystal and know he is trying hard to avoid civilian casualties but there is no zero tolerance when you talk about the fluidness of combat. Gen McChrysal I plead to you to shoot down this dumb idea. You, as a warfighter yourself, know damn well that the troops on the battlefield don’t give a crap about an award. They need training, leadership and if applicable, the right technologies to try and avoid as many civilian casulties as possible.
I am not sure if he reads the blog here at Bouhammer.com (Lord knows I would be honored and flattered beyond all belief if he did), or if he is as smart as I though he is and employs common sense with all his decision. But I pleaded and he has voiced his opinion on the matter. I am glad to see him feel the same way I do. There are reasons and ways to recognize bravery and courage on the battlefield of all types without having to create a medal or categorize a justification as “not shooting”.
Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal may have put the kibosh on plans to establish a valor award for troops who hold fire rather than risk the lives of innocents.
Talk of a so-called Courageous Restraint Medal has gotten a great deal of attention in the past 24-hiours, especially since radio talker Rush Limbaugh took the airwaves on May 12 to blast the concept. The story seemed to have merit since an Air Force officer was quoted in news reports as saying such an award “is consistent” with Coalition forces’ approach to defeating the insurgency while limiting civilian casualties.
But McChrystal, who is leading coalition forces in Afghanistan, told reporters during a press conference at the Pentagon today that the military does not need a new medal to recognize a particular kind of valor.
Today, however, in reply to a reporter’s question about the rumored medal, McChrystal said the military already has “a number of ways to recognize courage.”
“And I think courage in uniform can come under enemy fire in the most traditional ways or if u come under actions that may not be as expected or as traditional and involve killing,” he said. “It may involve protecting civilians.”
He referred to a photo that came out of the fighting in Marjah, in which a Marine is seen using his own body to shield an Afghan man and child from harm.
“He wasn’t shooting anyone, he didn’t kill any Taliban,” McChrystal said of the Marine, “but I would argue that he showed as much courage as any that I’ve seen on the battlefield.”
“So when you talk about courage, I don’t’ think we need a ‘different’ medal to differentiate different kinds of courage.”
The idea for the medal originated with British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, NATO commander of troops in southern Afghanistan, according to a May 5 report in The Daily Mail. The British paper said Carter floated the idea during a visit to Kandahar in April by British Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall.
British and U.S. forces have accidentally killed innocents in the past, with those incidents sparking outrage among the civilian population that Coalition forces are trying to win over.
While some have said there is merit to recognizing that courage is involved when a soldier does not open fire on questionable targets, the flip side is that troops may put themselves and allies in jeopardy by second-guessing threats or reacting too slowly.