You have got to be kidding me? Promising awards to soldiers for “not shooting”!
NATO commanders are weighing a new way to reduce civilian casualties in Afghanistan: recognizing troops for “courageous restraint” if they avoid using force that could endanger innocent lives.
That is as dumb as what Shinsenki did when he came up with the idea of the Black Beret. He did that because he saw how proud and great looking Special Operations troops looked in their berets so he wanted the whole Army to have them. The thought that a soldier will be more professional or proud looking because of a piece of wool on their head was as foolish then as it is now.
The idea that the promise of an award will be in the decision making process of taking a human life is flippin’ ludicrous.
Anyone that has been in a TIC or firefight (as they are commonly known as) can tell you that when you are behind cover, returning fire and being fired on, the last FRIGGEN thing you are thinking of is “I wonder what medal I will get out of this”. IT JUST DOES NOT HAPPEN. If someone is thinking that, then they are truly not engaged in the battle.
I don’t know anything about the British Army award system, but I would hope they have enough to recognize their troops that they are not that desperate to have to come up with one in order to award soldiers for not shooting. I am glad it was not an American leader that came up with this, but it bothers me that GEN McChrystal or CSM Hall may actually even be considering this.
It appears the original idea came from a CAAT team, which is even more scary as CAAT teams are supposed to be subject matter experts in COIN and all ex-senior leaders and warfighters themselves.
The idea of using awards as another way to encourage soldiers to avoid civilian casualties came from a team that advises NATO on counterinsurgency, or COIN, doctrine, said an official with knowledge of the process. He spoke on condition of anonymity because the proposal is still under review.
“We routinely and systematically recognize valor, courage and effectiveness during kinetic combat operations,” said a statement recently posted on the NATO coalition’s website by the group, the Counterinsurgency Advisory and Assistance Team.
A soldier does not engage targets of opportunity (i.e. human beings) to kill them or not engage and at the same time worry about a damn medal or recognition from his/her command. In fact this idea is essentially a slap in the face and a huge sign of disrespect towards our American fighting men and women to think that is what they need to keep from killing civilians.
Our troops don’t want to kill civilians, period. They don’t sign up hoping to or dream of it while deployed. If anything, they fear that as one of their greatest fears. And if they end up doing it, they usually have nightmares about it for a very long time, if not for life. There are many I know who are dealing with decision they have made which took the life of innocent civilians years after having to do it and they were completely justified in their actions.
But some U.S. Army soldiers here at Forward Operating Base Ramrod in Kandahar province are skeptical that the chance of winning an award is going to change the way troops make decisions on the battlefield.
“Not a single one of these guys does it for the medals,” said Capt. Edward Graham, referring to the soldiers in his company.
Graham, whose company is part of the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, said soldiers are constantly forced to weigh the duty they have to protect their colleagues against the goal of avoiding civilian casualties.
“The bottom line is I have to find a way to go to sleep at night,” said Graham. “If I hurt women and children, I’m not going to sleep. If I lose my men, I’m not going to sleep. I have to find a balance.”
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.
Read the entire story at http://ap.stripes.com/dynamic/stories/A/AS_AFGHAN_COURAGEOUS_RESTRAINT?SITE=DCSAS