The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Rule of Disengagement

Barack Obama wants desperately (it's a legacy thing) to disengage from an enemy he refuses to name. Obama tells us that the war in Afghanistan is over; that the war in Iraq is long over; that the threat of Islamic terror in the West is much exaggerated. He does this even as more U.S. special operators enter Afghanistan and Iraq in what we are told is an effort to defeat ISIS, and as terror attacks by Jihadis from a wide range of Islamist groups now happen on almost a daily basis somewhere in the world.

After each barbaric act perpetrated by ISIS, writers throughout the media lament the fact that Islamic terrorists in general seem difficult to defeat. At the tactical level, it might all boil down to rules of (dis)engagement on the battle field.

Eli Lake writes:
"There are real restrictions about what they can do against the ISIS presence in Afghanistan," Mac Thornberry, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told me about the rules of engagement for U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Thornberry said that the rules of engagement, combined with what he called micro-management from the White House, have led military officers to tell him they have to go through several unnecessary and burdensome hoops before firing at the enemy.

"My understanding is it's a very confused, elaborate set of requirements," Thornberry said. "I think the effect of going through all of that makes it harder for our people to conduct their missions."

He would not get into specifics about the rules, saying, "If the public were able to know all the restrictions placed on our troops, they would be unhappy about it, and if the enemy knew this they would have more of a leg up than they do now."
By severely limiting what U.S military forces can and can't do to defeat a brutal enemy, we appear week and ineffective. The greatest fighting force on the planet is humbled by an enemy fighting in Toyota pick-up and stolen U.S. military gear. But our rules of engagement are only part of the problem. Micromanagement from Washington or Washington's surrogates makes things even worse. Rather than allowing field commanders to react in real time, it appears that any aggressive action on the part of the U.S. Military against Islamic terror groups (ISIS is an typical example) must be approved through a series of time-consuming and increasingly bureaucratic requests.

It's almost as if our leadership doesn't want to defeat the enemy. That may be because they refuse to name the enemy and in doing so, have only a vague idea of who were are fighting. Or it might be our leadership wants to disengage, and for that reason, rules are established to force that to happen. All you can do is shake you head.