Thursday, June 23, 2016

When Lawyers Command the Troops

Writing in the Wall Street Journal Michael Phillips shows what our troops have to deal with when fighting a war Obama style. That is, fighting a war where they are led by lawyers, when the rules of engagement remove you from most of the fight, when fear of harming civilians causes you to fight a losing battle.

The story is long and intricate. Here are a few details:

U.S. spy drones had no trouble spotting the Taliban fighters. There were more than 20 figures snaking through sparsely wooded hills, trying to outflank the Afghan government commandos in the village below.

In the starry darkness overhead, American helicopters loitered armed with precision-guided missiles, along with a flying gunship capable of drenching the area with cannon-fire. It would have been a hard shot to miss.

But before they could fire, the Americans knew they would have to get past the lawyers.

In the amorphous twilight of the Afghan war, it isn’t enough to draw a bead on the enemy. Before they shoot, U.S. troops have to navigate a tricky legal and political question: When is it OK for them to kill Taliban?

We are clearly not fighting to win. Political leaders will say that we are fighting this way in order to win hearts and minds. And yet, fear is more powerful than squeamishness. It commands more respect. Our leaders prefer to occupy the moral high ground, even it’s a losing strategy. They do not see that anyone who occupies the moral high ground quickly becomes a target. Besides, it's not their country. And it's not their war. They want to preserve their own moral purity even if it costs them Afghanistan.

In the Obama administration no one seems to understand that victory will best persuade reluctant hearts and minds to join the allied cause. If you sacrifice your war effort in order to feel more righteous you will end up being a loser. Why would anyone join forces with a loser army whose commanding officers are lawyers?



8 comments:

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

"We are clearly not fighting to win. Political leaders will say that we are fighting this way in order to win hearts and minds."

That's why the politicians don't have their children and grandchildren fighting in the U.S. armed forces. That's why they will never vote for a draft. It's not about winning, it's about these fantasy notions of how the world works so we can feel good about losing. Because the politicians do not sacrifice, they don't appreciate others' sacrifice. In military conflict, the best way to win hearts and minds is to end the life of your enemy -- quickly, ruthlessly, effectively -- according to your aims.

When is Obama going to Kabul to apologize to the Afghan people?

Ares Olympus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ares Olympus said...

Stuart: In the Obama administration no one seems to understand that victory will best persuade reluctant hearts and minds to join the allied cause. If you sacrifice your war effort in order to feel more righteous you will end up being a loser. Why would anyone join forces with a loser army whose commanding officers are lawyers?

The same thing can be said about law enforcement. Why would anyone want to be a police officer if you can't kill anyone in your way and fake the provoking evidence on the corpse(s)?

This isn't rocket science. This is about WINNING!

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @June 23, 2016 at 1:31 PM:

"Why would anyone want to be a police officer if you can't kill anyone in your way and fake the provoking evidence on the corpse(s)?"

You are a silly and crass person, Ares.

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: You are a silly and crass person, Ares.

I know, justice is for people like us, and we don't have to worry about corruption of power when you kill can first and ask questions later.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @June 23, 2016 at 6:13 PM:

Justice? You look at police in this way, and then cry, moan and wail when you find out 911 isn't a personal protection detail dedicated to you alone, with a 13-second response time.

You've bought into the victimhood, Ares. That's why your little more than a critic. It's easy to be a critic. Go write some software or, better yet, it's time for you to take up your own blog again. We're all pullin' for ya! You can do it, kid!

You have a very strange sense of the world, one that sees it as corrupt, yet your self-inflated sense of "justice" anoints you as the People's Poet or something.

You just don't see the humanity in anything. Instead, you have this snide, sniveling, mealy-mouthed response to human events. I don't have any illusions... I recognize there are cops who operate above the law, and those cops should be brought to justice. What I do not subscribe to is this caricature you have of police officers who "kill first and ask questions later." Seems you've bought into the Not All Lives Matter (Just Ours) "movement." Sad.

Homicidal cops? Hey man, I can think of easier ways to get off your jollies for killing than suiting up and going into three urban areas at night. It's a thankless, anonymous job, and no one really cares about you until you have to protect yourself... then you're a pariah to the "community" that is so tight, uplifting and wonderful that it refuses to protect itself. Give me a break.

No justice, no peace, eh?

Ares Olympus said...

IAC: you have this snide, sniveling, mealy-mouthed response to human events.

No, I have a snide, sniveling, mealy-mouthed response to opinions about human events.

I agee BLM is generally hopelessly childish, assuming all blacks are innocent and all cops are corrupt.

I'm perfectly willing to believe a few bad cops are just "bad apples", so problem is when the bad apples are ground up in the apple sause with a little sugar to make them taste better.

But its Stuart who started this topic talking about soldiers not wanting to follow lawyers, i.e those who theoretically believe in law and justice and not killing people simply because you can.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Ares Olympus @June 24, 2016 at 8:02 AM:

"But its Stuart who started this topic talking about soldiers not wanting to follow lawyers, i.e those who theoretically believe in law and justice and not killing people simply because you can."

Stuart is not taking about lawyers advocating and dispensing justice... he's talking abut lawyers being in ultimate command and setting doctrine and the rules of engagement. It's worse than politicians, because politicians are elected. This is lawyers playing puppeteers with others' lives because they know they always wanted to be soldiers, but they're not cut out for it or too cowardly. That does not mean that discretion ought not go to the man in the arena! That's not justice, that's imposing a theoretical legal construct onto the realities of the battlefield. Lawyers aren't leaders, they are remedial consultants. This isn't law enforcement, it's war!

Your "apple sauce" metaphor is stupid, and not worth consideration.

I'm satisfied with your acknowledgement that you have snide, sniveling, mealy-mouthed responses. You must be proud.