The media headlines highlight the resistance that the U.S.Marines are having taking the stronghold of the Taliban, Marjah. US officers from Bravo Company 1st Battalion 6th Marine told The Times that the fighting on the first day had been as intense as any the unit faced during the infamous clearance of Fallujah in Iraq in 2004.
The skill displayed by Taleban insurgents showed high levels of tactical awareness and training — including “walking” mortar fire on to the Marines and persistent and accurate sniper fire.
But despite the skill of the “insurgents” skill the U.S.Marines are handicapped by the Defense Departments new rules of engagement, that I think puts them at an even greater risk of death than the skill of the enemy.
US Marines said they are constrained by strict new rules of engagement that make their task more dangerous. Under the rules, troops cannot fire at people unless they commit a hostile act or show intent.
Corporal Travis Anderson, 20, from Iowa, said his platoon had repeatedly seen Afghan fighters dropping their guns into ditches before melting away into the civilian population.
“It’s hard to fight a war like this,” he said. “They’re using our rules of engagement against us.”
The US troops leading Operation Moshtarak (Togetherness) twice tried to capture the town’s central bazaar only to be pushed back by well organised insurgents. Coming under heavy fire and sniper attacks, and confronted by booby-trapped buildings, the US Marines were forced to call in Harrier jets and attack helicopters armed with Hellfire missiles. I wonder if they have to receive enemy fire before they come to the aid of the ground troops?
It seems to me that the new rules of engagement are to fight but not win the war! If they really wanted to win this battle the force commander would send out scout teams eo identify the buildings that housed the enemy force, and sent in the Hellfires in before they sent the Marines into a “killing field”.
And it is criminal to send our brave volunteer soldiers and marines into harms way with the new “rules of engagement”! This should be revoked before the morale of those we depend on is destroyed.