60 Minutes last evening? There was an interesting segment by that babe-magnet Anderson Cooper about a Seal team in Afghanistan back in 2005. Their mission was to seek out and kill a local warlord who had become too much of a pain in the ass. Now these guys were full-blown special ops troops pretty much on their own out in the bush, real commando stuff. So anyway they're in hostile territory doing their thing and literally a bunch of goat herders stumble over their position. Now, they've got a problem. The rules of engagement say you can't attack unless you yourself are attacked. But these guys are in bad country and they know very well these goat herders are not friendly and will rat them out at first opportunity. And they also know this warlord has several hundred experienced fighters and they can expect hell to rain down if he gets wind of the operation. So, what to do? You can follow military necessity and prudently execute these (three I think it was) people thereby risking murder charges from some military lawyer/pencil pushing dickhead, or you can obey standing orders and almost certainly compromise the mission...oh yeah, and die. Of course the team leader, a Lieutenant tries to call home for instructions but the mountains of Afghanistan aren't in Verizon's coverage area so he does what any good officer would do...obeys the damn orders. So they let the goat herders go and SURPRISE SURPRISE, in an hour or so they come under heavy small arms and RPG fire in some of the roughest country this side of the Sea of Tranquility. It all goes ass over tits and one guy comes out alive, our interviewee. All in all 19 brave American died so three illiterate Afghani goat herders could live. Our politicians have funny priorities.
CW is fond of pointing out that I'm an old guy and perhaps there are some "generational" differences in our experiences and attitudes. That's all true. And one experience I had that CW didn't was living through the Vietnam conflict and seeing how that war was conducted. The same bullshit that went on in Vietnam resulting in the US losing that war (and millions upon millions of unnecessary deaths) is being repeated again in Afghanistan. I am personally against even being in Afghanistan. I think it's was a lost cause from the git-go (unlike Iraq which Obama screwed up and lost to the Iranians). But if there are murder charges to be brought in this stupid war, the indictment should have the Secretary of Defense's name on it for even instituting such an insane, imprudent and reckless policy. I'm not advocating a Red Army in Germany or Sherman's March to the Sea anything goes situation, war crimes are war crimes, but our ridiculous "rules of engagement" are no less than malfeasance by Pentagon lawyers, bureaucrats and politicians. These standing orders jeopardize the lives of good Americans who are willing to endure untold hardship in the service of our/their country. Their job is dangerous enough, they deserve at least the opportunity to survive.