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Vinnart

Will there be lawyer units?

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So I'm listening to this book "One Million Steps" about a marine platoon in Afghanistan, and I get to this part where they want to call in some artillery and are denied because the LAWYER sitting back at some command center said NO. Can you believe how F'd up this PC ROE has gotten to the point that they have to have lawyers approve whether the grunts get the support they are requesting because they are too worried a civilian will accidentally get killed in the middle of a war zone.? Meanwhile because they can't get the support some American kid gets to come home in a body bag. I couldn't believe I heard it right so I re- winded it, and sure enough that is how it is today. Lawyers giving the final say! WTF!!! I am so glad I am no longer in the military. I can't imagine being in a war where if you accidentally kill civilians in the way of the enemy you go to Leavenworth.

If this game is to be realistic then I guess we shall have to have pixel lawyers that deny fire missions. Please make it an actual on map unit so I can put pixel bullet in douche bag pixel head. I am so pissed hearing this stupid PC bull sh t is going on resulting in KIA's that could be avoided!

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To me it suggests that in situations such as we see in Afghanistan and Iraq, conventional military action may not be appropriate. I should have thought that we learned that lesson in Vietnam. We certainly paid a high enough price for it.

:(

Michael

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Ballad Of The Para-Legals

Fighting counsel, from the sky

litigate and jump and die

Two undergrads will test today

and only one will earn an attache

Trained to leave no case unplanned

Trained in trial, hand to hand

They litigate by night and day

And all are in the ABA

With student loans, they are a-cursed

These are men, America's worst

Never meaning what they say

Exorbitant fees, we have to pay

Back at home a young wife waits

Her lawyer has met his fate

Sent to jail, he’s locked up away

Shares a cell with an old OJ

Power ties and business dress

We are the folks you all detest

One thousand suits we’ll file today

We get rich while others pay!

(from my friend Tam's blog)

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Ballad Of The Para-Legals

Fighting counsel, from the sky

litigate and jump and die

Two undergrads will test today

and only one will earn an attache

Trained to leave no case unplanned

Trained in trial, hand to hand

They litigate by night and day

And all are in the ABA

With student loans, they are a-cursed

These are men, America's worst

Never meaning what they say

Exorbitant fees, we have to pay

Back at home a young wife waits

Her lawyer has met his fate

Sent to jail, he’s locked up away

Shares a cell with an old OJ

Power ties and business dress

We are the folks you all detest

One thousand suits we’ll file today

We get rich while others pay!

(from my friend Tam's blog)

Brilliant! That pretty much sums it up.

Vietnam was the start of the real PC ROE movement, but from what I'm hearing it has gotten to ridiculous proportions with too much worrying about legalities vs. saving Allied lives. That is why these wars go on and on for long times. Unfortunately conventional forces are all there is as there are not enough unconventional to handle it all. There really is no one else.

I have listened to other books that have talked about red tape when it comes to air and artillery support ROE, but this is the first time I heard them actually talk about lawyers being involved in giving a go ahead or not for support. It is frustrating to hear, but I can only imagine the frustration of living it with the ROE restrictions these guys have to deal with. If you guys get the chance check the book out "One Million Steps". It is well written, very informative on how really awful and tough these modern wars are on these front line guys, and the audio version's narrator does a great job of giving you the feeling you are right there.

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To echo what Michael said, the problem is that you don't win the war in Afghanistan with artillery strikes. You win when you create conditions such that groups like the Taliban have no popular support. Civilian casualties create immense resentment and strengthen the Taliban.

I'm not saying that command didn't get it wrong in that particular instance, but sometimes they have to make tough decisions balance the immediate needs of the troops versus broader political goals. We all remember the dialogue about the merits of the mission in Saving Private Ryan, and Upham's reference to the Charge of the Light Brigade in response.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"

Was there a man dismay'd?

Not tho' the soldier knew

Someone had blunder'd:

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die:

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To echo what Michael said, the problem is that you don't win the war in Afghanistan with artillery strikes. You win when you create conditions such that groups like the Taliban have no popular support. Civilian casualties create immense resentment and strengthen the Taliban.

I'm not saying that command didn't get it wrong in that particular instance, but sometimes they have to make tough decisions balance the immediate needs of the troops versus broader political goals. We all remember the dialogue about the merits of the mission in Saving Private Ryan, and Upham's reference to the Charge of the Light Brigade in response.

"Forward, the Light Brigade!"

Was there a man dismay'd?

Not tho' the soldier knew

Someone had blunder'd:

Theirs not to make reply,

Theirs not to reason why,

Theirs but to do and die:

Of course, but there is a difference in blowing up a school full of children with bad guys shooting out of it, and more reasonable collateral damage like a farmer (who probably is Taliban sympathizer), his goat, and his mud hut which simply cannot be avoided in a warzone. There just is no such thing as a "clean war" no matter how many politicians think it can be done. Artillery strikes don't win wars, but they can decide battles. Can one lose the battles, and still win the war? I don't know, but if you're that dead troop in the body bag I guess it really doesn't' matter except to his family. It definitely isn't your grandfathers wars anymore.

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There are quite a few significant differences between the Taliban and the Viet Cong, but they do have something in common: their strength, more than religious or political, comes from drumming in their propaganda that they're fighting a foreign occupation.

It's interesting to see (page 51 and onwards) how stuff written by the RAND Corporation back in 1967 on the subject of "Why men join the Viet Cong" resonates strongly many themes which we see to come up in the news time and again, and I think directly applicable to Afghanistan provinces with a Pastun majority (or to the Sunni dominated provinces of Iraq):

http://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_memoranda/2007/RM5486-1.pdf

I'd hardly qualify RAND as suspect of being "PC" - their business was (is) realpolitik.

I can't either help thinking about the 2009 Kunduz incident where the Bundeswehr CO requested an air strike that resulted in a significant number of civilian casualties. Did that undo the work the German armed forces did in the province since 2001? Who knows, really. You can take a look at the casualties listed for the German Armed forces in 2009 and those for 2010

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/German_Armed_Forces_casualties_in_Afghanistan#2009

establishing a cause and effect relationship would be a bit far-fetched, but there's indeed some correlation.

Did that incident, possible military repercussions and the fallout on the home front have a role to play in the decision by the German government to pull out?

Let me quote Steve for this one

"So, people that give Putin a lot of credit for being smart? I think they really need to reevaluate that. He’s very predictable. … I learned very early on that history doesn’t exactly repeat itself, but it does tend to produce a lot fewer surprises than some people say. Really, timing is more of the unknown."

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There just is no such thing as a "clean war" no matter how many politicians think it can be done.

Which is precisely the point I was getting at. War is a horrendous, bloody mess and will always be so. Which is why we should think ahead of time of other ways to frame and pursue national policy whenever that is possible. Politicians and the people they lead tend to be lazy and unimaginative about that. And often situations are allowed to develop to the point where the only obvious option left is to send in the military. But if it is the kind of situation that the military is fundamentally incapable of extracting a satisfactory from—which in the modern world had increasingly been the case—then we've killed a bunch of people, including some of our own, to no good end.

There are some times when we must fight, and we do need to recognize those times and step up bravely when they come. But my feeling is that those times may be far rarer than we are accustomed to thinking.

Michael

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Didn't CMSF have scenarios where the victory conditions specified not destroying certain buildings? (PRESERVE objective I think). So these kinds of restrictions on firepower, based on the mission's goals, are already with us in CM. Of course nobody who's getting shot at wants limits put on the fire support that can save his life. But the higher-ups have a bigger strategic, political and diplomatic picture in mind.

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So I'm listening to this book "One Million Steps" about a marine platoon in Afghanistan, and I get to this part where they want to call in some artillery and are denied because the LAWYER sitting back at some command center said NO. Can you believe how F'd up this PC ROE has gotten to the point that they have to have lawyers approve whether the grunts get the support they are requesting because they are too worried a civilian will accidentally get killed in the middle of a war zone.? Meanwhile because they can't get the support some American kid gets to come home in a body bag. I couldn't believe I heard it right so I re- winded it, and sure enough that is how it is today. Lawyers giving the final say! WTF!!! I am so glad I am no longer in the military. I can't imagine being in a war where if you accidentally kill civilians in the way of the enemy you go to Leavenworth.

If this game is to be realistic then I guess we shall have to have pixel lawyers that deny fire missions. Please make it an actual on map unit so I can put pixel bullet in douche bag pixel head. I am so pissed hearing this stupid PC bull sh t is going on resulting in KIA's that could be avoided!

To answer your question - I haven't seen any in the announcement so I'm guessing there won't be.

In relation to the rest of your post - there are rules of war and you obey them so please calm down.

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Of course, but there is a difference in blowing up a school full of children with bad guys shooting out of it, and more reasonable collateral damage like a farmer (who probably is Taliban sympathizer), his goat, and his mud hut which simply cannot be avoided in a warzone.

Not to the Afghan in the next village, there isn't. Blowing up the goatherd will make every goatherd a Tali sympathiser. That's the point of RoE. It's not Political Correctness Gone Mad, it's Realpolitik making the Grunt's life more dangerous. Welcome to asymmetric warfare.

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In war you always have to balance political goals against military needs. If the political goal is to win the hearts and minds of the local population, avoiding civillian casualties whenever possible is a political necessety, even if it sometimes contradicts the immediate military needs. For example the widespread destruction of the Iraqi civillian infrastructure (water supply, electricity, etc) during the early stages of the 2003 Iraq war and the failure to quickly rebuild these things contributed to the civillian support for the Iraqi insurgency later in the 2000s. Likewise the man who lost his family in an airstrike that hit the wrong building wont be convinced that the US forces are here to help him, even if you tell him a thousand times that collateral damage is unavoidable in armed conflict.

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It really is a shame that you can't any longer just carpet bomb civilians into oblivion or torture and execute entire villages suspected of sympathizing with enemies without all that PC claptrap. It's media's fault. Everything was better when people back at home didn't have any clue what their heroes were doing.

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It really is a shame that you can't any longer just carpet bomb civilians into oblivion or torture and execute entire villages suspected of sympathizing with enemies without all that PC claptrap. It's media's fault. Everything was better when people back at home didn't have any clue what their heroes were doing.

It is the darn innernet thingy dangnabit!!! Kids tweeting and puttin things up on their wall whatever the hell that means.

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I agree with you Vinnart, just look what happened in this video :

Too bad the grunts couldn't rip up the ROE like the Marx brothers did. There should be ROE I agree, but from what I got from the book it really has gotten too hand tying to ridiculous proportions happening more than once in the story and not just with calling in support. Again I highly recommend checking this one out. It is definitely worth the read or listen. Just hope some of the incidents talked about don't get your blood up like it did me :) When a book can evoke feelings of empathy you know it is powerful putting the reader/listener in the shoes of those it is written about.

Since there will be no lawyer units I will have to settle for this: Lawyer mod ;)

lawyer.jpg~original

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In asymmetric warfare civilian casualties are a disaster if you are attempting to win the 'hearts and minds' of a population. They are completely counter-productive leading to many more deaths than a cancelled fire mission in the longer run.

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Of course, but there is a difference in blowing up a school full of children with bad guys shooting out of it, and more reasonable collateral damage like a farmer (who probably is Taliban sympathizer), his goat, and his mud hut which simply cannot be avoided in a warzone.

In a high intensity conflict maybe, but if you are militarily steamrolling over the enemy already, then it can pay off a lot more to hold off, control yourself and don't bomb that farmer. You know how it generally works, you create more enemies when you kill that farmer, so you better be sure there's no way around killing that farmer. Respectfully, that's why grunts don't create ROEs, because some people just don't know what they are doing.

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This whole thing came about, in large part, due to sloppy ROE earlier in the Afghan campaign. There was a time when a village elder would say "there are Taliban here" and so we took them at their word and obliterated the target. Only later to found out that it was a rival tribal leader with no ties to the Taliban per se. The most infamous case was the US wiping out the bulk of a wedding party that was described as a meeting of high level Taliban officials. Western military leaders took a long time to catch on that Afghan "friends" were as trustworthy as the enemy. This went on too long and soured a lot of people on the West.

The irony here is that the villagers are pretty much OK with beheading, raping, extorting, etc. each other on a massive scale on a daily basis. But when a foreigner does even ONE of these things ONCE ... well then, it's war! That goat herder killed by an errant Western artillery strike becomes a rallying cry, but if he was blown up by a Taliban roadside bomb there wouldn't be any fuss about him.

My opinion is that tighter ROEs or loser ROEs won't make a damned difference. The hearts and minds don't want us there, never have and never will. We (the West) don't stand a chance to convert people's way of thinking without 100% full occupation with all civil services being conducted by foreigners who are held accountable so they remain incorruptible. 2 generations of this, where people actual get civil services and security, then MAYBE there's a chance. But anything short of that will fail. You can't undo thousands of years of tribal butchery in a couple of years without a radical approach. Treating the locals as if they were born and raised in the heartland of a Western Democracy is a recipe for failure. Every. Single. Time.

Steve

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This whole thing came about, in large part, due to sloppy ROE earlier in the Afghan campaign. There was a time when a village elder would say "there are Taliban here" and so we took them at their word and obliterated the target. Only later to found out that it was a rival tribal leader with no ties to the Taliban per se. The most infamous case was the US wiping out the bulk of a wedding party that was described as a meeting of high level Taliban officials. Western military leaders took a long time to catch on that Afghan "friends" were as trustworthy as the enemy. This went on too long and soured a lot of people on the West.

The irony here is that the villagers are pretty much OK with beheading, raping, extorting, etc. each other on a massive scale on a daily basis. But when a foreigner does even ONE of these things ONCE ... well then, it's war! That goat herder killed by an errant Western artillery strike becomes a rallying cry, but if he was blown up by a Taliban roadside bomb there wouldn't be any fuss about him.

My opinion is that tighter ROEs or loser ROEs won't make a damned difference. The hearts and minds don't want us there, never have and never will. We (the West) don't stand a chance to convert people's way of thinking without 100% full occupation with all civil services being conducted by foreigners who are held accountable so they remain incorruptible. 2 generations of this, where people actual get civil services and security, then MAYBE there's a chance. But anything short of that will fail. You can't undo thousands of years of tribal butchery in a couple of years without a radical approach. Treating the locals as if they were born and raised in the heartland of a Western Democracy is a recipe for failure. Every. Single. Time.

Steve

QFT.

The concept of democracy is totally lost on people and cultures that have operated with a tribal mentality ongoing for thousands of years. They simply don't get what it is, what it means, and the responsibilities as citizens under it. In short, it is a largely meaningless word. Most think incorrectly that it voting for your leader(s), which it is not. Saddam thought that Iraqis voting for him as the only person on the ticket would show the world that he was 'democratic' because people had a vote. To most people unfamiliar with democracy, having a vote = democracy, which is is not.

Someday democracy may start to grow in places in the world like the middle east but it isn't going to happen in a few short years due the power of the status quo of centuries of tribal politics. Even democracies in the West took decades if not centuries to grow to what is today.

But more importantly, it has no value. To the average Iraqi/Afghai, it is a word that they don't understand or totally misunderstand. As such, it has no value to the average person in such countries because the culture has never been one that encourages free thinkers. Self empowerment and other liberal values associated with democracy just don't flourish in a culture of tribalism where safety is toeing the status quo and ignorance is a virtue because it is safe.

Until such time as democracy ideals are understood and more importantly, are consider to have 'value' over the current system, democracy isn't going to happen anytime soon.

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As mentioned Western Ideas and concepts hold no value in many parts of the world and trying to impose it is a waste of time and effort imo.

I'm biased by my experiences living there so perhaps I'm not so idealistic.

Unfortunately we can't just ignore what goes on over there and may have to engage from time to time which unfortunately may have to involve boots on the ground, but you have to be smart about it.

I hated the idea of invading Iraq and though the whole ideals behind it was misguided from the get go. What really befuddled me was Cheney. He got it when he was in the Bush I administration, yet did a complete 180 during the Bush 2 era.

Anyway I got off on a tangent.

Pre ordered and looking forward to BS. Going to be interesting. Someone wiser and more versed in modern warfare told me:

What can be seen can be killed.

Smoke is vital, far more so than WW2 where it was already useful.

Recon and information is crucial.

I suspect the pace will be quicker in some ways, yet slower in other ways.

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The irony here is that the villagers are pretty much OK with beheading, raping, extorting, etc. each other on a massive scale on a daily basis. But when a foreigner does even ONE of these things ONCE ... well then, it's war! That goat herder killed by an errant Western artillery strike becomes a rallying cry, but if he was blown up by a Taliban roadside bomb there wouldn't be any fuss about him.

Steve

Spot on. The very same thing was mentioned. The statistic given was 7 out of 10 civilian deaths are caused by the Taliban, not allied forces. It is ok for them to kill each other in numbers, but if we kill one it is taken very differently. Given those numbers one would think the hearts and minds would be more against the Taliban than with us.

Listening on I feel better as it is implied many more support missions were approved vs. denied. In all honesty, and fairness I really can't vent against the lawyers as they are just doing their job, and don't make the policies. I guess what gets me is the fact that commanders even have to consult with them at all to make combat decisions now a days. It just doesn't fit with my mentality when it comes to warfare that combatants should have to worry about lawyers looking over their shoulders scrutinizing their decisions.

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Times have changed. Back in my parents days your could carpet bomb entire cities and kill 200,000+ civilians and few would blink an eye. That was war. People lived in tougher times and were a lot harder.

Today for better or worse we live in a different world and play by different rules. The 24x7 media, internet, cell phones and other instant mass media probably makes life harder for the military.

Things could get even more interesting in the Middle East if oil prices continue to drop. I love cheap gas, but nothing comes without cost. The ruling monarchy in Saudi Arabia may face some serious challenges by the collapse of oil prices. There is a very large and restless young male population in the country that since the 70's when the oil boom took hold have been supported by the government with generous handouts that was paid for by the oil revenues.

If that gets cut off and you have a large young male population with no jobs and no means of support that could spell trouble and as we have already seen in Iraq and other places in that region, change can be very violent and messy.

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