Don’t shoot until you see the red of your own blood; or, liberal rules of engagement

“Don’t fire until you see the whites of their eyes.”  — attr. to various generals at the Battle of Bunker Hill (although it has a longer pedigree than that).

Liberals have been orgasmically excited by a video that Wikileak published showing a 2007 shootout in Baghdad, during which two Reuters stringers died.  Wikileaks contends that the video shows ordinary guys just walking down the streets with cameras, when suddenly blood-thirsty U.S. troops rained horror and death down on them from the skies.  That’s certainly how it’s being sold in the liberal American and European media.

My liberal husband, who saw the story in the New York Times, was “shocked” at the type of killing machines the U.S. troops were.  After he admitted that he hadn’t actually watched the video, I explained that the video took place in a moving battle zone, and that the photographers were embedded with non-uniformed combatants who were carrying guns, including what looked like an RPG.  I also said the vehicle that pulled up later was unmarked and that more men, also out-of-uniform, came spilling out.  My husband fussed and fulminated about the fact that this was “no excuse” for what the Americans did.  My son was more to the point:  “RPGs?  Those photographers were idiots.”

If you’d like details about the combat zone; the weapons; the lack of identification on the photographers, the combatants and the vehicles; and the explicitly stated, on-the-ground perceptions of the American troops, Bill Roggio and Rusty Shackleford have been all over this one.  You can read Rusty here, here and here.  Roggio’s analysis is here and here.  (Bob Owens chimes in here too.)

I wanted to talk about something different, which is the liberal perception of rules of engagement.  It’s very clear from the coverage that liberals believe that American soldiers should not be firing if they merely perceive themselves to be at risk, no matter the amount of evidence supporting that perception.  Liberals would rather see a battalion of soldiers die, than suffer the loss of one Reuters photographer who deliberately places himself in a battle zone, and goes about without any identification or advanced warning. (Of course, the lack of advanced warning arises because the reporters and photographers who have embedded themselves with combatants hostile to the US can’t exactly let the US know in advance where the combatants will be.  That is one of the risks of embedding with one side or another during a war.  You take the same strikes your new comrades take.)

Given their sensibilities, the liberal ROEs are simple:  You can’t know that someone wants to kill you until they actually try to kill you.  American troops, therefore, should not fire until one of their own has been bloodied or killed.  Only in that way can they be absolutely assured that they are firing at a legitimate military target, and not simply firing at something that looks like a legitimate military target.

These ROEs, of course, get expanded to world conflicts.  Just because Iran is busy building a nuclear arsenal and has spent the last 30 years stating explicitly that it believes Israel should and will be destroyed in a tremendous Holocaust is meaningless.  Because there are good people in Iran (true), it’s simply not fair to judge Iran by its words and conduct, if those words and conduct fall short of actually launching a nuclear missile at Tel Aviv.  Only when Iran follows through on its threats, and actually launches that nuclear missile, can Israel be justified in taking the chance that any defensive actions might kill innocent civilians.

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  • highlander

    When I was a kid many years ago, we used to play war games in the vacant lot on the corner.  You could hear us half the way down the block:  “Bang! bang! You’re dead!”  “No I’m not.  You missed.”  “I did too get you!” “No you didn’t.”
    A lot of people keep that “war is a game” mentality all the way into adulthood — unless, that is, they have experienced actual combat.  That’s when it sinks in that those other guys are out to kill you for real any way they can, and if you don’t do it to them first, they’re gonna do it to you.  That’s when Rules of Engagement become funny little marks on a sheet of paper in someone’s desk drawer miles and miles away.
    Rules of Engagement are for REMF’s and other liberals.

  • 11B40

    Then again, and on the other hand,

    Back in my infantry days, I used to tell my new soldiers this parable.
    Two young riflemen were having the age-old philosophical discussion about where to shoot those who would oppose them. One was a “head-shooter”; the other preferred the “center-mass” (torso). The head-shooter asserted that if you hit him, he’s done. The center-mass guy liked the larger target area. As they were going back and forth, their Platoon Sergeant came by. “Hey, Sarge,” called out the head-shooter, “where do you like to shoot the bad guys?”
    “In the back,” he replied.

    As many as you can, as often as you can, anywhere and any way you can.

    What part of “WAR” don’t you understand???????

  • suek

    “Liberals would rather see a battalion of soldiers die, than suffer the loss of one Reuters photographer who deliberately places himself in a battle zone, and goes about without any identification or advanced warning.”
    You mean…sort of like “We won’t use nuclear weapons even if you use WMD on our cities”?

  • g6loq

    Sorry about your husband. I couldn’t.

  • Ymarsakar

    <B>during which two Reuters stringers died. </b>
    Good job. Keep it coming people, keep it coming. We haven’t done nearly enough to wipe out that infested nest of rats.

  • Ymarsakar

    The objective of the Left is to get Americans killed. Rules of Engagement that gets more people killed, on both sides, benefits the Left politically, since after all, the Left aren’t the ones that will be doing the dying. They’ll be left here in power, while the virtuous die, thus leaving an avenue to power open to the Left.
    It’s all very simple and clear cut.

  • Ymarsakar

    You might want to educate your husband on the realities of violence. If you go into the details of what violence really is and you see he gets all uncomfortable, then you know that the fake liberal shield is cracking and collapsing.
    One of the most powerful motivations to adopt the leftist cult dogma is an inability to handle violence on a 1 to 1 relationship on your own. An inability to comprehend what is real about violence and what is Hollywood trash, renders the average civilized citizen easily entranced by the simplistic pseudo solutions of the Left.
    You need not join the military or fight in wars to understand violence. Cutting the head off a chicken can teach you much of the same. That violence works on others just as well as it works on you. Hey, if that butcher knife can cut that chicken’s head off that easily, then it can do the same thing to your wrist. It’ll probably gush out blood the same way. Wouldn’t that be Cool?
    But, if Americans are ignorant of these things because they have been pampered and don’t have to kill or hunt on their own, now we get to the Leftist fake liberal cult and its recruiting program. Now they can recruit these gullible sheep because the sheep don’t know what predators look like. They aren’t predators, so they can’t tell either way.
    If you have never used violence in your life, it takes special motivation, training, or just plain experience to handle these issues. But, if you want to stick your head in the sand and rely upon the Left, police, and the US military to protect your hide, that can work for awhile as well. The benefits of a Leftist life in a bubble.

  • Danny Lemieux

    I know that this sounds very cold and unkind, Book, but I don’t think that anything could do as much to improve Mr. Book’s worldview than a good mugging.

  • Charles

    This sounds like the same video that I saw on ABC World News Tonight (I had that on only because I was busy getting dinner ready while waiting for Jeopardy to come on – honest!).  Two things that I found quite interesting, at least for ABC, was this:

    First, they asked a retired military guy (I think he was a General) if the shooting was justified.  He said yes, and they didn’t hound him about his answer.

    Two, amd more important, they showed how some of the allied soldiers saw that kids were injured in the shooting and then went in to rescue them to, presumably, give them medical treatment.  

    This second point shows show much about the difference between the professional soldiers and the terrorists.  Who in their right mind brings their kids to a firefight? And, it is the true heroes who will, at some risk to one’s self, save his enemy’s children.

  • Ymarsakar
  • Deana

    I have long suspected that leftists’ ideas on rules of engagement go a long way to explaining their angst over our dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan.

    They completely disregard or attempt to justify Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.

    When faced with military and other assessments that were performed prior to the dropping of the bombs that estimated the human costs (on both sides) of a U.S. land invasion in order to defeat Japan, they assure us that Japan was already “defeated” and that we were just being greedy, violent, racists and so on. 

    In their minds, nothing justified the dropping of those bombs.  Not even the fact that it saved not just American lives (which seem to mean nothing to leftists) but Japanese lives. 

    The thing that mystifies me:  (and I must say that I disagree with Y here a bit) – what makes them so very sure that their rules of engagement will keep them safe?  How often in history have there been cases where those who insisted on pacifism, looking the other way, and/or not recognizing evil when it is breathing in your face wound up dead and destroyed? 

  • Ymarsakar

    “what makes them so very sure that their rules of engagement will keep them safe?”
    The them here isn’t monolithic. For example, most of the Left’s funding sources come from plutocrats, robber barons, insane Jewish repo rich frackers like Soros, and various other human atrocity prone individuals like Polansky. They will be safe because they have wealth and power backing them. The world is their oyster and they can make a lot of money by contributing to the Left. After all, it’s not like the Left will go out of their way to ensure competition and ethical practices are enforced. This favors those already in power. If one country goes down hill, they can just move somewhere else.
    Now most of the Left are composed of cannon fodder. Human sacrifices. Those don’t get any express ticket out of Armageddon when it comes. So all that is necessary is to convince them that they will be given a slot on the life raft. Then shoot em in the back when the time comes to ditch everybody. Simple, expedient, and clever.
    It’s simply impossible to say to them that, look, you have to learn from the experiences of others. If those useful idiots could learn something like that and realize the truth of their predicament, don’t you think they would already have done so after 9/11 and Sarah Palin, Deana? The proof is in the pudding. The demonstration that they cannot learn to stop self-deception brainwashing, is proof that they will stay certain until the end. Or at least, until it is too late.
    There is no limit to human self-deception. People can convince themselves that they are safe for as long as their mental defenses can sustain themselves. Which is pretty long given modern society’s disconnection from reality.

  • Ymarsakar

    Btw, because the Left are cowards, obviously they would think the Japanese would surrender after one nuke. After all, the Left would surrender if you broke one of their pinkies. Why wouldn’t the Left project their own cowardly behavior unto the Japanese?

  • David Foster

    Prior to the Normandy invasion, the Allies determined to convert northern France into a “railway desert” in order to prevent the movement of German troops and supplies. The number of French civilians killed by Allied bombing in the Normandy campaign has been estimated in the 20,000-50,000 range.

    Just for a little perspective.

  • Ymarsakar

    It is hard for people to understand the reality of something when all they know about it are lectures and observation. Even if one knows the theory of the car and its operating system, that means almost nothing absent real experience driving. To ask the ignorant how they would “decide” issues concerning the legitimate or illegitimate usage of nukes, one would have to presuppose that they had some kind of experience in deciding matters of life and death.
    And they do not. Rather, the Left in its full glory, delegates the decision to their paid hacks, sympathetic mass murderers, serial rapists, race war instigators, and various other normal operational arms.
    They don’t have to decide the life or death of anything. All they are there for is to cheer on the hobbling of the US defense. No need to get their hands dirty.
    Most Democrats have never had to decide an issue where they had the power to kill and they needed to know whether it was right to use it or not. Yet they feel complacent enough to lecture everybody else who are more experienced than their book knowledged selves, how it would have gone between the Japanese-US war.

  • highlander

    My father-in-law served in Europe during World War II.
    Early on Christmas morning of 1944 he was on picket duty guarding his unit’s flank when he saw a German soldier passing through a small meadow below his position.  He was about to take a shot when he remembered that it was Christmas Day and that this fellow was probably missing his family too.  He took his finger from the trigger and let the German pass.
    My father-in-law felt pretty good about his act of mercy until, that is, he began to wonder how many of his buddies that guy would kill in the weeks and months to follow.
    Makes you wonder how many innocent lives will be sacrificed in order for liberal peaceniks to feel good about themselves.

  • Ymarsakar

    The saying about eyes makes for a good prefixed distance to fire. This was rather important in the days when firearms had limited range, even more limited accuracy, with long reload times. Wasting a barrage at inaccurate ranges pretty much can get everybody around you killed. Including you.
    When you’re standing in a firing line or even hidden in ambush, the desire to fire now and get it over with, is pretty nasty. Especially for green and inexperienced people. The experienced non-coms must calm these people down and ensure fire discipline is held. Because the entire point of having a gun is to kill the other guy first. If you let your emotions override basic reality and tactics, bad things are going to happen. To you, that is.
    Firing discipline, thus, translates as a tactical advantage in that it allows your side to achieve military results in various forms.
    The Left isn’t interested in making America win. The Left is interested in making Americans die horrible deaths while the Left have parties using tax payer funds. The Left’s rules of engagement, thus, will be slightly different from what you would normally see from experienced non-coms.

  • Deana

    Y –
    I just don’t understand why it is so impossible for them to learn from the experiences of others.  I know we have talked about it on this site before but it still mystifies me.  You have to believe that you are something special, something unique, to escape what crushed millions of others for all of eternity and even now all around the world.
    It makes me think of a news piece I saw the other day about the possible return of ROTC to Stanford (I believe).  Academics were interviewed about their opinion and one professor, a woman, said something along the lines of, “There is no place for violence in academia.”  She clearly thought academics are “above” war.  Now that is awesome.  Really.  But it is a complete lack of understanding of history.  A willful understanding, I believe.  Any reading of 20th century history should disabuse someone of that idea.

  • Ymarsakar

    ” I just don’t understand why it is so impossible for them to learn from the experiences of others.”
    Do you remember when the Japanese Prime Minister during Bush said “when there is a will, there is a way” to an audience in Japan?
    Well, the thing about impossibility is that when there isn’t a will on the part of the Left, there isn’t a possibility. These things can’t happen if people don’t want it to happen to them.

  • Ymarsakar

    As I see it, there are strong people and there are weak people. But it just so happens that there is always someone weaker and always someone stronger. Yet it makes a large difference if you are willingly to try to become stronger.
    People that escaped from the Left, whether politically or geographically, wanted to try to become stronger. Whether for their own benefit or the benefit of others. That’s a good thing. It can create a better future for all of us.
    Ultimately the Left’s tools are not as strong as, say, a Deana or a Neo-Neocon or a Robin of Berkley. They are not only weak, but they feel comfortable being weak.
    I believe that while not all cruelty comes from weakness, all kindness, compassion, and mercy comes from strength. Being strong takes work. It can’t be inherited or passed down with favors.

  • suek

    >>But it is a complete lack of understanding of history.  A willful understanding, I believe. >>
    I think you’re right, but maybe not in the sense you mean.  I think they have been deliberately brainwashed, starting a long time ago.  After all, the reason for the power of the US has been it’s military might.  Now…if you want to conquer the US, what do you do about that might?  especially if your own military might doesn’t come near to matching it, and you don’t have the economy to achieve equality.  Somehow, you have to talk the other guy out of using its military force, right?  So, starting _long_ ago, the infiltrators began with the “violence is bad” stuff.   I keep thinking of various TV shows where the good guy convinces the bad guy that his gun won’t work, is not loaded … something like that … and so the bad guy puts down the gun.  It’s all propaganda to get the side with a defense to put down that defense.
    They don’t really believe it – start talking about police giving up all their weapons and see how far you get.  Even point out that if the police give up their weapons, surely the criminals will give up theirs.  Use Great Britain as an example.  (oh wait – GB has all sorts of criminal problems, but you can get to that later)  Look at how many of the politicians have bodyguards – who carry guns.  Maybe the defense will be “criminals have guns, but nobody can match our military, so we have to abrogate using our military”.  Again…if criminals all have knives, cops are only allowed to carry knives???  Keep working on the law enforcement angle…_maybe_ you can get somewhere.  It’s pretty deep seated by now, but _maybe_….!