Friday, April 24, 2015

Stuff Happens

The president has found that there are no "shovel ready" jihadis.

UPDATE: Actually, my point isn't that these deaths are some crime of the president. Stuff happens in war. Almost all of it bad. Not illegal or immoral, depending on the forces involved (we fight very clean)--but people die and are crippled and property is destroyed.

Friendly fire and collateral damage and simple casualties that are the price militaries pay for doing what they do take place. War is a blunt instrument even when guided by computers.

You just hope that what all that bad stuff achieves or defends is a good thing.

Mind you, it was a little annoying that the president's spokesman threw the CIA under the bus to provide a little distance between the bombing and president, but the president did not.

One of the ways we avoid friendly fire and collateral damage is the training we provide our troops to be more effective.

Our special forces get the most intense training. They paid the price far from the battlefield:

One U.S. Navy Seal died and another was critically injured on Friday while training in a pool at a Virginia military base, a Navy spokesman said.

Those men are casualties in the war on terror as much as if they had died in combat.

Stuff happens to the good guys.

UPDATE: Stuff happens:

Let me be perfectly clear: When we create rules and procedures of warfare that treat each and every civilian death as an American failure, we tie the hands of our men and women in uniform, we empower terrorists, and we cost American lives. A hidden scandal of the War on Terror is the indefensible toll in American lives due directly to excessive caution, unduly strict rules of engagement, and a military legal culture that creates palpable fear of punishment for even good-faith mistakes under fire.

This hands-tied attitude to bombing enemies is the best air defense system our enemies can afford.

This is not to say that we should declare the world a free-fire zone. We want our troops to come home knowing that they fought honorably rather than as the savages we fight, as I wrote back in the Iraq War when some war supporters wanted us to "take the gloves off:"

In addition, our rules of engagement that promote winning hearts and mind allow our troops to fight with honor and come home as soldiers and Marines--not as killers. If we let our troops loose to kill as they see fit to terrorize the population into submission, they become judge, jury, and executioner. Even if they make all the right decision in a fight with enemies in civilian clothes, our troops will always wonder if they were right in the decisions they make.

Rules of engagement, take much of the judging and responsibility out of their hands and put the responsibility on the leaders where it belongs. As long as soldiers know they followed the lawful rules of engagement they can come home with their heads held high, having fought as soldiers. As long as they allow us to fight and win, this is just fine.

But we should have a little confidence that our troops fight very carefully and within the rules of war--and beyond. How is it possible for people to condemn our methods when we fight brutal jihadis who have near-cartoon levels of black-and-white evil?

Just because our bombs kill civilians while we go after good targets does not mean we are responsible for those deaths. Our enemies violate rules of war by not wearing uniforms and by hugging civilian shields (not to limit the scope of their violations--I'm just talking target selection here). They are responsible for those civilian casualties from our bombing missions.

And even if we and our enemies follow all the rules, stuff still happens.

And as an aside, this post shows why I don't use Twitter ...