Friday, February 29, 2008



If you've come here to read some heart-rending, tear-jerking tales from combat zones, this ain't the place.


It can get you and your men killed. But then, if you did what your sense of a military man told you was right, you would be going against the "Rules of Engagement" (ROE).


In June 2005, a group of US Navy Seals were operating in Afghanistan against the Taliban, attempting to rescue other Americans, when they similarly were detected by three shepherds, one a child. They allowed the shepherds to go free. They alerted the Taliban. All but one of the Americans were killed.

...The four Seals zigzagged all night and through the morning until they reached a wooded slope. An Afghan man wearing a turban suddenly appeared, then a farmer and a teenage boy. Luttrell gave a PowerBar to the boy while the Seals debated whether the Afghans would live or die.

If the Seals killed the unarmed civilians, they would violate military rules of engagement; if they let them go, they risked alerting the Taliban. According to Luttrell, one Seal voted to kill them, one voted to spare them and one abstained. It was up to Luttrell.

Part of his calculus was practical. "I didn't want to go to jail." Ultimately, the core of his decision was moral. "A frogman has two personalities. The military guy in me wanted to kill them," he recalled. And yet: "They just seemed like -- people. I'm not a murderer."

Luttrell, by his account, voted to let the Afghans go. "Not a day goes by that I don't think about that decision," he said. "Not a second goes by."

At 1:20 p.m., about an hour after the Seals released the Afghans, dozens of Taliban members overwhelmed them. The civilians he had spared, Luttrell believed, had betrayed them. At the end of a two-hour firefight, only he remained alive...

Americans and Israelis are comrades in arms fighting Islamofascist terror, and sometimes also suffer from the same misplaced "compassion."

FOR the reason why warriors hesitate to do what they are supposed to:

click on Answer to Compassion in Combat

and on

Death by Rules of Engagement

The Rules of Engagement . . . Are Too Stringent

What Worries Us Most about the Islamic's Jihad


Comrades in Arms and Misplaced 'Compassion'

by Steven Plaut

A few days ago it was the 60th anniversary of the massacre of the "Lamed Heh" or the 35 Jewish fighters attempting to relieve the besieged Gush Etzion settlements in January of 1948. Several items appeared recently in the Hebrew press, and my own article on the event appeared in the Jewish Press.


'Iin January 1948, Gush Etzion was surrounded by Arab militias. Jerusalem itself was also besieged and would soon be cut off and starved. An Israeli army did not yet exist; instead, a number of ragtag and poorly equipped Jewish militias attempted to defend the Jewish areas against the attackers. In cases where the Jewish militias failed, captured civilians were generally massacred by the Arabs. Many of the murdered Jews were Holocaust survivors.

'The Jerusalem militias sent out a company of 38 young men, half of them students from Hebrew University, to relieve the besieged Gush Etzion villages. It shows the desperation of the Israeli Jews at the time that a company of 38 people was considered a major reinforcement. The fighters carried heavy packs of food and ammunition, and so proceeded slowly. On the way to Gush Etzion, one militiaman fractured his ankle and was taken back to Jerusalem by two others, leaving the company with 35 fighters.

'They marched by night, led by two experienced scouts. But before reaching their goal, they were discovered by an elderly Arab shepherd. (A British version of events later had them detected by two Arab women shepherds.) The militiamen grabbed the shepherd, but were then faced with a moral dilemma. Some proposed shooting him on the spot, because, they said, if he were released he would immediately alert the Arab militias in the vicinity, who would attack the relief company. War is war, they argued, and the lives of hundreds of people depended on the success of their operation.

'Others among the Jewish militiamen objected. We cannot just kill him in cold blood, they said. Our military operation must be ethically pure. And we can't even tie him up and leave him in a cave - he might die there slowly, or he might escape and alert the Arabs. The shepherd (or shepherds in the alternative version) swore on all that was holy that if released, he would not breathe a word. In the end, the Jewish militiamen decided to release the shepherd. The shepherd immediately ran to the nearest village housing the Arab militias and alerted them to the presence of the Jews. The Arabs attacked the outmanned and outgunned Jews. Every single Jewish militiaman was massacred. Their bodies were horribly mutilated. Later, the Arabs demanded money from the British in return for the corpses.

'Even worse, the Gush Etzion villages were never relieved or reinforced. Without reinforcements, those villages eventually fell to the onslaught of the Arab marauders and the regular Jordanian army (the Arab Legion). When Kfar Etzion, the largest of the villages, fell, virtually the entire Jewish civilian population was massacred, 250 people in all. Only three Jews survived.'

FOR the reason why warriors hesitate to do what they are supposed to, see

Death by Rules of Engagement

The Rules of Engagement . . . Are Too Stringent

What Worries Us Most about the Islamic's Jihad

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