When I first heard of the possibility of a medal for “courageous restraint”, I wondered when I would get mine. God only knows how many times I had to restrain myself from telling off that one “Joe” who always stood in front of me at the PX or the chow hall.
Anyone who has served knows the guy. The guy who tells the unbelievable war stories. The ones that start out with ” It was me, my .50 cal, and a couple hundred rounds”. The guy who never shuts up and makes an already long and excruciating wait even more so. Anyone deserves a medal for sitting through that and either not calling B/S or not decking the blowhard.
Sadly the medal is in fact not for that. Instead there has been discussions in the military circle about awarding the aforementioned medal for “holding fire to save civilian lives”.
First off, do the leaders of the military honestly feel as if our troops are a blood thirsty lot hell bent on killing and maiming civilians at the drop of a hat. Seriously, we are not the bad guys. I am sure most if not all civilian casualties taken are caused by some crazy Islamist hanging out in a crowd of “innocents”. I’ll also state that most troops would rather not engage said kook while these civilians are present. But given the circumstances and the enemy we are fighting our troops have very little choice but to sometimes fight in crowds.
Next don’t those proposing this understand that the ROE as it stands is stifling enough. Now they want to reward soldiers for “holding fire to save civilian lives”. I as many would say limiting collateral damage is important for the mission. But the idea of rewarding combat troops in such a way seems a bit off. This award seems more fitting for a police or peace keeping force. Not a force designed for war.
Finally, I agree 100% with this Veterans of Foreign Wars Spokesman when he states:
A spokesman for the 2.2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation’s largest group of combat veterans, thinks the award would cause confusion among the ranks and send a bad signal.
“The self-protections built into the rules of engagement are clear, and the decision to return fire must be made instantly based on training and the threat,” said Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “The enemy already hides among noncombatants, and targets them, too. The creation of such an award will only embolden their actions and put more American and noncombatant lives in jeopardy. Let’s not rush to create something that no one wants to present posthumously.”
I wonder how many leaders are prepared to give this award posthumously?
Cross Posted to The Inside Straight
Hat Tip to The Navy Times