Article in NavyTimes.com:
Hold fire, earn a medal
By William H. McMichael
U.S. troops in Afghanistan could soon be awarded a medal for not doing something, a precedent-setting award that would be given for “courageous restraint” for holding fire to save civilian lives.
The proposal is now circulating in the Kabul headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, a command spokesman confirmed Tuesday.
“The idea is consistent with our approach,” explained Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis. “Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians. In some situations our forces face in Afghanistan, that restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those seen in combat actions.”Read the entire article...
Here's what a veteran has to say about it:
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.”
To me, it sounds like it is a medal that will be awarded posthumously more often than not.
Our troops in Afghanistan are working under strict Rules of Engagement. According to PipelineNews.org:
A few enterprising U.S. media sources [in this case, an article published November 16, 2009 in the Washington Times] have expended much effort to piece together specific components of the ROE [source, U.S. troops battle both Taliban and their own rules]
"1. No night or surprise searches.What do you think about the proposed award for "courageous restraint"?
2. Villagers have to be warned prior to searches.
3. ANA or ANP must accompany U.S. units on searches.
4. U.S. soldiers may not fire at the enemy unless the enemy is preparing to fire first.
5. U.S. forces cannot engage the enemy if civilians are present.
6. Only women can search women.
7. Troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid."
What do you Veterans think about it?