Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘war’

Fifteen years have passed, but we must never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2016

Fifteen years have passed since that awful September 11th morning. Many millennials have no meaningful recollection of it, and apparently their parents and teachers did nothing to inform and educate them. They haven’t seen the video or images (or saw just fleeting glimpses with no context) of what happened to the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center and to the Pentagon. They don’t know or understand the significance of what the passengers on Flight 93 did, and they aren’t moved, as I am to this day, by the words “Let’s roll!”

That might explain (but not excuse) a mattress store advertising its “twin towers” mattress sale with a spoof in which two “towers” of mattresses collapse. Nothing can explain or excuse what Comedy Central did, as reported on Twitter by Tabitha Bliss, since apparently mature adult entertainment industry professionals approved and aired it. I refuse to view it and hope you won’t either, but here is her tweet:

Most of the rest of this post is, with minor changes, what I’ve posted in past years on this grim anniversary. It’s my hope that someone will stumble across this page who is too young to remember or who has forgotten, and that it will have an impact on them.

But before moving on to that portion, let me suggest that you read an Esquire article by Tom Junod entitled The Falling Man. It’s about one of the most horrifying aspects of that horrifying day. It’s about something that to this day wrenches my gut and makes my eyes well up when I think about it or see images of it, and which caused me some years ago to struggle to create lyrics for a song in my head that, if I had any musical talent, would have been recorded by now. It’s about this picture, and the countless others who did what the man in it did, but perhaps not quite as well.

falling man

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Fifteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Never forget.

Flag still stands

Never forget.

raising the flag at ground zero

Never, ever forget.

9/11 tribute of light

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2015

Fourteen years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and “Let’s roll!” became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it.

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It’s necessary, I believe, if we’re to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part.

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this:

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


Never forget.

Flag still stands

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2011

Ten years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and "Let's roll!" became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it. 

We must not  forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It's necessary, I believe, if we're to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part. 

We must not forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

Never forget.

Flag still stands

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Our hero dead

Posted by Richard on May 30, 2011

"Flags In" for Memorial Day, Arlington National Cemetary. Photo from Isaac Wankerl (www.iwankerl.com).
The grave of his father, Maj. Max W. Wankerl, is in the foreground.

  

Memorial Day

by Edgar A. Guest (1881-1959)

 
The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day,
Is not a rose wreath, white and red,
In memory of the blood they shed;
It is to stand beside each mound,
Each couch of consecrated ground,
And pledge ourselves as warriors true
Unto the work they died to do.

Into God's valleys where they lie
At rest, beneath the open sky,
Triumphant now o'er every foe,
As living tributes let us go.
No wreath of rose or immortelles
Or spoken word or tolling bells
Will do to-day, unless we give
Our pledge that liberty shall live.

Our hearts must be the roses red
We place above our hero dead;
To-day beside their graves we must
Renew allegiance to their trust;
Must bare our heads and humbly say
We hold the Flag as dear as they,
And stand, as once they stood, to die
To keep the Stars and Stripes on high.

The finest tribute we can pay
Unto our hero dead to-day
Is not of speech or roses red,
But living, throbbing hearts instead,
That shall renew the pledge they sealed
With death upon the battlefield:
That freedom's flag shall bear no stain
And free men wear no tyrant's chain.

 

Today, please remember those who died "that liberty shall live." I'm remembering my dad, Col. Samuel R. Combs — who, in the memorable words of Robert Denerstein, "answered his country's call even before the phone rang." I miss you, Papa. 

If you have friends or relatives — or maybe an elderly neighbor down the street — who are veterans, thank them now. Don't wait until they have a marker over their head. 

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This is the imperial presidency on drugs — any questions?

Posted by Richard on April 2, 2011

They told me if I voted for McCain, an increasingly imperial presidency would defy Congress … aw, that's just too easy. In a classified briefing, Secretary of State Clinton told House members that the Obama administration would simply ignore any congressional effort to stop the war kinetic military action in Libya.

That was the day after Clinton, in London, declared US support for the rebels while conceding she has no idea who they are

Most of the media headlined Clinton’s statement about possibly arming the rebels. Many stories left out what I consider her more important statement: that she really had no idea who the rebels are and that, in fact, they might actually include members of Al Qaeda, the terrorist group that attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001.

And just a day after that, in what sounds like an April Fool's Day joke, the Obama administration threatened to bomb the rebels we're backing:

Fresh off claiming victory not over Qaddafi, but over responsibility itself, with its touted handoff of the war kinetic military effort to itself-under-different-name, the Obama administration is now swinging the guns around on those on whose behalf we have, until now, been firing, and is threatening to start bombarding the rebels along with Qaddafi’s military. This is an amazing change of direction for an administration which spent the last several days not only defending its rush to war on behalf of a group about which it had little knowledge, but openly defending its right to arm the Libyan opposition, …

In other words, we’ve apparently (finally) learned enough about this group of rebels/al Qaeda terrorists/rapistsandindiscriminantkillers/who-knows-what-else that we’ve been fighting alongside (primarily from 15,000 feet and up, of course) that the Obama administration is now ready to fight them, as well – an action which would, amazingly and dumbfoundingly, make the U.S. a participant in both sides of an Arab civil war being fought in the desert of North Africa.  Just amazing.

These are the Keystone Kops of foreign policy, the gang that couldn't shoot straight, the imperial presidency on drugs. This endless fumbling of the Libyan war kinetic military action would be hilarious if it weren't so serious. 

 

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The Pelosi approach

Posted by Richard on March 31, 2011

John Gizzi of Human Events is one of the many people who've expressed concern over who the rebels we're backing in Libya are:

On March 1, British Prime Minister David Cameron said it would be a good idea to find out a little more about the Libyan opposition to Muammar Gaddafi before going any further with talk of any kind of military intervention.

Nearly a month later, with Cameron’s Britain one of several countries involved in Operation Odyssey Dawn, which has been key to the rebels' latest advance, we still know very little about those who seek to rule Libya after Gaddafi.

This could be a case of the age-old warning to be careful of what one wishes for.

Filling in for Rush Limbaugh today, "America's undocumented anchorman" Mark Steyn observed that the Obama administration seems to have adopted the Nancy Pelosi approach to liberation movements: we have to arm the rebels in order to find out who they are. [rimshot]

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“If you go to take Vienna, take Vienna”

Posted by Richard on March 26, 2011

Charles Krauthammer on fire:

Never modest about himself, Obama is supremely modest about his country. America should be merely "one of the partners among many," he said Monday. No primus inter pares for him. Even the Clinton administration spoke of America as the indispensable nation. And it remains so. Yet at a time when the world is hungry for America to lead — no one has anything near our capabilities, experience and resources — America is led by a man determined that it should not. A man who dithers over parchment. Who starts a war from which he wants out right away. Good God. If you go to take Vienna, take Vienna. If you're not prepared to do so, better then to stay home and do nothing.

Read the whole thing. (HT: Instapundit)

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What about Syria?

Posted by Richard on March 26, 2011

Various critics have wondered why President Obama felt compelled to stop Moammar Gaddafi from attacking his own people, but doesn't feel compelled to stop Bashar Assad from attacking the Syrian people. I say give it time.

The Obama administration debated and dithered for 4-5 weeks after the slaughter of civilians in Libya began before it acted. The Syrian army has only been gunning down civilians for a few days.

It's quite possible that the US will be ready to take action against Syria by mid to late April. Assuming, of course, that Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and Hillary Clinton — the three women with the big cojones in this administration — prevail again.

Some conservatives have pointed out that if you're going to use the US military to protect civilians from their own governments, there are multiple candidates in Africa, starting with Zimbabwe. I think there's zero chance of that. Robert Mugabe is a hard-core Marxist. And one thing is clear about this administration: it has no bone to pick with Marxists or socialists anywhere. 

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Priorities

Posted by Richard on March 26, 2011

To date, President Obama has spent more time talking to ESPN about his bracket picks than explaining to the American people his decision to launch "kinetic military action" against Moammar Gaddafi.

In today's Wall Street Journal, Peggy Noonan argued that the President must make the speech he hasn't made, and it must answer many, many questions about his war on Libya:

It all seems rather mad, doesn't it? The decision to become involved militarily in the Libyan civil war couldn't take place within a less hospitable context. The U.S. is reeling from spending and deficits, we're already in two wars, our military has been stretched to the limit, we're restive at home, and no one, really, sees President Obama as the kind of leader you'd follow over the top. "This way, men!" "No, I think I'll stay in my trench." People didn't hire him to start battles but to end them. They didn't expect him to open new fronts. Did he not know this?

He has no happy experience as a rallier of public opinion and a leader of great endeavors; the central initiative of his presidency, the one that gave shape to his leadership, health care, is still unpopular and the cause of continued agitation. When he devoted his entire first year to it, he seemed off point and out of touch.

This was followed by the BP oil spill, which made him look snakebit. Now he seems incompetent and out of his depth in foreign and military affairs. He is more observed than followed, or perhaps I should say you follow him with your eyes and not your heart. So it's funny he'd feel free to launch and lead a war, which is what this confused and uncertain military action may become.

What was he thinking? What is he thinking?

Which gets me to Mr. Obama's speech, the one he hasn't given. I cannot for the life of me see how an American president can launch a serious military action without a full and formal national address in which he explains to the American people why he is doing what he is doing, why it is right, and why it is very much in the national interest. …

Read the whole thing.

This evening, we learned that the President will address the nation about Libya on Monday. He also finally remembered that other branch of government, and deigned to talk about Libya with Congressional leaders via conference call. 

Like the military action itself, the speech Monday will be belated and probably not as decisive or satisfying as one might hope. But maybe he can use the occasion to update us on his bracket picks. 

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Best line yet about Libya War

Posted by Richard on March 22, 2011

Last Saturday, I wondered when the left would declare President Obama a war criminal and call for his impeachment. The wait wasn't actually too long, but so far it's only the far left fringe, like Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich.

Cindy Sheehan made a statement, but nobody noticed. As Tommy De Seno observed, the MSM once granted Sheehan "absolute moral authority" regarding matters of war and endlessly covered her every utterance and camp-out, but today they're just not interested in her point of view:

It’s not like Cindy Sheehan hasn’t said anything yet.  Upon passage of the UN resolution for the Libyan no-fly zone, Cindy’s statement was posted at a website called “United Progressives.”  No offense to whomever they are, but I doubt they are saved in enough people’s “favorites” list to be called “main-stream media.”

While refusing to mention President Obama by name, Cindy at least continued her eloquent anti-war soliloquy by saying our leaders are “criminally insane.”  Newsworthy?

I’d give only long-shot odds that Cindy Sheehan becomes a camera magnet for mainstream media over Libya. Maybe there's just not enough time in today's newscasts to fit in a story about Cindy Sheehan, in between the ceaseless parade of liberal pundits booked to call Obama's bombing of Libya a humanitarian effort.

The best line I've heard regarding the war in Libya came from Rush Limbaugh

"Imagine how upset the left will be when Khadafy's weapons of mass destruction are not found."

That one really cracked me up. 🙂

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Constitution? What constitution?

Posted by Richard on March 20, 2011

In October 2002, President Bush asked for and received a joint resolution of Congress, the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq (Public Law No. 107-243), authorizing military action against Iraq. Libertarians like Rep. Ron Paul argued that it wasn't technically a declaration of war, which is what the Constitution calls for Congress to do (even though similarly-worded resolutions were considered sufficient to pass Constitutional muster going all the way back to the early days of the Republic). But he asked Congress before attacking, and Congress approved overwhelmingly (297-133 in the House, 77-33 in the Senate).

Today, our current Commander in Chief launched a massive attack on Libya. Without a joint resolution of Congress. Apparently, without even considering whether he needed permission from Congress. Apparently, President Obama believes that the permission of the United Nations is all he needs.

Leftist critics insist that the Iraq War violated international law. Set aside the validity of that claim for a moment. The President of the United States doesn't take an oath to uphold international law, he takes an oath to uphold the Constitution of the United States. Obama went to war without so much as a gesture toward abiding by the Constitutional provision reserving the war-making power to Congress. 

Paging Cyndi Sheehan! Paging Code Pink! Paging International A.N.S.W.E.R! When can we expect to see massive anti-war demonstrations in the nation's capital and cities throughout the land? When can we expect a new tent city to be erected? When will we see the "Behead Obama" signs, the cries of "war criminal," and the calls for impeachment?

I'm not holding my breath. 

UPDATE: Bless her heart, my representative has voiced concern

DENVER – U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1) tonight issued the following statement regarding President Barack Obama's decision to begin military action in Libya without securing Congressional authority.

"I am concerned by President Obama's decision to commit U.S. forces in Libya without involving Congress. This action may require substantial U.S. resources. While there is no question that Gaddafi's regime is brutalizing the people of Libya, launching military action against another nation requires Congress be fully informed so we can exercise our Constitutional authority.

"I therefore call on Speaker Boehner to call an emergency session, returning Members to Washington, so the President may address a joint session of Congress and be given the opportunity to make the case for war."

DeGette seems to believe the Constitution merely calls for Congress to be "involved" or "informed" (I doubt that she believed that from 2002-2008). But at least she's saying, "Hey, what about Congress?"

UPDATE 2: Instapundit called it the blog comment of the day. I'd rank it much higher. It may be the single most perfect comment I've seen posted anywhere in a very long time. Go right now and read "What I like about Obama"!

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Never forget

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2010

Nine years ago this morning, we watched in horror as people jumped a thousand feet to their deaths because it was better than the alternative. Later that day, we learned that the heroic passengers of United Flight 93, knowing the fate that awaited them, had fought and died to prevent their plane from crashing into the White House or Capitol. In the ensuing days, we learned the details of that brave struggle, and "Let's roll!" became a phrase that brought goosebumps to me whenever I heard it. 

Last night, I watched a compelling one-hour retrospective by Fox News that refreshed my memories of that day. It will be shown again later today (see my previous post), and I'll watch it again, and this time record it. It refreshed my memory in disturbing, but valuable, ways. No, those weren't bodies falling from the towers — they were living human beings with their arms and legs flailing as they fell. It's important, I think, that these details remain clear.

We must not let ourselves forget the events of September 11, 2001. We must keep the images fresh in our memories. It's necessary, I believe, if we're to retain the resolve we need to understand, oppose, and defeat the ongoing Islamofascist effort to destroy our way of life, of which the attacks of 9/11 were a part. 

I have nothing more to add to last year's 9/11 post, so with one minor edit, it appears again below.

Never forget that there is a large, powerful, well-financed international movement dedicated to destroying Western Civilization.

On September 11, 2001, barbarians with box cutters — primitive 7th-century savages who could never build a World Trade Center or a 747, but whose insane ideology is dedicated to making the building of such things impossible — murdered 2,996 innocent people and changed Lower Manhattan from this: 

Lady Liberty watching over the twin towers before 9/11

to this:

1st tower falls

Fleeing as the tower falls

Fleeing through the choking dust

Falling to his death

 

Some people have forgotten now
It was many years ago
And peaceful here at home since then
So just let the memory go
But I close my eyes and see it still
Like it was yesterday — Oh no!
People jumping from a hundred-story building!
I can still see those Americans
Jumping from a hundred-story building …

© 2009 Richard G. Combs. All rights reserved.


 

As I have on previous September 11ths, I offer you passage from Gerard Van der Leun's Of a Fire in a Field — a passage that moves me beyond words every time I read it — in which he recalled 9/11 and its aftermath, when he lived in New York:

Inside the wire under the hole in the sky was, in time, a growing hole in the ground as the rubble was cleared away and, after many months, the last fire was put out. Often at first, but with slowly diminishing frequency, all the work to clear out the rubble and the wreckage would come to a halt.

The machinery would be shut down and it would become quiet. Across the site, tools would be laid down and the workers would straighten up and stand still. Then, from somewhere in the pile or the pit, a group of men would emerge carrying a stretcher covered with an American flag and holding, if they were fortunate, a body. If they were not so fortunate the flag covering over the stretcher would be lumpy, holding only portions of a body from which, across the river on the Jersey shore, a forensic lab would try to make an identification and then pass on to the victim's survivors something that they could bury.

I'm not sure anymore about the final count, but I am pretty sure that most families, in the end, got nothing. Their loved ones had all gone into the smoke and the dust that covered the end of the island and blew, mostly, across the river into Brooklyn where I lived. What happened to most of the three thousand killed by the animals on that day? It is simple and ghastly. We breathed them until the rains came and washed clean what would never be clean again.

. . .

Read the whole thing — and think about the question he asks you at the end. 

And never forget.

Flag still stands

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9/11: Timeline of Terror

Posted by Richard on September 11, 2010

I just finished watching "9/11: Timeline of Terror" on Fox News, an uninterrupted hour-long recap of the events of September 11, 2001. I'm emotionally drained. But I'm so very glad I watched it. It will be shown again on Saturday at 3 PM and 9 PM Eastern (1 PM and 7 PM Mountain). I strongly encourage you to watch this powerful, moving program.

Nine years have passed. Memories have started to fade. Some of you reading this today may have been too young then to fully understand. Some of you may have never seen much of what is chronicled in this hour. The horrific scenes, the reactions of the people as they happened, the recollections of the survivors — this is compelling viewing. We owe it to ourselves to see this, whether it's again or for the first time. We owe it to ourselves to keep this fresh in our memories.  

Saturday at 3 PM and 9 PM Eastern (1 PM and 7 PM Mountain), the Fox News Channel. Watch it. Record it. Remember. 

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Liar and Bush puppet becomes “brilliant” choice

Posted by Richard on June 25, 2010

So, President Obama has accepted the resignation of (that's Washington-speak for fired) Gen. Stanley McChrystal. As a bazillion others have noted, that's interesting.

McChrystal is the man Obama hand-picked to replace the fired Gen. David McKiernan (do you have to have a Scottish surname to run the Afghan campaign?). McChrystal is that rarest of birds, a genuinely liberal military officer. He voted for Obama. He's implemented a "wage war without killing people, except by drone or CIA assassination" policy (it's unclear if that was his idea or the Commander in Chief's). It's characterized by rules of (mis)engagement guaranteed to increase Allied casualties and hinder the ability to engage the enemy. 

Sure, he had an unfortunate propensity for drinking with his staff and blowing off steam, even when a reporter was present. But otherwise, he sounds like the ideal Obama Era general.

Now, he's being replaced by Gen. David Petraeus. Pending Senate approval. This is the same Gen. Petraeus that, just 2-3 years ago, then-Sen. Biden, then-Sen. Clinton, then-Sen. Obama, Sen. Schumer, Sen. Kennedy, and countless other members of the Democratic Party and their shills in the MSM called a liar, a Bush puppet, and the architect of a misguided Iraq "surge" policy that couldn't possibly succeed.

Now, many of the very same people, along with their media sycophants, are calling the Petraeus nomination a "brilliant" choice. After all, the choice was made by one of the very same people.

So, the author of the much-reviled surge plan in Iraq has been chosen by one of the leading critics of that plan to carry out the surprisingly similar surge plan in Afghanistan.

Sure, that makes sense.

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Rules of (mis)engagement

Posted by Richard on June 22, 2010

A short time ago, the U.S. death toll in Afghanistan passed 1000, and the Brits just lost their 300th. Today was an especially deadly day for coalition troops, and this month is turning into one of the deadliest of the war. This is not unexpected. When the surge began, everyone predicted a rise in casualties. More troops engaging in more operations equals more casualties. 

But that alone may not be the full explanation. On Sunday, George Will reported on a troubling email from a non-commissioned officer in Afghanistan. The NCO cited several examples from his own battlefield experiences illustrating that the rules of engagement under which troops are operating are, in his words, "too prohibitive for coalition forces to achieve sustained tactical successes." Here's one of them: 

Receiving mortar fire during an overnight mission, his unit called for a 155mm howitzer illumination round to be fired to reveal the enemy's location. The request was rejected "on the grounds that it may cause collateral damage." The NCO says that the only thing that comes down from an illumination round is a canister, and the likelihood of it hitting someone or something was akin to that of being struck by lightning. 

The others are no less nonsensical and dangerous to the troops. In a counter-insurgency operation, it's both morally and practically important to minimize unnecessary civilian casualties. But there's such a thing as being stupid about it. When a group of villagers is, as in another of the NCO's examples, openly cheering for the enemy and harboring insurgents in their homes, being solicitous of their feelings is unlikely to win their hearts and minds — only to win their greater contempt. 

Right or left, hawk or dove, surely we can all agree that it's wrong to send soldiers to fight under rules that make it impossible for them to succeed and that greatly increase their chances of dying.

(HT: Vodkapundit)

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