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Sunday, May 09, 2010

An Orwellian medal

When I first started reading about this story on Twitter, I thought it was some kind of a joke. Unfortunately, it's not.
A proposal to grant medals for "courageous restraint" to troops in Afghanistan who avoid deadly force at a risk to themselves has generated concern among U.S. soldiers and experts who worry it could embolden enemy fighters and confuse friendly forces.

Lt. Col. Edward Sholtis, a spokesman for Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, who commands NATO forces in Afghanistan, said that no final decision has been made on the award, which is the brainchild of British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter.

"The idea is being reviewed at Headquarters ISAF," Sholtis said. "The idea is consistent with our approach. 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. ... That restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those seen in combat actions."

However, professor Jeffrey F. Addicott, a former senior legal adviser to the Green Berets and director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University School of Law in San Antonio, said "It's an absolutely outrageous proposal to our fighting men.

"The implication of this award is that we do not engage in war fighting that is appropriate," Addicott said. "They're sending a chilling message to our troops that we are not complying with the law of armed conflict. It's a propaganda victory for our enemies."
I'm with Professor Addicott.

I wish I could tell you that the situation is better here in Israel. Unfortunately, it's not. If anything it's worse. Here you won't get a medal for 'courageous restraint.' You'd just be following orders.


At 10:07 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

It seems the US has caught with Israel's fatuous "tohar haneshek" philosophy. There is no such thing as saintliness in war. Its either you destroy the enemy or he destroys you. Showing him mercy is a sure way to lose all the wars of the future.

At 2:21 AM, Blogger Captain.H said...

If such a ridiculous "decoration" were to come to pass, I'd predict that most of it's awards would be posthumous.

And if British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter thinks this idiotic decoration idea is so hot, let him be the first, "pour encourager les autres" as they used to say in the French Army. Send him out on a one-man patrol in Helmand Province, with his rifle and pistol unloaded.


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