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Old 05-14-2010, 12:39 AM   #1
Totenkopf
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Truly pointless idea

http://www.navytimes.com/news/2010/0...edal_051110mar

One doesn't need to get a medal for doing nothing. Seems like one more step in 2nd guessing the man in the field. If the worry is that innocent civillians might get killed during an operation, then you might as well not deploy troops at all. Then if civillians do get killed, you can salve your conscience that at least it wasn't directly your fault.


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Old 05-14-2010, 01:43 AM   #2
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I heard about this on another site, courageous restraint. It's the Saving Private Ryan medal, I like it.

Don't worry nobody is saying you can't kill stuff. Just that you can have medals you can also be proud of instead of just ones which remind you there was no logical reason the guy next to you got blown to bits in a charge instead of you every time you put your dress uniform on.

It's about which memories make you truly proud and which ones make you want to chew a barrel. Taking a bullet so a pregnant lady nobody else cares about scrambles past an urban bunker alive, that's something to be proud of mate.

Getting a medal because the artillery hit over there and blew those guys up, instead of over here so you survived, not so much pride, just tears and a lump in the throat.

Also military atrocity is virtually institutional, it may seem childish but if the command is clearly stipulating congratulations are in order for having morals that's not such a bad thing.
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Old 05-14-2010, 02:34 AM   #3
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"Saving Pvt Ryan medal"? Didn't miss the part where they said people weren't being told they couldn't defend themselves (ie shoot the other side), just think it's pointless to start handing out medals for effectively doing nothing. The optimal goal is to have zero collateral human damage, but sometimes people are going to die. When the other side is using human shields and shooting at you, you fire back. Otherwise, you might as well just walk around w/targets painted on you and get knocked off piecemeal. Or, as I stipulated above, just not deploy your troops anywhere in the first place (including so called peace missions).


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

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Old 05-14-2010, 06:34 AM   #4
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Yes, practicing restraint and engaging the enemy only when in a clear line of fire is some sort of mortal sin, apparently. Certainly that earns them the badge of cowardliness in America's world.

Really, I don't understand the problem; it's a bloody medal, not a damned directive. If anyone is irate about this triviality, then they should also be speaking out against the Purple Heart, on the grounds that it promotes self-mutilation, or some other silly nonsense. I can't understand how regarding civilians is damning, though; usually it's the other way around.
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Old 05-14-2010, 07:25 AM   #5
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Yeah, and in asymetrical warfare the enemy always gives the other side a clear line of fire and never does anything as cowardly as hide behind civillians. You miss the point. It's a meaningless medal, an empty gesture. Btw, no one I've seen is saying that you should never try to get a clear line of fire whenever possible.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

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Old 05-14-2010, 07:47 AM   #6
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Totenkopf a rifleman shooting despite a human shield in a policing action is walking a dangerously close line with war crimes.

This is about rules of engagement. No unavoidable civilian casualties. Now if he's got a detonator and the explosives are right by your head, or a high value target then sure, you're going to get a teary pat on the back but you're not supposed to be reasoning how civilian casualties are justified, you're supposed to be damn upset that you had absolutely no other choice and if you could've taken a bullet so that civilian could've lived, you would have.

How do you not get this?

Let me give another example, actual. USAF rules of engagement in the Gulf or Bosnia. Precluding AWACS confirmation pilots must visually identify enemy a/c before firing on them. Let's say an Eagle vs Fulcrum.
On board track at about 50 miles.
Missile launch at about 20 miles.
Visual identification at about 5 miles on a good day if you're lucky and he rolls or turns to the side, so you get a planview on the enemy MiG. Otherwise much closer.
He locks you up at about 30 miles and fires at about 20 too, but what is common practise is using passive tracking sensors Russian a/c are equipped with until just before missile launch (EOS), they use ground spotters or EWR to track you until they get close enough for EOS and then flash radar just as they hit the trigger.

Thankfully Fulcrum analogue radars aren't the most reliable on the planet.

So the first moment you're really allowed to fire on him is when your RWR says you've been locked up and at the same time registers a missile launch, whilst you're both in BVR and at your own weapons long range. And even this only because self defence trumps rules of engagement.
And it is a first-look/first-shoot/first-kill environment. Despite the fact you saw him first, ROE demands you let him shoot first in this scenario, it's suicidal and a lot dependent on luck and better training you're going to survive.

Now if they haven't seen you, or they don't engage, they can fly right by you before you can do anything.
These are just the rules of engagement, because nobody wants to see an Eagle shoot down an Emirates Jumbo carrying British nationals because it strayed from its corridor because of all the signal jamming.

The thing to remember is these are not WW1 trenches we're talking about, they're normal everyday urban streets where these actions are taking place and regular tourists are flying overhead, with journalists running around in rentals below. Imagine a war going on at 64th street whilst you're over on Mills Blvd four blocks away trying to go to work. That's your typical Middle Eastern/Central Asiatic conflict.

You know what the big threat to Nighthawks in the Gulf was? Civilian mobile telephone networks. The local provider in Bagdad noticed moving gaps in the coverage and reported it to TACOM (they thought it might be of concern to coalition forces), who realised it matched the realtime location of the Stealth Fighters on their way to targets. Trufax.

These are wars in suburban streets in regular towns and cities. They're not using human shields, they're just locals in the middle of regular people. They're not hiding in communities, they grew up in them. Down the road from where you shoot "terrorists" with artillery there are teenagers in an internet cafe playing network games after school.
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Old 05-14-2010, 03:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanir View Post
Totenkopf a rifleman shooting despite a human shield in a policing action is walking a dangerously close line with war crimes.

This is about rules of engagement. No unavoidable civilian casualties. Now if he's got a detonator and the explosives are right by your head, or a high value target then sure, you're going to get a teary pat on the back but you're not supposed to be reasoning how civilian casualties are justified, you're supposed to be damn upset that you had absolutely no other choice and if you could've taken a bullet so that civilian could've lived, you would have.

How do you not get this?
Not sure what you're on about, mate. I've nowhere said you should kill civillians w/o remorse or merely indiscriminately. You've constructed that strawman. My point was that avoiding shooting the enemy doesn't rate a medal. Tommy and Liver covered it well enough. Not sure why it's so hard to understand. It isn't SOP in the US military to shoot clearly identifiable civies, nor is it desirable/preferable to take a bullet so that they can live either.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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Old 05-14-2010, 10:17 AM   #8
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Gen. McChrystal may have just ended this joke of a medal:
http://www.military.com/news/article...dal-rumor.html

Why do I say it's a joke of a medal? Because as Gen. McChrystal pointed out, saving civilians in a fashion that is courageous and out of the ordinary can already earn you a medal.

All this "Corageous Restraint" medal would do is keep on rewarding those people who do deserve a medal, but also award medals to soldiers who just do their job and don't kill civilians. Medals are meant to be earned for doing something out of the ordinary. And as much as many would like to believe that we all go over to Iraq and Afghanistan screaming GET SOME! and pumping rounds into civilians, as that really satisfies their need to hate the military, not killing civilians is far from being out of the ordinary. It's like parents giving candy to an already well-behaved kid for not attacking his teacher every day. Pointless.

We don't need a medal just for following the rules of engagement.



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Old 05-14-2010, 12:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Liverandbacon View Post
Gen. McChrystal may have just ended this joke of a medal:
http://www.military.com/news/article...dal-rumor.html

Why do I say it's a joke of a medal? Because as Gen. McChrystal pointed out, saving civilians in a fashion that is courageous and out of the ordinary can already earn you a medal.

All this "Corageous Restraint" medal would do is keep on rewarding those people who do deserve a medal, but also award medals to soldiers who just do their job and don't kill civilians. Medals are meant to be earned for doing something out of the ordinary. And as much as many would like to believe that we all go over to Iraq and Afghanistan screaming GET SOME! and pumping rounds into civilians, as that really satisfies their need to hate the military, not killing civilians is far from being out of the ordinary. It's like parents giving candy to an already well-behaved kid for not attacking his teacher every day. Pointless.

We don't need a medal just for following the rules of engagement.
Thank you. As former military myself, I was going to say that following the ROI doesn't deserve a medal. Doing something out of the ordinary to defend a civvie deserves a medal. The example the general gave is the perfect example. Using your own body as a shield to defend a civilian deserves a medal. not firing on an enemy because you might hit a civvie, well that's part of the job. We aren't all like that door gunner in Full Metal Jacket.

Private Joker: How can you shoot women or children?
Door Gunner: Easy! Ya just don't lead 'em so much!

We're a long way from Vietnam. Heck even during Vietnam we weren't like that. Our military spends more time and effort on ways NOT to kill civilians, and minimize casualties. Precision Guided Munitions and smart weapons are thousands of times more expensive than dumb bombs. We wouldn't carpet bomb an area these days. Not because we can't. We could drop thousands of bombs for the cost of one PGM. We use PGMs because they hit the target with little to no effect to the surrounding buildings.

Ya don't give medals for doing your job. You give medals for doing your job exceptionally well.


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Old 05-14-2010, 04:32 PM   #10
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I kind of see this medal as something that will be awarded to soldiers who show an admirable amount of restraint or level-headedness while under extreme stress from whatever source. If someone's in a firefight with people who aren't easily recognizable as the enemy, and maybe sees some of his friends shot, but still shows enough restraint to not shoot and perhaps even stops some of his fellow soldiers from firing as well, and that action saves civilian lives, I'm okay with giving him a medal. Especially if there is a situation where a soldier does have to go against the people he's serving with, and perhaps even under.



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Old 05-14-2010, 12:06 PM   #11
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Personally I think Mr. Miyagi said it best in Karate Kid II when he placed his had over Daniel's heart and said, "This say you brave" and then at the medal, "This say you lucky." I think true courage does come from the heart and that it make syou do things that you probably wouldn't do in a 'normal' situation.

Some may say that a medal is an attestment to that courage that particular soldier showed on the battlefield and that may be true but I think that the true attestment to the courage shown by the men and women in the armed forces are what comes as a result of their duty. Yes there are some things that are the downside of war and there are some good things too but do we really need a medal to honor those, as vanir draws out in detail, who follow the rules of engagment?

Frankly I think not. I do agree that ideally zero civvie casualties are best but we all know the real world doesn't work that way. People are taken hostage or used as shields, not unlike the situations that police have to go through. People get hurt on all sides. When a soldier does his job of protecting an innocent under fire while trying to take out the enemy, coldly he is doing a part of his job. Others can say he is doing the right thing. In the end though he is following the mandate he accepted when he enlisted. Giving a medal for following the rules of engagement sounds more like a waste of money to me. A good soldier knows that he has done right when he follows the ROE to the best of his ability.

I agree that medals shoudl be awarded for above and beyond the call of duty but as long as we recognize the sacrifice our troops are making, give recognition for their efforts, that would be worth more than a medal.

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Old 05-14-2010, 08:25 PM   #12
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So we've progressed argumentatively to semantics but at least accept the medal itself is a good idea. Just arguing over what conditions to award it.

That's enough and all to be expected I suppose.
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Old 05-14-2010, 11:17 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vanir View Post
So we've progressed argumentatively to semantics but at least accept the medal itself is a good idea. Just arguing over what conditions to award it.

That's enough and all to be expected I suppose.
Come again? I haven't seen anyone here opposed to the idea change their minds. I think we all agree that indiscriminately killing civillians is a bad idea, otherwise.....


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

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Old 05-15-2010, 01:10 PM   #14
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So we've progressed argumentatively to semantics but at least accept the medal itself is a good idea. Just arguing over what conditions to award it.

That's enough and all to be expected I suppose.
Negative. We all agree that killing civilians is a bad thing. We disagree that there should be a special award for which we already HAVE an award. Holding fire when there are civilians present doesn't deserve an award. It's like giving a PC tech an award for finding a virus. It's part of his job. Giving a bonus to the PC tech that writes code that cleans out the virus on the whole network. THAT's going above and beyond. Likewise not shooting civvies is just part of the soldier's job. Standard Operating Procedures(SOP) are not to engage if you cannot identify that the target might be hostile. There isn't much point in giving a medal for not shooting.

Also, it could cause soldiers to hold fire when they should open fire. I'm all for defending the innocent. But lets not get silly about it.


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Old 05-24-2010, 03:50 AM   #15
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I'd be interested to find out just what the criteria was for earning that medal and also how they'd go about objectively verifying that in an imminent danger setting on the battlefield.

Holding back sounds like a regular judgment call that I daresay minimally armed security guards even have to make on a daily basis. So I'm sorry, however I don't really get it...at all.


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Old 05-25-2010, 03:41 AM   #16
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I'd be interested to find out just what the criteria was for earning that medal and also how they'd go about objectively verifying that in an imminent danger setting on the battlefield.

Holding back sounds like a regular judgment call that I daresay minimally armed security guards even have to make on a daily basis. So I'm sorry, however I don't really get it...at all.
Yes, exactly why i find this very alarming. If you need to award your troops for not killing civilians there is something wrong with them.


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Old 05-25-2010, 09:46 AM   #17
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Yes, exactly why i find this very alarming. If you need to award your troops for not killing civilians there is something wrong with them.
Which is why those of us who served feel this is an unnecessary award. They don't give a medal for shooting at the enemy. They shouldn't give an award for not shooting the civvies. That's just part of the job. The idea came from Europe by the way. Our generals know that the SOP is asses the situation, check your targets, get confirmation, open fire(please note I'm being very general and cutting out a few steps).

Heck look at how we fight wars now as opposed to even the first Gulf War. Carpet bombing is pretty well gone. Even "Shock and Awe" was very directed and pinpoint(relatively speaking of course). During WWII bombing was "target: Dresden" during this gulf war, it was, "Target: the bunker in between these two civilian buildings on this street" It's why our weapons cost a billion a piece rather than a few thousand. Its why we have accurate rifles rather than miniguns and grenade launchers. The hate America crowd loves to think that our soldiers are out there screaming "GIT SOME!" as they mow down anyone in their path. Truth is, ANY civilian casualty causes a review of those involved.


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Old 05-26-2010, 04:22 AM   #18
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Which is why those of us who served feel this is an unnecessary award. They don't give a medal for shooting at the enemy. They shouldn't give an award for not shooting the civvies. That's just part of the job. The idea came from Europe by the way. Our generals know that the SOP is asses the situation, check your targets, get confirmation, open fire(please note I'm being very general and cutting out a few steps).

Heck look at how we fight wars now as opposed to even the first Gulf War. Carpet bombing is pretty well gone. Even "Shock and Awe" was very directed and pinpoint(relatively speaking of course). During WWII bombing was "target: Dresden" during this gulf war, it was, "Target: the bunker in between these two civilian buildings on this street" It's why our weapons cost a billion a piece rather than a few thousand. Its why we have accurate rifles rather than miniguns and grenade launchers. The hate America crowd loves to think that our soldiers are out there screaming "GIT SOME!" as they mow down anyone in their path. Truth is, ANY civilian casualty causes a review of those involved.
I find it hard to believe that ANY casualty causes a review. I mean, there are some in almost every bombing and if something happens to some locals during a battle and no one has seen anyone else doing it i doubt they start playing detectives.

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Old 05-27-2010, 09:05 AM   #19
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I find it hard to believe that ANY casualty causes a review. I mean, there are some in almost every bombing and if something happens to some locals during a battle and no one has seen anyone else doing it i doubt they start playing detectives.

Show spoiler
There is a review after EVERY firefight(I think it's called Post Action Review). Any civilian casualties resulting from that are investigated more in depth. There is also a review of the "gun cameras" on every bombing run. You do realize that every time a soldier fires his weapon he has to justify his actions. They must account for every round they are issued. When a soldier says they don't know where a round went, the response is, "Was something wrong with your weapon's sights? Then WHY DON'T YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SHOOTING AT?"

And Metal Storm has not been deployed. When it IS deployed no doubt only an officer will be able to give the order to fire it. It's too expensive to fire off all those rounds for enlisted men. So I would guess that it would have to be really controlled circumstances for it to be used(if it's ever deployed at all).


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Old 05-27-2010, 11:25 AM   #20
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Heck look at how we fight wars now as opposed to even the first Gulf War. Carpet bombing is pretty well gone. Even "Shock and Awe" was very directed and pinpoint(relatively speaking of course). During WWII bombing was "target: Dresden" during this gulf war, it was, "Target: the bunker in between these two civilian buildings on this street" It's why our weapons cost a billion a piece rather than a few thousand.
On a somewhat unrelated to the main topic note: Although it is definitely right that we spend all that extra money to avoid killing civilians, ironically it has made many hate the military more. When countries routinely used carpet-bombing and other such sledgehammer tactics, the civilian deaths were large enough that they became just statistics. The outcry was not nearly as large as when nowadays, a modern, more precise (and way more expensive) weapon accidentally kills 5 people. A tragedy, to be sure, but far from a reason to condemn a military which is spending huge amounts of resources on minimizing civilian deaths.

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Yes, exactly why i find this very alarming. If you need to award your troops for not killing civilians there is something wrong with them.
It's not what's wrong with us, it's what certain groups love to believe about us, and some European officer's plan (nothing against our European allies, everyone has a few dumb officers) to try and convince them there isn't anything wrong with us. Which unfortunately is a pointless plan that only makes people jump to the false conclusion you did, and may make soldiers hesitate a second longer under fire, resulting in their deaths. Thank god McChrystal squashed it before it got here. Hopefully some officer will do the same for the other coalition members.



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Old 05-27-2010, 12:09 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by Liverandbacon View Post
It's not what's wrong with us, it's what certain groups love to believe about us, and some European officer's plan (nothing against our European allies, everyone has a few dumb officers) to try and convince them there isn't anything wrong with us. Which unfortunately is a pointless plan that only makes people jump to the false conclusion you did, and may make soldiers hesitate a second longer under fire, resulting in their deaths. Thank god McChrystal squashed it before it got here. Hopefully some officer will do the same for the other coalition members.
And there we go. I didnt directly say there was anything wrong with american troops, but anyone who has to be awarded for such.

And now i will say it: there is something very wrong with the recruitment methods the us army uses. Military service an option for jail? In my opinion thats crazy, you just teach criminals to be more effective. Thank the heavens the us army training program is of such basic level. You know, you cant even join the army here if you have something more severe on your criminal record than drunk driving. And we have compulsory military service.


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Old 05-25-2010, 05:44 PM   #22
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Yes, exactly why i find this very alarming. If you need to award your troops for not killing civilians there is something wrong with them.
I'm just speaking common sense as someone who hasn't served in the military so I consequently don't have much to say about anything the military does, nor have any law enforcement involvement...well ok maybe just a little of that but not enough to call it much of anything.

I mean...you're there, you do your job duties, one of which is shoot to kill enemy combatants if deemed necessary. This award would fly in the face of that, in my humble opinion.

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Which is why those of us who served feel this is an unnecessary award. They don't give a medal for shooting at the enemy. They shouldn't give an award for not shooting the civvies. That's just part of the job. The idea came from Europe by the way. Our generals know that the SOP is asses the situation, check your targets, get confirmation, open fire(please note I'm being very general and cutting out a few steps).

Heck look at how we fight wars now as opposed to even the first Gulf War. Carpet bombing is pretty well gone. Even "Shock and Awe" was very directed and pinpoint(relatively speaking of course). During WWII bombing was "target: Dresden" during this gulf war, it was, "Target: the bunker in between these two civilian buildings on this street" It's why our weapons cost a billion a piece rather than a few thousand. Its why we have accurate rifles rather than miniguns and grenade launchers. The hate America crowd loves to think that our soldiers are out there screaming "GIT SOME!" as they mow down anyone in their path. Truth is, ANY civilian casualty causes a review of those involved.
And a mess of paperwork at that, not to mention the rottweiler ACLU lawyers who are content to grind metal with metal as they prosecute our military members and drag all the media with them.


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Old 05-25-2010, 05:54 PM   #23
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Yes, exactly why i find this very alarming. If you need to award your troops for not killing civilians there is something wrong with them.
It's not so much "not killing innocent civilians," so much as it is avoiding collateral damage while still getting the job done. There are soldiers that will do anything to get the job done no matter what the cost, but there are also soldiers who will try to find all alternatives to solve a problem before turning to something that will harm innocents.

While the basic idea of the medal is pretty pointless, at closer look, it kind of makes sense. The soldier will put his life and his well-being on the line because I'm sure ensuring the safety of civilians puts them more at risk than if they went into some place guns blazing...

Just my thoughts.



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Old 05-24-2010, 04:06 AM   #24
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While I'm generally in favor of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, this idea of handing out medals was also prevalent in our most recent unpopular war...Vietnam. A record number of medals were handed out to soldiers to boost morale among troops as well as increase the public perception that things were going very well on the front. Not surprising in the least.



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Old 05-24-2010, 08:03 PM   #25
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A record number of medals were handed out to soldiers to boost morale among troops as well as increase the public perception that things were going very well on the front.
Luckily the reach of mass media and war reporting has expanded as to make sure that we know that it's the opposite.


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Old 05-25-2010, 12:09 AM   #26
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Luckily the reach of mass media and war reporting has expanded as to make sure that we know that it's the opposite.
Actually things were A LOT more uncensored back in the days of Vietnam. The military actually censors a lot more and decides where the media can go nowadays BECAUSE of the outcry from Vietnam.

Remember this picture?


Even though it's not shown as him actually shooting the person, this was a wake-up call to many people during the war...pictures like this would never make it out of the military these days unless they were leaked.



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Old 05-29-2010, 06:21 PM   #27
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Actually things were A LOT more uncensored back in the days of Vietnam. The military actually censors a lot more and decides where the media can go nowadays BECAUSE of the outcry from Vietnam.

Remember this picture?


Even though it's not shown as him actually shooting the person, this was a wake-up call to many people during the war...pictures like this would never make it out of the military these days unless they were leaked.
A bit of probably unwelcome fact.

The man with the gun is a South Vietnamese Intelligence officer. They had captured a Viet Cong officer with intelligence they needed. He gave them the information with the usualy codicil you get in a case like that, you lie, you die.

The information was false. The reporter caught just the end, not the wounded from a bomb in the residence they had raided.

Under international law, a spy can be shot out of hand, you don't have to even have a trial. Being in full civilian gear makes you a spy, not a soldier, again, international law


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Old 05-29-2010, 09:05 PM   #28
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A bit of probably unwelcome fact.

The man with the gun is a South Vietnamese Intelligence officer. They had captured a Viet Cong officer with intelligence they needed. He gave them the information with the usualy codicil you get in a case like that, you lie, you die.

The information was false. The reporter caught just the end, not the wounded from a bomb in the residence they had raided.

Under international law, a spy can be shot out of hand, you don't have to even havge a trial. Being in full civilian gear makes you a spy, not a soldier, again, international law
Too bad the mass public isn't smart enough to figure it out. To them, this is just a ruthless murder of a Vietnamese man who is unarmed and looks like a civilian. And once that idea is in the public's mind...there's no stopping it.



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Old 05-25-2010, 12:13 AM   #29
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And even the WikiLeaks stuff was provided sans context.


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Old 05-25-2010, 08:11 PM   #30
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Actually, the medal is still pointless. Joining the military (or even law enforcement in general) means that you may/will be put in harms way. Trying to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and/or collateral damage are already part of the ROE. If you're wounded in combat (regardless of the reason), there's already a purple heart. As it's also been pointed out, NOT doing harm unnecessarily is not extraordinary and thus doesn't rate a medal. The medal seems like more of a way to second guess the operator in the field and potentially tie his hands by placing undue emphasis on hesitation under fire.


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Old 05-26-2010, 04:35 AM   #31
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Bah, what's next; a no flatulation in public medal?


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Old 05-30-2010, 05:31 PM   #32
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Saw this on World News Tonight a few days ago...

clicky

I think situations like this is where this kind of medal would be due. The pilot should get a medal for getting the job done and protecting the troops on the ground while making the hard choice to not just drop his payload and ensure the troops would be secure while accepting the consequences of destroying the school or killing people inside. He made the choice to strafe the enemy not only once but strafing a second time as the enemy closed in on troops...he put the ground forces in harms way, but he did his job the way it was meant to be done by trusting his instincts and avoiding collateral damage.



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Old 05-30-2010, 07:11 PM   #33
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Saw this on World News Tonight a few days ago...

clicky

I think situations like this is where this kind of medal would be due. The pilot should get a medal for getting the job done and protecting the troops on the ground while making the hard choice to not just drop his payload and ensure the troops would be secure while accepting the consequences of destroying the school or killing people inside. He made the choice to strafe the enemy not only once but strafing a second time as the enemy closed in on troops...he put the ground forces in harms way, but he did his job the way it was meant to be done by trusting his instincts and avoiding collateral damage.
Having watched the video, I agree he was the master of restraint. However telling a soldier 'your were right' it this situation is not something you give him a medal for. His job it to eliminate the enemy. We cannot train in some cases for years to assure a perfect meshing between ground controllers and aircrews, then throw in 'oh but don't hit that' on top of it. We now expect a man (Or woman) to react not in the drawn out time of hindsight, but in split seconds to a possible threat.

You have to remember that the pilot in that video had maybe two seconds to make his determination, where as any detractor had minutes if not hours to ake his 'I am so much better' determination.

The problem with hindsight is that you have all the advantages the man on the scene did not; you have plenty of time to determine every possible rammification before your finger pulls the launch button, unlike the poor bastard on the front line.

By that token, the Sergeant at the Warsaw Ghetto who was tried for refusing to simply execute Jewish prisoners after they had surrendered deserves a Nobel prize.


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Old 05-31-2010, 12:30 AM   #34
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Having watched the video, I agree he was the master of restraint. However telling a soldier 'your were right' it this situation is not something you give him a medal for. His job it to eliminate the enemy. We cannot train in some cases for years to assure a perfect meshing between ground controllers and aircrews, then throw in 'oh but don't hit that' on top of it. We now expect a man (Or woman) to react not in the drawn out time of hindsight, but in split seconds to a possible threat.

You have to remember that the pilot in that video had maybe two seconds to make his determination, where as any detractor had minutes if not hours to ake his 'I am so much better' determination.

The problem with hindsight is that you have all the advantages the man on the scene did not; you have plenty of time to determine every possible rammification before your finger pulls the launch button, unlike the poor bastard on the front line.
At that point, however, the lives of those French soldiers are in the hands of the pilots. If they decide not to drop the bomb, and the soldiers die because of it, they are ultimately at fault...I think they went above and beyond normal duty in order to both protect friendlies as well as civilians...idk everything about how the military works, but I would assume it'd be a judgment call for the one holding the weapons...

Just my thoughts.



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Old 05-31-2010, 01:05 AM   #35
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At that point, however, the lives of those French soldiers are in the hands of the pilots. If they decide not to drop the bomb, and the soldiers die because of it, they are ultimately at fault...I think they went above and beyond normal duty in order to both protect friendlies as well as civilians...idk everything about how the military works, but I would assume it'd be a judgment call for the one holding the weapons...
Sounds less heroic when you break down it down to a gamble. By not dropping his payload and following orders and instead going on a strafing run he is doing exactly that; not following orders. Now, understandably, judgment calls need to be made on a changing situation and need to be made quick but his gamble could have just as easily cost the lives of all the friendlies on the ground. Then he doesn't go home a hero, but has to answer to his superiors on the lives of people that were supposed to be in his hand.

This inverse of this situation was actually quite recently seen in the shootout by the guys who made the judgment call that troops were carrying RPGs. There was a fight nearby, they saw suspicious looking equipment and so they decided to fire. In the crossfire, both enemies and civies went down and now there has been some answering to for the many different stories, sides, slants, and so on. On the offchance that they were completely right and no civies were harmed, that entire situation would be similar to these guys.

This medal is not a medal for "doing nothing", or not following orders, or what have you. It is a medal that rewards gambles that pay off well. That is not to say that it is very awesome when a gamble works for everyone, but judgment calls are apart of their job description. Sure, you can hold fire to help people, but it doesn't look nearly as good when your held fire costs friendly lives. If this guy had held fire and those in his group were killed he would be held for insubordination and taken to court. That is just an ignorant exaggeration on my part, but you get my point.

Its like... hmm...

Its like, you hit some rocks on a wet road. You lose control of the car. To your left there is a dirty incline and bushes/trees at the bottom, and to the right there is a rocky cliff-face and slants upwards. You have roughly half a second to make a snap decision on which way to turn before all control is lost. Right, or left?

When I crashed my car in this exact situation two months back, I chose right and spun my car into the rock face. It climbed up the face for a moment and crashed, hard, upside down on the road. I got out pretty much fine, but upon inspection of the car a day later I realized that the entire passenger side had crushed pretty much down to the seat, but the driver had stayed fairly high, which is why I didn't sustain much of any injury.

That was a judgment call on my part made in a second. I got out OK, but if I had a passenger they would have most likely died, and then I'd have to ask what would have happened if I had gone down the incline and if I could have stopped the car before reaching the trees. Chances are I could have upon retrospect. I got out alright but, seeing the passenger seat, a fall a little more evenly on the top and I may have killed myself.

Point is, calls similar (not really similar, but its the closest I can relate) are made by troops all the time. They are trained for it. It is a game of chance, and while a sigh of relief is in order when a gamble goes right... you get my drift.

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Old 05-31-2010, 02:09 AM   #36
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Sounds less heroic when you break down it down to a gamble. The guy could have still dropped the bomb on orders, and being that he took orders the ones that may get the brunt of the trouble would be the ones who gave that order, not counting the occasional corrupt superior who'd move blame.
In this case they weren't disobeying orders; rather, they denied a request by an allied officer who they did not answer to directly. I feel like it's almost more heroic because they put the faith in their ability to stop the enemy by using a maneuver that requires more precision and concentration than just pressing a button to drop a bomb. By doing so, they also saved a school and possibly civilian lives.

This might beg the question, though...what makes a hero? Aren't heroes made when they take a gamble?



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Old 05-30-2010, 09:21 PM   #37
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I look at it like any other career choice. A plumber is supposed to replace a pipe, but upon inspection discovers that removing that pipe would over pressurize another and cause damage, so he goes beyond his orders to insure he can get that original pipe fixed without damage to the house.

Another example would be a police officer if given a lethal force permission, enters a house, but gets an unarmed man to the ground without needing to use the force, or talking a man down to dropping his gun, or something else that is expected of someone of his uniform, but doesn't exactly coincide with his initial orders.

Its a job that, currently, you sign up for and do your job to get your paycheck. Going beyond that line of duty to save one leaky pipe to replace a broken one isn't really in line for a raise or medal; just a pat on the back and the earning of your check at the end of the month.

Sorry if that sounds a little anti-military of me and speaking of ignorance (which I am), but just sayin that a lot of this, as a few people seem to be saying, just seems to be due course for the job.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:33 AM   #38
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Sorry if that sounds a little anti-military of me and speaking of ignorance (which I am), but just sayin that a lot of this, as a few people seem to be saying, just seems to be due course for the job.
Actually, it's not anti-military in the least. Those of us who have served know full well that protecting civilians is just part of the job. Sure the ultimate goal is to take out the enemy, but it's in our SOP(standard Operating Procedures) to avoid civilian casualties at all costs. News reports don't cover things like us not bombing a suspected insurgent site because there is a chance there might be children inside(how could they, "Today, fifty suspected insurgent sites were not bombed...."). Those kinds of judgment calls are made far more often than the calls to open fire.

And Avery, you are very correct in that a judgment call if it went wrong(ie the pilot was in the wrong and the ground troops were killed). The pilot must then face a Court Martial where he can lose rank, money, his job as a pilot(permanently grounded) or even serve time breaking big rocks into little rocks at Ft Leavenworth. He was lucky in his call, however he most likely quickly assessed the situation and decided that there was less to be lost by strafing runs rather than the risk he might have faced had he released his payload. It's what we're trained to do. It's what a good pilot would do.

It IS just part of the job. Just like a police officer can't just wholesale fire his gun into a crowd of people, neither can soldiers. They hold fire more often than they open fire. Just part of the job.


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Old 05-31-2010, 04:05 PM   #39
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Didn't realize the guy had been a sergeant. Saw a pic of him at that rank, but thought he'd only been a private (ie, never higher than). Interesting sidebar.


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Old 05-31-2010, 09:44 PM   #40
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By putting their lives on the line, most people in the military (esp the combat arms) are heroes in a generic sense. Many "heroes" (ie medal winners) are often somewhat disdainful of their medals (ie, their motivation was NOT to win a medal, but to do their job as best as possible). I think the Colonel showed good judgement under the circumstances, but he would likely say that his actions didn't merit special recognition. He acted honorably. Had there been heavy enemy fire coming from the school, he very likely would have delivered the ordinance on target.


Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor, dumb bastard die for his country.---Patton

There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism.---Teddy Roosevelt

I never forget a face, but in your case I'll make an exception.---Groucho

And if you all get killed, I'll piss on your graves.---Shaman Urdnot

How would you like to own a little bit of my foot in your ass.---Red Foreman
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