Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Using all its august wisdom and combat experience, Rolling Stone has created a minor kerfuffle regarding our guys wasting bad guys, and Michael Yon adds his two cents:
The killing of the armed Taliban on the motorcycle was legal and within the rules of engagement. Law and ROE are related but separate matters. In any case, the killing was well within both the law and ROE. The Taliban on the back of the motorcycle raised his rifle to fire at our Soldiers but the rifle did not fire. I talked at length with several of the Soldiers who were there and they gave me the video. There was nothing to hide. I didn’t even know about the story until they told me. It can be good for Soldiers to shoot and share videos because it provides instant replay and lessons learned. When they gave me the video and further explained what happened, I found the combat so normal that I didn’t even bother publishing it, though I should have because that little shooting of the two Taliban was the least of the accomplishments of these Soldiers, and it rid the Arghandab of two Taliban.
Some people commented that our Soldiers used excessive force by firing too many bullets. Hogwash. And besides, they were trying to kill each other. Anyone who has seen much combat with our weak M-4 rifles realizes that one shot is generally not enough, and the Taliban were speeding at them on a motorbike, which very often are prepared as suicide bombs. If that motorcycle had been a bomb, as they often are, and got inside the group of Soldiers and exploded, they could all have been killed. Just yesterday, in Paktika, three suicide attackers came in, guns blazing, and detonated a huge truck bomb. Depending on which reports you read, about twenty workers were killed and about another fifty wounded.
In the video, our guys would have been justified in firing twice that many bullets, but at some point you are wasting ammo and that is a combat sin. The Soldiers involved in that shooting told me that the Taliban on the back may have pulled the AK trigger, but the loaded AK did not fire because the Taliban didn’t have a round in the chamber. Attention to detail. At least one also had an ammunition rack strapped across his chest.
This could go on for pages, but Rolling Stone is not worth it, and thrashing them might only build their readership. I’ve found in the past that boycotts work. I led a boycott against one magazine and it went bankrupt. It’s doubtful that Rolling Stone will go bankrupt for its sins, but you can cost them money not by boycotting their magazine, but by boycotting their advertisers. That hurts. Just pick an advertiser whose products you already buy, boycott it, and tell the advertiser why you are not buying their product.
The 5.56 is a varmint round. Men and deer share a common size and not a state in the Union allows hunters to use varmint rounds on deer. What the 5/2 did that was wrong was release the video, but that could have gone down in any number of ways, including an errant media person snitching the damn thing. But to the real crux of the matter, no; the force employed was far from excessive.