The wide distribution of this e-mail by an anonymous author suggests it represents the perception of many.
Scenario: A soldier on a peace-support operation is walking down the road when he is confronted by a ten-year-old pointing an AK-47 rifle at him.
1. Following his rules of engagement, the soldier radios his platoon sergeant for permission to fire.
2. The platoon sergeant responds, "Wait one," and calls the platoon leader.
3. The platoon leader calls the company commander, who calls the battalion commander, who calls the brigade commander.
4. The brigade commander calls the division G-3.
5. The G-3 puts together a Power Point presentation for the division commander, laying out his options.
6. Following review and approval by the staff judge advocate, the presentation is briefed to the division chief of staff, who sends it back for revision.
7. Once it is approved, the G-3 makes the presentation to the division commander. He calls the corps commander, requesting permission to fire.
8. Division G-3 faxes a copy of the presentation to the corps G-3, who prepares a new presentation to brief the corps commander. The presentation is forwarded to the corps judge advocate, who reviews and approves it.
9. The corps commander is briefed. He accepts his staff's proposal that the soldier should engage the threat but holds clearance while he calls the combatant commander.
10. The combatant commander asks that the briefing be forwarded to him so he can pass it to higher authority.
11. He forwards it by message to the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, who places it on the schedule for the next tank session, necessitating preparation of a Joint Staff position, clearance by legal counsel to the Chairman, and coordination with the services.
12. Legal counsel to the Chairman discusses the recommended course of action with DoD general counsel and the legal adviser, Department of State, to determine whether a report to Congress consistent with the War Powers Resolution might be necessary.
13. During the JCS tank session, the Air Force and Navy announce they wish a part in the operation, now code-named Operation Return Fire.
14. After considering various options, the Chairman confers with the Secretary of Defense, who instructs the Chairman to prepare a briefing for the National Security Council (NSC). A colonel stays up for a week straight preparing slides and charts for the briefing.
15. At the NSC briefing, the President states that he wants an "eyes on target" assessment before proceeding with Operation Return Fire.
16. Special operations forces are dispatched after two days of planning and coordination. A carrier battle group in the Mediterranean is diverted to provide additional air cover to that being provided from bases in Italy. B-52 bombers at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, are placed on alert.
17. On reaching the point where the soldier reported the threat, the special operations team finds his bullet-riddled, badly decomposed body, still clutching a hand mike to his ear, looking as if he were waiting for a response to whatever question he asked.
-Anonymous "Rules of Engagement in Today's Army" (condensed and edited)
I received the above email back in January, 2001.
Reminds me of the Johnson administration during the Vietnam war.
If it weren't so pathetic it would be hilarious.
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