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NATO looks to enact "Courageous Restraint" medals

I kid you not:

NATO commanders are weighing a new way to reduce civilian casualties in Afghanistan: recognizing soldiers for "courageous restraint" if they avoid using force that could endanger innocent lives.

The concept comes as the coalition continues to struggle with the problem of civilian casualties despite repeated warnings from the top NATO commander, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, that the war effort hinges on the ability to protect the population and win support away from the Taliban.

Those who back the idea hope it will provide soldiers with another incentive to think twice before calling in an airstrike or firing at an approaching vehicle if civilians could be at risk.

Most military awards in the past have been given for things like soldiers taking out a machine gun nest or saving their buddies in a firefight, said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Hall, the senior NATO enlisted man in Afghanistan.

"We are now considering how we look at awards differently," he said.

British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, the NATO commander of troops in southern Afghanistan, proposed the idea of awarding soldiers for "courageous restraint" during a visit by Hall to Kandahar Airfield in mid April. McChrystal is now reviewing the proposal to determine how it could be implemented, Hall said.

Here's a thought. 

We could combine this notion of a "Courageous Restraint" medal and the self esteem movement and simply send unarmed soldiers into combat areas... this way, they'll all be awarded a "Courageous Restraint" medal... a little like the participatory trophy awarded to all soccer players...

And then there'd be peace...

All in favor say "Allah be praised".

Crossposted at Brutally Honest.


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Comments (39)

Would the last defender of ... (Below threshold)
Rheinman:

Would the last defender of western civilization please turn out the lights? K thks bai!

Put the flowers in the rifl... (Below threshold)

Put the flowers in the rifle barrels;
suddenly it's the '70s again.
-

This goes against the basic... (Below threshold)
Neo:

This goes against the basic premise of the "death phylynx".

One US officer described the "death phylynx" as that fire fight that breaks out when ill-trained Iraqi soliders start shooting in all directions when the hear gun fire or a hand grenade.

The basic premise of this action is that "Allah will protect the innocent."

How about they sho... (Below threshold)
irongrampa:


How about they show some "courageous restraint" and discard these idiot impulses?

Would there be a double awa... (Below threshold)
Rick Caird:

Would there be a double award when the soldier is killed while exercising restraint?

Kind of sounds like playing... (Below threshold)
914:

Kind of sounds like playing dodgeball without the balls? That way no one gets beat and everyone feels all feel good.

liberals

May I suggest that the Pala... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

May I suggest that the Palace Prince who thought this one up be sent out on patrol UNARMED!

This is bullshit! There are already several medals that fall into the category where they could be awarded for "restraint". But awards are given for exceptional service, NOT for using your head and doing your job.

It should be a requirement ... (Below threshold)
Jeff Medcalf:

It should be a requirement that the medal could only be won posthumously.

The French will be lining u... (Below threshold)
JAT0:

The French will be lining up for this medal.

It's official. NATO is Star... (Below threshold)

It's official. NATO is Starfleet.

And not the two-fisted, green-Orion-chick-in-every-port of Shatner's Kirk either -- this is the Gene-Roddenberry-signs-"Imagine" TNG Starfleet with no money, where self-defense is a war crime.

Will the medal look like re... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Will the medal look like red and white concentric circles?

The French will be linin... (Below threshold)
Babyface:

The French will be lining up for this medal.

I agree it sounds very French-like. I know the U.S. Military offers the Soldier's Medal to those who perform heroic acts without engaging the enemy, perhaps GEN McChrystal wants to do something similar.

(Look, I know I'm grasping at straws here. I just want to give them the benefit od the doubt.)

This new medal will join th... (Below threshold)
Drago:

This new medal will join the also-new "Brave Brave Brave Sir Robin" medal, which will come in the color green.......No! blue.......poof....

Sounds like a true liberal ... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Sounds like a true liberal award.

Next we'll probably see one for "Outstanding Negotiation".

First off, you guys sound i... (Below threshold)
James H:

First off, you guys sound incredibly callous. NATO is trying to avoid civilian casualties and, last time I checked, minimizing civilian casualties is a good thing. Quite frankly, it's hard to tell if you guys are mocking the porposed award or if you're mocking the desire to kill as few civilians as possible.

In the early days of the Iraq invasion, I recall reading of one instance in which a US unit defused a tense situation by not shooting. As I remember it, US troops were dealing with an angry group of Iraqi citizens (noncombatants) who might have rioted. The US troops' commander had the soldiers pointedly put their weapons aside and demonstrate they weren't going to fire first ... and the crowd's anger subsided.

That sort of thing, IMO, is worth doing.

That said, I don't find "courageous restraint" to be something worth turning into an award. If you're not supposed to shoot somebody, not shooting them isn't award-worthy. It's part of your job.

I do think, however, that there's something to be said for recognizing and rewarding creative thinking within Afghanistan.

Would there be a d... (Below threshold)
Brett:
Would there be a double award when the soldier is killed while exercising restraint?

Well, the 72 virgins, presumably. Or does that only apply to killing innocents, and not to not killing them? I get confused...

James H,It's more th... (Below threshold)
Weegie:

James H,
It's more that HQ is trying to give soldiers some feel-good thing when the ROE do not allow them to return fire because the enemy is using human shields.

And the snideness is the recognition that it's a pretty transparent attempt to make soldiers feel better about being handcuffed in battle, and getting shot at, wounded or killed because the ROE doesn't allow them to fight.

I don't believe anybody is against minimization of civilian casualties. They're against idiocy from the HQ, that might make squeamish non-military whiners feel good, but it cannot but make soldiers roll their eyes at yet another stupid thing from the REMFs.

Here's the perfect video re... (Below threshold)
LeBron Steinman:

Here's the perfect video response to the idea of "courageous restraint"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lTs6a0ORdQU

"Sounds like a true libe... (Below threshold)
914:

"Sounds like a true liberal award.

Next we'll probably see one for "Outstanding Negotiation"."

Or maybe "Nobel Prize" ?

James H,Meritoriou... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

James H,

Meritorious Service Medal
Commendation Medal
Commendation Medal with valor
Bronze Star

Depending on the exact scenario, any one of these awards could be recomended for a soldier/marine/sailor/airman that showed restraint when restraint wasn't the obvious or easy action.
The UK and the rest of NATO, IIRc have similar awards.

Let's send soldiers to Afgh... (Below threshold)
kathie:

Let's send soldiers to Afghanistan to play kick the can. Forget that war stuff.

War is cruelty... (Below threshold)
kevino:

War is cruelty. There's no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.

William Tecumseh Sherman

This reminds me of the '70s... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

This reminds me of the '70s, too - but not because of flowers in the rifle barrels (that was the '60s anyway). Remember the NFL enacted the first (of several) rule changes to protect quarterbacks and increase scoring then.

Linebacker Jack Lambert of the Steelers had the best comment, which seems to also apply here: "Maybe quarterbacks should just wear skirts."

Perhaps we should just be thankful that no one has told the spineless weasel Comrade Obama our soldiers carry live ammo - someone might get hurt!

SCSI:Point well ta... (Below threshold)
James H:

SCSI:

Point well taken.

First off, you rasci... (Below threshold)
Jimmy H:


First off, you rascist fascist teabagging pricks sound incredibly heartless. News flash for you ignorant mouth-breathing inbred hillbillies: MINIMIZING CIVILIAN CASUALTIES IS A GOOD THING.

Seriously! all you redneck idiots should not be mocking the desire to kill as few civilians as possible. You all wonder why you're viewed as cruel heartless bastards by the civilized world? Well here's example #1,239,875.

It doesn't matter at all that the terrorists may be using innocent civilians as human shields. The military isn't supposed to shoot innocents, their job is to go kill the terrorists and leave every one else alone. It is truly sad that military members need an incentive to do their job.

Why aren't you rascist wingnuts outraged that the military members aren't doing their job? No wonder the civilized world has such a low opinion of americans. Thankfully President Obama is restoring our good name in the eyes of the world.

I do think, however, that there's something to be said for recognizing and rewarding creative thinking within Afghanistan. Three cheers for the NATO commanders!

"Seriously! all you redn... (Below threshold)
914:

"Seriously! all you redneck idiots should not be mocking the desire to kill as few civilians as possible. You all wonder why you're viewed as cruel heartless bastards by the civilized world?"

I'll dial 911 for you JimmyH cause youv'e obviously overdosed on the Ones unicorn flavored cool-ade juice.

I am sure the Taliban and A... (Below threshold)
Maddox:

I am sure the Taliban and Al Quaeda will be happy to hear this and will be certain to join the effort.

Yeah right.

Totally agree. Let's kill a... (Below threshold)
Jake:

Totally agree. Let's kill as many civilians as possible. After all, we're better than the anyone else in the world (thanks, Eric Cantor!), so whatever we do is just fine. Woman, children, civilians... they're just speed bumps on the road to our goals. Get out of our way or die. That's my new bumper sticker.

jimmy h - "Thankfully P... (Below threshold)
Marc:

jimmy h - "Thankfully President Obama is restoring our good name in the eyes of the world."

Really, where would that be?

Excuse me while I get out my cluebat:

Obama has conducted more drone strikes in the Afgan theater than Bush ever thought of doing. Hell, there were 39 drone strikes in Pakistan in his first nine months in office you twit.

And I guess you also missed the reported fact this latest jihadist attempted to strike Times Square as a RESULT of those drones strikes.

Now go away little boy you're far out of your league.

I get the feeling somebody'... (Below threshold)
James H:

I get the feeling somebody's trying a bit of parody, but his characterizations don't quite work.

First, I would never call any commenters here "redneck idiots." I have friends who are rednecks and friends who are idiots, and I would never compare either group to Wizbang commenters.

Second, I do not believe that any person at Wizbang favors indiscriminately killing civilians. Rather, I am sure that the average Wizbanger prefers to kill only specifically targeted civilians.

Third, I would not call anybody here "rascist" without good cause. In fact, I would support your "rascism." If you support the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada or the Rochester Active Sports Club, I find your hobby quite rereshing. However, I draw the line at the Ranier Auto Sports Club. I can support neither Ranier nor autos nor sports nor any combination thereof.

But what I find most annoying about the above satire is that "Jimmy H" apparently thinks I'm some sort of carbon-copy left-winger. I most emphatically am not. I am my own personal brand of political crazy, and I don't need any label to describe me.

And I guess you al... (Below threshold)
James H:
And I guess you also missed the reported fact this latest jihadist attempted to strike Times Square as a RESULT of those drones strikes.

Now go away little boy you're far out of your league.

Some comedian wannabe is trying to have a little fun at my expense, I think.

jake-"Get out o... (Below threshold)
914:

jake-

"Get out of our way or die. That's my new bumper sticker. "


I have a better one for you... "I voted Obama in "08" worst president evah!"

James H -Not a pro... (Below threshold)
JLawson:

James H -

Not a problem - when someone comes frothing and spewing like Jimmy H or Jake, it's pretty easy to see that they're either intentional over-the-top parodies or just looking for somewhere to get their hate on. They're not looking for reasonable conversation.

But it's kind of interesting looking at the thought processes. To be against a medal for 'courageous restraint' seems to automatically mean - at least to those idiots - that we WANT to see civilians slaughtered in wholesale quantities. It's far from the truth, of course, but they can't seem to actually think about what they're spouting.

Woman, children, c... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:
Woman, children, civilians... they're just speed bumps on the road to our goals. Get out of our way or die. That's my new bumper sticker.
~Jake

I love when progressives are inadvertently honest about their positions. Freud would have paid to analyze you Jake.

Totally agree. Let's kil... (Below threshold)
Babyface:

Totally agree. Let's kill as many civilians as possible. After all, we're better than the anyone else in the world (thanks, Eric Cantor!), so whatever we do is just fine. Woman, children, civilians... they're just speed bumps on the road to our goals. Get out of our way or die. That's my new bumper sticker.

You know, if this is sarcasm, it sucks.

JLaw:My initial co... (Below threshold)
James H:

JLaw:

My initial comments were directed at the tone in the comments, rather than at what I assume to be attitudes.

One thing seems to have bee... (Below threshold)
R.D.:

One thing seems to have been left out of this conversation.

IT"S FREAKING WAR!!!!

War is brutal, bloody, cruel and collateral damage is a unwanted, but necessary result. If you don't fight and fight to win, there is no result except the loss of your own troops. These brave men and women deserve much, much more respect than this.

There is only one way to defeat your enemies and win at war...you kill them and you keep killing them until they either can't or won't fight back.

The Yellow Belly medal!<br ... (Below threshold)
Bill:

The Yellow Belly medal!

Bill said, "The Yellow Bell... (Below threshold)
R.D.:

Bill said, "The Yellow Belly medal!"

They once shot you, on sight, for this type of action.




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