In the movie “American Sniper,” Chris Kyle is warned by his spotter, “If you’re wrong, they’ll fry you.” The spotter was right.
Rules of Engagement (ROE) have changed over the years, but a constant has been the likelihood that the target is a “bad guy” (confirm it) and that if confirmed, the strike can and should minimize or avoid collateral damage.
On October 3, 2009, COP Keating was attacked. Keating was a combat base located in likely the worst spot for an American base of operations. It was only a mater of time before Keating was hit, because it was located at the bottom of valley — surrounded on three sides by high mountains — in the middle of bad guy country. It was a killing ground, and everyone who saw it knew it. It was a disaster in the making, and it ended in being nearly overrun by 400 bad guys. Eight Americans paid with their lives for senior officer criminal incompetence.
Were the officers who decided to locate Keating in a fish bowl punished? No. Lower officers were punished, but not the O-6s and above. The fall guys were majors and captains.
The Kabul drone strike that killed an aid worker and at least 7 children was approved by general officers and the president. It turns out that the people killed were loading water into a car. There is zero chance that they “knew” that this was a “bad guy” — because he wasn’t a bad guy. They also had eyes in the air, and should have known that there would be massive collateral damage, and there was.
Biden’s handlers will deflect blame, and it is almost a certainty that the general or generals who green-lighted this debacle will escape punishment. When “bad calls” are made, when ROEs are violated, officers below the rank of colonel are punished because every disaster needs a fall guy. It won’t be generals. General Milley called it a “righteous” strike.
It won’t be Biden either. But the blood is on Biden’s hands.
ROEs are in place for a reason. They sometimes impede combat operations, but sometimes they prove to prevent a disaster. Biden pulled the stops, and now, 10 innocent people are dead because of it.
Biden gave the “go” for a strike that murdered 7 children — all because Biden wanted a headline. He got one, just not the one he wanted.