September 14, 2006, - 12:39 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Yesterday, we wrote about how the U.S. blew an opportunity to terminate a cornucopia of top Taliban terrorists gathered for a funeral in Afghanistan. The excuse for not killing these murderers in the sites of our drones: Pentagon rules of engagement prohibit attacks on funerals and cemeteries.
But, last night, NBC’s Kerry Sanders–the reporter who broke this story–reported that, in fact, the rules of engagement did allow the attack. Based on Sanders’ report, that makes America’s lack of will to attack the funeral even more disturbing:
The military can waive its rules of engagement if a target is considered of such value that its destruction outweighs concerns about collateral damage or cultural sensitivities. Officials tell NBC News that was the case when a U.S. airstrike killed Al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a June 7 airstrike. Military commanders had no idea who else may have been in the house where Zarqawi was believed to be located when they ordered the strike. Zarqawi and several al-Qaida operatives were killed along with three women.
Defense Department officials have said repeatedly that while they try to be mindful of religious and cultural sensitivities, they make no promises that such sites can always be avoided in battle because militants often seek cover in those and other civilian sites.
That our military leaders did not feel this kill would outweigh “concerns about collateral damage or cultural sensitivities” is incredible. Incredibly stupid.
NBC military analyst retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs told MSNBC:
The reason for these rules of engagement is that we’re not engaged in a full-out war, where we have unconditional surrender as the objective. In that case we would bomb everyone and sort it out later on. You have a very heavy political component here, and that’s why (the rules of engagement) are difficult to change.
Our men are being blown to bits in Afghanistan, every day. If this is not a “full-out war,” what is? Time to wake up.
Tags: Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, Afghanistan, al-Qaeda, America, Army Col., Department of Defense, Iraq, Jack Jacobs, Kerry Sanders, leader, military analyst, NBC, Pentagon, reporter, Taliban, United States