Fighting A War Obama Style: No Bullet In The Chamber For Some US Troops In Afghanistan?

As if putting our soldiers’ : lives in danger with utterly ridiculous rules of engagement wasn’t enough, we’ve now apparently stepped up the careless disregard for the lives of American soldiers serving in Afghanistan with a new rule:

Commanders have ordered a U.S. military unit in Afghanistan to patrol with unloaded weapons, according to a source in Afghanistan.

American soldiers in at least one unit have been ordered to conduct patrols without a round chambered in their weapons, an anonymous source stationed at a forward operating base in Afghanistan said in an interview. The source was unsure where the order originated or how many other units were affected.

When a weapon has a loaded magazine, but the safety is on and no round is chambered, the military refers to this condition as “amber status.” Weapons on “red status” are ready to fire–they have a round in the chamber and the safety is off.

The source stated that he had been stationed at the base for only a month, but the amber weapons order was in place since before he arrived. A NATO spokesman could not confirm the information, stating that levels of force are classified.

…”The idea that any combat unit would conduct any operation, including patrolling and even manning a security post–in which direct action may or may not take place–and not having weapons loaded, borders on being criminally negligent in my opinion,” says Lt. Col. W. Thomas Smith Jr., a recognized expert on terrorism and military issues. “This is nothing more than infusing politically correct restrictions into already overly restrictive rules of engagement. And this PC nonsense is going to get people killed.”

…In an ambush situation, just how long does it take to engage a target when your weapon isn’t already loaded?

“Too long,” states Sandy Daniel, military veteran and deputy director of the Victory Institute. “The first couple of seconds in an ambush are critical, and when that block of time is used to load a weapon instead of firing, you are losing the time you need to stay alive. Patrolling without a chambered round is suicide.”

…Based on discussions with veterans of previous conflicts spanning back to the Vietnam War, ordering troops to conduct patrols or to man a security post with weapons on amber status is actually quite common. In Vietnam, troops were typically ordered to patrol with weapons on amber, however the order was rarely followed or enforced. Troops operating at the Korean Demilitarized Zone, in Bosnia, and during the Gulf War had similar orders. In some cases, troops were instructed to remove magazines from the weapon completely, storing them in pouches. Worse yet, troops were only issued a handful of bullets in which to defend themselves in case of enemy contact.

Afghanistan is a shooting war. More of our soldiers are getting killed over there than in Iraq. So, there is no comparison to say the demilitarized zone between the Koreas, where you’re unlikely to get shot, but a single stray shot could cause an international incident. I’d also add that hard experience over the years has convinced me to take any story based on a lone anonymous source with a grain of salt.

That being said, if the story is true — and I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it was with Obama in the White House — then you have to wonder if they’ve moved on from selecting a Supreme Court Justice who hates the troops to plain old being indifferent to whether they die in combat.

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