Wednesday, August 16, 2006
One of the advantages of acting of with allies is that certain of them have more flexible rules of engagement than American soldiers. Toward the end of Fiasco, Thomas Ricks discusses the military advantage of, er, diverse rules of engagement during Second Fallujah:
Eighteen elite Special Operations snipers hid inside the city, picking targets and reporting back on enemy movements. Polish snipers working alongside U.S. forces had been given less restrictive rules of engagement by their government, said a senior U.S. intelligence official with direct access to information about them. "The Poles could kill people we couldn't," he said. For example, he said, American snipers couldn't shoot unless they saw a weapon in the target's hands, while the Poles were allowed to fire at anyone on the streets of Fallujah holding a cell phone after 8:00 p.m. "They had an eighty percent kill rate at six hundred yards," the intelligence official said. "That's incredible range."
The Poles have stepped up to kill jihadis since 1683, and probably did not need to be bribed, coerced, bought or extorted in 2004. Beyond Iraq, it sounds as though we should invite Poland every time we have a war, and we absolutely should ask them to train our sharpshooters.
I'm not sure we need GROM snipers to train ours. Our snipers, especially in the USMC, are quite capable. What we do need is to have GROM train our tacticians and policy makers. Then perhaps the jihadist using a cell phone to detonate an IED can be terminated.
Thanks for posting a link to your earlier story on the Polish crusade to Vienna. Every Pole worth his or her kielbasa knows the history. I've known several Sobieskis over the years. Too bad Europe rewarded the Poles with subsequent partition and erasure from the map. If you are ever in Poland, spend a day at the shrine to Our Lady of Częstochowa at Jasna Gora. You may be able to see some armor from the battle at Vienna, including some Ottoman armour, badly damaged. Also, you will see the Black Madonna.
It's interesting to note that 273 years earlier, the Poles and Lithuanians used Tatar forces to help destroy the Teutonic Knights at Grunwald (1410). Then again, a Pole does what he must do when fighting Germans.
I'm often impressed by the historical abilities of the Poles, like fighting tooth and nail against the Nazis and Soviets at the same time, for instance. I recall reading in The Cold War that the Soviet Politburo decided against moving militarily against the Polish Solidarity movement because the "Polish Army is profient and patriotic; they will never allow their own people to be fired upon." (paraphrase)
Oh, and my mother's Polish.
The Romanians have a different but comparable history. They absorbed the attempted invasions of western Europe often, and at great cost. They have had little opportunity over the years to fight anyone their own size.
The American troops in Afghanistan reportedly like working with the Romanians for similar reasons to those mentioned above about the Poles. Romanian rules of engagement are different.