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11 February 2012
Going unarmed into combat is a bad idea. Going unarmed while wearing a Red Cross to alert the enemy that you are defenseless is dumb. A commander who forces his troops to do this without good cause is at best incompetent.
US Army commanders do this every day in Afghanistan. No other US branch or service, nor the British, wear the Red Cross on helicopters in combat. Even our own US Army special operations forces do not use the Red Crosses on their medical birds.
Meanwhile, the US Army, specifically including Lieutenant General John Campbell, has been busy misleading Members of Congress and millions of Americans by communicating that our Dustoff MEDEVAC helicopters are required to wear Red Crosses in combat. Many people are saying that LTG Campbell lied on FOX news. I cannot defend him. It is true. Campbell misled CBS, FOX, and millions of Americans.
During interviews on CBS (previous) and FOX (this week) about MEDEVAC failures, Campbell has so shredded his credibility that only the bloody shirt remains.
Campbell’s loss of standing deriving from the Dustoff MEDEVAC issue likely will transcend this time and follow him for the remainder of his career. Mr. Campbell has only the power of rank. Moral clout is gone. Mr. Campbell cannot be trusted to deliver the facts about Afghanistan, or elsewhere. This is not the truth we wanted, but the reality we sadly discovered.
It is deeply saddening to know that we cannot depend on one of the most important generals in the Army. We want generals that we can believe.
Hershel Smith sums up the current state of the MEDEVAC fight:
Michael Yon Gets What’s Coming To Him
BY HERSCHEL SMITH
No, this isn’t another ridiculous pile-on-Michael-Yon post from some unstable Milblogger who is bored with the fact that he has nothing left to cover now that we have withdrawn from Iraq (and plan to withdraw from Afghanistan). Some people just have to find others to hate in order to be important.
No, Michael Yon has gotten the attention to the MEDEVAC issue that he deserves. You can follow his coverage here, here and here, here and here (just for starters). I won’t recapitulate the reports since you can go and read them from Michael. Here is a decent summary video.
But I will observe that my bullshit-o-meter pegged high when the Army began making claims that the Geneva Conventions required them to mark MEDEVAC helicopters and then also to require them not to be armed for self defense (thus requiring an armed escort and delaying the transit in some instances).
First of all, if the Geneva Conventions actually do require that we send medical evacuation into the field with no self defense, then we should not have ever been a signatory to such a document, and such signature should be forthwith rescinded. But it doesn’t. Take careful note. The U.S. Marine Corps doesn’t do business this way.
There. Enough said. Case Closed. The U.S. Marine Corps isn’t violating the Geneva Conventions. That the big-Army is wasting intellectual capital and moral authority on this is stupefying.
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