May 24 2010
Military officers say, “Forcing troops to carry unloaded weapons on patrol is criminally negligent.” “Patrolling without a chambered round is suicide.”First they want to give medals for “courageous restraint.” Now they want to tie both hands behinds our soldiers’ backs. This isn’t suicide, it’s negligent homicide, in my book.
UPDATE 1/27/14: Apparently, this outrageous rule was rescinded not long after it was imposed.
Human Events– 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.
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.
“Our overall aim is to defeat the insurgency which means we must gain and then maintain the support of the Afghan population,” said Lieutenant Commander Iain Baxter, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in a statement to HUMAN EVENTS.
“This must be the objective of every action taken by ISAF service members, and it calls for responses that de-escalate situations where the use of deadly force may not be necessary. In doing this, leaders at all levels make enormous efforts to ensure that troops balance their own protection with the protection of the Afghan population.”
“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.”
According to Smith, “American soldiers are highly skilled in the use of ‘loaded’ weapons, and so should be trusted to operate with ‘loaded’ weapons. If someone overseeing decisions on ROE [rules of engagement] thinks not, then ratchet up training. But don’t put a man on the street and force him to go through multiple prompts when a gunfight breaks out. Remember, the situation can go from quiet to kinetic in half the time it takes to breathe.”
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.”