Rules of Engagement Kill U.S. and Israeli Soldiers

Bill Levinson,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Bill Levinson

Marine Corps General Lewis Walt wrote that, when you issue a soldier less than the best available weapon, you are committing first-degree murder. The same could be said about rules of engagement (ROE) that far exceed those required by the Geneva and Hague Conventions, and common decency.

“It is no accident nor a coincidence that from January 2009 to August of 2010, coinciding with the Obama/McChrystal radical change of the [rules of engagement], casualties more than doubled,” Mr. Simmons said. “The carnage will certainly continue as the already fragile and ineffective [rules] have been further weakened by the Obama administration as if they were playground rules.”

Israel is suffering unnecessary casualties because of excessive concern for civilians for whose safety Hamas is responsible, and for world opinion which will be against Israel regardless of what Israel does.

When you ask or require a man or woman to risk his or her life and physical safety, you have NO right to order him to not protect himself, or fellow service personnel and civilians for whose safety he is responsible. Suppose, for example, that gunmen are firing from the upper floor of a civilian house, or even a hospital. If friendly personnel are in range of that gunfire, every second they are allowed to continue increases the chance of friendly losses. The simplest, fastest, and most effective course of action is probably to blow the house apart with a shell. Every rocket the enemy fires from a schoolyard has a chance to kill friendly civilians, so you have not only the right but also the duty to flatten the rocket launcher and its personnel regardless of collateral damage. NOTHING in the Geneva Convention forbids you to do this.

Article 18

Civilian hospitals organized to give care to the wounded and sick, the infirm and maternity cases, may in no circumstances be the object of attack, but shall at all times be respected and protected by the Parties to the conflict.

...The Parties to the conflict shall, in so far as military considerations permit, take the necessary steps to make the distinctive emblems indicating civilian hospitals clearly visible to the enemy land, air and naval forces in order to obviate the possibility of any hostile action. [This is similar to the content of the Lieber Code, which appears below.]

In view of the dangers to which hospitals may be exposed by being close to military objectives, it is recommended that such hospitals be situated as far as possible from such objectives.

Article 19

The protection to which civilian hospitals are entitled shall not cease unless they are used to commit, outside their humanitarian duties, acts harmful to the enemy. Protection may, however, cease only after due warning has been given, naming, in all appropriate cases, a reasonable time limit, and after such warning has remained unheeded. [In other words, when Hamas starts to fire from a hospital, you have to give the medical personnel and patients time to evacuate before you flatten the building.]

The fact that sick or wounded members of the armed forces are nursed in these hospitals, or the presence of small arms and ammunition taken from such combatants which have not yet been handed to the proper service, shall not be considered to be acts harmful to the enemy.

Article 28

The presence of a protected person [noncombatant] may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.[In other words, you can't put a rocket launcher in a schoolyard, and then expect the other side to not attack it.]


Under the Statute of the International Criminal Court, “utilizing the presence of a civilian or other protected person to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military operations” constitutes a war crime in international armed conflicts

The Lieber Code adds,

Art. 116.

Honorable belligerents often request that the hospitals within the territory of the enemy may be designated, so that they may be spared. An honorable belligerent allows himself to be guided by flags or signals of protection as much as the contingencies and the necessities of the fight will permit.

Art. 117.

It is justly considered an act of bad faith, of infamy or fiendishness, to deceive the enemy by flags of protection. Such act of bad faith may be good cause for refusing to respect such flags.

The latter consideration applies not only to the schools, homes, hospitals, and mosques that Hamas uses to protect its terrorists and equipment, but to collusion by United Nations personnel in the concealment of enemy munitions. The following suggests strongly that the corrupt and pro-terrorist United Nations is using its neutral status to aid and abet terroristic violence, in this case violence fatal to three IDF soldiers. Perfidy of this nature was once punishable by death.

Over eighty kilograms of explosives were built into the UN-funded hospital's walls themselves, it was cleared for publication Thursday - revealing that the clinic itself was built to mask, and perform, potential acts of terror on the IDF

Moreover, the clinic was built over tens of terror tunnels, according to the report. 

The fact that the United Nations is allowing terrorists to use its facilities, and its protected status, is more than enough reason for Israel to demand that the UN withdraw from Gaza, and add that UN insignia will no longer be respected.

Do Not Fight House to House

Street fighting negates the superior equipment, training, and discipline of an opposing army. That is why Hamas wants the IDF to do it. Street fighting brings IDF personnel and equipment within range of Hamas small arms, antitank weapons, and booby traps, while air strikes and long-range artillery fire do not. Israel must stop fighting by the enemy's rules.

James Michner's The Bridge at Andau describes the Soviet Union's rules of engagement for its attack on Budapest in 1956. The Soviets were, of course, the aggressors, and the Hungarians the defenders, but the same principle applies to Gaza.

If there is a single shot from any house, destroy the whole house. If there are many shots from a street, shoot down every building in the street.

If somebody is firing at you from a house, you don't have any obligation whatsoever to bring your own personnel close enough to become casualties, and you can dispose of the shooter by blowing up the house with a shell from a tank gun. If you are taking fire from an entire street, the last thing you want to do is bring infantry close enough to be hit by it, or armored vehicles close enough to set off mines or be hit by antitank rockets. Bombs or shellfire that collapse all the buildings on the shooters work just fine.

Needless to say, you have to hope there is no one in the target zone who is not there to fight, which leads to the necessity for the kind of humanitarian warnings that Israel is already issuing.

Warn Civilians to Stay Clear of Armed Personnel and Military Equipment

Here is one the United States dropped on Japan toward the end of the Second World War.

Bombs Have No Eyes U.S. War Department, 1940s

Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. In the next few days, some or all of the cities named on the reverse side will be destroyed by American bombs. These cities contain military installations and workshops or factories which produce military goods. We are determined to destroy all of the tools of the military clique which they are using to prolong this useless war. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with America's humanitarian policies, the American Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to evacuate the cities named and save your lives. America is not fighting the Japanese people but is fighting the military clique which has enslaved the Japanese people. The peace which America will bring will free the people from the oppression of the military clique and mean the emergence of a new and better Japan. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war. We cannot promise that only these cities will be among those attacked but some or all of them will be, so heed this warning and evacuate these cities immediately.

A leaflet of this nature could easily be rewritten in Arab-friendly terms. Consider, for example, a picture of a school with only teachers and children present, and the label (in green, the color of Islam), "Halal." Possibly add an attacking Israeli missile inside a red circle, with a red line through it, to mean that Israel will not attack such a target. Next to it, place a school with Hamas terrorists and rocket launchers, a red label "Haram" (forbidden), and then a picture of a bomb destroying everything present.

Read this carefully as it may save your life or the life of a relative or friend. At any time, and without warning, we will destroy Hamas personnel and equipment with bombs, shells, fuel-air munitions, or whatever means is necessary to remove them from action, We have both the right, as defined by the laws of war, and also the duty to our own citizens to kill Hamas and destroy its terror weapons on sight. But, unfortunately, bombs have no eyes. So, in accordance with Israel's humanitarian policies, the Israeli Air Force, which does not wish to injure innocent people, now gives you warning to stay clear of Hamas personnel and their munitions. If you see Hamas terrorists, or equipment such as mortars or rocket launchers, put as much distance between them and yourself as possible. Israel is not fighting the Arab people but is fighting Hamas terrorists who have already killed more than 160 Arab children by using them as slave labor to construct tunnels. The peace which Israel will bring will free the people from the oppression of the Islamist terrorists and mean prosperity and affluence for innocent and productive Arabs. You can restore peace by demanding new and good leaders who will end the war.

Don't Chase Rats into Tunnels

Dachshunds (badger dogs) are meant to pursue prey into holes, but the prey in question is not able to harm the dachshunds. Needless to say, dachshunds are not sent to hunt wolverines. Hamas terrorists may resemble rats in terms of be‎havior and character, but they are far more dangerous. IDF soldiers are not dachshunds, and they should never chase rats into holes.

The tunnels should simply be blown up to kill anybody inside, possibly after dropping in mines to kill anybody who tries to repair them. International law, as I understand it, requires mine fields to be marked, so the presence of the mines must be made known. Another option (does not constitute engineering advice) is to introduce a heavier than air fuel like propane or butane, allow it to mix with air in the tunnels, and then toss in a match (from a VERY long distance away). Fuel-air explosions are absolutely devastating, and should kill every terrorist present while wrecking most equipment in the bargain.

War is not a Boxing Match

You can have rules in a boxing match, where a fighter who hits below the belt or bites his opponent's ear will be quickly penalized or disqualified by an impartial referee. You can have rules in a contact sport like American football (the ball is thrown or carried) where players who try to hurt opposing players are penalized, and possibly ejected from the game. If you try to apply the same kinds of rules to a situation in which somebody is trying to kill you, you, and the people for whose safety you are responsible, will be killed, and a dishonest and hostile world will blame you anyway. That is all there is to it.