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Incomprehensibly Stupid Army Regulation Killing Americans in Afghanistan

The U.S. military has developed the best system in the world for dealing with combat casualties. As medical technology has advanced over the last century, new methods of treatment have been developed, and the speed and efficiency of transport from the battlefield to essential medical services has greatly increased chances for combat wounded to survive. So it is particularly galling that with all these improvements, the U.S. Army has not similarly adjusted its regulations regarding deployment of medical evacuation (medevac) helicopters in combat zones to compensate for the realities of modern warfare. It is bad enough that the Obama administration has imposed deadly rules of engagement to reflect its leftist worldview. The U.S. Army has been racking up its own body count due to nothing more than bureaucratic intransigence.

A new article in Soldier of Fortune magazine, (yes that Soldier of Fortune, still kicking after 35 years), by Dalton Fury, former Delta Force Commander and best-selling author of Kill Bin Laden, has explained the problem. Army regulations require that medevac helicopters follow the Geneva Convention, which specifies that they must be unarmed and display prominent Red Cross markings.

Furthermore, Army regulation forbids medevac choppers from entering a combat zone without armed helicopter escort. If armed escort is not immediately available, medevac helicopters remain grounded, regardless the emergency. Once they do go in, they become a conspicuous target for enemy forces, most of whom have never read the Geneva Convention, and would laugh it out of existence if they had.

A recent tragedy in Afghanistan highlights the high cost of these restrictions. As reported by veteran combat reporter, Michael Yon, Army Specialist Chazray Clark was severely wounded on a night mission after stepping on an IED:

Chazray was facedown. One arm and both his legs were gone, and yet this man had the strength and presence to call out from the dust and darkness. Chazray answered, ‘I’m okay’… Although Chazray had answered that he was okay, everyone here knows that when someone calls out ‘I’m okay,’ the sound of their voice only means they are still alive. Fellow Soldiers located Chazray in the dark, and quickly put on tourniquets and unfolded a stretcher.

“The medevac was very late. It took us about 20 minutes to get back to the Landing Zone (LZ). Based on my significant experience down here in southern Afghanistan, I know that the helicopter could and should have already been on orbit waiting for us. Chazray was dying but fully conscious and talking the entire time. We waited, and waited. Finally a radio call came that the medevac was ‘wheels up’ from KAF. It was unbelievable to us that the medevac was just taking off from Kandahar Airfield, twenty-five miles away.”

The helicopter could not leave the ground until escorted, and since no Apache helicopter gunships were immediately available, it sat on the tarmac while Chazray bled out. Even more outrageous, there were Air Force helicopters at that same airbase that could have come immediately. These choppers are heavily armed and need no escort, or could have served as escort. But Army regulations forbid their use.

All these protocols must be followed. According to Army field commanders, they have zero discretion. They have been complaining about it for years, to no effect.

In the Soldier of Fortune article, Fury (a pseudonym) traces the development of Army protocols regarding medevacs in the field. The US Army manual on medical evacuation quotes Geneva Convention regulations regarding Medical Aircraft (emphases mine):

Geneval Convention Regarding Medical Aircraft

A-6. Medical aircraft exclusively employed for the removal of wounded and sick and for the transport of medical personnel and equipment shall not be attacked, but shall be respected by the belligerents, while flying at heights, times, and on routes specifically agreed upon between the belligerents concerned.

A-7. The medical aircraft shall bear, clearly marked, the distinctive emblem together with their national colors on their lower, upper, and lateral surfaces.

A-8. Unless agreed otherwise, flights over enemy or enemy-occupied territory are prohibited.

A-9. Medical aircraft shall obey every summons to land. In the event that a landing is thus imposed, the aircraft with its occupants may continue its flight after examination, if any.

A-10. In the event of involuntary landing in enemy or enemy-occupied territory, the wounded and sick, as well as the crew of the aircraft, shall be prisoners of war; medical personnel will be treated as prescribed in these Conventions.

Self-Defense And Defense Of Patients

A-11. When engaging in medical evacuation operations, medical personnel are entitled to defend themselves and their patients. They are only permitted to use individual small arms.

A-12. The mounting or use of offensive weapons on dedicated medical evacuation vehicles and aircraft jeopardizes the protections afforded by the Geneva Conventions. These offensive weapons may include, but are not limited to machine guns, grenade launchers, hand grenades, and light antitank weapons.

A-13. Medical personnel are only permitted to fire in their personal defense and for the protection of the wounded and sick in their charge against marauders and other persons violating the Law of War.

This is simply stunning. With al Qaeda and the Taliban, we are fighting an enemy who mass-murders school children, beheads people with medieval lust, engages in real torture and every imaginable form of barbarity, while camouflaged as civilians to capitalize on our restrictive rules of engagement designed to minimize civilian casualties.

Yet, sections A-6 through A-10 assume that the enemy will not attack properly marked medical aircraft, dictate that our forces coordinate all aspects of medevac flights with the enemy, avoid enemy airspace and even obey their orders to land! Finally, aircraft must be emblazoned with the distinctive “shoot here” Red Cross that turns medevac helicopters into clay pigeons.

Section A-12 makes the heroic assumption that the Geneva Convention affords protections for unarmed medevac helicopters. The message seems to be “Arm your chopper at your own risk!” Here we see the consequences of mindless PC philosophies worked out to deadly effect in the real world where stupidity kills people!

Furthermore, none of this is necessary. The Geneva Convention applies only to organized militaries of identifiable governments who have signed the Convention or have otherwise formally agreed to follow its tenets. Guerilla groups like the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hezbollah and others have no standing.

There is no requirement for a signatory nation to follow the Convention when opposing forces do not respect it. To do so is suicide, yet to placate the denizens of PC, the Army goes right ahead. Perhaps the bureaucrats and politicians who design these policies should first be required to personally oversee their employment in the field. One suspects the regulations would change overnight. But safely ensconced flying a desk in the Pentagon, they are much more fearful of a Congressional hearing or a derogatory editorial in the Washington Post.

U.S. troops are paying for that cowardice with their lives.

The US Army is the only branch that follows this unnecessary protocol. Air Force, Navy and Marine rescue choppers have dispensed with the Red Cross and come armed to the teeth, usually with multiple miniguns. Enemy forces vanish at their approach rather than risk a murderous fusillade of return fire if they reveal their position by taking a shot. The result: fewer casualties on both sides, just what the PC clowns claim to want.

Finally, since the Army requires that unarmed medevac helicopters be escorted by helicopter gunships, the Army is really just wasting assets while putting medevac passengers and aircrews in unnecessary danger.

This one is the best:

Perception Of Impropriety

A-18. Because even the perception of impropriety can be detrimental to the mission and US interests, HSS commanders [HSS = Health Service Support, ed.] must ensure they do not give the impression of impropriety in the conduct of medical evacuation operations.

This is the catch-all excuse when the others are found wanting. Even if we know we don’t have to follow the Convention in this case; even if we know it is moronic and potentially fatal to do so, this regulation argues we should still risk the lives of combat troops and aircrews so that people too stupid or careless to know the facts do not become alarmed when we create the “perception of impropriety” by properly arming medevac helicopters against almost certain attack! Such conspicuously self-conscious, gutless attitudes have no place in military policy. The military exists to protect our country at the least cost in U.S. blood and treasure possible. Period.

Soldier of Fortune magazine has a long-established record of bringing these kinds of issues to light. Their storied history in doing so is recorded in a three-part history here, here and here. Most who read this series will be surprised to learn the many things this magazine has done behind the scenes to assist our military efforts across the globe. And like anyone who stands up for America, they have been vilified in the press for doing so.

Thanks to Soldier of Fortune and Michael Yon, the tragic consequences of this policy have seen the light of day. With enough publicity, perhaps the Army will finally be persuaded to change its irresponsible and stupid policy. If so, the death of Chazray Clark may not have been entirely in vain. Please spread this message far and wide, and hold your representative and senators to account for the result. It goes without saying that this President and his criminal gang of leftist agitators need to be shown the door in November, for if past is precedent, one suspects that the Army may be prevented by this pointedly anti-American, anti-military administration from making necessary changes.

SOURCE: James Simpson, American Thinker: Incomprehensibly Stupid Army Regulation Killing Americans in Afghanistan, January 7, 2012

James Simpson is a freelance journalist, businessman and former White House budget analyst. His writings have also been published on Right Side News, Big Government, Big Peace, Emerging Corruption, American Thinker, Washington Times, WorldNetDaily, FrontPage Magazine, Soldier of Fortune and others. His blog is Truth & Consequences.

Until next time . . . Wake Up America!

Kevin A. Lehmann

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  1. 11 Comment(s)

  2. By randy dow on Jan 8, 2012 | Reply

    O bummer your not getting my vote and i will do my best to see you lose more votes by letting voters know this.

  3. By Bill Powell on Jan 8, 2012 | Reply

    That is the most tragic story in a long time. The leadership of our country has learned nothing since Viet Nam. To fight a war from Washington is lunacy and to look at our enemies as anything other is just plain absurd. Thanks Ovommit for castrating our military and raping the American people. Sleep well tonight……the Infantry is still on guard.

  4. By Ray Rimmer on Feb 10, 2012 | Reply

    CHANGE THE RULE! IF the same energy were directed AT the brass as is to Pres. Obama, it would get changed. In 1971, in SE Asia, I saw plenty of stupidity. I cannot recall fellow soldiers, sailors, etc. “blaming Nixon.” Taiwanese I knew felt betrayed when Nixon went to Beijing, but nobody dissed Pres. Nixon like this. “Ovommit.?” “…raping the American people.” Guys, this stuff is sick. Let’s be adults.

  5. By Jeremy on Feb 27, 2012 | Reply

    The rule is there for a reason. To protect the helicopter and it’s crew. On the other hand the local commander has the responsibilty of making sure that Medevac is ready to go at a moments notice WITH it’s escort. Fire the commander, he did not do his job and caused this soldiers death.

  6. By Marx on Feb 28, 2012 | Reply

    None of this has anything to do with the President. These are rules that have been in place since before our involvement in Afghanistan. Right wing alarmism at its finest!

  7. By Kevin A. Lehmann on Feb 28, 2012 | Reply

    @Marx: It has everything to do with the president. If he cared about our troops he would make the necessary changes.

  8. By OVOMIT HATER on Apr 20, 2012 | Reply

    Its time to get this piece of shit out of the oval office….he is totally against the United States….its time to send him to hell

  9. By f.Lindsay on Jul 4, 2012 | Reply

    Not Only is this information SAD…the FACT that the US MILITARY under the current PRETENDING COMMANDER-n-THIEF has RESTRICTIONS against DEFENDING the LIVES of wounded DEFENDERS OF FREEDOM is ALSO INFURIATING. With the AMOUNT OF COMMUNICATION EQUIPMENT AVAILABLE 2 EVERY MILITARY BRANCH the RETRIVAL of A FALLEN SOLDIER should be a PRIORITY for EVERY COMMANDER that orders THE COMBAT MISSION. WE are DISGUSTED over the TREATMENT of our MILITARY by the Obama Administration. THE SOONER we TOSS OUT the SOB the FUTURE OF OUR NATION WILL BE.

  10. By f.Lindsay on Jul 4, 2012 | Reply

    The sooner we TOSS OUT THE SOB THE SAFER OUR NATION WILL BE———OOPS-hptablet TROUBLE—-

  11. By Henry on Sep 28, 2012 | Reply

    Most Americans have been lead to believe that the US Armed Forces are preserving freedom in Iraq, and Afghanistan, and by being stationed around the world, but that couldn’t be father from the truth. The grim reality is that the US Armed Forces are nothing more than the strong arm of the International Bankers or Globalists. Americans will be shocked to learn that the Internationals Bankers also began the War of 1812, between Great Britain and the United States by effectively blocking all trade between France and America during the Napoleonic Wars, even though America was officially neutral in the war and it traded with both countries, the International Bankers were successful in provoking the people of America into another useless bloody war with England.

    http://hnrast-thepuppetmasters.blogspot.com/

    No one can deny the fact that the Global Banksters are at the zenith of the social hierarchy, and the sole makers and suppliers of US dollars through their Private Bank the Federal Reserve System. The Money coming out of their printing presses is used to fund and control what appears to be the “Two Party System,” the Top Echelon of the US Government, the Top Brass of the US Armed Forces, the Moguls of the mainstream News Media, Presidents of Colleges and Universities, Heads of Corporations, Pastor, Priests, Bishops, and Elders of Organized Religion, the Goons of Law Enforcement, and Lords, Barons and Kingpins of the International Illegal Drug Trades, and the Ringleaders of the International Human Trafficking Rings.

    http://hnrastpoliticalsysteminanutshell1.blogspot.com/

  12. By bigdindallas on Oct 2, 2012 | Reply

    thank you kevin for telling the truth.
    I am hoping your message gets out to the
    public…

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