Leadership: July 8, 2003

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Marine and Army troops in Iraq are upset over Rules of Engagement (ROEs) being implemented by Army commanders. While Marines are allowed to carry their weapons, both rifles and machine-guns, ready to use, Army units, especially non-combat ones (including Military Police) are being increasingly restrictive rules regarding the use and handling of weapons. Unlike the Marines, Army convoys do not display any weapons, making it appear as if the convoy is unarmed. For the Marines, this is madness. Marine convoys bristle with weapons, making it clear what will happen if anyone should be so foolish as to attack them. Army MPs are under orders not to handle their machine-guns while on roadblock duty unless they received orders from their headquarters. Army troops are allowed to carry  only two M-16 magazines, the rest being kept locked up. Marines are incredulous when they encounter this. Since Marines and Army troops control adjacent sectors, there is ample opportunities for troops from the two services to run into each other and compare notes. It has not gone unnoticed by American  troops, or the Iraqis that are attacking them, that nearly all the Americans attacked are Army troops. The Army ROEs tell the Iraqis that Army troops are an easier targets, equipped with an ROE that also serves as a virtual placard saying "shoot me, I have a hard time shooting back."

 


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