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Vietnam history - Rules of Engagement as seen through the different levels of command - Essay Example

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Running head: Vietnam History Vietnam History [Institution’s Name] Vietnam History Introduction Rules of engagement is a military term used for military or police operations that determines the timing, place and manner of using force. These rules may be general as well as particular, and they differ among various cultures…
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Vietnam history - Rules of Engagement as seen through the different levels of command
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Download file to see previous pages There are certain rules of engagement that the Army has to consider during its operation, and while fighting the war it has to take care not to go against any of the international laws or the conditions laid down by their commanders. They are only allowed to use force and power to win the war if they use it within the set discipline and rules. In Vietnam the individual soldiers totally understood the rules of engagement. However, the problem was with them accepting those rules. The ROE led to restrictions on the military because of which their morale went down. The reason behind this was that, metaphorically speaking, one of the hands of the military was tied back and they were fighting in such a position. This was of course difficult for them and was like asking them to waste their lives without any reason since they could not defend themselves freely just due to certain rules. It is difficult for a battalion commander to come to a conclusion as to when his side should win the battle, and what they would lose in order for that to happen. The rules of engagement, from the point of view the battalion commanders were pretty realistic. The soldiers would totally disagree since they are fighting and anything that hinders them in defending themselves or others would be disagreeable to them. Coming back to battalion commanders, they feel that it is their right to protect the innocent civilians. And that is where the ROE come into play. These rules prevent the soldiers from attacking under certain circumstances as, although they might only be retaliating to the attack they received, they might also hurt some other people around which is just not done (Lt. Col. Douglas Smith). Same was the case with the division commanders. They also felt the same and outlined the rules of engagement that the army was supposed to follow. It is clear that it was the first priority of these commanders to prevent unnecessary casualties and destruction (Holdorf, 1975). General William Westmoreland was the permanent commander of MACV and all the US forces in Vietnam were under him. His foresight told him that there was going to be a rise in conflict. The plan that he approached was aggressive and can be called “search and destroy”. What Westmoreland did was make the forces of Viet Cong come out in order that his men could kill them. According to this man, defeating Viet Cong only required great use of weaponry. Westmoreland was pretty optimistic regarding the war and in his speeches he used to report about the success of the American forces in pulling down the Vietnamese Army. It was during the First World War that in Vietnam President Lyndon Johnson decided against mobilizing the National Guards as, from what he thought, doing such a thing would lead to the Soviets and Chinese getting hints which would definitely cause certain effects upon their direct involvement in the war (Doubler, 2008). Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was responsible for recommending to President Johnson to mobilize the National Guards as well as the reserves. This was in the July of 1965. However, according to the President the ground war was going to end soon and there was a requirement of forces to be present in case there was a war in Korea. The reason that McNamara gives for them failing was that they did not take seriously the obstacles and problems they had to face. Also, according to him they had supported the wrong government ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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