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Rules of Engagement - Essay Example

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It analyses the lack of rapport between the civilian government and the military that existed then, and the frustration of the military…
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Rules of Engagement
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Rules of Engagement

Download file to see previous pages... According to the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, ‘In military or police operations, rules of engagement (ROE) determine when, where and how force shall be used.’ The rules of engagement are designed so as to ensure that uncontrolled violence is prevented, civilian casualties are minimized and the conflict does not escalate. However, restrictive rules of engagement undermine the ability of the military or police to resolve a conflict, as, according to many critics of the war, was the case in the US invasion of Vietnam (1959).
The US president at the time, Lyndon Johnson, in order to contain the conflict set down strict rules of engagement that hindered the forces from striking or utilizing force in certain areas. This was done in order to thwart the perceived threat of Soviet or Chinese intervention and to gain support at home. President Johnson wanted the conflict to be restricted to South Vietnam, although aerial bombings in North Vietnam were allowed at certain point in the war. He believed the war was a counter-insurgency battle and the rules of engagement thus were justified.
The Secretary of Defense, Robert Mcnamara, authored the rules of engagement. He saw the Vietnamese invasion as a ground war and thus saw little use of the US air force. Thus, the rules of engagement he designed restricted the aerial fighting the most. Mcnamara too saw the entire conflict as a counter-insurgency battle and thus tailored the rules of engagement to be such that most military strategies and moves were to be self-defensive. It was not until the Gulf of Tonkin incident in the August of 1964 that U.S. air strikes were allowed to be more aggressive.
It is no surprise that the rules of engagement set down by the civilian suits in the government were not very popular with the military strategists. General William Westmoreland was a key architect of the military strategy. In order to avoid further disaster, he forbade any unit smaller then 750 men from ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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