July 22nd, 2010
04:13 PM ET

Study: McChrystal's rules of engagement helped reduce attacks

(TIME.com) — Having taken over command of the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus is thinking of easing restrictions imposed by his predecessor on when and how American troops can attack suspected enemy fighters. But a new, independent study from the non-profit National Bureau of Economic Research finds that the restraints like those put in place by the recently fired General Stanley McChrystal actually resulted in a decrease in insurgent attacks.

Soldiers in Afghanistan have grumbled for months that curbs on their firepower ordered by McChrystal last summer have emboldened the Taliban and put U.S. troops at greater risk. Those rules of engagement bar allied air and mortar strikes on houses unless allied troops are in immediate danger. "His rules of engagement put soldiers' lives in even greater danger," one soldier privately told Rolling Stone in the article that got McChrystal fired last month. "Every real soldier will tell you the same thing." Petraeus, in his Senate confirmation hearing after being tapped to succeed McChrystal, told the Armed Services Committee he is "keenly aware of concerns by some of our troopers on the ground about the application of our rules of engagement" and that he plans to "look very hard at this issue."

Read more on the study at Time.com

Filed under: McChrystal
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. No american in support

    All military are killers, in the military you are fair game to be killed just as you have signed up to be a killer, no military, no wars!

    July 28, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LavenderGirl

    This study done by the National Bureau of Economic Research is a joke. Who are they to sit on their butts in a cushy office and give their opinions of our soldiers in battle? Give me a break...

    I believe them like I believe Obama is fulfilling all his campaign promises. NOT!

    BTW, my son just came home from Kandahar, Afghanistan (third time downrange). I won't print what he says about this rule...

    July 24, 2010 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. The other Steve

    Ask soldiers and Marines in the bush (in other words, on the front line and not just hanging out at Camp Leatherneck for their entire tour) and they will tell you something vastly different than this stupid report is trying to tell us. Our troops are getting killed because top military commanders and politicians think these "rules" are helping, and they use "independent" sources like the Bureau of Economic Research for justification. I'll stick with what I hear from the ground. I know many soldiers who are/were at the front (including my brother), and I'm tired of hearing about calls for air strikes and helicopter support being met by some jerk on the other side saying "denied." Meanwhile, our bravest get killed/wounded in the process. It's absolutely ridiculous. Their NCO's agree, too... so it's not only the Lance Corporals of the world saying this.

    July 23, 2010 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. ronvan

    STUPID, STUPID! Another reason we should bring ALL of our military, all over the world, HOME!! It is bad enough that the media is there in force, watching and reporting on every time one of our soldiers has to spit or go to the bathroom. Now we have "groups" evaluating the war? What are they going to tell us? That wars are stupid, people get maimed and killed, on both sides, is dehumanizing, and costs alot of money? ALL things that we already know, but totally disregard, learning nothing from history! Our military could finish their mission in a relatively short time if they were allowed to do what they are suppossed to be doing, and it sure is not Nation Building. This is just another "political" war
    like Viet Nam, just different times & location, and the outcome will be the same.

    July 23, 2010 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. Robbie Seal

    I will have to place more weight to the commanders on the ground. I have heard the grumbling from my brother, who currently serves in Afghanistan. The grumbling was not just from our average joes, but also from commanders who are charged with executing COIN while protecting their troopers. Conducting operations under an ROE can be confusing (sometimes daily changes), but should never place soldiers in a position of being unable to perform their duty while protecting themselves and their comrads. Sorry, but a study done by some guys sitting in their AC'd office in some economic research office doesn't compare the experience and credibility of the Commanding General. I wonder what their pick for this year's Super Bowl will be...

    July 22, 2010 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Steve

    Thank you Andrew, James and Dianne. This silly group is a joke. If they were so damn important, they would have been giving McC advice along the way. This is probably a study funded by the WH and given as a going away gift and it will serve an additional purpose by giving Petraeus a reason to go status quo. It's easy for a commander to say, "storm the beach!" After 15,000 are killed, but he takes the beach, he will revel in his tactical excellence and claim victory.

    July 22, 2010 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dianne -- Connecticut

    Has the non-profit National Bureau of Economic Research ever been on a battle field?

    July 22, 2010 at 7:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • LavenderGirl

      Obama will probably offer to let them run the war, now. He is a stupid, stupid man. Wake up, America. We need to get rid of this traitor.

      July 24, 2010 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. James----Atlanta & Also a Marine Dad

    These rules of engagement are wrong. Our troops are put in harms way and not being able to defend themselves like they were trained. The Marine Corps lost two fine Corporals last week because they were not authorised to return fire.

    July 22, 2010 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary Johndro

      I didn't know that.

      July 22, 2010 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jesse Cook

        Now we can kill more people now than before.I see why Obama got rid of McChrystal.On to our glorious victory over Islam!

        July 23, 2010 at 3:06 am | Report abuse |
    • LavenderGirl

      That is an outrage. A commander has a duty FIRST to his troops....not the enemy. I get mad every time I read one of these stories.....I am fed up with the imbeciles who place rules that are a detriment to our brave soldiers.

      God bless them.

      July 24, 2010 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Noreen

      My son is currently in A-stan and this is truly a huge problem! The rules of engagement needs to be lifted before we lose any more troops and stop worrying whose feelings will get hurt next.

      July 25, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andrew Lubin

    such spurious nonsense by a group who sit safely in the USA finessing numbers that will prove the answer the Army wants them prove. tTry talking to the troops on the ground for once //

    July 22, 2010 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |