Rules of engagement is exactly that.. RULES. Who makes the rules? (generally, those far removed and not involved in the life threatening physical part of the engagement.) Rules are broken, especially when either side fails to subscribe to the rules. Rules function well between two bodies that communicate. War is usually the result when communication fails between two entities and men resort to primitive behavior to solve the disagreement. The enemy in Vietnam fired on well marked medical evacuation helicopters killing wounded servicemen and helicopter crewmembers. American POWs were killed silently by bayonet when superior friendly forces drew near the captors. Enemy sampans transporting enemy troops, weapons etc. were festooned with American flags, small children were crowded onto the decks, and old Vietnamese women were placed at the tiller. This ploy was to serve as gunship repellent. It did not work. Distant "Rulemakers" ordered the destruction of these vessels and thousands of children died as a consequence. The helicopter crewmembers pressed the triggers and watched the children die and ultimately were left holding the bag, destined to a lifetime of remorseful memories and guilt. The only valid rules were those rules, internalized by individuals trapped in the fell clutch of chaos, confusion, contempt, and chilling fear, which compelled a person to practice the elusive art of being humane while killing humans.
Copyright © 1997 Edward Ramon