Rules of Engagement (not the film)
In Iraq the United States Armed Forces have Rules Of Engagement (RoE). The British Armed Forces, also have their own RoE.
What is extremely puzzeling, and of great worry, is the number of friendly fire incidents, by Americans, on British Forces. From a friend actually out there, doing the business, he doesn't fear the Iraqis, he fears the Yanks. As a soldier who hasn't been sent out yet I find this extremely disturbing.
What Madness Could Lead to this
The US of A RoE is very loose. Genrally, it seems, if you can't identify it, you shoot it. I'm probably very wrong but how the hell do you mis-identify 5 British Tanks, with Cheveron Markers, Infra-Red Lights, and a bloody Great Union Flag flying from the rear most tank?!
Since British Forces make up a fifth of the combat troops, you would think this would result in at least one blue on blue by British Forces.
The way I see it the reason there hasn't been one (in no particular order, and not all may be correct:
- British Troops have a tighter set of RoE
- British Troops are better trained
- British Troops are more experienced at multinational operations
- British People have different basic ideas about basic things
To Visit Each in turn
British Troops have a tighter set of RoE
Genreally I think this is true. During the first Gulf War General Sir Peter De Billere had a hard time getting British RoE inline with the American RoE. Some British Airstrikes were missed off, because British Aircraft had weapons free at 00:01 rather than 00:00 (D-Day). Also Its standard practise that the highest arming state of British troops on the ground, not directly expecting combat is to have a magazine on the weapon, but no round in the breach. If Blackhawk Down is to believed,(and this is the great unkown] the greatest arming state for US ground forces, Is a round in the chamber, safety catch on. (Something that the Brits would be horrified by)
British Troops are better trained
Great Britian has a lower GNP than the USA. But the British Army consists of 4 Divisions. 3 Regular, and 1 Part Time. The money that goes into that must go somewhere. From experience, it goes on training. What regular battalions of the American army could of pulled off retaking the Falklands? Different philsophies on getting the job done. Better Trained British Troops, would be less likely to have friendly fire incidents. I can identify most American kit, as American, rather than British, so why can't American Troops recognise British Kit as British?
British Troops are more experienced at multinational operations
During Bosnia and Kosovo, British Troops worked with multinational forces, from all over the world. The US stood back and allowed their Airforce to do all the work. It is natural that senior American commanders have no idea how to work in a multinational enviroment
British People have different basic ideas about basic things
In America you can own a gun. Most Americans who own guns have them to defend their property. I don't know about US law, but in the UK this is illegal. Your right to defend your property is only extended to your right to self defence. You are only allowed to kill someone if they are threatening to kill you. Breaking into your house is not a threat to kill you. Many people seem to think the American gung-ho machoism is leads to so many friendly fire incidents.
You may disagree with what I've said, but that's how I, and many of my friends feel. If I get sent out there, Im going to carry a bloody great Union Flag, and pray like hell.