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President Johnson’s Rules of Engagement

In: Historical Events

Submitted By Mikelarry34
Words 1009
Pages 5
Windou Mimy
November, 24th2014
Vietnam: a 20th Cent. Experience
HIST-415N-71123
Donald Burnette

President Johnson’s Rules of Engagement

During the Vietnam’s War, President Johnson has implemented the Rules of Engagement (ROE) in order to maintain control of the war and also to prevent its escalation into global nuclear warfare. The Rules of Engagement precisely dictated who and when the American soldiers were supposed to attack. Thus, from the first junior rank and up to the chain of command, a specific set of rules were enacted. Indeed, rules of engagement training at all level of leadership has allowed each officer to make responsible choices in the battlefield in a conventional war. Unfortunately, Vietnam was no conventional warzone and the Vietcong do not abide to this rule of engagement. It was easy for Washington to set these rules but they have greatly affected the field soldiers and the military through the chain of commands. A look into this rule of engagement (ROE) will show how it has paralyzed the soldiers from carrying out their mission in Vietnam.
Moss (2010) confirms that “the rules of engagement paralyzed the soldiers from attacking even when they were shot at because the rules stated that they must be sure that their target was real and not terrified civilians.” The American soldiers were only allowed to attack those in combat uniforms and carrying weapons. They were to follow these rules which prevented them to effectively defend themselves. In fact, they found the ROEs not only overly restrictive but extremely complicated, confusing, and difficult to learn and remember. The list of restrictions and limitations was so long and changed so often that they were difficult to comprehend on the ground, much less remember and keep straight while in a fast moving combat situation. In a soldier’s perspective, the ROE were wrong and…...

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