Former Army Captain: Change Rules Of Engagement Before Further Escalation With Syria
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Captain Roger Hill spoke with Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT about a book on his time serving in Afghanistan, Dog Company, in which he says that in 2007 the Army refused to assist the men under his command after their base was infiltrated by spies.
Hill described the action he took to stop his base from falling prey to an attack, while his superiors refused to help.
"What a lot of troops refer to, in a joking manner, and this is very sad, as the catch and release detainee system of Afghanistan, we had released many other fighters back on to the streets, only to fight them again at a later time. It just so happens that these 12 spies, enemy fighters, we're on our base and there's a whole other dimension of danger that comes with people who are intimately familiar with your inner operations, which is why that, coupled with the fact that my command refused to come pick these 12 spies up, as was their responsibility. At that time, we were also receiving credible intelligence reports that the enemy was massing for a large scale attack against my base. My First Sergeant and I did what any two good leaders would do and said, hey, we're going to interrogate these guys ourselves. We're going to get information from them and we're going to disrupt this attack."
He revealed he was punished for the measures he took, but does not regret doing what he had to do to foil the enemy plan.
"You technically violate all sorts of Army regulations and rules of engagement when you do this sort of thing, even though there are layers of command that have failed you, in terms of support. They've abrogated a responsibility that they once should have held to, now, the lowest level, which is this one company in Wardak Province, Afghanistan and we were just doing the best we could to make our mission happen and to take care of the men that were under our charge."
Hill stated things have not changed in the years that have passed and have actually deteriorated further. He wants this to be one of the primary focuses moving forward for the Trump administration.
"It's gotten worse. Just from conversations with guys that continue to be on the ground, keep in mind we're sending people over five, six, for their seventh tours, especially the special operations community, and they're seeing it get worse with time. A change is needed. That's my message today, we've got to start taking care of our people before we consider going into another theater of conflict. This is our first order of business, to fix this issue."
In wake of the recent missile attacks against the regime of Bashar al-Assad, he thinks the results would be disastrous if the war in the Middle East expands further without seriously addressing these concerns.
"I worry because we just lobbed a few Tomahawks into Syria and, without rendering my own opinion on whether we should or should not, because I don't have access to the level of intelligence and what's going on for those decisions to be made, what I can speak to, having been on the ground and dealt with these sorts of threats personally, is that before we go forward with any other conflict, we need to roll back these overly cumbersome, over restrictive rules of engagement because they're getting our people killed."
However, Hill is holding out hope that the team surrounding Donald Trump will make the positive change he says those serving in the armed forces are looking for.
"Our guys and girls overseas don't ask for a whole lot. They've already signed up to give up and to their life for the American people, our way of life, our Constitution. All they ask for is that, when they go out to do our nation's dirty work, they be allowed to do their jobs without fear of retribution or punishment. That's it. It's that simple. I think they feel that they are, once again, going to be allowed permission to do that with this next administration."
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