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AN AMERICAN SPARTAN SPEAKS OUT ON ROE

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In this excerpt from the interview RKB did with Maj. Jim Gant that appeared in the June, 2014 issue of SOF, the trouble that the Rules of Engagement and risk-averse REMFs caused is outlined.

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In Gant's white paper, "One Tribe at a Time," he maintained, "...that to be successful, the military chain of command had to give the Special Forces teams working with the tribal forces unusual trust and latitude. They needed to be able to hit targets quickly, gaining approval if necessary through a single radio call instead of having to abide by the standard, glacial rules of engagement. They had to fight side by side with the tribal forces, not in segregated teams. They had to be free from burdensome reporting requirements and have greater leeway to spend money to benefit the local communities (this will sound familiar to most Vietnam Green Beret vets)."

[img_assist|nid=19491|title=roe|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=640|height=480]But Gant found the slow-footed, risk-adverse bureaucracy causing lengthy delays in approval of operations, sometimes involving three dozen REMFs. When a team developed intelligence that a key thug was a mile or so away, the team leader had to decide whether to go after the thug without approval, which would be a serious "legal" violation, or risk him getting away. Operations, among other things, were complicated by team leaders having to write scores of different reports for various superiors and having to send two team members to fly to a headquarters, and spend two weeks drawing funds from several different sources.

Not surprisingly, the Colonel Blimps back in the rear got their shorts in a wad over the teams’ need to circumvent conventional military regulations on hair and beards. How were you supposed to blend in with the Afghans if you had to shave your beard and cut your hair every time you went on leave? Especially for operators working to develop rapport with a culture where beards are considered the most important symbols of manhood?

Gant's charismatic leadership is exemplified by a speech, or briefing as you will, to a group of leg infantrymen who were attached to Gant for additional support. His pitch reads as follows: "It is imperative that you know who I am and what is important to me. We will live and die based on how well we learn to work together.

"Who am I? I am a warrior. My physical, emotional, and spiritual self revolves around being a warrior. I believe war is a gift from God...I am not a patriot or mercenary. I fight to fight...I believe if you want to kill, you must be willing to die. I am willing to do both, whichever the situation calls for. I am a student of war and warriors. There will be no blood on my hands because I or my men were not prepared for battle. I will prepare for battle every single day. I will love my men as I love my own children. I will take my men places and show them things that they never believed possible...I will give my life for them as readily as I kiss my children at night and put them to bed. I will be the protector and their avenger if necessary. I will always expect the impossible from them...I believe in God, but I do not ask for his protection in battle. I ask that I will be given the courage to die like a warrior. I pray for the safety of my men. And I pray for my enemies. I pray for a worthy enemy...I believe in the wrathful god of combat. I believe in Hecate. The gods of war have received their sacrifices from me...I have a huge ego. It feeds my daimon," he said, referring to a tutelary spirit. "It is me and I am it. But I know it is there. Passion is power. Passion feeds my soul. I will seek passion out in others... I am my children, my parents, my friends, my tribal family, the men I have gone into battle with and my enemies. They reside in me. It is for them that I do battle. I want, need and long for their acceptance. I want them to be proud of me. I will be loyal to being a warrior for all time. I will prepare a place in Vahalla for the warriors whose paths I have been blessed to cross. I will be with them in this life and the next. I am a warrior."
Read the rest of the article in Soldier of Fortune Magazine June issue available online..

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