Can’t Kill Enough to Win? Think Again

Those given the awful task of combat must be able to act with the necessary savagery and purposefulness to destroy those acting as, or in direct support of, Islamic terrorists worldwide. In 2008, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Admiral Michael Mullen said, “We can’t kill our way to victory.” Ever since, many have parroted his words. But what if Admiral Mullen was wrong? The United States has been at war with radical Islamists four times longer than it was with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in World War II. And those previous enemies were far more competent and aggressive than the terrorists. It is time to kill a lot more of them.

Too many commanders and their “operational law” judge advocates have neutered U.S. military forces with far too restrictive rules of engagement and investigations. 1 One Army infantry battalion commander reported that during a 15-month command tour in Iraq, he had to endure 600 AR 15-6 investigations (equivalent to a Navy JAG manual investigation), most of which examined the use of force by his troops. When asked when he had time to command, he answered, “Exactly.”

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