Eyes of the Fleet

Eyes of the Fleet

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

I have a suggestion: Put the lawyers on patrol

Lawyers in war reported here:
When the history of the war on terrorism is written one day, historians no doubt will credit risk-averse lawyers with making the war longer.
Legal restrictions are hampering soldiers from defending themselves in the streets of Baghdad and are limiting the effectiveness of secret operations by special operations forces and intelligence personnel, defense officials say.
One Special Forces commando stated that the lawyers are risking lives in Iraq because of confusing written rules on when troops can fire weapons in "Escalation of Force" cases, that is, combat against insurgents and al Qaeda terrorists.
"Escalation of force is ridiculous over there," the commando said. "If an EOF occurs and a weapon is fired, it is to be reported so 'a 15-6 investigation' can be initiated."
An Army Regulation 15-6 investigation requires a commanding officer to gather evidence, interview witnesses and write a report every time a weapon is fired, a time-consuming and useless bureaucratic exercise in a war zone where numerous firefights take place almost every day.
Put the lawyers out there with the troops and see if they can convene "instant" investigations, or let them handle the paperwork while the warriors are otherwise occupied.

Lawyers at war? Monographs here.

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