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In the SysAdmin world, a medal for NOT firing your weapon 2010-May-16 at 17:27 PDT

Posted by Scott Arbeit in Blog.
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Hold fire, earn a medal, by William H. McMichael, 12-May-2010

U.S. troops in Afghanistan could soon be awarded a medal for not doing something, a precedent-setting award that would be given for “courageous restraint” for holding fire to save civilian lives.

The proposal is now circulating in the Kabul headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, a command spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

“The idea is consistent with our approach,” explained Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis. “Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians. In some situations our forces face in Afghanistan, that restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those seen in combat actions.”

In the SysAdmin force, which will be deeply embedded in civilian areas everywhere it deploys, military personnel face difficult decisions every day around the use of force.  Highlighting the importance of restraint in that decision-making process is a natural and simple evolution in how these troops are trained.  I look forward to seeing the first of these presented.

As for the objections in the article – “The enemy already hides among noncombatants, and targets them, too. The creation of such an award will only embolden their actions and put more American and noncombatant lives in jeopardy.” – well, our troops already face these decisions.  Nothing about the creation of this award makes their lives more difficult than they already are.



1. Bryan K. - 2010-May-16 at 22:02 PDT

Regardless of the practicality (or inpracticality) of this concept, it’s nice to see such an idea at least make it to the conscious realm of consideration. I’m sure soldiers and civilians alike have recognized such acts, or in this case non-acts, for ages, but again, find it reassuring to witness subtle markers towards a growing ability to apply various means of force to various structures of conflict.

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