A Tactical Ethic: Moral Conduct in the Insurgent Battlespace

A Tactical Ethic: Moral Conduct in the Insurgent Battlespace

by Dick Couch


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Following the success of his recent book on Navy SEALs in Iraq, The Sheriff of Ramadi, bestselling author and combat veteran Dick Couch now examines the importance of battlefield ethics in effectively combating terrorists without losing the battle for the hearts of the local population. A former SEAL who led one of the only successful POW rescue operations in Vietnam, Couch warns that the mistakes made in Vietnam forty years ago are being repeated in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the stakes are even higher now. His book takes a critical look at the battlefield conduct of U.S. ground-combat units fighting insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the prize of the fight on the modern battlefield is the people, he warns every death has a consequence. Every killing has both strategic and moral significance for U.S. warriors.

From his unique and qualified perspective, Couch examines the sources and issues that can lead to wrong conduct on the battlefield, and explains how it comes about and what can be done to correct it. He considers the roles of command intent and the official rules of engagement, but his primary focus is on ethical conduct at the squad and platoon level. Tactical ethics, according to the author's definition, is the moral and ethical armor that should accompany every American warrior into battle, and these standards apply to the engaged unit as well as to the individual. A harsh critic of immoral combat tactics, Couch offers realistic measures to correct these potentially devastating errors. He argues that as a nation, we must do all we can to protect our soldiers' humanity, for their sake, so they can return from service with honor, and for our sake as a people and for our standing in the world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781591141372
Publisher: Naval Institute Press
Publication date: 01/28/2010
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 741,662
Product dimensions: 4.90(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Dick Couch is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served with the Navy Underwater Demolition and SEAL Teams in Vietnam. He is the author of twelve other books, including The Warrior Elite, Chosen Soldier and SEAL Team One. A resident of Ketchum, ID he is a frequent guest on radio and TV talk shows. He has lectured the Air Force Academy, the Naval Special Warfare Center, the JFK Special Forces Center and School, the FBI Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School, The Joint Special Operations University and The Academy Leadership Forum. Recently he served as adjunct professor of Ethics at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Preface: The Issues xiii

Acknowledgments xxiii

Chapter 1 A Careful Approach to the Issues 1

Chapter 2 Conflict and Conduct 19

Chapter 3 Warriorship 101 36

Chapter 4 Composition of the Force 55

Chapter 5 Toward an Effective Tactical Ethos 73

Chapter 6 Battlefield ROEs (Rules of Ethics) 100

Appendix I General David H. Petraeus on values 113

Appendix II Statements of Service Core Values 116

Appendix III Statements of Service/Service-Component Credos 117

Appendix IV U.S. Army Counterinsurgency Manual: Ethics Section 126

Appendix V CQD Integrity Commitment for Training 129

Index 133

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