British Warn Americans About "Shoot First-Ask Questions Later" Policy In Iraq
It looks like there is a split forming within the Coalition on how to deal with Iraqi citizens. British troops, based on their decades of experience learning from their mistakes in Northern Ireland, have adopted a graduated response model in applying force to deal with possible threats against their troops in southern Iraq. The Americans on the other hand, have maintained a maximum force, "shoot first, ask questions later" model in dealing with potential threats. And according to Sunday’s Telegraph newspaper in Great Britain today, the British senior command tried to warn their American coalition partners late last month that their maximum force response strategy was likely to keep the United States bogged down in Iraq for years to come.
British defence chiefs have warned United States military commanders in Iraq to change their rules for opening fire or face becoming bogged down in a terrorist war for a decade or more.
The Telegraph has learnt that the warning was issued last month in response to a series of incidents that led to the deaths of Iraqi civilians, mainly at checkpoints, after soldiers opened fire in the mistaken belief that they were being attacked by suicide bombers.
A British officer said that some of the tactics employed by American forces would not be approved by British commanders.
And what was the response from the Americans?
"I explained that their tactics were alienating the civil population and could lengthen the insurgency by a decade. Unfortunately, when we explained our rules of engagement which are based around the principle of minimum force, the US troops just laughed."