How America’s bureaucracy is killing our warfighters

Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!

How America’s bureaucracy is killing our warfighters (or throwing them in jail)

You’re forward deployed to the Afghanistan conducting kinetic operations against various insurgent cells in your AO, recently you’ve lost soldiers in your unit to IEDs planted along the route leading away from your FOB.

One day, watching an ISR feed you’re able to identify someone currently planting an IED next to a native’s house. There it is- hostile intent.

Still observing your target on ISR, you watch as he finishes burying the IED, gets back on his scooter (you know in your AO only insurgents use them as a mode of transportation) and rides back to his home- to fight another day.

Why didn’t you call for drone to come and liquefy our terrorist friend? Well, you did. Only the drone couldn’t get on station fast enough to strike while still planting the IED, and the lawyer from higher won’t let you strike on the ride back because “there is no current hostile intent displayed.”

The lawyer?

Incase you haven’t noticed, over the past few years there’s been a shift in the way of thinking in our government. Our door kickers and trigger pullers are no longer the ones with the authority to say who is “good” and who is “bad”. We’ve given that decision over to bureaucrats and lawyers, a vast majority of whom have never fought a war.

We’ve seen it time and time again- a Green Beret under investigation (and has since had his Silver Star revoked) for the killing of an at-the-time unarmed known IED maker; soldiers literally being reprimanded at JRTC for using the M2 in towns (the argument being “collateral damage is too high”); troops being killed by VBIEDs because gunner is worried about repercussions for firing on vehicles; the man on the scooter gets away because he isn’t CURRENTLY planting an IED.

It is nothing short of a disgrace that we send our soldiers to a foreign land and tell them to fight a war, but oh, by the way, we’re going to tie your hands behind your back. The modern day battlefield is an asymmetrical one, the enemy doesn’t wear a uniform and they follow no set of rules. Your average team leader makes more life-changing decisions in a single firefight than the entire disgrace of Washington politicians will all year, it’s time we let the adults get back to war fighting while the kids squabble over next year’s pay raise.


About the author: Andrew Farquharson is an Iraq Campaign veteran and an ex-cavalry scout currently living the dream in Newport, Rhode Island as a college student. Aside from writing for 11Bravos his hobbies include mountain climbing, shooting guns and convincing women they should date him. Comments or hate mail can be sent to or, follow him on Instagram @Lord_Farquharson