A Tactical Ethic: Moral Conduct in the Insurgent Battlespace

Naval Institute Press
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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.
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IN combating terror, America can no longer depend on its conventional military superiority and the use of sophisticated technology. We are fighting guerrilla wars, against insurgents hidden in remote regions, often deep among the local population. In battles such as these, squadrons of billion-dollar bombers and naval fleets mean much less than on-the-ground intelligence and the ability to organize local forces. That’s why, more than ever before, we need men like those of the Army Special Forces—the legendary Green Berets.
In Chosen Soldier, Dick Couch—a former Navy SEAL widely admired for his books about SEAL training and operations—offers an unprecedented view of the training of the Army Special Forces warrior. Each year, several thousand enlisted men and several hundred officers volunteer for Special Forces training; less than a quarter of those who apply will complete the course. Chosen Soldier spells out in fascinating detail the arduous regimen these men undergo—the demanding selection process and grueling field exercises, the high-level technical training and intensive language courses, and the simulated battle problems that test everything from how well they gather operational intelligence to their skills at negotiating with volatile, often hostile, local leaders.
Green Berets are expected to be deadly in combat, yes, but their responsibilities go far beyond those of other Special Operations fighters; they’re taught to operate in foreign cultures, often behind enemy lines; to recruit, train, and lead local forces; to gather intelligence in hostile territory; to forge bonds across languages and cultures. They must not only be experts in such fields as explosives, communications, engineering, and field medicine, but also be able to teach those skills to others. Each and every Green Beret must function as tactical combat leader, negotiator, teacher, drill sergeant, and diplomat.
These tasks require more than just physical prowess; they require a unique mix of character, intelligence, language skills, and—most of all—adaptability. It’s no wonder that the Green Berets’ training regimen is known as the hardest in the world. Drawing on his unprecedented access to the closed world of Army Special Forces training, Dick Couch paints a vivid, intimate portrait of these extraordinary men and the process that forges America’s smartest, most versatile, and most valuable fighting force.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Naval Institute Press
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Published on
Jul 10, 2013
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Pages
160
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ISBN
9781612514208
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / Afghan War (2001-)
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In America’s battle against al-Qaeda and their allies, the goal of the Navy SEALs is to be the best guns in the fight—stealthy, effective, professional, and lethal. Here for the first time is a SEAL insider’s battle history of these Special Operations warriors in the war on terrorism.

“Down range” is what SEALs in Afghanistan and Iraq call their area of operations. In this new mode of warfare, “down range” can refer to anything from tracking roving bands of al-Qaeda on a remote mountain trail in Afghanistan to taking down an armed compound in Tikrit and rousting holdouts from Saddam Hussein’s regime. It could mean interdicting insurgents smuggling car-bomb explosives over the Iraqi-Syrian border or silently boarding a freighter on the high seas at night to enforce an embargo. In other words, “down range” could be anywhere, anytime, under any conditions.

In Down Range, author Dick Couch, himself a former Navy SEAL and CIA case officer, uses his unprecedented access to bring the reader firsthand accounts from the warriors in combat during key missions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Couch creates a pulse-pounding, detailed narrative of the definitive engagements of this war, while painting an unusually intimate portrait of these warriors in the field. The performance of the SEALs in difficult, changing environments—in the heat of the Afghan desert, in the snow-packed Hindu Kush, on the high seas, and in the urban chaos of Baghdad—has been nothing short of extraordinary. The SEALs, coordinating with other American forces, the CIA, and foreign special operations units like the Polish GROM, have once more shown their genius for improvisation and capacity for courageous action in leading the fight against this new and vicious enemy.

The first battle history of its kind, Down Range is a riveting close-up of some of America’s finest warriors in action against a deadly foe.



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From the Hardcover edition.
This instant New York Times bestseller—“a jaw-dropping, fast-paced account” (New York Post) recounts SEAL Team Operator Robert O’Neill’s incredible four-hundred-mission career, including the attempts to rescue “Lone Survivor” Marcus Luttrell and abducted-by-Somali-pirates Captain Richard Phillips, and which culminated in the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist—Osama bin Laden.

In The Operator, Robert O’Neill describes his idyllic childhood in Butte, Montana; his impulsive decision to join the SEALs; the arduous evaluation and training process; and the even tougher gauntlet he had to run to join the SEALs’ most elite unit. After officially becoming a SEAL, O’Neill would spend more than a decade in the most intense counterterror effort in US history. For extended periods, not a night passed without him and his small team recording multiple enemy kills—and though he was lucky enough to survive, several of the SEALs he’d trained with and fought beside never made it home.

“Impossible to put down…The Operator is unique, surprising, a kind of counternarrative, and certainly the other half of the story of one of the world’s most famous military operations…In the larger sense, this book is about…how to be human while in the very same moment dealing with death, destruction, combat” (Doug Stanton, New York Times bestselling author). O’Neill describes the nonstop action of his deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, evokes the black humor of years-long combat, brings to vivid life the lethal efficiency of the military’s most selective units, and reveals details of the most celebrated terrorist takedown in history. This is “a riveting, unvarnished, and wholly unforgettable portrait of America’s most storied commandos at war” (Joby Warrick).
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