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Top Officer Sees Military Caution as Backfiring - Jim Michaels, USA Today.
Commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have been reluctant to launch more secret operations because of an excess of caution about violating military rules and international law, a top Army officer says. The tentative approach to "deception operations" has cost the U.S. military opportunities to weaken the enemy without firing a shot, said Army Lt. Gen. Michael Oates, commander of the Pentagon's task force to counter improvised explosive devices.
The anti-IED task force has advocated dismantling insurgent networks as an effective way to combat improvised explosive devices, or IEDs. Earlier this year, Marines in Afghanistan's Helmand province read announcements over a loudspeaker to trick insurgents into thinking their specially modified roadside bombs couldn't be found by U.S. minesweepers.
As a result, the insurgents didn't bother hiding them well and Marines were able to easily find the bombs, said Marine Maj. Don Caporale, an information operations officer. "We started finding all kinds of mines with this (modification), which, of course, was a complete hoax," Caporale said. Still, Oates said in an interview, "there's a Gordian knot of law, regulation, procedure and risk aversion. We have got to do some due diligence on this problem." ...
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