Lieberman: Rules of engagement protecting civilians ‘hurt morale’
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) called on President Barack Obama and the top general in Afghanistan, Gen. David Petraeus, to “loosen” the rules of engagement put in place to lessen civilian casualties.
Sen. Joe Lieberman on Sunday urged Gen. David Petraeus to change the rules of engagement “as soon as possible” for U.S. troops in Afghanistan, saying the strict policy has “hurt morale” among American military.
The Connecticut independent senator, speaking from Kabul on “Fox News Sunday,” said the incoming commander told him he was “committed” to reviewing the rules. Those rules, put in place by outgoing Gen. Stanley McChrystal, are classified but generally aim to limit civilian casualties by prohibiting troops from firing unless they’re shot at — or from launching bomb or artillery attacks when civilians are near the target.
Lieberman acknowledged that civilian casualties damage the counterinsurgency campaign U.S.-led troops are trying to wage, but said the policy has also put American troops in harm’s way.
“Ultimately, we’ve got to be concerned about the safety of our American troops here,” Lieberman said. He said he’s heard stories about troops having to wait too long to get air support when under fire. “We can’t let that happen.”
This video is from Fox’s Fox News Sunday, broadcast July 4, 2010.