Monday, January 16, 2012

Rules of Engagement

Had a chance to talk to two different military men on temporary leave from Afghanistan at the gun show this past weekend.   They didn’t know each other but they each told the same interesting story.

We’ve all heard about rules of engagement.  They define when a person can open fire in a war zone.  The rules are designed to help the military create goodwill with the population.  

Some make good sense:  Only women can search women.  Our police try to follow that rule as well.  Other rules, well, I can only shake my head in confusion.  For example, troops can fire at an insurgent if they catch him placing an IED but not if insurgents are walking away from an area where explosives have been laid.

Given these complex rules, you can imagine many Afghanis know how far they can push it with impunity.  

Traveling in the bazaars or between locations you’re likely going to be confronted.  The Afghans know when you can and can’t shoot, but you don’t know how far they want to take it.  However the rules say nothing about being cut with a knife.

“The sound of a switch blade opening alarms them,” the first told me.  “If you want to protect yourself and not get into a fight carry an auto knife.  They hear it and most of them will back off.”

Worth its weight in gold

The other said the same.  “They come up to you and put their fingers in the muzzle of your machine gun.  They know your limits from the rules of engagement.”  The second man shrugged.  “But take out your Beretta or knife and they’re not so sure.”  He gave me a wolfish grin. “See, the rules don’t say anything about knives.”

So if you’re heading to Afghanistan, get a quality automatic knife to carry with you.  You might want to add a good fixed blade.  A fixed blade will always be faster, surer and stronger, but it’s silent out of the sheath. 

Sub hilt fighter - custom made by Torson

There is nothing like the comforting clack of your auto locking open on a dark night.

Benchmade Auto Rift - doesn't look like an auto, but pull back on the axis lock....

Of course, you’re in harm’s way so you may have to use it.

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