Commentary Magazine


WEB EXCLUSIVE: Rules of Engagement: From Bosnia to Afghanistan

A career military officer is typically less inclined than civilians to offer sweeping criticism of the rules of engagement (ROE) adopted for an operation. This is due to an ingrained understanding of the basic purpose of ROE, which is to enable our side to retain initiative and operational discretion. ROE exist to discourage situations created by the enemy from spiraling out of control, while allowing commanders the optimum latitude for what U.S. ROE call the “right and obligation of self defense.”

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