Michael's Dispatches

More Army Red Cross Lies Exposed


04 June 2012


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  • This commment is unpublished.
    Rusty Shackleford · 9 years ago
    Biggest “Duh!” out there…

    “Removing the distinctive emblem and arming the aircraft will cause medical personnel to lose their protected status of the Geneva Convention; however, the current enemy does not abide by the accepted law of armed conflict.”

    Everyone with half a brain knows this, but there’s still pushback; Unbelievable.

    The messed up thing is that this was probably researched and put together by the Soldiers that actually do these missions and it fell on fell on deaf ears once it was elevated.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    PhilM · 9 years ago
    Slide 5 Bullet 7: "Medical aircraft…may not be the object of attack, but shall be respected by the Parties to the
    conflict, while flying at heights, at times and on routes specifically agreed upon between the Parties
    to the conflict concerned." (GC II, Chapter V, Art 9)

    Can anyone provide verified copies of any agreements made between any of the conflict parties? I would think that should be the start of any rational discussion of this misguided policy. Keep kicking the table, everyone - the vibrations are toppling their useless piles of delusions! Thank you Michael for keeping the pressure on.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Marty · 9 years ago
    If I'm reading this right, this issue arose back in Oct 08, and they still chose to do thier current practice? Seems like thay had a way to make it right a long time ago, but chose not to. Curious
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Dale Jelinek · 9 years ago
      Check out the details and timeline of this issue in the article published by MEDEVACmatters.org and republished here at http://www.michaelyon-online.com/word-games.htm. On the very same day - October 8, 2008 - you'll see that the Army Judge Advocate General's office issued an opinion specifically authorizing removing or covering the Red Crosses and arming MEDEVAC helicopters. Within 90 days the Army Surgeon General lied to the Deputy Chief of Staff when he stated that doing so was a violation of international law.

      So, yes - the Army Surgeon General CHOSE to not only ignore this legitimate life-saving option, but to deliberately mislead top Army officials about the JAG authorization to implement the changes to get an order issued to ban change.

      Curious as the decision to not arm the helicopters might be, I argue that the willingness of a Lt. General to lie to the Deputy Chief of Staff about FACTS - not opinions - without fear or repercussions is very troubling.

      The unwillingness of the Army Surgeons General over a decades long period of time to make decisions in favor of implementing changes that were documented as saving LOTS of lives speaks to an internal senior AMEDD leadership culture that places something(s) higher in priority than saving our wounded troops.

      I remind readers that the current Army Surgeon General has placed a very high priority in 2012 on getting a pedometer on every soldier's waistband. She is VERY proud to run the "world's 5th largest HMO".

      Is this the time to ask the Veterinarian sitting at the table of senior advisers to the Army Surgeon General to relinquish his seat to someone representing MEDEVAC? Or maybe the Family Medicine representative could step aside during times of war? How about the immunologist or dermatologist? The OB/GYN or the pediatrician? The artillery officer? OK then, can we agree that the sociologist is less important in period with more than a decade of uninterrupted war than a MEDEVAC/truama specialist? This is the **ARMY** first, not an HMO - right?
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Mike Barnett · 9 years ago
    What is it with powerpoint presentations that make poeple write them to a 4th grade level? The moment you dumb them down, anybody who notices they are dumbed down will tend to ignore them, while anybody too dumb to notice will just figure that 'someone else' has got the problem under control. In other words, NOT A DAMN THING EVER GETS DONE.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      Ron Rogers · 9 years ago
      Because they are written for general officers who actually don't understand the subject being briefed. It used to be don't kid a kidder. Now, it's bullshit a bullshitter.

      I assume that this is all about funding and turf and has nothing to do with saving soldiers. Do these general officers actually believe the Geneva Convention has any bearing against a non-state enemy. It's not even relevant to WWII or Korea. Either they are abysmally ignorant or there is a hidden reason we do not understand. BTW, medics have armed themselves since WWII.

      If general officers believe their bullshit, I suggest that they remove their body armor, put on a Red Cross armband, and take off their sidearm. Then get in a Red Cross marked helicopter,; fly below 2200' AGL and land at a Dustoff site and join the ground troops. On the way back, he/she probably won't be aware what they are flying home on.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    1IDVET · 9 years ago
    Seems to be lacking all across the board on this one.

    When will the Army get its head out of their ass?

    They've known since Vietnam that those red crosses are nothing more than a target. Way past due on fixing this one.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    George · 9 years ago
    The brass needs to think of consistency. Are they not aware that just because the treaty states that markings and disarmanent is required for ambulances claiming protection does not mean that evacuation can ONLY be carried out by such ambulances?If a vehicle transporting wounded soldiers is required to be marked with a red cross and unarmed, does this mean that every MRAP, Bradley, Hummer, etc needs to be marked and disarmed - after all, aren't they all potentially used by a platoon medica to medivac wounded soldiers? How is this different from removing the cross from helicopters and arming them? If a slick comes in to pick up a squad and there are wounded troops, do they think it is supposed to leave them behind because they have a door gunner and no cross? Are they aware of the nature of the enemy? - display of a cross is MORE likely to draw fire from a Talib or AQ fighter because it is a "Crusader" symbol. Are they not aware that the enemy is not a signatory to the Convention or any of the annexes?

    It sounds like command is falling victim to the same Kool-aid drinking that thinks the US is bound by Annexes to the Conventions it did not sign regarding guerrillas, and in any case do not apply to those who do not mark themselves with a distinctive insignia and who are not themselves signatories. Frankly, we could legally execute summarily most Talib/AQ fighters on the battlefield without committing a war crime under the conventions, yet the Kool-Aid drinkers claim Gitmo is a war crime.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Serge · 9 years ago
    Red Cross issue revolves around one central piece it never touches, namely Cost Efficiency!! Let it never slip your mind. Afghan campaign is about cash flowing. Cash is essential.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Patriot22 · 9 years ago
    I would like to say this is indicative of 1stCAV, however, this is Army wide beauracracy at it's best. It will never change because there are those who make decisions and there are those who actually put their lives on the line....and ne'er the two shall meet. Operators get the job done regardless of the brass that hangs around the flag pole showing off their shoulder boards. The job might be a little easier at times if they understood "logic" and supported the mission on the ground. Where are the General Patton's of the Army? We need "leaders" who fight to win wars, not Generals who stammer for status. But what do I know......I'm just a low life quiet professional.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Discord · 9 years ago
    If you look at many other nations and their medevac, most of them are armed and bearing no crosses whatsoever.

    Sweden for instance, have their medevac helicopters armed, and no crosses. And they are not flying into half as dangerous zones as their American counterparts.

    After all, we Swedes have usually been a pain in the arse (Pardon the expression) when it comes to being politically correct, but if we can fly our medevac choppers with no crosses and armed, there is about zero reasons that our American counterparts should not. Because what should matter is saving lives.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Greg L · 9 years ago
    Big rip. The proposal was to arm one protective escorting (chase) helicopter and simultaneously remove the signage indicating it is a protected medivac, thus making it fair game for engagement by the enemy.

    There is no lie being proposed here and the memo makes it clear they looked towards international law when considering the move.

    What would have been illegal (and a lie) is if they armed the escort helicopter AND kept the red cross emblem.
    • This commment is unpublished.
      MIchael Yon Author · 9 years ago

      Understood your point, thank you. A separate and very important issue is that top brass have been clearly saying that ground commanders have not asked to arm any MEDEVAC birds. Obviously this has been proven false. They have asked and been denied.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tommy · 9 years ago
    From everything I have read here, NOBODY wants to arm anything that carries a red cross marking. The fight is to remove the red cross so they can be armed and save lives.

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