Military Decisions Must Reflect Professional Values, Casey Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, June 6, 2006 The commander of American and coalition forces in Iraq reminded U.S. servicemembers in a letter published yesterday that their conduct must reflect the law as well as professional military values.
"Discipline, accountability, and adherence to legal principles governing armed conflict are fundamental to every professional military organization," Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr. wrote in a letter to all U.S. servicemembers that was published yesterday on Multinational Force Iraq's official Web site.
Proper conduct by U.S. military members reflects "the primacy of law and exemplify ethical conduct in operations, both of which are central to our campaign against insurgents and terrorists in Iraq," Casey pointed out. Rules of engagement employed by U.S. military forces "are concise guidance on lawful and proportionate use of force during all operations," Casey wrote.
He said rules of engagement "ensure that our forces can accomplish their assigned mission while safeguarding noncombatants, and while exercising the inherent right of self-defense." He observed that military leaders "are required to make difficult decisions, often in dangerous and ambiguous situations." Yet, any decisions "must reflect our professional values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage," the four-star general wrote.
American servicemembers' sacrifices in Iraq over the past three years, Casey wrote, have "brought the Iraqi people freedom, a democratically elected government, and a chance for a new future."
As Iraqis embark on a new era of democratic governance based on the rule of law, U.S. forces will "renew our commitment to uphold our professional military values," Casey said.
"Guided by these principles, we will assist the Iraqis in prevailing over the terrorists and their allies that threaten their future unity, security and prosperity," he concluded.