- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 22, 2007

Will Fenty really challenge the gun-ban ruling? I do not believe that Mayor Adrian Fenty truly intends to appeal the Parker v. the District of Columbia decision, which protested the District gun ban (“City to appeal overturning of handgun ban,” Metropolitan, Tuesday).

It appears to me that Mr. Fenty is trying to wiggle out of the dilemma that he has gotten himself into.

He will not take a chance in the Supreme Court, and he risks the ire of Judge Laurence Silberman of the D.C. Court of Appeals if he does not appeal.

In issuing the stay that allows the District to continue to enforce its gun regulation, Judge Silberman observed: “I assume it is understood that the District intends to petition for review in the Supreme Court. If it did not so intend, in my view, it would be inappropriate for it to have sought the stay.”

I have read the briefs that Mr. Fenty and his council have filed asking for an extension until September 5 to actually file the appeal. I think it is certain to be turned down and is a transparent ruse to allow him to shirk his responsibility to his constituents and leave the District in the lurch.

TAVIS STEEN

Kimberly, Idaho

Restrictive rules of engagement

“Deadly hesitation” (Inside the Ring, Friday) illuminated and reinforced a frightening and costly failure of U.S. war-fighting policy.

Granted, the soldiers at the Army JAG’s Legal Center and School in Charlottesville have a difficult job deciphering the legalities of warfare, but I’d like to know if the officer that instructed “we must hesitate and be careful when we pull the trigger” has ever heard a shot fired in anger or led an infantry platoon into combat. I doubt it. Hesitation in combat equals death. Further, if JAG officers were attached to combat units, I guarantee the developers of rules of engagement (ROE) would have a different perspective of the subject.

To most young soldiers and Marines, ROE is confusing and vague. It is not as cut and dry as some would think, and the type of apparent instruction performed in Charlottesville is detrimental and disconcerting to our warriors in the field. You cannot expect your war fighters in life or death situations to simultaneously eliminate the enemy and care about their “hearts and minds.” In real life combat, you cannot have your cake and eat it too.

We must realize strict adherence to rigid ROE standards, while well intentioned, is near sighted. I believe ROE is useful in certain situations. I understand and commend the United States attempt to win “hearts and minds.” It is a crucial and often understated necessity in war. However, although misfortunate, collateral damage will inevitably occur in war. It is only through extensive target acquisition training that unintended casualties can be reduced. The biggest blunder in developing ROE standards is expecting our young heroes to fight with their hands tied behind their back. Let them perform their duties with both hands.

AARON FERREIRA

Former US Marine

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