You are in charge of an infantry platoon. You and your platoon are deployed to Country X. Your mission is to train and advise a company of local security forces. The mission of the local security force is to conduct raids to capture or kill insurgents. The local security force has been battling the insurgents for over ten years. You are the first rotation of U.S. troops into Country X as part of the President’s much publicized train and advise program. You are allowed to accompany the local security force when it conducts raids. However, based upon the Status of Forces Agreement between the U.S. and Country X, you and your platoon must remain at the last covered and concealed position while the local security force locates, closes with, and destroys the insurgents.
This afternoon you and your platoon depart your forward operating base. You are due at the local security force compound by 1800 hours. You will meet with the Chief of the local security force, overnight at his compound, and accompany his company of fighters on a raid at dawn the next day. Enroute to the local security force compound your convoy is attacked. Your platoon sustains two killed and one wounded. Included among the two killed is Corporal “Hilarious” Smith, who was loved for his sense of humor, and Private “Mouth Breather” Jones who could always be depended upon to carry the heaviest loads.
After evacuating the dead and wounded you arrive at the local security force compound at 2200 hours. Your clothes smell of gunpowder and have multiple bloodstains on them. You go to meet with the Chief. As you walk into his headquarters you notice that there is a party going on. The Chief and his Officers are drinking alcohol and doing drugs. You notice some of the Officers departing the party with young women. They are going who-knows-where to do who-knows what. After taking another drink the Chief looks at you and says “Though I am sorry that you have lost some comrades I am pleased to see that America now understands our plight. Do not worry; tomorrow we will avenge your dead and wounded.”
The next morning your platoon accompanies the Chief and his company of fighters to a high point of land overlooking a village. The Chief says “Per the agreement between our two countries this is far as you go. My fighters and I will show you how we fight this war. The people who killed your comrades and their families are in that village. Wait here, we will handle it.” When you ask the Chief how he intends to conduct his raid the Chief responds “We will encircle the village and kill most of them. Some we may toy with before killing them. Some may join our ranks.” You look down and see women and children in the village as well as many armed military aged males dressed in a manner similar to the insurgents who attacked you the previous day. You quickly realize that the Chief’s raid will be conducted in a way that goes against U.S. values. You also realize that the Chief’s force outnumbers yours three to one and that if you were to try to stop him it is possible that his fighters would turn on you. Other U.S. forces are hours away from your position and the death of Hilarious and Mouth Breather are weighing heavily on your mind. The village is encircled and the Chief and his fighters are getting ready to begin their raid.
What now Lieutenant?