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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am tired of hearing people saying "Its against the Geneva Convention to use the .50BMG on personnel, it can only be used against equipment" Maybe I will start carrying a copy of the convention around with me. Anyway, it was the Hague Convention that dealt with prohibited weapons, the 50 is not mentioned (it wasn't invented then?)

It is prohibited by Army regulation to shoot a 50 cal. at a human target. With that said shooting equipment is another matter all together. Equipment could be construed as a radio, weaponry, cell phone; I think you get the picture.

This is one crazy country, sometimes!

Just Ranting!
:cool:
 

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Never heard somebody say that about the convention and the .50 cal. Only the usual HP and ball talk.

It is prohibited by Army regulation to shoot a 50 cal. at a human target.
Is that a joke? Am I missing something? Even if that's true, they do it anyway, right? *confused*
 

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I had never heard that either, and I sure can't find any reference to it. I'm sure it would come as a surprise to the snipers who are presently using Mr. Barrett's wonderful invention to great effect in both theaters of combat.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It is NOT, repeat NOT, against any current military rules of engagement to shoot at humans with a .50, so long as the other ROE are followed. I do not know where these stupid myths get started, but they even infect the guys doing this for real. There's a big poster in our Joint Logistics Center here that says something like "IT IS OKAY TO USE A .50 CAL ON THE ENEMY!"
 

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There was a photo going around of an "enemy combatant", likely of Middle Eastern heritage, whose hair was neatly parted with what was said to be a .50. I didn't buy it, having seen what a .50 actually does to human tissue, since he still had a head to be parted.
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Well ... it's certainly OK with me .... but .... there have been some 'law' issues raised in the past - not sure IF they've been cleared up yet, or not - probably not.

Here's where that 'myth' comes from.

On 2 January 2005, the Washington Post ran an article entitled "For U.S. Solders, A Frustrating and Fulfilling Mission." (1) That article included a photograph with the following caption: "U.S. Army snipers took over the top of this nearly 1,200 year-old spiral minaret at a Samarra mosque after the streets below became the scene of frequent attacks by insurgents in the restless city." (2) The article also stated that:

Soldiers occupy this vantage point 24 hours a day, working in pairs
for 12 hours at a time. An intersection below had become the scene
of almost incessant attacks, and American commanders decided that
placing snipers with .50-caliber rifles and powerful scopes in this
circle of stone 10 feet in diameter, 180 feet above the ground,
could deter insurgents. (3)

The characterization of this operational vantage point as a 1,200 year old minaret or mosque clearly raises concerns that this object falls within the category of cultural property. Assuming this minaret does in fact satisfy the definition of protected cultural property, was its use as a vantage point improper? The initial answer appears to be "no." In fact, the use may very well have been permissible. The equation that must be used to reach that answer is complex, and reflects the challenge of the source, scope, and effect of law of war-related proscriptions in the current operational environment. The purpose of this article is to use this incident to illustrate several of the legal issues related to determining the appropriate "rule of decision" for the employment of means and methods of warfare within the context of current combat operations.

The Legal Equation

The minaret incident highlights a number of operational law issues, almost all of which transcend analysis of this specific issue. These issues include the impact of the status of the conflict on the analysis of applicable rules of decision; the impact of Department of Defense (DOD) policy (4) related to the law of war on the same issue; domestic legal principles related to the applicability of treaty obligations; (5) and ultimately, the specific law of war rules related to the use of religious and cultural property for military purposes. (6) Each of these issues is addressed below.

Impact of Conflict Status on Legal Analysis

Perhaps the most complex issue related to analysis of this situation is determining the applicable law of war obligations. Resolution of this issue requires determining whether the conduct occurred during the course of an armed conflict within the meaning of international law, and if so, the nature of that conflict. (7) These determinations will dictate whether, as a matter of law, the law of war is applicable to the situation, and if so, what provision of that law provides the relevant rule of decision. (8)

The question of whether military operations in Iraq qualify as an armed conflict under international law, and if so, whether that armed conflict is an international armed conflict has become far more complex since the establishment of the interim government of Iraq on 28 June 2004. (9) Before that date, there was a general consensus that military operations in Iraq qualified as an international armed conflict consistent with the standard reflected in Common Article 2 of the Geneva Conventions, (10) either as a result of conflict or belligerent occupation. The initial phases of Operation Iraqi Freedom clearly involved hostilities between the armed forces of the United States and Iraq. A period of belligerent occupation followed the conclusion of major combat operations. During these phases, the full range of law of war provisions applied to the conduct of military operations by U.S. forces. (11)

The establishment of the interim Iraqi government marked a restoration of Iraqi sovereign authority and a termination of belligerent occupation. (12) While this shift in authority had minimal impact on the nature of the operations conducted by U.S. and multi-national forces in Iraq, it did, arguably, result in removing military operations in Iraq from the rubric of international armed conflict. (13) Although U.S. and multi-national forces continued (and continue) to conduct combat operations in Iraq, these operations were not directed against the armed forces of Iraq, or even against militia groups or volunteer groups forming a part of those armed forces. (14) Instead, they were, and remain, directed against armed dissident groups opposed to both the presence of Coalition forces in Iraq and the Iraqi government. In addition, the transfer of sovereignty back to an Iraqi government ostensibly terminated, from a formal legal perspective, the period of belligerent occupation, even though U.S. and Coalition forces continued to perform many of the military functions associated with that occupation. (15) No matter how similar the tasks and missions may be to those conducted during belligerent occupation, the restoration of Iraqi sovereignty, and the absence of conflict between the armed forces of Iraq and Coalition forces, are the decisive factors in analyzing the nature of the conflict in Iraq. (16)
:cool:

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m ... _n15390234
 

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So, some of the analysts weren't too far off when they spoke of our soldiers having to take a lawyer on patrol with them. Jeeez! Never -- NEVER -- did I think that someday I would look back and yearn for the simplicity and straight-forwardness of the Viet Nam War!
 
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