TMLC Calls New Medal for “Courageous Restraint” A Dangerous Idea

imag403ANN ARBOR, MI –A British proposal to grant medals for “Courageous Restraint” to troops in Afghanistan who avoid the use of deadly force at a risk to themselves is making the rounds in NATO.  No final decision has been made on the medal, although General Stanley A. McChrystal, U. S. Commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, recently stated a new medal isn’t the answer.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, a national public interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, called the idea ridiculous and dangerous.

Said Thompson, “Our troops are already doing an admirable job following the Rules of Engagement (ROE).  But when the Taliban purposely uses civilians as human shields, civilian casualties are a tragic, but not uncommon result.  The proposed medal will only cause the Taliban to increase their reliance on this cowardly tactic.  It will encourage U.S. soldiers to do nothing in the face of danger.  And it will lead to the institutionalization of inaction.  We need a military that has a bias for action, not inaction.”

The Thomas More Law Center played an instrumental role in the successful defense of Marine LtCol Jeffrey Chessani against criminal charges arising from the so-called November 19, 2005 “Haditha Massacre.”

In that case, a Marine convoy was ambushed by insurgents after a roadside bomb went off destroying a Humvee, killing one Marine, and seriously injuring two others.  The Marines immediately received fire from the ambushing insurgents, who were shooting from nearby, civilian-occupied homes.

A four-man fire team responded as they were trained: they cleared several houses occupied by the armed insurgents.  In the ensuing room-by-room, house-by-house gun battle, 8 insurgents and several civilians were killed.  For their obvious heroism, the four men and LtCol Chessani were rewarded with criminal courts-marital.

Continued Thompson, “We can’t have soldiers hesitating at a crucial moment when facing the enemy.  It could mean their death, or the death of their comrades.    Ultimately, the ‘restraint’ promoted by this award will cost American lives.”

Listed below are several articles discussing the Courageous Restraint Medal:

• Rules Of Engagement To Die For – Strategy Page
• Hold fire, earn a medal – Navy Times May 12, 2010
• McChrystal: No need for a different medal –  Navy Times May 13, 2010
• Medal for “Courageous Restraint” – Rush Limbaugh
• Senior British Army officer wants soldiers in Afghanistan to be awarded for fighting with ‘courageous restraint’ – Daily Mail (UK)

The Thomas More Law Center defends and promotes America’s Christian heritage and moral values, including the religious freedom of Christians, time-honored family values, and the sanctity of human life.  It supports a strong national defense and an independent and sovereign United States of America.  The Law Center accomplishes its mission through litigation, education, and related activities.  It does not charge for its services.  The Law Center is supported by contributions from individuals, corporations and foundations, and is recognized by the IRS as a section 501(c)(3) organization.  You may reach the Thomas More Law Center at (734) 827-2001 or visit our website at

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