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He Service

Houston, Texas, United States
January 25, 2018

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War is not won alone on the blood of the enemy but on lifting the hearts and minds of those who we stand for. The American Army is the best trained and most proven Army in the world in tactics and winning battles. But winning fire fights is only a portion of the fight. The war is truly won when we bring our support and change to the Nations we take a stand for. With our capabilities and firepower we could win a fight in a few months with minimal US casualties, yet the catastrophes and bloodshed to the innocent as a result of this would win us nothing. Without bringing our values to the nation and proving to the people that we are there not only to kill, but to improve the quality of life of all those we are affecting then the result will only be deaths to both sides and no victory and change that we hoped to accomplish. Leaders at the closest level to the soldier need to maintain the highest order and discipline with their soldiers. If the squad leaders and team leaders are not holding themselves together in a disciplined military manner the bottom line soldiers will quickly crumble and deteriorate. Soldiers respect their team and squad leaders at a much more personal level than upper leadership can match, because these leaders are on the line with these soldiers training and fighting everyday. SGT Hensley clearly does not respect the simple orders and professionalism of the Army when he claims says that his soldiers do not go by the uniform standards when it is over a hundred and twenty degrees. SGT Hensley by doing so shows a great lack of discipline and order with his troops and rather than upholding the simple standards and orders of his company he taught his soldiers individualism and a VIP mentality. In a combat environment a lack of control allows soldiers to feel that they can do whatever they want and that the ROE does not apply to them. According to the ADP 1 “If leaders lack an ethical foundation, those consequences can adversely affect mission accomplishment.” This is exactly what happened with the soldiers under Hensley. His lack of control and leadership led to the murders of multiple Iraqi citizens without any hard evidence that they imposed a threat. Sergeant Hensley taught his men that it was okay to kill anyone that was within three hundred meters range of them. Hensley gave direct orders to kill what could've been friendly citizens of the Nation we are trying to defend. Sergeant Hensley did not feel that the Army’s method of fighting the war was effective and had a mentality that he was above the system and could change the tactics and mentality of the Army at his level because he felt that he knew best. Ethics and discipline must be enforced in the Army and if lower leadership is not upholding the standard than these type of casualties will occur and the lower leaders must be relieved from duty.

“Selfless service is an internalized value that determines the character of their time in the Army.” Rather than putting the mission first and the values that America is trying to instill within the Nation of Iraq Hensley thought only of himself and how he could keep himself alive without regard to human life. Instead of using traditional tactics Hensley was willing to use tactics that had such a high risk ratio that would not be approved by command, however by not making assessments of the combatives that Hensley decided to kill they could get within 300m of the enemy and be effective. While Hensley’s soldiers may have been effective at obtaining more kills as the chain of command wanted to see, the method of obtaining more kills was not ethical. Every round fired is owned by the soldier who fired that shot and they must be able to live everyday knowing that they made the right decision. “Sometimes it means standing firm and disagreeing with leadership on ethical grounds.” According to ADP 1. The soldier has an individual responsibility to deny these unethical orders and should be able to do so without fear of repercussion, yet the commander who gives an unethical order is as equally responsible as the soldier who fires the shot.

Sergeant Hensley had a war with the Iraqis and had a war with the American Army and he was successful at winning both. All of SGT Hensley’s men were made to be loyal and would do exactly as they were told and when they were told because they had a deep respect for him and they trusted him. SGT Hensley was so successful at this that nobody in his platoon even listened to the commanding officer and his standards were not enforced. Rather the soldiers were made to feel as if they were doing something that was revolutionary and changing the course of the war, as Hensley was successful at brainwashing his soldiers into not being concerned about the ethics of his orders but only focus on the results they were achieving. The extent to which Hensley acted out of line with military conduct was fully uncovered during a conversation between Hensley and Captain Levine. Captain Levine opened up a conversation with SGT Hensley, and brought up the subject matter of why his men did not wear body armor when it was the standard. Hensley replied to this that his men did not need body armor because anyone who is within three hundred meters of his men he is going to destroy. This is the moment that Captain Levine claims that “T hat's he realized he had a soldier who was not right mentally." The orders that SGT Hensley made were not made with full confidence of a threat perceived but rather for his own personal gain to win his platoon more kills. If leaders do not instill a sense of morale and Army ethics into their soldiers than ultimately the war will not be won. W ar is not won alone on the blood of the enemy but on lifting the hearts and minds of those who we stand for. In today’s modern combat zone the enemy does not wear a uniform and is not a trained combative out conducting patrols in the same manner that the American Army is. Rather the combatives often live amongst the population with the civilians that the American Army is fighting for. Without certain and highly accurate assessments or direct conflict from the enemy it is extremely easy for a soldier to commit murder rather than honorable kills for his nation. The day SGT Hensley shot a l-Janabi and other locals he claimed were combatives he and his men committed murder. These kills were not made on a certain assessment or from direct conflict, but out of his own desire to become the deadliest sniper in Iraq. The honorable sniper does not pride himself on numbers but his servitude and if he becomes the deadliest it is because he was blessed to be put in the situations to make those kills, and not by choice. SGT Hensley made his own battle field and if he wouldn't be given orders to make those kills he found a way to bring the war to himself. This does not represent the morale of the American Army or the American Nation. SGT Hensley fought for SGT Hensley and not the freedom and peace of the world.

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