Following the success of his recent book on Navy SEALs in Iraq, The Sheriff of Ramadi, bestselling author and combat veteran Dick Couch now examines the importance of battlefield ethics in effectively combating terrorists without losing the battle for the hearts of the local population. A former SEAL who led one of the only successful POW rescue operations in Vietnam, Couch warns that the mistakes made in Vietnam forty years ago are being repeated in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the stakes are even higher now. His book takes a critical look at the battlefield conduct of U.S. ground-combat units fighting insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan. Since the prize of the fight on the modern battlefield is the people, he warns every death has a consequence. Every killing has both strategic and moral significance for U.S. warriors.
From his unique and qualified perspective, Couch examines the sources and issues that can lead to wrong conduct on the battlefield, and explains how it comes about and what can be done to correct it. He considers the roles of command intent and the official rules of engagement, but his primary focus is on ethical conduct at the squad and platoon level. Tactical ethics, according to the author's definition, is the moral and ethical armor that should accompany every American warrior into battle, and these standards apply to the engaged unit as well as to the individual. A harsh critic of immoral combat tactics, Couch offers realistic measures to correct these potentially devastating errors. He argues that as a nation, we must do all we can to protect our soldiers' humanity, for their sake, so they can return from service with honor, and for our sake as a people and for our standing in the world.
Dick Couch is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and served with the Navy Underwater Demolition and SEAL Teams in Vietnam. He is the author of twelve other books, including The Warrior Elite, Chosen Soldier and SEAL Team One. A resident of Ketchum, ID he is a frequent guest on radio and TV talk shows. He has lectured the Air Force Academy, the Naval Special Warfare Center, the JFK Special Forces Center and School, the FBI Academy, the Naval Postgraduate School, The Joint Special Operations University and The Academy Leadership Forum. Recently he served as adjunct professor of Ethics at the U.S. Naval Academy.
Praise for A Tactical Ethic:
“Those with a particular interest in coast defense will be pleased to find so much of this book deals with the siege of Corregidor, and those familiar with the subject will find that the subject, to include the coast artillery, is treated with more accuracy than is usually the case. The author is a retired army officer, and this appears to be his first book, which makes his narrative skill all the more impressive. In addition, the m aps are sufficient in number and excellent in quality. This book makes a major contribution to our understanding of the fall of the Philippines, and of Corregidor in particular, and is an absolute must for anyone interested in this campaign. It is a first-rate book, very well written, and is highly recommended.”
— The Coast Defense Journal, February 2012
"On today's complex battlefields, a warrior's moral armor is more important than ever. Counterinsurgencies are waged at the tactical level, where the ethical behavior of sergeants and lieutenants decides whether we win the argument for the local population's trust and loyalty. How we treat captured fighters, how much we risk the safety of bystanders, and how accountable we are for own moral failures determine whether we succeed or not. A Tactical Ethic drives home the life-or-death importance of building warriors who are as disciplined and compassionate as they are aggressive and loyal."
– Craig M. Mullaney, author of the New York Times bestseller The Unforgiving Minute: A Soldier's Education
"Dick Couch is a warrior. He is also an expert and an ardent student of the ethics of those who go into harm's way. A Tactical Ethic offers his observations and insights on the challenges our warriors face today. His ROE—or Rules of Ethics—is a must read for all who enter the battle space—or who ask others to do so."
– Vice Admiral Cutler Dawson (Ret.) USN