Green on Blue
Green on blue is a term that may not be familiar to a lot of civilians. In the military, we are here to help. That’s what it was from the beginning of OIF and OEF. U.S. and coalition forces were in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries to help rid the world of terrorism. As we have for many wars, we trained other countries’ military and civilians to defend themselves from terrorist attacks.
When we arrived in Afghanistan in 2001, the country was oppressed by terrorist organizations like the Taliban who had thrived and lived in that country for decades. In Iraq, it was Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The United States has always taken the lead in Foreign Internal Diplomacy, utilized by our special forces teams. We have spent millions of dollars training and mentoring other countries’ military to defend themselves and their country against any insurgency.
The big problem we have run into is Green on Blue attacks. This is where Green, or neutral, forces attack Blue, or allied, forces. This was a major problem in Afghanistan where the country’s military attacked U.S. and coalition forces as well as the civilian forces we were training in military tactics. In 2011, there were more military and civilian contractors killed by Green on Blue attacks then by any other means.
How and Why Green on Blue Attacks Happen?
It will always be a danger when training other countries to defend themselves, especially if they don’t necessarily want you there. What we found out in Afghanistan with the use of special equipment, such as eye scans and finger printing, is that many of the people we were training were linked or had been former members of terrorist organizations. You must ask yourself then, why would you train them? That is the easy part. You would rather train them to fight with you then have to defend yourself against them. You also have to understand that many of these individuals were forced into fighting with terrorist organizations or risked being killed or putting their family members in danger.
How to Prevent Green on Blue Attacks
The first and most important way to defend yourself against these attacks is to understand and respect the country’s culture and citizens. In Afghanistan, the main subject you have to understand is their religious practices. For many people in the United States, religion is only practiced on Sundays. It is by far different in Afghanistan. To Afghans, religion is their way of life, and they observe it strictly.
The other way to prevent yourself from these attacks is to not constantly oppose a threat with awareness and military communication. While at Camp Griffin in Afghanistan in 2011, we trained Afghan Forces in infantry and EOD tactics. I witnessed firsthand the major differences between their culture and ours. We had to be constantly alert for insider attacks, but we did not walk around with our weapons in a “red status” while doing so. You have to take a moment and think, how would I feel about being trained by a military that has invaded my country? You have to treat them with the same respect and dignity you would want them to show you or one of your soldiers. If you’re constantly opposing a threat, they may feel threatened as well. You also have to be careful of what and how you say things to the people of other countries. They may not understand what you said or what your laughing about.
Ultimately, your purpose is to teach and train their military to defend their own country so you may return to yours safely. Keep in mind that what you teach and train people in another country may prevent an attack from happening here in the United States.