In Dili, we often spent time with two colonels from Australia. Each night was entertaining and filled with laughter.
On one evening, things turned a bit more serious and they told us about past missions, in particular the rules of engagement. One told a story when he was perched in a tower in Mogadishu, Somalia. One of his snipers witnessed a young man beating a girl and then ripping her clothes off. As he kneeled to the ground to rape her, his life was taken. The sniper shot him in the chest. The young girl immediately jumped-up, took the man’s donkey and rode off. In Somalia, the military had orders to use lethal force if they witnessed specific crimes, including rape.
The rules of engagement changed just months later after the Blackhawk Down fiasco. His platoon was sent to Rwanda for the genocide. On multiple occasions they were forced to watch thousands slaughtered and were unable to lift a finger. They were ordered to not use any force for any crime.