understand the nature and conduct of your enemy as well
the enemy and the people are one and the same, then the
questions posed above will serve for both. If not, you
as the civilian populace, Is the government of the
need to ask the same questions about the enemy. You
country bound by the Geneva conventions and The
must know both the military and nonmilitary
Hague resolutions? Will the government prosecute you
characteristics of the enemy.
for a crime against civilians or against the enemy for a
violation of the rules of war? Even if the government
does not comply with the rules of war in any way, your
obligation as a Seabee is to conduct yourself under the
There is no need for you to know the long and
laws of armed conflict that you are taught.
detailed history of a country, except as it relates to why
you are there. Historical circumstances involving
RELATIONS OF THE UNITED
politics, religion, or cultural values may have led to your
STATES WITH THE COUNTRY
being in the country. You need to have knowledge of,
and be sensitive to, the historical circumstances
dictating U.S. Armed Forces involvement in the country.
The relations of the United States' with the country
Pay attention when you receive briefings on these
that you are entering may be good, bad, or somewhere
matters. Read what you can find on the subject
between these two extremes. The government of the
(newspapers, periodicals, etc.). Knowing the history of
country may want the Seabees to be there, but some of
the country as it relates to your involvement may serve
its people may not. You may encounter situations or
you well if a situation exists where you have to decide
actions from the enemy, from the government, or from
what action(s) to take in a wartime situation under the
the general population that will try your patience. They
laws of armed conflict.
may treat you as "Yankee, Go Home!" If so, you must
maintain your self-control and not violate the principles
you have learned under the laws of armed conflict. You
should be familiar with our relations with the country
Is the country poor or wealthy? Does it have wealth
concentrated in a few people and enormous pockets of
you are entering. This knowledge can serve you well in
poverty among the general populace? You need
preventing the creation of a situation where you might
answers to these questions because such conditions may
violate the rules of war.
contribute to the way you deal with the people and the
Basically, what you have just read can be summed
enemy of the country. Current economic conditions are
up in eight words: Know the country into which you are
also important. (These conditions include growth,
going. That is as important as knowing terrain features
inflation, deflation, unemployment, poverty, etc.).
and enemy tactics.
Knowledge of the economic condition of a country can
lead to an understanding of how the people and the
Along with knowledge of the country in which you
enemy of the country might behave toward you. It might
are operating, make sure you understand your mission
also assist you in preventing a violation of the rules of
fully. Because while conducting your mission, a
situation may develop where you will have an
opportunity to succeed or fail in your practice of the laws
of armed conflict.
Knowing the alliances, Allies, traditional enemies
When you complete this chapter, you should have
(if any), and the role of the country in international
sufficient knowledge of what to do and what not to do
organizations (for example, the United Nations) can
under most combat situations. This knowledge protects
provide you with an understanding of what to expect.
you from violating the laws of armed conflict. When you
Will the country comply with the laws of armed conflict
encounter a situation where you are unsure of what
that you fight under, or can you expect behavior contrary
action(s) to take in carrying out your mission, get
to your training?
clearance from the next higher authority before
continuing. For example, when military action by you
might endanger the lives of some local civilians and you
are not sure how to proceed, be certain to get approval
Knowing something about the nature of the national
for your next action from the next higher authority.
government in a country may better prepare you to