Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Killing the Dead

Let's be clear here. During a time of war:

It is illegal to shoot civilians.
It is illegal to shoot prisoners.
It is illegal to finish off the severly wounded.
It is illegal to shoot someone that is surrendering.
It is illegal to falsely surrender.
It is illegal to fire when showing a white flag.
It is illegal to booby trap dead bodies.
It is illegal to attack while posing as a civilian. (A good example of the subtleties of this rule is found in Master and Commander. In the big battle scene, the British disquise themselves as a commercial ship to draw the French closer, but just before attacking, they change uniforms and raise the war flag, clearly identifying themselves as combatants.)

War is messy - both physically and morally. The Iraqi terrorists in Fallujah have been consistently breaking the law. They play dead, then attack. They pretend to surrender, then attack. They booby trap dead bodies. In other words, they make it extremely difficult for a Marine to determine who is and is not a threat.

Already, the MSM is playing this up for way more than it is worth. It would seem to me that there are three possibilities here. Either the Marine in question committed a crime or he made a very bad judgement call or the guy really was a threat. Regardless, the US Military will investigate and punish him appropriately IF he did something wrong.

But, the MSM is convicting this guy before there is even an investigation. They show a "dramatic" tape that doesn't really show anything. You hear the Marine saying the guy isn't dead, then you see a brief glimpse of a still body, then the tape goes black and you hear the shot. What I don't hear or see is any of the other Marines in that room (or the reporting crew) telling him to back off or stop or not to do it. They make this look like a horrible war crime.

They might be right, however, soldiers in the field are given wide latitude regarding who they can and can't shoot. Basically, they determine the threat and act appropriately. Based on the actions the Iraqi's have been taking with the dead and wounded, based on what the Marine said, based on the lack of protest from other Marines, I'd say the kid felt threatened.

Right now, that Marine is sitting somewhere in Iraq thinking "what the fuck? what did I do?" He's even more confused because he sees his picture on CNN. The MSM is absolutely rooting for Iraq to become another Vietnam. I wonder who will emerge as the new age John Kerry.

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