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Marines defend Shooting Wounded Prisoner

FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) - U.S. Marines rallied round a comrade under investigation for killing a wounded Iraqi during the offensive in Falluja, saying he was probably under combat stress in unpredictable, hair-trigger circumstances.
Basically, he was having a bad day
Basically, he was having a bad day
Marines interviewed on Tuesday said they didn't see the shooting as a scandal, rather the act of a comrade who faced intense pressure during the effort to quell the insurgency in the city.

"I can see why he would do it. He was probably running around being shot at for days on end in Falluja. There should be an investigation but they should look into the circumstances," said Lance Corporal Christopher Hanson.

"I would have shot the insurgent too. Two shots to the head," said Sergeant Nicholas Graham, 24, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. "You can't trust these people. He should not be investigated. He did nothing wrong."

The military command launched an investigation after video footage showed a U.S. Marine shooting a wounded and unarmed man in a mosque in the city on Saturday. The man was one of five wounded and left in the mosque after Marines fought their way through the area.

A pool report by NBC correspondent Kevin Sites said the mosque had been used by insurgents to attack U.S. forces, who stormed it, killing 10 militants and wounding the five. Sites said the wounded had been left for others to pick up.

A second group of Marines entered the mosque on Saturday after reports it had been reoccupied. Footage from the embedded television crew showed the five still in the mosque, although several appeared to be close to death, Sites said.

He said a Marine noticed one prisoner was still breathing.

A Marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters Television: "He's fucking faking he's dead."

"The Marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man's head," Sites said.

NBC said the Marine, who had reportedly been shot in the face himself the previous day, said immediately after the shooting: "Well, he's dead now."

THOROUGH PROBE PROMISED

The Marine commander in Falluja, Lieutenant General John Sattler, said his men followed the law of conflict and held themselves to a high standard of accountability.

"The facts of this case will be thoroughly pursued to make an informed decision and to protect the rights of all persons involved," he said.

Marines have repeatedly described the rebels they fought against in Falluja as ruthless fighters who didn't play by the rules. They say the investigation is politically motivated.

"It's all political. This Marine has been under attack for days. It has nothing to do with what he did," said Corporal Keith Hoy, 23.

Rights group Amnesty International said on Monday both sides in the Falluja fighting had broken the rules of war governing the protection of civilians and wounded combatants.

Gunnery Sergeant Christopher Garza, 30, favored an investigation but like other Marines said the Pentagon should weigh its decision carefully.

"He should have captured him. Maybe the insurgent had some valuable information. There may have been mitigating circumstances. Maybe his two buddies died in Falluja," he said.

Sites said: "I have witnessed the Marines behaving as a disciplined and professional force throughout this offensive. In this particular case, it certainly was a confusing situation to say the least."

The U.S. military has been embarrassed by scandals in Iraq, most prominently the Abu Ghraib affair in which at least eight U.S. soldiers have been tried or face courts-martial over the abuse of prisoners at the jail outside Baghdad.

There have also been several cases in which soldiers have been charged with wrongfully killing Iraqis during operations.

homepage: homepage: http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&cid=578&e=1&u=/nm/20041116/ts_nm/iraq_falluja_investigation_dc

War Crimes 16.Nov.2004 07:17

.

There are at least three war crimes related directly to this.

1. Shooting the unarmed prisoner on film (oops)
2. Shooting of the other 4 prisoners before the camera man got there
3. Leaving the 5 wounded prisoners without medical attention to die the day before.

In addition, there are many "indirect" war crimes

1. Not providing for collection and treatment of prisoners in general
2. Refusal to let the Red Cross/Crescent have access to the battle field to tend to prisoners and civilians
3. Bombing of civilian targets by US Air Force, Navy and Marine jets
4. Approval of rules of engagement covering all of the above
5. Denial of Geneva Convention rights to prisoners and civilians
6. Fighting an Aggressive War

The list is disgustingly endless

Easily confused 16.Nov.2004 07:53

Me

QUOTE:
Sites said: "I have witnessed the Marines behaving as a disciplined and professional force throughout this offensive. In this particular case, it certainly was a confusing situation to say the least."

Let's see now:
* The marines entered the mosque - without opposition or fire from those inside.
* They observed five unarmed and wounded Iraqis bandaged and lying on the floor.
* They shot them.

What part of this was confusing?
Guess it must have been that the Iraqis were "F**KING BREATHING".
Oh, OK, that's all right then.

Hell of a note 16.Nov.2004 09:15

h.r.witt

In a way, I share the outrage of many like me who have heard this most recent news. I am always shocked when I confront brutal, unthinking callousness from fellow humans. I expect more than that from us, but the uneasy truth is that most people are not thinkers and, at the same time, most people do not trust other people -- especially strangers. Mix the two traits in differing amounts and you get different concoctions, but all of them are hellish brews that are easily ladled out over any unfortunate human caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Iraqi guy who was killed was a real human being -- was a human being, now he's a martyr, a memory, a corpse -- who found himself in a very bad place; but to the soldier who shot him, he was just a narrowly envisioned and solitary threat, easy to deal with.

The Soldier who shot the Iraqi is just some other human being, probably not a psychopath. My guess is that he volunteered to limit his thinking to very small arenas, not to think too much beyond the immediate circumstance, to trust only those people and things that he had grown accustomed to. He would go where he was told and do there what his closed-minded mistrust told him to do. He was a walking trigger finger, at least to the enemy. And that's what he was supposed to be.

Who told him to be that? Who told that young man to go out, travel halfway around the world and make sure he put "two shots to the head" of some fellow human being that he'd never met? I think we know the answer to that. It was somebody he never met, never spoke with, yet trusted as if it were an oracle.

He was just the messenger.

So here we are, in the Twenty-First Century: meet George Jettson, whose boy Elroy is walking around in sand-colored combat gear, wearing body armor and shooting dark-haired people in the head. A hell-of-note, wouldn't you say?
fin.

... 16.Nov.2004 16:16

this thing here

i get a sneaking suspicion that one of the reason there's an insurgency such as it is right now in iraq is because there have been a whooolle lot more of these summary executions. a whole lot more torture. a whole lot more shit that we'll never hear about.

and that word gets out real real quick in iraq. and that there are a whole lot of angry iraqi's in iraq looking for revenge.

how much does religion alone drive any insurgency. how much does ideology alone drive any insurgency. and how much do brothers and sons looking to kill the killers of their brothers, sisters, mothers and fathers drive any insurgency?...

>Who told him to be that? Who told that young man to go out, travel halfway around the world and make sure he put "two shots to the head" of some fellow human being that he'd never met? I think we know the answer to that. It was somebody he never met, never spoke with, yet trusted as if it were an oracle.

He was just the messenger.<

how tragically true...