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US investigates possible war crime committed by US Marine


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The US military is looking into whether an American marine in Falluja shot dead a severely wounded Iraqi insurgent at point-blank range.

 

Television footage shows US soldiers entering a building as injured prisoners lie on the floor.

 

The soldier, from the 3rd battalion of the US marines, has been removed from the field and faces possible charges.

 

The images were taken by an NBC reporter embedded with the US troops in the Sunni city under assault.

 

The BBC's James Robbins says the incident could prove highly damaging and that the US military will need to answer key questions about whether the rules of engagement were broken during the incident.

 

It must explain, he says, whether wounded combatants were abandoned, or killed, illegally.

 

US marines have been battling with sporadic but fierce pockets of resistance inside the city. They say they have already killed 1,200 insurgents.

 

The images show a group of marines, armed with rifles, entering a building near a mosque.

 

The mosque had been used by insurgents to attack US forces, who had stormed it, killing 10 militants and wounding five.

 

At least three severely wounded men are seen in a room inside the building - two are slumped against one of the walls, partially covered with a blanket.

 

The NBC's Kevin Sites says the wounded men had been left in the mosque after marines had fought their way in on Friday and Saturday.

 

According to Mr Sites, one of the soldiers points his rifle at the head of one of the injured, an old man. The sound of a shot is then heard.

 

There was no immediate comment from the Pentagon on the report.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4014901.stm

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Personally speaking, I feel there are war crimes, and then there are errors of judgement, and this incident falls into the latter category. This is a war, after all, not a game of "Operation".

Given the fact that I've also read that the iraqi insurgents have been booby-trapping the dead and wounded, I think I'd shoot first and ask questions later too.

 

 

"Soldiers can't be held accountable for their actions in war, only their leaders can."

 

 

Trix

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>"Soldiers can't be held accountable for their actions in war,

>only their leaders can."

 

You mean like at the Nuremberg trials when the nazis said they were just following orders? Soldiers absolutely can be held accountable for their actions. If they are not, then we become just as bad as the enemy.

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Military investigates shooting of wounded insurgent

Commanders fear tape will discourage surrendering[/font size]

 

Tuesday, November 16, 2004 Posted: 3:07 AM EST (0807 GMT)

 

FALLUJA, Iraq (CNN) -- The U.S. military is investigating whether a Marine shot dead an unarmed, wounded insurgent during the battle for Falluja in an incident captured on videotape by a pool reporter.

 

The man was shot in the head at close range Saturday by a Marine who found him among a group of wounded men. The wounded men were found in a mosque that Marines said had been the source of small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire the previous day.

 

The Marine in the videotape has been removed from his unit and taken to the headquarters of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, and the Navy's Criminal Investigative Service said it plans to question one of the other wounded Iraqis as part of the probe, according to the pool reporter embedded with the unit.

 

"Let me make it perfectly clear: We follow the law of armed conflict and we hold ourselves to high standard of accountability," Marine Lt. Gen. John F. Sattler said Tuesday. "The facts of this case will be thoroughly pursued to make an informed decision and to protect rights of all persons involved."

 

The investigation will determine whether the Marine violated any rules or should be charged with any crime. Lt. Col. Bob Miller, a staff judge advocate for the 1st Marine Division, said wounded insurgents who pose no threat generally "would not be considered hostile."

 

The Marine seen shooting the man was part of a squad from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, which had been part of intense house-to-house fighting in southern Falluja.

 

U.S. rules of engagement prohibit American troops from killing any prisoner who does not pose a threat, and commanders say they are worried the video might encourage more insurgents to fight to the death rather than surrender.

 

The military asked that networks obscure the names and recognizable faces of the Marines inside the mosque when they broadcast video of the incident. The request came from Marine judge advocate Col. John Weil to NBC News, which videotaped the killing, and was based on privacy concerns.

 

Friday, the Marines were fired upon by snipers and insurgents armed with rocket-propelled grenades from a mosque and an adjacent building. The Marines returned fire with tank shells and machine guns.

 

They eventually stormed the mosque, killing 10 insurgents and wounding five others, and showing off a cache of rifles and grenades for journalists.

 

The Marines told the pool reporter that the wounded men would be left behind for others to pick up and move to the rear for treatment. But Saturday, another squad of Marines found that the mosque had been reoccupied by insurgents and attacked it again, only to find the same wounded men inside.

 

Four of the men appeared to have been shot again in Saturday's fighting, and one of them appeared to be dead, according to the pool report. In the video, a Marine was seen noticing that one of the men appeared to be breathing.

 

A Marine approached one of the men in the mosque saying, "He's [expletive] faking he's dead. He's faking he's [expletive] dead."

 

The Marine raised his rifle and fired into the apparently wounded man's head, at which point a companion said, "Well, he's dead now."

 

When told by the pool reporter that the men were among those wounded in Friday's firefight, the Marine who fired the shot said, "I didn't know, sir. I didn't know."

 

The Marines said they are investigating why the wounded Iraqis were left behind for 24 hours and whether the man was killed illegally. Navy investigators said they believe they have located the fifth Iraqi -- the only one not wounded a second time -- who said he wanted to provide information about the killing.

 

Before the Marines entered the mosque Saturday, a lieutenant from one of two squads involved in the fighting was told that there were people inside.

 

"Did you shoot them?" he asked.

 

"Roger that, sir," one of the men replied.

 

"Were they armed?" the lieutenant asked. The other Marine shrugged.

 

The Marine who shot the Iraqi man had reportedly been returned to duty after suffering a minor facial wound Friday.

 

About a block away, a Marine was killed and five others wounded by a booby-trapped body they found in a house after a shootout with insurgents.

 

The human rights organization Amnesty International raised concerns about violations of the rules of war last week, after a British news program broadcast video of what it said was the killing of another wounded insurgent by U.S. troops.

 

Amnesty also noted reports that insurgents have used mosques as fighting positions, and in one incident appear to have used a white flag to lure Marines into an ambush.

 

"All violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law must be investigated and those responsible for unlawful attacks, including deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, and the killing of injured persons must be brought to justice," the group said in a statement issued Thursday.

 

http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/11/15/marine.probe/index.html

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I think Trixie is right on the mark in calling for reason!

 

Do we get any of the media attention, about the U.S. Marine who was blown up and killed, when trying to assist an injured insurgent, who was wired with explosives? NO!

 

IMO, this Iraqi war is the mirror image of the Vietnam war, when American soldiers couldn't distinguish the enemies from the allies, as they all look alike physically. Just like that war, many of the American soldiers saw their compatriots blown to pieces by innocent looking "wounded, civilians, children". This marine was in the heat of battle, who may have seen something, that is not revealed in the film, that led him to believe that the Iraqi? (sure he wasn't Saudi?) was just such a "human bomb".

 

Hate Bush and Hate this unjust War, but DON'T HATE the American soldiers who are caught up in a living HELL, going thru shit that most of us can not even fathom. And DON'T repeat the mistakes of the Vietnam War, where you spat at, hated, and accused our soldiers of atrocities. It is so EASY to be judgmental when sitting in your easy chair, watching the war unfold on your tv/computer screens.

 

This soldier, like all of those in Iraq, has had to deal with the duplicities and horrors on a daily basis, and he/they are NOT callous, heartless criminals, given to execution style "murder". They are your sons, daughters, sisters, brothers, nephews, nieces, cousins, etc. who are just as compassionate for their fellow human beings, as you are! x(

 

Any of you ever heard of the old adage "walk a mile in his shoes"? I would hate to see all this liberal pc ballyhooing result in this soldier's incarceration or worse. Isn't it enough, that such wailing has resulted in the incarceration of mere foot soldiers following orders at Abu Grhaib? ;(

 

I read posts on the site, all the time, from the liberal anti-Bush crowd, espousing that those who support Bush, get off their asses and volunteer to fight in Iraq. In turn, I espouse that all you who who hate Bush to the point of unhealthy fantacism, get off your asses and volunteer to fight in Iraq, before you condemn, without the facts, our American soldiers as murdering war criminals.

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>Personally speaking, I feel there are war crimes, and then

>there are errors of judgement, and this incident falls into

>the latter category. This is a war, after all, not a game of

>"Operation".

>Given the fact that I've also read that the iraqi insurgents

>have been booby-trapping the dead and wounded, I think I'd

>shoot first and ask questions later too.

>

>

>"Soldiers can't be held accountable for their actions in war,

>only their leaders can."

>

>

>Trix

 

I never know if I should feel amused or saddened when I read this kind of convoluted logic. Actually, it's not logical at all, it is emotional thinking spawned by the xenophobic notion that the rules don't apply to Americans.

 

I'd be very surprised if this was just an isolated incident of one soldier getting "carried away" in the heat of combat. And even if it was, can we really excuse such a thing? BON is precisely correct in citing the Nuremberg Laws. I'd go a step further and say that because this war is an illegal invasion of a sovereign country who has never attacked the United States, every person who participates in this war on behalf of the U.S., from the Commander in Chief to the lowliest private, is guilty of war crimes.

 

In an all-volunteer army, are those who serve not doing so of their own choice? I can see some moral wiggle-room if these were military conscripts, but they are not. I know all our resident Republicans and esrwhile Bubbas and fascists are going to go ballistic, but the facts are the facts. This is a war based on lies, pure and simple. It fails to pass muster with every single standard of just war theory. We never heard squat about bringing "freedom and democracy" to the Iraqis until the truth was out that there were no weapons of mass destruction. For some here, that doesn't matter, because we've all got to be good little goose-stepping Nazis and support the troops, no matter what they do. Forget about Abu Ghraib. Forget about the deaths of innocent civilians, they shouldn't have gotten in the way. America is the sole arbiter of what is right and wrong, and anyone who questions that is a traitor. This is the same kind of shit that people thought in Germany from 1933-1945.

 

Never mind the fact that the Uniform Code of Military justice holds American soldiers responsible for their actions, just as it should. Some folks here would just give them a pass on everything, no matter how heinous it might be. Should police officers be allowed to do anything they wish simply because they're cops? Some people would say yes, because they lack the moral sophistication to see the folly of such a thing.

 

This war wasn't about WMD, it isn't about oil, it isn't about spreading freedom, it is about REVENGE. Think of the school bully who gets his butt kicked, can't handle the person who kicked it, so he goes and beats up someone else who had nothing to do with his original asskicking, but happened to be someone the bully already disliked, and someone the bully knows he can whip. That's what this war is about.

 

I would just love to see Bush become such an international pariah, that he couldn't leave the United States for fear of being arrested and held as a war criminal. When that happens, that would be justice.

 

Flame away!

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>>Personally speaking, I feel there are war crimes, and then

>>there are errors of judgement, and this incident falls into

>>the latter category. This is a war, after all, not a game

>of

>>"Operation".

>>Given the fact that I've also read that the iraqi insurgents

>>have been booby-trapping the dead and wounded, I think I'd

>>shoot first and ask questions later too.

>>

>>

>>"Soldiers can't be held accountable for their actions in

>war,

>>only their leaders can."

>>

>>

>>Trix

>

>I never know if I should feel amused or saddened when I read

>this kind of convoluted logic. Actually, it's not logical at

>all, it is emotional thinking spawned by the xenophobic

>notion that the rules don't apply to Americans.

>

>I'd be very surprised if this was just an isolated incident of

>one soldier getting "carried away" in the heat of combat. And

>even if it was, can we really excuse such a thing? BON is

>precisely correct in citing the Nuremberg Laws. I'd go a step

>further and say that because this war is an illegal invasion

>of a sovereign country who has never attacked the United

>States, every person who participates in this war on behalf of

>the U.S., from the Commander in Chief to the lowliest private,

>is guilty of war crimes.

>

>In an all-volunteer army, are those who serve not doing so of

>their own choice? I can see some moral wiggle-room if these

>were military conscripts, but they are not. I know all our

>resident Republicans and esrwhile Bubbas and fascists are

>going to go ballistic, but the facts are the facts. This is a

>war based on lies, pure and simple. It fails to pass muster

>with every single standard of just war theory. We never heard

>squat about bringing "freedom and democracy" to the Iraqis

>until the truth was out that there were no weapons of mass

>destruction. For some here, that doesn't matter, because

>we've all got to be good little goose-stepping Nazis and

>support the troops, no matter what they do. Forget about Abu

>Ghraib. Forget about the deaths of innocent civilians, they

>shouldn't have gotten in the way. America is the sole arbiter

>of what is right and wrong, and anyone who questions that is a

>traitor. This is the same kind of shit that people thought in

>Germany from 1933-1945.

>

>Never mind the fact that the Uniform Code of Military justice

>holds American soldiers responsible for their actions, just as

>it should. Some folks here would just give them a pass on

>everything, no matter how heinous it might be. Should police

>officers be allowed to do anything they wish simply because

>they're cops? Some people would say yes, because they lack

>the moral sophistication to see the folly of such a thing.

>

>This war wasn't about WMD, it isn't about oil, it isn't about

>spreading freedom, it is about REVENGE. Think of the school

>bully who gets his butt kicked, can't handle the person who

>kicked it, so he goes and beats up someone else who had

>nothing to do with his original asskicking, but happened to be

>someone the bully already disliked, and someone the bully

>knows he can whip. That's what this war is about.

>

>I would just love to see Bush become such an international

>pariah, that he couldn't leave the United States for fear of

>being arrested and held as a war criminal. When that happens,

>that would be justice.

>

>Flame away!

>

I am glad that you think your OPINIONS are fact.

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"I am glad that you think your OPINIONS are fact."

 

You MUST be new to this board, as BuckyXTC, does not EVER think that anything but his very own opinions, on any topic, whatsoever, are not FACTS sent down to the rest of us, upon stone tablets from the Supreme Being as commandments that we are required to OBEY!!! x(

 

Don't even bother to dispute his "facts", with any real facts, or GOD FORBID, an "opinion", as you will then be totally dismissed, as some kind of uneducated, red-necked, trailer park dwelling white trash piece of shit! And if you do disagree? Then count on him having free reign, despite the rules of this board, to HEAP tons of nasty, vile, name-calling abuse upon you! :(

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>"I am glad that you think your OPINIONS are fact."

>

>You MUST be new to this board, as BuckyXTC, does not EVER

>think that anything but his very own opinions, on any topic,

>whatsoever, are not FACTS sent down to the rest of us, upon

>stone tablets from the Supreme Being as commandments that we

>are required to OBEY!!! x(

>

>Don't even bother to dispute his "facts", with any real facts,

>or GOD FORBID, an "opinion", as you will then be totally

>dismissed, as some kind of uneducated, red-necked, trailer

>park dwelling white trash piece of shit! And if you do

>disagree? Then count on him having free reign, despite the

>rules of this board, to HEAP tons of nasty, vile, name-calling

>abuse upon you! :(

 

Well, golllllleeee Gomer!

 

One thing you've established as fact is my prediction that you'd leave taking a whiz by the cement pond to do what you always do.....failing to respond to specifics and making blanket accusations which literally amount to "the pot calling the kettle black". Of course, when you launch one of your tirades, usually against a new poster at the Message Center, "you're just exercising your right to free speech". Anyone else who posts is subject to your pontifical pronouncements as to what a fool, idiot, moron, they must be for voicing something that falls outside the tiny realm of your weltanschaung.

 

Thanks for never failing to disappoint. Now go feed the blue ticks and catch up on your reading of the National Enquirer. Don't worry your little head about making a reasoned response to objective facts like the Nuremberg Laws and the Uniform Code of Military Justice and how they might come into play. Just keep whistling Dixie.

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Golly Gee Willikers, I guess that the old adage "truth hurts" really hit home, huh? BTW: do cement ponds have cement tadpoles? :-(

 

I would address the rest of your unfounded accusations, but really, you are not worth the effort. As you can see, by the previous posts by other posters, you have been outed! :(

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This particular atrocity appears to have been an isolated incident, and it looks like the military is acting appropriately to investigate and bring the perpetrator to justice. There are other lingering questions, though, like why were severely injured Iraqi fighters, in an area now controlled by Americans, left alone without medical care for more than 24 hours? That's what barbarians do. Supposedly, we're NOT barbarians. But the line has become increasingly blurred lately.

 

As for war crimes, this administration has committed them. I realize there are people here who don't believe in such things, just like some people here undoubtedly think germs don't exist or cause disease. But reality is different, and the people who've committed the war crimes will find out, sooner or later, that there are consequences. They may be minor inconveniences, like no longer being able to shop on Savile Row or summer on the Riviera without fear of being arrested, as Henry the K and his bosom buddy General Pinochet have discovered. They may be considerably worse, as the smirking generals who ruled South America have now learned, after facing prison time, family disgrace, financial ruin and more. Justice, like karma, can be slow to have its effect, but in almost all cases it eventually seems to catch up to people. The day will come for this administration, too. A pity that it won't be soon, and thousands more will have to die or be maimed uselessly before that happens. . .

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I watched the Lehrer Hour last night as two military lawyers laid out what appears to be the standard defence in cases like this i.e. "in the heat of battle, with a split-second decision to make"... What jarred, however, was the fact that the tape showed this was not exactly a case of "heat of battle' or a "split-second decision" situation.

 

While we will have to look at all the evidence (I don't even know if US military justice will provide for an open hearing), but assuming it does, I'm prepared to wait and see. But from what I could see and HEAR, these prisoners had been wounded the day before and left alone by the US soldiers overnight, even though they should have been evacuated for medical treatment.

 

Second, when the US soldiers approached the mosque on the second day, they seemed to be fully aware of the situation inside as revealed on the sound track of the tape. There was no discussion of the possibility that the wounded or dead insurgents were booby trapped, which has since been raised as a possible motive for shooting the wounded man (although how shooting a booby trapped person resolves the situation is not clear to me since the US soldiers and camera man were close at hand and could have been injured by such a tactic).

 

There was also no split second situation where the wounded man was stirring or appeared to be an imminent threat. He was lying there, breathing but otherwise motionless. The US soldiers had time to try to assess the situation. However, what they did was say "he's still breathing", then shoot, then say "he's not breathing anymore". Well, sometimes the evidence just does not seem to add up to what the lawyers would like us to believe. We'll just have to see how they explain this all in a court of law.

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Dearest Luv2play,

I do not wish to argue. But let me lay down what I was thinking when I originally posted my comments.

First of all, war is a nasty business. If innocent people are getting killed, don't blame the young men and women who've been sent into this atrocity, blame the war-mongers.

About those young men and women... you'd like to compare them to the Nazis, but this doesn't follow through. Mainly, the persons tried at Nürnberg were leaders of concentration camps, POW camps, etc. Not the foot soldiers who, although German, were stuck in Hell, trying to stay alive. It's a very, very unjust comparison.

Your assumption is that this young marine is part & parcel in line with the Bush administration, gladly taking part in the Iraq occupation. Perhaps he is, perhaps he isn't. Perhaps he's a beast, but perhaps he's merely a 20-or-so year old trying to stay alive.

Most of the soldiers fighting in Iraq today joined into military service for economic reasons, not moral ones. For the most part, they're there trying to "Be all That They Can Be"... they're trying to gain a college education, trying to find a path now that they've graduated from high school into a town where there's no jobs.

They joined the military for the promise of a future, and now they're in Iraq, fighting because they have to, and because their lives are on the line.

Personally, I have great sympathy for the American soldiers in Iraq. They are in Hell, and they're not departing anytime soon. This is not the same as the guards mistreating prisoners... this is the front line.

 

 

Trix

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And Futhermore...

 

Yes, furthermore...

These "insurgents" are very stupid people, fighting for the wrong reasons. The Bush Adminstration is definitely in the wrong, but I am not going to defend people who want to usher in a government that enslaves women and condemns homosexuals to death. If the 21st century is going to be a brotherhood of nations, these people must be vanquished, as well as Bush.

Weird paradox, isn't it?

 

 

Trix

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RE: And Futhermore...

 

The Iraqi insurgents certainly aren't our friends. But we don't vanquish them by sinking to their level of barbarity. And even foot soldiers can be guilty of war crimes. They learn about rules of engagement in training. This particular incident (as captured on videotape) has no justification. Murder is murder, whether in a war zone or elsewhere. This doesn't absolve higher level officials who have also committed war crimes, but in this case, the marine in question committed one, too. So did the American military personnel who left the wounded Iraqis untended after they came under American control.

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