Killing an Innocent or Executing an Insurgent?

sickpup

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JAMiAM said:
And capturing and blowing off their defenseless heads is different how...?

Dead is dead, and killing a defenseless prisoner is just plain wrong...whether we do it, or they do it.
This guy wasn’t an innocent civilian, that’s one of the reasons it’s different. And as for the "dead is dead" part, yeah, that’s why we still chop off heads and use electric chairs, too. Come on man, there’s a huge difference between someone sawing your head off and someone shooting you. My point, though, is that there’s no comparing the killing of innocent civilians to the shooting of insurgents.

The Purist said:
I am asking if you want the US military to abandon these rules because the enemy has?
I don’t think there should be a systemic approval of “anything goes” within out military. I do, however, think that all of the talk about moral high ground and Geneva convention is out of place. We want to win this war, and I think that capturing insurgents, only to let them free once more to be recycled into the insurgency effort is a failed concept. Yeah, yeah, I know – hearts and minds, hearts and minds. Whose heart and mind are we converting by capturing this guy and then either interning him or letting him go? I’d wager a bet that no one is going to be swayed by that action; no one is suddenly going to say ‘yeah, you know, those American’s aren’t bad after all.’. In fact, numerous folks (even from gitmo) have turned up in the fighting again once they were released.

Anyhow, I’m not in favor of carte blanche actions from the military. I am, however, in favor of soldiers being allowed to take actions that they feel are necessary to protect themselves.
 

sickpup

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Deltapooh said:
If they are thinking about making a serious mistake, I'd prefer they hesitate, no matter the reason.
So, then, you're saying that our soldiers are better off being killed than being wrong?
 

The Purist

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"I’m not in favor of carte blanche actions from the military. I am, however, in favor of soldiers being allowed to take actions that they feel are necessary to protect themselves."

I agree with you here. It is now up to the investigation to determine if the actions of the marine(s) in question went beyond what was 'necessary".

"Should have kept out the film crew if it was premeditated though."

Therein lies another question. Mr Long, keep save over there (I understand you are in Iraq).
 

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sickpup said:
I don’t think there should be a systemic approval of “anything goes” within out military. I do, however, think that all of the talk about moral high ground and Geneva convention is out of place. We want to win this war, and I think that capturing insurgents, only to let them free once more to be recycled into the insurgency effort is a failed concept. Yeah, yeah, I know – hearts and minds, hearts and minds. Whose heart and mind are we converting by capturing this guy and then either interning him or letting him go? I’d wager a bet that no one is going to be swayed by that action; no one is suddenly going to say ‘yeah, you know, those American’s aren’t bad after all.’. In fact, numerous folks (even from gitmo) have turned up in the fighting again once they were released.
The problem is, is that this video is going to make the Marines job just that much tougher by inciting new violence against them. This Marines actions has jeopardized the lives of a lot of US soldiers by inducing more Arabs to join the ranks of the insurgents or by taking matters into their own hands. Don't laugh about winning the hearts and minds of the people, if the Iraqi's start refusing to cooperate then the US is going to have a tough row to hoe over there. A lot of Arabs are suspicious about American motives to begin with, don't give them anymore ammunition.
 

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sickpup said:
So, then, you're saying that our soldiers are better off being killed than being wrong?
Powell once asked why send 10 men where you would not send 10,000. If I were not prepared to loose every soldier in Iraq pursuing what is right, I would not support the war. This isn't WWII. Iraq is a Forth Generation War. The only way we can succeed is to be right, even if that means taking more casualties.

The US military in Iraq is nothing more than a faction in an ongoing domestic conflict with rivaling factions. Our physical strength is not a supplement for moral strength. Victory will depend on convincing millions of Iraqis that we are better than the terrorists. Unlike what we expected going in, Iraqis have given the Coalition little credit for removing Saddam Hussien. Many think we didn't come to save them, but simply replace one military regime with another. We have to change that.

If this soldier's shooting of this one insurgent leads to five new insurgent recruits, the only life he "might" have saved was his own. The resentment the video could provoke in Iraq threatens the mission.

I realize our soldiers carry a tremendous burden. One Lt. Colnel commented that peacekeeping/peace enforcement is more difficult than combat. And I would agree. Our soldiers have to accept high risk in the hope of convincing the local population we are there to help and not hurt. I don't want to bury any more Coalition soldiers. However, achieving our objectives demand it.

I've stated it many times, and will again state I don't believe all the facts are available. The soldier might have made a mistake. If so, I hope he is judged fairly. While it might appear he had nothing to fear, the reality is much different. There were other Iraqis in the room, who were capable of doing alot more damage. He didn't shoot them.

A threat is not defined solely by their capacity to inflict immediate harm. Their intent is probably more important.
 
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Priest said:
The problem is, is that this video is going to make the Marines job just that much tougher by inciting new violence against them. This Marines actions has jeopardized the lives of a lot of US soldiers by inducing more Arabs to join the ranks of the insurgents or by taking matters into their own hands.
I agree with you and disagree. I agree that the action will incite more violence against American troops but I also feel that ANYTHING we do over there that has to do with introducing democracy is going to incite them. These people are so filled with hate that they feel our very existence is enough justification to shoot unarmed hostages and blow up elementary schools (I can't forgive that move).

To a degree, I think we need to forgo PC military policy because it's not working. Al-Jazeera and the Al-Qaida are working hand-in-hand to get all Musilims to hate the U.S.. The priority should be on restoring order over looking nice and well behaved for the press.

As for the marine, it was a combat zone, a lot of these guys are playing dead then jumping up and shooting, and bombs are even rigged to dead bodies. When you have combat this dirty you can't take any chances. Maybe the guy didn't have a weapon, maybe he didn't have a bomb, but his shooting was a direct result of jihadist terrorist tactics. They have no one to blame but themselves if our guys are getting jumpy.
 

sickpup

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Deltapooh said:
Our physical strength is not a supplement for moral strength. Victory will depend on convincing millions of Iraqis that we are better than the terrorists.
See, that’s just it. I keep hearing that the Iraqi’s are normal, decent people. If that’s the case, then why is it so hard to choose between the Coalition (who have removed a dictator, built schools, hospitals, water lines and other infrastructure) and the Terrorists (who have blown up schools, bombed police stations and decapitated numerous folks)? Sorry, but I just don’t see why the Iraqi’s need so much convincing.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a lot of civilians have been killed by American bombs and bullets. But, even that could be pinned to the terrorists and insurgents to a certain extent. The end game, alone, should be enough to convince the Iraqi’s to “make up their mind”. In spite of all the conspiracy theories and supposed oil profits, the coalition is offering a free, open society with a strong infrastructure. The terrorists and insurgents are offering a return to the dark ages with Taliban-esque rules.

It’s not a hard decision. If it is a hard decision, then I seriously doubt the comments about Iraqi's being decent, honest folks.
 

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"These people are so filled with hate that they feel our very existence is enough justification to shoot unarmed hostages..."

It would be wrong to lump all Iraqis in with the insurgents or the foreign terrorists. Most Iraqis will support the US and coalition if they can see that they represent a force for change and not just another group who will oppress them.

"These people", as you call them are dying in very large numbers at the hands of the terrorist and most have never done anything to interfere with the coalition and its goals. Iraqis are no different in their nationalism than any other country. The hate being occupied as much as we would and are waiting to see if the coalition will fulfill their promises.

The cultural differences and the lack of understanding of them have led to some very big miscalculations on the part of the coalition and the price is being paid today in the lives of coalition troops and Iraqi civilians.
 
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sickpup said:
See, that’s just it. I keep hearing that the Iraqi’s are normal, decent people. If that’s the case, then why is it so hard to choose between the Coalition (who have removed a dictator, built schools, hospitals, water lines and other infrastructure) and the Terrorists (who have blown up schools, bombed police stations and decapitated numerous folks)? Sorry, but I just don’t see why the Iraqi’s need so much convincing.
Sorry I would just like to add here, the people that are bombing our troops and killing their fellow countrymen are not going to be convinced, because these are radical Islamists that aren't going to be convinced that we are there to help them. This is just a very vocal (if you can call it that) minority that needs to be eliminated or suppressed. You assume that all of the Iraqis are the same when they simply aren’t, they are just scared of the mayhem and the destruction that is currently going on around them. Basically the reason we don’t see the people rising up against the insurgents is because they are afraid of them and we simply don’t have the manpower there to protect them.
 

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FallenAngelASB said:
Sorry I would just like to add here, the people that are bombing our troops and killing their fellow countrymen are not going to be convinced, because these are radical Islamists that aren't going to be convinced that we are there to help them. This is just a very vocal (if you can call it that) minority that needs to be eliminated or suppressed. You assume that all of the Iraqis are the same when they simply aren’t, they are just scared of the mayhem and the destruction that is currently going on around them.
Nah, Deltapooh is the one saying that the millions of Iraqi’s need convincing of our good intentions (and the bad intentions of the insurgents). I’m saying that if they need convincing, then they’re not the normal, decent, peace-loving people that many would have us believe.

So, back to my question - whose hearts and minds would we have won by capturing and releasing the goober that was killed in the mosque?

Anyhow Matthew Heidt at Froggy Ruminations breaks things down very nicely:

It’s a safety issue pure and simple. After assaulting through a target, put a security round in everybody’s head. Sorry al-Reuters, there’s no paddy wagon rolling around Fallujah picking up “prisoners” and offering them a hot cup a joe, falafel, and a blanket. There’s no time to dick around in the target, you clear the space, dump the chumps, and moveon.org. Are Corpsman expected to treat wounded terrorists? Negative. Hey libs, worried about the defense budget? Well, it would be waste, fraud, and abuse for a Corpsman to spend one man minute or a battle dressing on a terrorist, its much cheaper to just spend the $.02 on a 5.56mm FMJ.

By the way, terrorists who chop off civilian’s heads are not prisoners, they are carcasses.

UPDATE: Let me be very clear about this issue. I have looked around the web, and many people get this concept, but there are some stragglers. Here is your situation Marine. You just took fire from unlawful combatants shooting from a religious building attempting to use the sanctuary status of their position as protection. But you’re in Fallujah now, and the Marine Corps has decided that they’re not playing that game this time. That was Najaf. So you set the mosque on fire and you hose down the terrorists with small arms, launch some AT-4s (Rockets), some 40MM grenades into the building and things quiet down. So you run over there, and find some tangos wounded and pretending to be dead. You are aware that suicide martyrdom is like really popular with these kind of idiots, and like taking some Marines with them would be really cool. So you can either risk your life and your fireteam’s lives by having them cover you while you bend down and search a guy that you think is pretending to be dead for some reason. Also, you don’t know who or what is in the next room, and you’re already speaking english to each other and its loud because your hearing is poor from shooting people for several days. So you know that there are many other rooms to enter, and that if anyone is still alive in those rooms, they know that Americans are in the mosque. Meanwhile (3 seconds later), you still have this terrorist that was just shooting at you from a mosque playing possum. What do you do?

You double tap his head, and you go to the next room, that’s what.

What about the Geneva Conventions and all that Law of Land Warfare stuff? What about it. Without even addressing the issues at hand you first thought should be, “I’d rather be judged by 12 than carried by 6.” Bear in mind that this is a perpetual mindset that is reinforced by experiences gained on a minute by minute basis. Secondly, you are fighting an unlawful combatant in a Sanctuary which is a double No No on his part. Third, tactically you are in no position to take “prisoners” because there are more rooms to search and clear, and the behavior of said terrorist indicates that he is up to no good. No good in Fallujah is a very large place and the low end of no good and the high end of no good are fundamentally the same... Marines get hurt or die. So there is no compelling reason for you to do anything but double tap this idiot and get on with the mission.

If you are a veteran then everything I have just written is self evident, if you are not a veteran than at least try to put yourself in the situation. Remember, in Fallujah there is no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is only now. Right NOW. Have you ever lived in NOW for a week? It is not easy, and if you have never lived in NOW for longer than it takes to finish the big roller coaster at Six Flags, then shut your hole about putting Marines in jail for war crimes. Be advised, I am not talking to my readers, but if this post gets linked up, I want regular folks to get this message loud and clear. Froggy OUT.
 

purdyrc

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Marines said:
Huuuhh...

I would hardly call it a "War Crime" Rick.

Welcome to war in all its horror.

I seriously doubt it will "bother" him as you put it. It will follow him for the rest of natural life.

PTSD
Technically, it was a war crime. A soldier shot and killed an unarmed man. That violates the Geneva Convention and so, it is a war crime.

With that said, however, I acknowledge that war is brutal and terrible and this sort of thing happens frequently. I do not fault this person for doing this in the heat of the moment. I don't think he should be punished unless he demonstrates a pattern of behavior of shooting unarmed and wounded prisoners.

As for this bothering him for the rest of his life, it is something he will have to live with. Upon sober reflection, I think shooting a person in the head would bother anyone. That's what I meant when I said it will bother this kid.

- Rick
 

purdyrc

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DevilDawg said:
Wow, you could see into his pockets or waistband or under his clothes?


Amazing... :surprise:
As has already been pointed out, none of the Marines in the room seemed concerned for their safety. They clearly saw that there was no danger. And yes, this person was unarmed.

- Rick
 

purdyrc

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Priest said:
The problem is, is that this video is going to make the Marines job just that much tougher by inciting new violence against them. This Marines actions has jeopardized the lives of a lot of US soldiers by inducing more Arabs to join the ranks of the insurgents or by taking matters into their own hands. Don't laugh about winning the hearts and minds of the people, if the Iraqi's start refusing to cooperate then the US is going to have a tough row to hoe over there. A lot of Arabs are suspicious about American motives to begin with, don't give them anymore ammunition.
This is an excellent point. How many terrorists and insurgents will be reluctant to surrender to us once this incident is spun into the "This is what the Americans do to their prisoners!" story that is being put together even as we speak. It will mean more people fighting to the death and more danger for our guys in Iraq.

- Rick
 

purdyrc

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sickpup said:
See, that’s just it. I keep hearing that the Iraqi’s are normal, decent people. If that’s the case, then why is it so hard to choose between the Coalition (who have removed a dictator, built schools, hospitals, water lines and other infrastructure) and the Terrorists (who have blown up schools, bombed police stations and decapitated numerous folks)? Sorry, but I just don’t see why the Iraqi’s need so much convincing.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that a lot of civilians have been killed by American bombs and bullets. But, even that could be pinned to the terrorists and insurgents to a certain extent. The end game, alone, should be enough to convince the Iraqi’s to “make up their mind”. In spite of all the conspiracy theories and supposed oil profits, the coalition is offering a free, open society with a strong infrastructure. The terrorists and insurgents are offering a return to the dark ages with Taliban-esque rules.

It’s not a hard decision. If it is a hard decision, then I seriously doubt the comments about Iraqi's being decent, honest folks.
The Iraqis, like any other country, are mostly decent folks. Let's not get too upset or surprised by their reactions until we try to imagine what it must be like to live in a war zone.

Better yet, let's put it another way.

You love the US right? Now try to imagine how much you would continue to love America if terrorists moved into your neighborhood and the US military dropped bombs on you, your family, your car, your dog, and your elderly grandmother in an attempt to kill the terrorists. Sure the terrorists are the reason for the shelling, but at the end of the day, you've lost your home, several family members, your possessions, and even your dog. Do you really think you'll have it together enough to crawl atop the rubble that was your home, plant an American flag and sing the Star-Spangled Banner? Hell no! And you're an American.

Now try to imagine yourself an innocent Iraqi that has this same thing happen to them. Can you honestly say you would be able to blame the terrorists and not have any feelings of anger or hostility towards the nation that flattened your home and killed your family, however much of an accident that may have been? Probably not.

- Rick
 

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Disagree with your analogy, Rick. It fails immediately, since it stems from a false premise.

You would instead have to theorize an America that had, for the past 30 years, suffered under a dictator who literally killed freedoms of expression, including freedom of self-defense. You'd have to imagine an American citizenry that allowed that same dictator-for-life to undertake insane & ultimately self-destructive actions.

No comparison, my friend.

(That said, of COURSE all Iraqis want the Americans to NOT be in control and to NOT patrol their streets!!! Which it so happens, is the exact same outcome that the Bush Administration wants.)
 

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Richa333 said:
Disagree with your analogy, Rick. It fails immediately, since it stems from a false premise.
All Rick's analogy needs is an occupation.

In times of war you need to see the enemy as vastly different then you. It's easier to kill people you hate.

The problem is this often requires focusing on the extreme examples. A soldier that shoots unarmed prisoners provides as much ammo to escalate as the terrorist that beheads.

It is quite obvious that the Officer smelt something stinky from the start. When informed that there had been shootings, still outside the building, his first question was "were they armed". I would have thought his first concern would have been possible US injuries, but then it got me thinking why is there huge bodycount numbers but no POW numbers???

I have no idea how leaders can say things are getting better when moral positions are becoming more and more polarized.
 

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sickpup said:
See, that’s just it. I keep hearing that the Iraqi’s are normal, decent people. If that’s the case, then why is it so hard to choose between the Coalition (who have removed a dictator, built schools, hospitals, water lines and other infrastructure) and the Terrorists (who have blown up schools, bombed police stations and decapitated numerous folks)? Sorry, but I just don’t see why the Iraqi’s need so much convincing.
let's see - I'm an Iraqi cab driver who has to choose whether to support my friend Abdul's cousin who is an insurgent, who I grew up with, who's kid's played with my kids etc etc...

OR

I choose the faceless, helmetted, gun toting foreigner (and not necessarily an American soldier) who doesn't speak my language, has caused my business to stall, and views me as a potential threat.

which would you choose?

I've faced the same situation in Chechnya - and that was with the Chechens and Russians looking like each, and speaking the same langauge. Most Chechens will stick with their own - why should it be any different with the Iraqis?

you;re putting your views of how society should work on a people unprepared for them, and ofc, they're not going to want to side with you. I'd bet the only reason two-thirds of the Iraqi National Guard are even fighting is because they need food for their families - not because of any moral superiority they see in the Coalition.

this is why America will lose this fight as it stands - the US populace on a whole can not understand why other people don;t want to be like them, and then this unwillingness to conform to US ideals is then taken to be anti-americanism, which is seen is logically then extended to be that any Iraqi who isn;t openly coming and shaking our hand os an insurgent.

Fallujah should have been taken by every other Coalition force BESIDES the Americans - the US is hopeless at OOTW; this has been proven over and over again. They should be pressing hard for foreign troops who will be seen less as agressors and more as peacekeepers.
 

sickpup

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Ivan Rapkinov said:
let's see - I'm an Iraqi cab driver who has to choose whether to support my friend Abdul's cousin who is an insurgent, who I grew up with, who's kid's played with my kids etc etc...

OR

I choose the faceless, helmetted, gun toting foreigner (and not necessarily an American soldier) who doesn't speak my language, has caused my business to stall, and views me as a potential threat.

which would you choose?

I've faced the same situation in Chechnya - and that was with the Chechens and Russians looking like each, and speaking the same langauge. Most Chechens will stick with their own - why should it be any different with the Iraqis?

you;re putting your views of how society should work on a people unprepared for them, and ofc, they're not going to want to side with you. I'd bet the only reason two-thirds of the Iraqi National Guard are even fighting is because they need food for their families - not because of any moral superiority they see in the Coalition.
OK, so then you’re saying that Iraqi’s are too dumb to look beyond what might happen tomorrow and see a bit of a longer term picture? They’ll support the group that is intentionally killing innocent civilians and blowing up schools, just because the guy who planted the bomb on the playground equipment was an arab? If that’s the case, then I suppose the Iraqi’s will get what they deserve in the end – another dictatorship (or worse). But, hey, if it’s good enough for Abdul the terrorist, then I guess it’s good enough for Mohammed the average citizen, eh?

The ironic thing is that many of the insurgents say they want the US out of Iraq, but they’re apparently not smart enough to realize that by attacking our soldiers they’re actually prolonging our presence in their country. If there was no insurgency the coalition would probably be making plans to begin a pullout following the elections. Now there’s talk that the election may have to be postponed. This really makes me doubt the whole nationalistic excuse for the insurgency. It seems that the “propaghanda” is true, and that these guys are just terrified of freedom.
 
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