Marine cleared in Mosque shooting

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
Marine cleared in Mosque shooting

From MSNBC:

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The U.S. military has cleared a Marine who shot three unarmed insurgents in a mosque at the height of fighting in Fallujah, Iraq, in November.[/font]
[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Marine commander Lt. Gen. John Sattler has ruled the soldier involved fired his weapon in self-defense — and no charges will be filed against him.[/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The shootings occurred at a mosque during an intense street-to-street battle for Fallujah. Caught on tape by an NBC camera, a squad of Marines entered the mosque to investigate reports of enemy gunfire. Inside, they found four enemy insurgents, wounded in a firefight the day before.[/font]


[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]A Marine corporal who notices that one of the insurgents is still breathing raises his rifle and fires a single shot into the man’s head.[/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Military officials now report that the same corporal shot three of the unarmed insurgents inside the mosque.[/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]But after an exhaustive five-month investigation, Sattler ruled the Marine had fired his weapon in self-defense.[/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Sources tell NBC News the decision was based on the fact the Marines had been warned that the enemy would feign death and booby-trap bodies as a tactic to lure Marines to their deaths. The sources said the corporal apparently feared for his life when he fired the shots.[/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]But the investigation is not over. At least one other Marine remains under investigation for shooting a fourth unarmed insurgent in that same mosque.[/font]

[font=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The mosque had been used as a safe haven for insurgents firing on Marines, and the U.S. military found a large stockpile of weapons inside upon securing the building.
[/font]

An unedited video of that shooting is here: (caution graphic language)

Kevin Sites, an NBC journalist who shot the video, gives his take on the scenario from his blog site (Apologies for the length, but it is worth the read for background on the subject):

It's Saturday morning and we're still at our strong point from the night before, a clearing between a set of buildings on the southern edge of the city. The advance has been swift, but pockets of resistance still exist. In fact, we're taking sniper fire from both the front and the rear.

Weapons Company uses its 81's (mortars) where they spot muzzle flashes. The tanks do some blasting of their own. By mid-morning, we're told we're moving north again. We'll be back clearing some of the area we passed yesterday. There are also reports that the mosque, where ten insurgents were killed and five wounded on Friday may have been re-occupied overnight.

I decide to leave you guys and pick up with one of the infantry squads as they move house-to-house back toward the mosque. (For their own privacy and protection I will not name or identify in any way, any of those I was traveling with during this incident.)

Many of the structures are empty of people -- but full of weapons. Outside one residence, a member of the squad lobs a frag grenade over the wall. Everyone piles in, including me.

While the Marines go into the house, I follow the flames caused by the grenade into the courtyard. When the smoke clears, I can see through my viewfinder that the fire is burning beside a large pile of anti-aircraft rounds.

I yell to the lieutenant that we need to move. Almost immediately after clearing out of the house, small explosions begin as the rounds cook off in the fire.

At that point, we hear the tanks firing their 240-machine guns into the mosque. There's radio chatter that insurgents inside could be shooting back. The tanks cease-fire and we file through a breach in the outer wall.

We hear gunshots from what seems to be coming from inside the mosque. A Marine from my squad yells, "Are there Marines in here?"

When we arrive at the front entrance, we see that another squad has already entered before us.

The lieutenant asks them, "Are there people inside?"

One of the Marines raises his hand signaling five.

"Did you shoot them," the lieutenant asks?

"Roger that, sir, " the same Marine responds.

"Were they armed?" The Marine just shrugs and we all move inside.

Immediately after going in, I see the same black plastic body bags spread around the mosque. The dead from the day before. But more surprising, I see the same five men that were wounded from Friday as well. It appears that one of them is now dead and three are bleeding to death from new gunshot wounds. The fifth is partially covered by a blanket and is in the same place and condition he was in on Friday, near a column. He has not been shot again. I look closely at both the dead and the wounded. There don't appear to be any weapons anywhere.

"These were the same wounded from yesterday," I say to the lieutenant. He takes a look around and goes outside the mosque with his radio operator to call in the situation to Battalion Forward HQ.

I see an old man in a red kaffiyeh lying against the back wall. Another is face down next to him, his hand on the old man's lap -- as if he were trying to take cover. I squat beside them, inches away and begin to videotape them. Then I notice that the blood coming from the old man's nose is bubbling. A sign he is still breathing. So is the man next to him.

While I continue to tape, a Marine walks up to the other two bodies about fifteen feet away, but also lying against the same back wall.

Then I hear him say this about one of the men:

"He's ****ing faking he's dead -- he's faking he's ****ing dead."

Through my viewfinder I can see him raise the muzzle of his rifle in the direction of the wounded Iraqi. There are no sudden movements, no reaching or lunging.

However, the Marine could legitimately believe the man poses some kind of danger. Maybe he's going to cover him while another Marine searches for weapons.

Instead, he pulls the trigger. There is a small splatter against the back wall and the man's leg slumps down.

"Well he's dead now," says another Marine in the background.

I am still rolling. I feel the deep pit of my stomach. The Marine then abruptly turns away and strides away, right past the fifth wounded insurgent lying next to a column. He is very much alive and peering from his blanket. He is moving, even trying to talk. But for some reason, it seems he did not pose the same apparent "danger" as the other man -- though he may have been more capable of hiding a weapon or explosive beneath his blanket.

But then two other marines in the room raise their weapons as the man tries to talk.

For a moment, I'm paralyzed still taping with the old man in the foreground. I get up after a beat and tell the Marines again, what I had told the lieutenant -- that this man -- all of these wounded men -- were the same ones from yesterday. That they had been disarmed treated and left here.

At that point the Marine who fired the shot became aware that I was in the room. He came up to me and said, "I didn't know sir-I didn't know." The anger that seemed present just moments before turned to fear and dread.

The wounded man then tries again to talk to me in Arabic.

He says, "Yesterday I was shot... please... yesterday I was shot over there -- and talked to all of you on camera -- I am one of the guys from this whole group. I gave you information. Do you speak Arabic? I want to give you information." (This man has since reportedly been located by the Naval Criminal Investigation Service which is handling the case.)

In the aftermath, the first question that came to mind was why had these wounded men been left in the mosque?

It was answered by staff judge advocate Lieutenant Colonel Bob Miller -- who interviewed the Marines involved following the incident. After being treated for their wounds on Friday by Navy Corpsman (I personally saw their bandages) the insurgents were going to be transported to the rear when time and circumstances allowed.

The area, however, was still hot. And there were American casualties to be moved first.

Also, the squad that entered the mosque on Saturday was different than the one that had led the attack on Friday.

It's reasonable to presume they may not have known that these insurgents had already been engaged and subdued a day earlier.
Yet when this new squad engaged the wounded insurgents on Saturday, perhaps really believing they had been fighting or somehow posed a threat -- those Marines inside knew from their training to check the insurgents for weapons and explosives after disabling them, instead of leaving them where they were and waiting outside the mosque for the squad I was following to arrive.

During the course of these events, there was plenty of mitigating circumstances like the ones just mentioned and which I reported in my story. The Marine who fired the shot had reportedly been shot in the face himself the day before.

I'm also well aware from many years as a war reporter that there have been times, especially in this conflict, when dead and wounded insurgents have been booby-trapped, even supposedly including an incident that happened just a block away from the mosque in which one Marine was killed and five others wounded. Again, a detail that was clearly stated in my television report.

No one, especially someone like me who has lived in a war zone with you, would deny that a solider or Marine could legitimately err on the side of caution under those circumstances. War is about killing your enemy before he kills you.

In the particular circumstance I was reporting, it bothered me that the Marine didn't seem to consider the other insurgents a threat -- the one very obviously moving under the blanket, or even the two next to me that were still breathing.

I can't know what was in the mind of that Marine. He is the only one who does.
So what is your take on this incident? Was justice served?

How do you think the Iraqi people will feel about the verdict?
 
I wasn't there; I can't possibly answer your questions with any accuracy. Only those who were there can, though many will try. Even this journalist who shot the video and wrote the article has no idea why the Marine decided to shoot, only that he did.

Justice? A moot question, really, when it comes to war. There is nothing just about war; rules are suspended during deperate battles, humanity disappears in the shadow of impending death, and the object eventually becomes winning at any cost, honor and convention be damned.
 

Carnage-DVS

Diabloii.Net Member
If we morally superior Americans who are battling the evil and insidious terrorists and villains of the world resort to killing unarmed wounded, we are just as bad as them.
 

jimmyboy

Diabloii.Net Member
Wow. We shoot POWs.

Albeit conviction would have decrease troop moral, this acquittal will probably increase insurgance recruiting by 10% for the next few months.
 

KillJoyBob

Diabloii.Net Member
The man was laying there for at least 24 hours and the marines had already disarmed all the wounded:

"For a moment, I'm paralyzed still taping with the old man in the foreground. I get up after a beat and tell the Marines again, what I had told the lieutenant -- that this man -- all of these wounded men -- were the same ones from yesterday. That they had been disarmed treated and left here."

Another cowboy got away with cold blooded murder. :confused:
 

Dj_Otaku

Diabloii.Net Member
KillJoyBob said:
Another cowboy got away with cold blooded murder. :confused:
I like that last comment, because you know that is so nessecary.

Anyway, I agree with what Mixed wrote. We were not there, and therefore could not answer the question fully. We have no idea what they Marine was thinking, we have no idea what his thoughts were, we have no idea the anxiety that was over him. Fallujah had horrible street to street fighting and we cannot imagine the horrors of war that these soliders had to go through.

Dj_Otaku
 

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
When I see and/or read events like this, these are some of the thoughts that go through my mind:


The sound that does not stop


26 months and 220 billion dollars later … a steady drip - drip - drip is heard

No weapons … no ties … no justification …

Few seem to care


A city flattened … homes destroyed … jobs lost … electricity short … sewage in the street

Reconstruction is just a dream

Purple fingers raised … a government elected - positions filled … but nothing seems to change

Politicians thump their chests … Generals say we're winning … yet in the background --> a faint sound which never goes away

The military overtaxed … recruiting quotas unfulfilled … Allies leaving …

Resistance continues

No one wants to see it … Media ignores it … We avert our attention to other matters

But one sound remains constant …

That steady drip


Each day the bell tolls … each day the toll grows … No end in sight

A mother wails … a husband grieves … a daughter moans … a child screams … but their sounds are silenced as the coffins fill

The drip - drip - drip goes on


:(
 

AeroJonesy

Diabloii.Net Member
I'm not in the military, I've never been in the military, and I've never been in a combat situation. I've never stepped out the door and wondered if someone was plotting to kill me that day, if they were hoping for a clear shot on me, or if they were going to strap a bomb to a car. I can't say what that soldier felt, or why he did what he did.
 

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
jimmyboy said:
Noted.

So we shoot POWs in their own military bases.
This verdict will only serve to infuriate more Iraqi people, strengthen their resolve, and further their resistance against our occupational forces.

Welcome back my friend to the war that never ends
Were so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside
 

Ranger14

Diabloii.Net Member
I'm with Mixed, Aero and others on this. Throw out all the anti-American innuendos that you want to, but when you are a soldier watching your fellow soldiers get killed by suicide bombs and people faking death and all the other crap that goes on far be it for me to judge what he was doing.

It's still going to take us a helluva a long time to catch up to all the Iraqi civilians that Hussein killed during his rule. Pretty much impossible for us to come close. Some may not like to consider that, but I sure do. :(

I don't think this is going to have the impact on the insurgents that you think it will. A little over-dramatic, I would say. It may go to show them we aren't going to let them get away with their terroristic tactics of fighting. Meh... no use arguing with you though. You see it one way and it will never change.
 

Moosashi

Diabloii.Net Member
llad12 said:
This verdict will only serve to infuriate more Iraqi people, strengthen their resolve, and further their resistance against our occupational forces.
Perhaps, but the potential fury of the Iraqi people shouldn't be our basis for justice.

I think that in a peace time situation, the actions of the soldier would be unequivocally wrong, but the hostile atmosphere changes things. From the video, the entire squad seemed to react with genuine fear to the discovery that the man was still alive. They did not appear sadistic or nonchalant. If they are guilty of anything it would be for inaccurately judging the threat posed by the wounded man. That's a question for military lawyers with more information about the circumstances.
 

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
Ranger14 said:
I'm with Mixed, Aero and others on this. Throw out all the anti-American innuendos that you want to, but when you are a soldier watching your fellow soldiers get killed by suicide bombs and people faking death and all the other crap that goes on far be it for me to judge what he was doing.
Anti-American innuendos? Where do you come off with that statement?

If you believe that dissent is anti-American, then perhaps you should take a close look at yourself in the mirror.

Ranger14 said:
It's still going to take us a helluva a long time to catch up to all the Iraqi civilians that Hussein killed during his rule. Pretty much impossible for us to come close. Some may not like to consider that, but I sure do. :(
So are you attempting to justify any alleged illegal actions based on numbers? ... :rolleyes:

I hope not.



Ranger14 said:
I don't think this is going to have the impact on the insurgents that you think it will. A little over-dramatic, I would say. It may go to show them we aren't going to let them get away with their terroristic tactics of fighting. Meh... no use arguing with you though. You see it one way and it will never change.
Nah ... who cares? It's just another dead Iraqi POW that certainly appeared to be summarily executed by our troops on video for the all the world to see. No weapons ... no bombs ... no attempt to defend himself ... no Geneva Convention ... no worries 'eh?

Hey it was self-defense. After all, the military court has spoken. Shoot, everyone knows that Might makes Right anyway ... doesn't it? :rolleyes:

Yah, we can't let those Iraqis get away with guerilla warfare. They ain't fighting fair ...

Maybe we should adopt the tactics of this famous American General:

"Kill 'em ... Kill 'em all
Stonewall Jackson
It worked for most of our Native American tribes after all ... didn't it? :uhhuh:
 

kernelpops

Diabloii.Net Member
Um, I normally stay out of these threads because I do not like to be flamed. But! Why are you calling him a POW? I read the photojournalist blog months ago, and they were still in a hot zone, not a prison.



Yes, it is terrible that someone died, but the mosque was still under fire, and they treated the insurgent the day before. But he didn't leave. So an uninformed solider did his job and tried to protect the rest of his troop. Like Mixed and others have said, we were not there and don’t know the details. This is another tactic of the left to discredit the war.

 

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
kernelpops said:
Um, I normally stay out of these threads because I do not like to be flamed. But! Why are you calling him a POW? I read the photojournalist blog months ago, and they were still in a hot zone, not a prison.
The subjects were engaged, wounded, subdued, and disarmed according to the blogger.

Quibble over the definition of a term if you want ... they sound like prisoners to me.



kernelpops said:
Yes, it is terrible that someone died, but the mosque was still under fire, and they treated the insurgent the day before. But he didn't leave. So an uninformed solider did his job and tried to protect the rest of his troop. Like Mixed and others have said, we were not there and don’t know the details. This is another tactic of the left to discredit the war.
Discredit the war?

The war has already been discredited by the lack of finding any WMD, legitimate ties to Al Qaeda, or any credible threat to the United States of America.

I don't want to butter your popcorn, but that is quite a statement KP

I must commend your tactic on this subject tho ... paint the left as the bad guys here ... cute :rolleyes:
 

kernelpops

Diabloii.Net Member
Thanks, but my popcorn comes butter flavored already.:lol:



Yes, it is quite a statement. Why is this story getting so much press? It is one killed man out of thousands. Yesterday hundreds died in a police recruiting station by an insurgent, Pat Tillman was killed by friendly fire and they get a 20-second blurb on the news, yet this one unarmed insurgent is killed and it is the most important story of the year.



Frankly, Llad most of your posts are to discredit the conservative republicans (aka George Bush and administration) who some do not necessarily think bringing the war to Iraq was a bad thing. Saddam was a threat and a ruthless murderer.



So why can’t I point out what the talking heads want to report on as a Democratic technique to paint the Republicans evil?



I like reading your posts so don’t stop, you have some strong opinions, and I have my own opinions that just happen to be opposite of yours.

Edit: Almost forgot, I will quibble over terms, POW means Prisoner of War.

Prisoner of war , that means in a secure compound with guards, and the lack of freedoms, not sitting freely in an unsecured building that had known activity of aggressions.



[begin sarcasm\] With a dog leash on and a woman pointing at the prisoners privates [end sarcasm\]
 
llad12 said:
I must commend your tactic on this subject tho ... paint the left as the bad guys here ... cute :rolleyes:
Come on, llad. If the shoe fits...aren't you trying to discredit our involvement in the war over there yourself in general, and those who have made the decision to go to war in particular (with a side-dish of including everyone who supports the war effort), with nearly every thread you create? This is what all these types of threads devolve to; the left vs. the right.

It just so happens that I personally rue the day we were involved with such a travesty. I will be honest with you; in general I don't give a fig for what happens to the Iraqis right about now (call me a monster if you like), but I do care about our own people. It seems that our soldiers, and our country's citizens by association, are either turning into monsters because of this war, or merely being painted as such; probably a combination of both. And that, I feel sadness for, because I believe the U.S. is a great country. The world attitude makes me feel I should be ashamed to be an American, though I am proud rather than ashamed. I support our troops over there not because I believe in what they are doing, but because most of them do, and they are trying to do a good job in more adverse, insane conditions than I can possibly imagine.
 

llad12

Diabloii.Net Member
Moosashi said:
Perhaps, but the potential fury of the Iraqi people shouldn't be our basis for justice.
It may not be the basis for justice, but winning the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqi people is our only basis for peace.

Consider the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib prison.

What do the Iraqis see?

American justice meted out to a few lowly grunts ... the ones in charge go free.

The brutality of our soldiers in Fallujah ... the shooting of an unarmed man ... the sniping of families at a river ... the shooting of civilians carrying white flags ... the destruction of homes, businesses, and lives

This is what they see.

------------

This war was wrong. We shouldn't be there.

They won't stop killing us until we leave.
 
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