Thursday, November 18, 2004

Another reader and former Army officer weighs in on the shooting in Fallujah:

I'm not too torn about the Marine who shot the enemy that he thought was "playing possum." I have not seen the video, but friends have said it "doesn't look good." Of course, these friends are used to Law and Order and NYPD Blue and think everyone needs his rights read to him. When I explain that one can kill the enemy even if he is not shooting at you, and even if he is fleeing, they get it. In this situation, there are Syrian fighters strapped with suicide bombs, so there is no requirement to wait until the enemy shows you a weapon to shoot him. Too many people seem to think this is a duel where both sides say, "Reach for it, Mister." That ain't how you win gunfights in combat.

My concern with this situation is that apparently some Marines came through the day before and did first aid, but left this group behind. I fully understand the exigency of being in a gunfight, but remain concerned that they had prisoners, and failed to safeguard them. This causes potential problems of being shot from the rear if the prisoners had secreted weapons, or escape by the prisoners. Or, as here, a follow on force not knowing that the bad guys in the room were prisoners.

I agree with this reader--the fact that wounded were left behind, without medical care or security apparently for a whole day, gives one pause.

The SOP in the Army, which they teach you from basic on, is to remember the "Five S's" of POW handling: Search, silence, segregate, separate, sodomize, and speed to the rear.

Oops. That's six. There's one too many.

But "shoot" still isn't one of them.

These guys weren't exactly sped to the rear, in any case.

Regarding medical care for Iraqis, civilians and otherwise, was pretty simple: "You shoot 'em, you own 'em." That meant you didn't leave enemy dead or wounded on the field. You brought in the wounded for medical care. You brought in the dead so word doesn't get out that he's dead. Meanwhile, the Red Crescent can work to arrange a proper Muslim burial.

Obviously, there is no way to secure the corpses of the hundreds of Iraqis recently fitted with ventilation apertures in Ramadi in a timely manner, under fire. But I'm surprised that clearly wounded Iraqis were left in place.

Tells me there ain't enough MPs.

But we already knew that much.

Splash, out


Hey, excellent website. A great Iraq resource is Deaths in Iraq. It breaks all of the casualties down by age, race, branch of the military, country, etc.
I started a Blog about Vietnam from some pictures I had taken while over there. Stopped at your page to get some ideas and see how others did their blogs. Stop by, take a look, leave a comment. ---Jack--- vietnam war veterans
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