Friday, December 22, 2006

Captain's Journal on the case.

I haven't been following it too closely lately. But I concur with Herschel's assessment of room-clearing tactics. In an infantry house-to-house fight, there is no going back. You toss the grenade before you even look in the room. If you don't, you die.

Then you charge in firing at anything that moves. There is no time for target assessment in this context. If the enemy survived the grenade with his wits still about him, he already knows where you're coming in from in most cases. He's got the drop on you. He's already on the floor somewhere, in a corner, under a table, drawing a bead on the door or other point of entry. The split second you hesitate on the trigger to conduct a hostile/non-hostile assessment will cause you or your buddy's grievous bodily harm.

That's the drill. That's the reality of urban combat at point-blank range. It was ever thus, and always will be.

If the Marines can demonstrate that there was hostile fire coming from the house in question - or that they were occupied by insurgents, and that they executed a battle drill to standard, AND did not hang out too long shooting the wounded if they were obviously noncombatants (to the extent anything can be obvious), then there needs to be some safe harbor provision for them and future combat leaders.

These decisions are made at platoon level and below. It's a fire team that clears the room. They are led by corporals and buck sergeants. Many times, they are led by a sharp specialist in the Army. Think about 20 to 25 years old.

They are soldiers and marines. Not lawyers.

Get a clue, people.

If they are entitled to a trial by a jury of their peers, the only peers they have are Army and Marine infantry who have themselves engaged in dozens of real-world room clearings.

Let them judge.

I can't, from here.

Splash, out


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