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November 16, 2004

War Is Hell, As It Should Be.

The latest news from Iraq has a US Marine shooting an unarmed Iraqi prisoner inside a mosque. After instant media disapproval and outrage, the incident is under investigation.

I saw an edited clip on CNN this morning and was neither shocked nor disturbed. I may be wrong on this, but, isn't that war? You kill people. Lots of them. You face death 24 hours a day. Ostensibly within minutes of landing in Baghdad on your tour of duty, you learn to hate the enemy. A seething, animalistic, survivalist kind of mentality takes over. If it doesn't, you're more at risk that the next.

This––I could only imagine, for I have never served in an armed force––is normal behavior. What that soldier did, in my opinion, wasn't wrong. He'd been shot at for days, maybe even lost a few friends along the way, and rather than calculate the possibility that the injured and unarmed man slumped over in front of him wasn't concealing a weapon, he chose to protect himself and his fellow soldiers as efficiently as humanly possible.

What's ultimately wrong is that he, along with every other brave, hungry, and tired US soldier beside him, is in that very position. War is fucked up. But again, that is war. This wasn't the first time something like that happened, nor will it be the last.

The only reason that video is controversial is because it's on video.

Posted by jason at November 16, 2004 08:36 PM | TrackBack
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Comments

Yeah, I wasn't shocked. It probably pales in comparison to the other destruction and death in the city, too. It was wrong, and it shouldn't have happened, but I also hope the soldier does not need to be inordinately punished simply because the world is watching. The victim was also apparently a militant who had been operating from a mosque.

Besides already being in a bad situation, I also heard a report that the shooter had been shot and wounded a few days earlier and was put back in service—that is to say, he might've been a little impaired and even jumpier than his uninjured comrades.

Posted by: Gary on November 17, 2004 12:22 AM
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