I have been trying for days to write something about the Marine situation in Fallujah, Iraq. My personal feelings about what happen and how it was reported can be summed up in one word; pissed.
Oliver North wrote an article about what really happen. The article is too long to quote here, but you do need to read it before continuing on.
They way that this story has been reported is almost as irresponsible as CBS’ report was when reporting the Texas Air National Guard story. Not irresponsible in the fact that the story is false, as this one isn’t, but in the misrepresentation of the truth. As North said in his article:
In the rush to air sensational footage, the “pool” system failed us all. Worse yet, it failed the young soldiers and Marines and their brave Iraqi allies who are fighting to liberate Fallujah from the terrorists’ bloody grip. Even though the “shooting video” lacked context and failed to tell the full story – it became the big story. If it becomes the story of Fallujah – that would be a crime.
I don’t know if the reporter didn’t think the booby trapped bodies and the weapons in a mosque, a clear war crime, was important enough to be included in his report, but it should have been included. The Marine could be facing serious charges.
I do think the Marine handled the situation exactly as he should. The day prior, a fellow brother was killed by a booby trapped body. He didn’t want to risk the injured insurgent triggering an IED that would kill everyone. To keep that from happening, he eliminated the threat. If anything, the Marine should be getting credit for protecting his life and the lives of those around him from a possibly lethal situation.
This story has also triggered and few other articles around the blogsphere concerning the Geneva Convention and how it applies in Iraq. The best article I have found so far is definitely Eugene Volokh’s. He looks at multiple parts of the GC and draws some pretty good conclusions. I’m going to agree that it doesn’t appear that insurgents should be covered by the Geneva Convention.
The strongest arguments that they should not be covered are they are not part of any government’s military or militia. They do not have any kind of uniform that would identify them as enemy forces, nor do they follow any portion of the GC. How can we apply the GC to a force that doesn’t follow it themselves?
Everything needs to be looked at again. The incident involving the Marine is being investigated as it should be and debate on the validity of the GC in Iraq is beginning. The DoD needs to issue a statement on our interoperation of the GC so things like this will be better handled and reported in the future.
Hat tip: Seamus Garrahy and John Wear for passing along Oliver North’s column.