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News USA marines, war crimes, caught on video

  1. Dec 12, 2003 #1
    Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 12, 2003 #2


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    [q] Wounded, another Iraqi writhes on the ground next to his gun. The Marines kill him -- then cheer. [/q]

    There is no way any soldier in the world lets an enemy combatant with a gun within arms reach live. No war crime committed.

  4. Dec 12, 2003 #3


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    Looks to me like he was trying to get up when he was killed.

    Believe it or not, this scenario is debated extensively in military ethics classes. There is even a really good PBS debate on the subject. Essentially though, the rule is that if there is any chance at all he's capable of firing a gun at you, he's still a combatant you can shoot him. Trying to get up after being shot qualifies as still a combatant.

    And the response from the Marine Captain is a good one.

    And the response from the author of the site shows he doesn't know what he's talking about - or maybe that he knows he's wrong and is trying to distort the facts to make something from nothing.
    Last edited: Dec 12, 2003
  5. Dec 12, 2003 #4
    Jeez, that was creepy. Granted, maybe they needed to kill him, but it looks more like fun and games, killing non-persons.
  6. Dec 12, 2003 #5
    I thought it resembled a turkey shoot.
    It’s impossible to know what was on the guys mind as he was moving. He may have only wanted to crawl out of harms way, but he may very likely have decided to grab his rifle and carry it off with him too, so as to continue fighting. I think the killing was justifiable. In the interview which followed I noticed breaks and splices, so I have to conclude that what the soldier said was being put together to make him look as inhumane as possible.
    My philosophy is that if you’re going to take up arms you should expect the absolute worst from your opponent.
  7. Dec 12, 2003 #6
    I didn't see any weapons beside the Iraqi and nothing was mentioned. However, there was also a noticeable break during the interview and this is not the complete footage. It's easy to distort the facts.

    I'll keep an open mind
  8. Dec 13, 2003 #7
    You're out of your tree.

    1) I was a soldier.

    2) The victim was a wounded, fallen enemy, and thus comes under the particular law: Convention (I) for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armed Forces in the Field. Geneva, 12 August 1949. It can be found here: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d...fe20c3d903ce27e3c125641e004a92f3?OpenDocument
  9. Dec 13, 2003 #8

    No, it isn't. There is no debate. We rigidly follow the law.

    Oh, well, if there's a PBS debate about it...

    Essentially, you're wrong. The law in question is here: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/7c4d08d...fe20c3d903ce27e3c125641e004a92f3?OpenDocument

    No, it doesn't.

    No, it wasn't. I have never been impressed by US officers.

    I was just about to say that about you. Justifying murder. Ridiculous.
  10. Dec 13, 2003 #9
    Remember the "Highway to Hell" from outside Kuwait, during Desert Storm? I read an interview with one of the Apache pilots who was there. According to him, they treated it all like a video game, "blast the bad guys!", and so on. It took him a while to figure out what he had actually done. That's what these idiot kids were doing.
  11. Dec 13, 2003 #10
    So if you take up arms, you should expect the worst from others? That has nothing whatsoever to do with the intentions of others, only yourself.

    Soldiers follow the law. Officers guide their men along a lawful and just path through a terrible but sometimes necessary situation.

    Armed thugs make excuses and justifications.
  12. Dec 13, 2003 #11
    I've never been in the military, so I may be talking out of my butt. However, If I'm in combat, it's kill or be killed. It's my life or his. I will shoot him if he APPEARS to be attempting to reach for that gun. A wounded soldier is still capable of firing a weapon at me, given enough opportunity. Those are my ethics, that is what I would do, and what I would expect ANY man to do.

    The way those soldiers acted was immature and stupid, I'll venture that. There was nothing funny, or worth cheering about in that situation. they are morons who have never see the cold hard truth of a war they aren't winning.

    You can just set those lawful quotes and UN regulations aside. This is war son, there are no rules. The only rule is to win and live.
  13. Dec 13, 2003 #12

    Then you would be an armed thug, not a soldier. And no, it is not what any man would do.

    Pure bollocks. You've been watching too many Rambo movies.
  14. Dec 13, 2003 #13
    Just standing there, waiting for a chance to kill someone, like it is a game...wow, that guy is such a hero to shoot a wonded man in the back while he tries to crawl away on his belly. And then, all his friends cheer his extreme bravery. What they didn't show is how they celebrate later. Later on in the day, these heroes kidnap and rape a couple of preteen Iraqi girls, since it is war and we can throw all those pesky rules of law aside.
  15. Dec 13, 2003 #14
    I actually agree with Zero that it was repulsive and looked like sport (which is why I called it a turkey shoot). You claim to have been a soldier but then you should know that worrying about "the law" is the last thing going through a soldier’s mind during a fire fight.
    I’m not condoning their behavior; I was/am opposed to this invasion, but neither do I believe in the fallacy of ‘civilized’ warfare. I think it is nonsense for people to pretend they have a moral high ground while engaged in war, especially so if they are the one's who initiated the hostilities. I think this is just another way people rationalize away responsibility in order to continue believing they are somehow better than a murderer. My personal feelings are that the people who go along with and condone war are the dangerous ones in this world, and I don’t care which side they are on. They are, and have always been, the one’s who can be rallied by one means or another to kill their fellow man.

    Absolutely, but this is to be expected when you put a rifle into the hands of a teenager and then send him out to kill. The older folks are to blame, too, as they are the ones that put him in such a position.

    I really don’t understand you here. You have just said in effect that what goes on inside my mind has nothing to do with the intentions of others. Isn’t this obvious enough that it doesn’t need to be mentioned? I applied not knowing the intentions of others to the movements of the Iraqi soldier just prior to his being used for target practice by zealous youths; they couldn’t have known what he intended either, so better to kill him now then let him crawl behind the corner of that building where he might be able to kill one of them five minutes later.

    Isn't that pretty much what the US has been doing from the start?
  16. Dec 13, 2003 #15

    Australian F18 pilots were used in the invasion of Iraq. They even led bombing missions. At one point an Australian pilot led an attack against a moving ground target, which US intelligence had said was a valid target. However, the pilot, upon seeing the target himself, was unable to confirm that it was indeed a valid target. He thought it might have been a civilian transport. So against orders from his commanders, he called off the strike, and the planes went home.

    One of the very first things we were taught when we started with rifles was to keep our fingers outside the trigger-guard until we were absolutely positive of our target. In other words, unless you know the target is valid, you don't even put your finger on the trigger.

    Why call it a fallacy? Why not simply make certain your target is valid before you pull the trigger? There is a reason why the USA has something like 50% casualties from friendly fire, and why they just killed 15 little kids in Afghanistan this week. There is a reason why Australia does not have this problem. Some people accept the ridiculous idea that it is impossible to exercise caution in war. We don't.

    I agree that the invaders have no moral high ground. However, I think those involved in war can, in the right circumstances, have the moral high ground. For example, my granfather fought the NAZIs and the Japanese in WW2. I think his effort was absolutely necessary for the freedom of the world. They actually did face an aggressive nation which was out their conquering everyone.

    Yep. Bush is quite happy to send other peoples' kids to war.

    It was mentioned earlier as a justification for shooting people. "I have a gun, and I don't know what that person is thinking, so it's okay for me to shoot him." I was merely pointing out that the excuse is entirely without reason.

    He was an injured, fallen enemy soldier. The law is clear. He should have been taken into custody and sent to a hospital. He should not have been shot as though being prepared for Thanksgiving dinner.

    Unfortunately, yes.

    I have a personal theory that people in the USA (no doubt people from that country will object before considering this) are not emotionally equipped to deal with violence. Their culture has kids sitting in front of TVs watching the good guys kill the bad guys without remorse, and Playstation games with more of the same. Their military training is all "Hoo-yah! Go Team!" Even rap music their sells itself with a fairytale image of street-gangs and playing with guns. I think the result of all this is a total misconception about violence and its consequences. It results in Apache pilots shooting at lines of cars and thinking of it as a game. And kids on Hummers shooting "the bad guys" and thinking it doesn't matter.
  17. Dec 13, 2003 #16


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    Re: russ_watters

    Heh. Sorry, I took my military ethics classes at the Naval Academy (we actually watched the PBS special in one of our weekly ethics semiars). We most certainly did debate the issue because it as not as simple as you (and the website host) are trying to make it. After Mai Lai, ethics became a very important part of military training in the US. Perhaps Australia hasn't yet seen the need for it.
    Only if it was SAFE for the American soldiers to do that. If he was setting up a bomb like the report said, it was NOT safe to take him into custody.
    That is EXACTLY how the laws Adam is citing work.

    BTW, I do agree with you guys about the way these soldiers acted - cheering is despicable, but understandable. However the conduct relevant to the battle was in accordance with US and international law.
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2003
  18. Dec 15, 2003 #17


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    So, if a wounded enemy picked up his gun and started to point it at you, you would not shoot him? I think you would.

    When can you shoot a wounded enemy? If he has a gun pointed at you, certainly. If he has a gun pointed at your fellow soldiers, or the charges you are defending, certainly. The man in question was concious, moving and had a gun right next to him. The soldiers who shot him had no reason to believe that the wounded man would not continue to fight. Any soldier in that situation must act with the realization that they might die any time. If the soldiers in question failed to shoot the wounded man, and were killed themselves by unseen enemies, the wounded man might very well have picked up his gun and shot either American soldiers or Iraqi civilians. They would have failed in their duty.

    The rules of war you cite are to protect those wounded reduced to non-combatant status.

  19. Dec 15, 2003 #18
    That wounded man laying on the ground was not pointing a gun at anyone. He wasn't even armed.

    Like a guy shot and rolling around on the ground, without a weapon?
  20. Dec 15, 2003 #19


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    The site to which you linked clearly states that his gun is right next to him. He is visibly able to move. He can grab his gun and shoot in less than a second. He is not surrendering. If his gun were not near him, if he surrendered, if he had been knocked unconcious it would have been wrong to shoot him. None of that happened.

  21. Dec 15, 2003 #20

    He is visibly rolling around in pain. That is quite different to being able to pick up a gun and go Rambo on people.

    If you had been shot, and were rolling around in agony, could you grab the gun, turn to face the other way, and shoot, in less than a second? Do you know the extent of his injuries?

    He's been shot. He's laying on the ground, squirming in pain, facing away from people who speak another language. What chance did he have to stand up and say in English "I surrender!"?

    No. What did happen was that he was shot, injured, squirming in pain, unarmed, being attacked by people who don't speak his language. And while laying there on the ground in pain, injured, some cowboys having a laugh decided to execute him.

    Tell me this. If the marines had been standing right over the injured man, would it have been acceptable to put an M16 against his head and pull the trigger?
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