Latest on the Haditha 8 here.
Isn't it amazing how the Marines come off as running amok? IMHO they deserve the benefit of the doubt. I've never been in combat but had a few "dicey" situations thrown my way while in the Navy. It was always easy to critique everyone's actions afterwards, as we all sat around with coffee cups in hand. Yep, there were ALWAYS mistakes made and they were always admitted. Admitted along with the recognition by all that no response to an emergency is perfectly done, there are always mistakes.
How much more so in true combat, where the stakes are life or death and a moment's hesitation might literally kill you or a comrade? Where compassion for the enemy or giving in to doubt about who that enemy truly is can result in your entire squad/platoon/unit getting waxed? In the confusion and heat of battle, running from point to point, pitted not only against armed unkown enemies (indistinguishable from bystanders) but also dealing with the overwhelming noise, smoke, tripping hazards and unknown potential for booby traps and fatal accidents?
WHO IN HELL CAN RATIONALLY OBSERVE "RULES OF ENGAGEMENT" DREAMED UP BY SOME ARMCHAIR WARRIOR BACK IN THE STATES?
The My Lai Massacre will be resurrected here. Wrongfully so because the setting and deliberate actions of those involved there make it a complete "apples to oranges" comparison. But it will still be cited and the ongoing attempt to defame these eight men and, by extension, our military forces in Iraq will successfully continue. The Department of Defense will be complicit in this as it stays mute in the defense of these Marines.
This report was leaked? By who? What efforts are being made to track down and punish the culprit(s) who work against the best interests of our military? They are entitled to a fair trial IAW the UCMJ. They won't get it because of crap like this. And our DOD top brass will sit idly by, allowing it to happen while they play CYA at the expense of their subordinates.
As a result of this our troops can't be faulted for reluctantly carrying out any future assignments in this theater. Why should they? If they try doing what will enable them to survive, they risk the second guessing of all the armchair warriors who will be too willing to prosecute them at the drop of a hat. If they go into the field and hesitate to do what's necessary they'll put their lives and the lives of their comrades in danger. They'll be looking at coming home in a pine box, to a church service that might be disrupted by the likes of Fred Phelps and his ilk exercising their "First Amendment Rights".
One final note. This quote highlights why NO judgment should be rendered at this time, why NO leaking of this report should be excused:
"The report, which relied on hundreds of interviews with Marines, Iraqi soldiers and civilian survivors conducted months after the incident, presents a fragmented and sometimes conflicting chronicle of the violence that day. But taken together, the accounts provide evidence that as the Marines came under attack, they responded in ways that are difficult to reconcile with their rules of engagement".
The first sentence talks of a "conflicting" chronicle, i.e. the facts still need to be sorted out. The second, IMHO, is the talk of armchair warriors second guessing a combat situation.
I seriously believe they should take their "rules of engagement" directives, fold them into nothing but sharp corners, and firmly place them where the sun will never shine.
God Bless our Marines. God Bless our entire military. God help us all.
Sunday, January 07, 2007
Latest on the Haditha 8 here.