The Law of War
Alert Readers have asked my opinion of the story of the Marine who is alleged to have broken the law by shooting an injured, unarmed fighter. The law of war is clear that one cannot do this. Upholding the law of war is the hallmark of a professional and disciplined fighting force. If one is allowed to shoot an occasional wounded enemy, then other things will eventually start to slip and soon your forces will be no better than thugs. Having said that, I reserve all judgment until the outcome of the internal investigation to be conducted by the 1st MEF. For an incident of this high a profile, it is likely that a full-bird colonel, and possibly a team of investigators, will be charged with determining if a crime was committed or not. There are many defenses that this young Marine could have, and we should hold out tongues until further information is available. It is tempting to say that the Devil dog should be let off, even if he was in the wrong. But when fighting for the future of civilization, it is best to uphold it. Prepare yourselves as the press gears up to make Abu Ghraib-like hay out of this story. If the name of this Marine is released, we'll all know it very soon, whereas there will be few stories of the heroism of the Battle of Fallujah, though no doubt it was present in spades. See my post from last week about our society overlooking physical courage.