UPDATE: Shooting the wounded Iraqi insurgent

Split-second decision making and the consequences of an unengaged audience

David Tanner:

Our troops are faced with an ambiguous enemy. They don’t wear uniforms nor are they distinguishable from innocent civilians in any other immutable way. Their methods of attack are incomprehensible compared to historical standards of warfare. They have no reverence for the bodies of their fallen comrades and hold no qualms over detonating explosive devices they have placed within the rotting corpses of their confederates if it means taking one of our soldier’s lives. Who of us, sitting in the comfort of our homes in front of our televisions or behind a newsdesk in front of a camera, can judge the actions of one of our troops faced with such an opposition? I know I can’t, and I’m almost positive that if you are reading this neither can you.

He has many links to coverage, including one to Editors in Pajamas which shows us the Earth-2 Director’s Cut Dance Remix (by Shep Pettibone) of the incident.

I don’t understand why so many are shocked (SHOCKED, I tell you!) about this.

UPDATE: Okay. Now I’ve really seen it all. Hugh Hewitt notes it, but I have trouble believing it.

Chris Matthews really said this?

“Well, let me ask you about this. If this were the other side, and we were watching an enemy soldier —a rival, I mean they’re not bad guys especially, just people who just disagree with us, they are in fact the insurgents, fighting us in their country– if we saw one of them do what we saw our guy do to that guy, would we consider that worthy of a war crimes charge?”

I’m going to ignore for the moment Matthews’ question and I’m going to focus on the rival/enemy/bad guy thing for a moment.

I tell my son repeatedly that the Dallas Cowboys are NOT the “enemies” of the Washington Redskins (my favorite NFL team). They’re our “rivals”.

I tell my son repeatedly that the Detroit Red Wings are NOT the “bad guys” just because they beat our favorites, the Colorado Avalanche, so often. They are just our “rivals”.

So I will be God-damned if I’m going to equate the enemies of our nation’s military as “rivals”. I don’t mean to simply curse, here. I mean that I risk being condemned to an eternity in Hell if I raise my children to think such things.

This moral-equivalence thing is kaput. Statements like this have ruined whatever value it may have once had.

Someone I know personally told me that he thought Chris Matthews was probably one of the best news show hosts out there and encouraged me to give him a chance. I’m now encouraging him to tell me why.

I am questioning the patriotism and the national loyalty of anyone who tries to play such banal games. No exaggeration. I am calling Chris Matthews’ patriotism and loyalty to America into question. Point blank.



  1. If every Iraqi is a potential enemy, there is only one solution. We must kill them all in order to save them

  2. The love Thy Enemy thing is OK for people who intend to lose the war. In fact I recommend it (for the enemy). Oh, I forgot…….they don’t love us, or even people who spent 30 years helping them and their society. They just pop them in the noggin! OUCH! Just fell off my soap box and scraped my shin! LOL! Seriously, I’ve been personally involved in numerous use of force, and critical incidents over the years. I’ve been filmed and filmed others. The camera is an excellent documentary tool, but it only sees from it’s perspective, and hears what it’s microphone can pick up. Yea it looks like the GI just up and shot the wounded guy on the floor. But that’s not necessarily what happened. There could easily have been some critical development or detail that wasn’t visible from the camera’s location (such as the wounded guy hiding a grenade under him on the side away from the camera etc). There may have been some sound that wasn’t picked up by the camera mike too (such as a threatening statment by the wounded person, i.e. Die Yankee Pig!, etc). If the GI was as out of control and blood thisty as he’s been protrayed by some of the knee jerk stories and opinionating I’ve seen…….. it seems he would have just dusted the wounded the minute he entered the room. Some things my years of experience (or is it dumb luck?) have shown me is things aren’t always what they seem, and there is no shortage of morons to rush to judgement.

  3. Habit is an interesting thing, when you learn an enemy’s habits you react and take action accordingly. If a terrorist enemy has a habit of repeatedly taking hostages and beheading them, then you come to conclude that

  4. torcik: No one said ‘every enemy’ is a potential enemy. I understand the confusion when the enemy (our ‘rivals’) don’t dress in uniforms, operate by standard or accepted military procedures, etc. But no one is calling for shooting of all Iraqis. Play your ‘destroy the village to save it’ reruns somewhere else. This was a combat (or just barely post-combat) situation. When Iraqis pretend to surrender and then whip guns out from under their clothing, or when dead or dying Iraqis are booby-trapped with grenades, our soldiers are obviously going adapt to the environment in order to survive and complete the mission. It may very well be that this Iraqi posed no threat whatsover. And it may be that the Marine had no reason whatsoever to think so. Doesn’t seem likely, but I’ll readily admit that I don’t know the facts. Given (my limited understanding of) the circumstances, I think it’s likely that the Marine will be cleared. As he should be.

  5. If you’ve kept up on things ‘over there’ you would know that many of the insurgents will use their wounds to get close to an american to shoot them. There is an army medic that can tell you all about it. As she was treating a wounded insurgent, he whipped out a gun, and shot her. SHE WAS TREATING HIS WOUND(S) AND HE SHOT HER. Now, I only know one way to deal with animals like that, no, wait, even animals wouldn’t do that. I only know one way to deal with a terrorist. You kill them. You don’t bargain, you don’t commiserate, you don’t apologize, you kill them. If they get the chance, they’re going to kill you, so you’d better be fast, and you’d better not miss. This groups favorite weapon is high explosives in urban areas. For the sake of all that’s good and right you people need to get over the idea that a terrorist can be rehabilitated if you just ‘love’ them, and ‘show some understanding to their needs’. I tell you, you’re wrong, and if they have their way, you’re dead wrong.