To answer Chris Matthews’ question about what would we think if an Iraqi had done this to one of our guys, I believe that the answer is:
“No, Chris, I would not consider the action of our “rival” a war crime.”
And here’s why:
- Our Marine, and others like him, would be lying in a church after a long string of incidents where our soldiers used churches as bases of operation and as arms dumps
- Our Marine, and others like him, would be out of uniform
- Our Marine, or others like him, would have many times previously used civilians as shields and hidden behind other things normally considered “off-limits” in a war
- Our Marine, or others like him, would have many times previously pretended to surrender, then suddenly turned and fired on the forces taking him into custody per the “rules of war”
- Our Marine, or others like him, would have previously booby-trapped dead and dying bodies that killed or wounded rival soldiers (UPDATE: or civilians)
- Our Marine, and others like him, would be fighting forces charged by the government with restoring order in a lawless, savage city
- Our Marine, and others like him, would do the same thing to our “rivals” if the situations were somehow magically reversed
That, Chris, is why I don’t think this is a war crime.
Our soldiers don’t do those sorts of things. Therefore, our soldiers don’t get caught in those sorts of situations. And asking questions about what would we think if the roles were reversed requires us to reverse more than the two seconds it took for that Marine to raise and discharge his weapon. It requires us to reverse everything that went into the situation and the decision-making process.
Chris Matthews knows this. Yet he asks the question anyway.
I often tell people that
There’s no such thing as a stupid question
There are many questions asked by stupid people.
Case in point.