JH sent me his wise insights:
I imagine I would be a mite jumpy if some of my mates had been killed by booby trapped wounded people playing dead. I think he did the right thing. It is a pity that the people who want to hang him weren’t there. If the marine concerned had felt that he had done anything wrong, and was in the habit of killing people who pissed him off, do you think that the reporter or his film would have made it away from the engagement? Plenty of opportunities would exist for the marine to frag him with a captured kalashnikov. Quite simply, if you put this soldier away then you are unaware of the pressures and realities of a combat zone. We aren’t talking about executing people in the middle of a street. He didn’t kill him with a pistol shot to the temple. The man wasn’t a kneeling pleading person with his hands tied behind his back. We are talking about someone in a LAWLESS zone trying to save his life and the life of his friends. This guys wasn’t just following orders. He was taking the recommendation on board that people who play dead could be rigged to explode when someone comes to investigate. Hell, if I was being attacked by a superior force and believed that martyrdom was the only guarentee of getting to heaven, I’d have a bomb strapped to me. If I got wounded then I would quite happily wait for a bunch of enemy soldiers to get close. I could take 3 or 4 with me. I also don’t end up being a burden on our own side and I can’t give away any intelligence to the enemy.
Now I agree that there should be INDEPENDANT inquiries into war crimes as a standard follow up to any military action. There is a twofold reason. Firstly if your guys are well trained and behaved then they are cleared by a disinterested party and anything the other side says is just so much crap and that is obvious. Secondly, if something has happened then it gets dealt to pronto.
As an aside, the sort of people who want to deal to this guy probably also don’t believe in smacking. Perhaps then they should suggest a time out. Now let’s see. The normal formula for time out is a minute per year. If the marine was say 26 then that equates to 26 minutes. How much time out should the insurgents get?
Maybe we should outlaw war? Who would enforce it? How do you enforce a time out on a person with a gun and a willingness to use it? Imagine if this had applied to WW2. The allies choose to outlaw war. Chamberlain sends a letter to Hitler saying that if he doesn’t stop his warring now then Britain will have no choice but to tell him off and put him in time out! Naughty Hitler! Of course it isn’t his fault really. It is societies fault. Of course who makes up society?
Just try doing this one with your neighbour. “Hey neighbour stop beating your wife and children! If you don’t I shall be forced to put you in time out! I shall enforce it with the voice of reason and a stern look.” The neighbour then proceeds to beat you to a pulp. He then returns to beating his wife and kid. Where are the police? Well they could only stop the nasty neighbour by using actual violence or by implying violence would be used. If the neighbour grabs a gun to deal with them then they can choose to leave, stay and get shot, or get their own guns. Looks like war to me!