Thursday, November 18, 2004

Semper Fi

Excellent editorial from on the shooting of an unarmed insurgent by a Marine:

Some 40 Marines have just lost their lives cleaning out one of the world's worst terror dens, in Fallujah, yet all the world wants to talk about is the NBC videotape of a Marine shooting a prostrate Iraqi inside a mosque. Have we lost all sense of moral proportion?

The al-Zarqawi TV network, also known as Al-Jazeera, has broadcast the tape to the Arab world, and U.S. media have also played it up. The point seems to be to conjure up images again of Abu Ghraib, further maligning the American purpose in Iraq. Never mind that the pictures don't come close to telling us about the context of the incident, much less what was on the mind of the soldier after days of combat.

Put yourself in that Marine's boots. He and his mates have had to endure some of the toughest infantry duty imaginable, house-to-house urban fighting against an enemy that neither wears a uniform nor obeys any normal rules of war. Here is how that enemy fights, according to an account in the Times of London:

"In the south of Fallujah yesterday, U.S. Marines found the armless, legless body of a blonde woman, her throat slashed and her entrails cut out. Benjamin Finnell, a hospital apprentice with the U.S. Navy Corps, said that she had been dead for a while, but at that location for only a day or two. The woman was wearing a blue dress; her face had been disfigured. It was unclear if the remains were the body of the Irish-born aid worker Margaret Hassan, 59, or of Teresa Borcz, 54, a Pole abducted two weeks ago. Both were married to Iraqis and held Iraqi citizenship; both were kidnapped in Baghdad last month."

When not disemboweling Iraqi women, these killers hide in mosques and hospitals, booby-trap dead bodies, and open fire as they pretend to surrender. Their snipers kill U.S. soldiers out of nowhere. According to one account, the Marine in the videotape had seen a member of his unit killed by another insurgent pretending to be dead. Who from the safety of his Manhattan sofa has standing to judge what that Marine did in that mosque?

In addition, Power Line has an excellent post relating to the incident, and the man who recorded it, Kevin Sites.

The camera man who shot the notorious footage of a Marine dispatching a wounded terrorist in Fallujah is Kevin Sites. He is being denounced on
WorldNet Daily as a left-wing activist. Interestingly, Sites is a blogger; his site is here.

It's actually a pretty interesting blog. I don't doubt that Sites is a liberal, but I can't agree that he comes across as unsympathetic to our troops or as anti-American. True, his last post, the only one that deals with the Fallujah offensive, is defeatist at best. It describes the first day of the fighting in Fallujah, and ends as follows:

The Marines know they are being hunted. Boxed from the east and the west in a treacherous kill zone by an enemy they can feel -- but can't see. Their superior firepower is checked by the insurgent's knowledge of the city -- their cunning in using blind alleyways and the crooks and crannies of buildings to pick off the Marines.

The gun battle continues late into the night -- eventually an AC-130 gunship is called in and strafes Elizabeth Street with its mini guns. With eight of their men wounded--it is a bloody and disappointing start for the Marines -- and a reminder that to win the battle for Falluja -- they will likely have to fight as they did today block by block, street by street.

I admit, it's a little over the top to describe the Marines as "hunted" occupants of a "kill zone," given what happened over the next week. But I don't think this passage is representative of Sites's site as a whole. You can read it and judge for yourself.

More interesting to me were some of the posts by commenters on Sites's blog. As with most comments sections, they tend to degenerate into name-calling between pro-war and anti-war posters. But I thought this comment, by a woman named Monir Kazemi, is worth repeating. She is responding to a comment from another woman who ridiculed her criticisms of the Islamofascists:

Jana says: "Monir you dont know anything about Iraq or Islam or the Koran ...."

Dear Jana, I was born in the Middle East and went to Islamic school and at one time I memorized parts of the Koran. I am from a neighboring country to Iraq.

The Koran says Sureh 4, Verse 35: Men have authority over women (not just the wife but sisters, daughters, maids, etc.). If they disobey, "first admonish them, then refuse to sleep with them, and then beat them". You can read it for yourself at or other sites. Also try to see the 2nd class citizenship of women in Islam (for example they are counted as half of one witness, or receive inheritence half of a man).

Now Jana you are wrong that this is a matter of interpretation. When the Koran says women receive half the inheritence of a man, then this is not an issue of interpretation. It says Sureh 4:11 - "A male shall inherit twice as much as a female". Now how can you interpret mathematics in multiple ways?

You say that I am "not allowed" (by whom may I ask?) - that I am not allowed to say that the Koran has recommended to beat women or to disinherit women because of their gender. And why can't I say this? What stops me and other open minded people to say that the Koran contains nonsense of this sort? If it offends you that I say this, well then take a cold shower, and if you are a moslem (by the sound of it) then change your religion instead of being so embarrased about it, as I am just repeating what is in there complete with verse numbers and am exercizing my right to free speech, and I can say all I wish about Islam, including facts about the Koran - and this is exactly why the Marines are in Fallujah beating the hell out of these Islamofascists - because they want to stop me from saying the facts, and no Jana, you cannot stop me as those Marines are protecting me, the Iraqis, and ultimately America, and neither can you stop the good Marines who are risking their lives, to bring out the truth about this decrepit religion. You should be ashamed of yourself to undermine our men and women in danger in the battlezone who are fighting tyranny, while people like you suck up to it.

I wish I knew this Monir Kazemi. I just read her words again, and I think they are the most eloquent defense of America's commitment to freedom that I have read in a long time. If she ran for office, I'd vote for her in a heartbeat.

Hindrocket also posts an email from a Marine in the 11th MEU:

This is one story of many that people normally don't hear, and one that everyone does.

This is one most don't hear:
A young Marine and his cover man cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with Ak-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insurgent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded, lying in a pool of his own blood. The Marine and his cover man slowly walk toward the injured man, scanning to make sure no enemies come from behind. In a split second, the pressure in the room greatly exceeds that of the outside, and the concussion seems to be felt before the blast is heard. Marines outside rush to the room, and look in horror as the dust gradually settles. The result is a room filled with the barely recognizable remains of the deceased, caused by an insurgent setting off several pounds of explosives.

The Marines' remains are gathered by teary eyed comrades, brothers in arms, and shipped home in a box. The families can only mourn over a casket and a picture of their loved one, a life cut short by someone who hid behind a white flag.

But no one hears these stories, except those who have lived to carry remains of a friend, and the families who loved the dead. No one hears this, so no one cares.

This is the story everyone hears:

A young Marine and his fire team cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insugent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded. Suddenly, he pulls from under his bloody clothes a grenade, without the pin. The explosion rocks the room, killing one Marine, wounding the others. The young Marine catches shrapnel in the face.

The next day, same Marine, same type of situation, a different story. The young Marine and his cover man enter a room with two wounded insurgents. One lies on the floor in puddle of blood, another against the wall. A reporter and his camera survey the wreckage inside, and in the background can be heard the voice of a Marine, "He's moving, he's moving!"

The pop of a rifle is heard, and the insurgent against the wall is now dead. Minutes, hours later, the scene is aired on national television, and the Marine is being held for commiting a war crime. Unlawful killing.

And now, another Marine has the possibility of being burned at the stake for protecting the life of his brethren. His family now wrings their hands in grief, tears streaming down their face. Brother, should I have been in your boots, i too would have done the same.

For those of you who don't know, we Marines, Band of Brothers, Jarheads, Leathernecks, etc., do not fight because we think it is right, or think
it is wrong. We are here for the man to our left, and the man to our right. We choose to give our lives so that the man or woman next to us can go home and see their husbands, wives, children, friends and families.

For those of you who sit on your couches in front of your television, and choose to condemn this man's actions, I have but one thing to say to you. Get out of your recliner, lace up my boots, pick up a rifle, leave your family behind and join me. See what I've seen, walk where I have walked. To those of you who support us, my sincerest gratitude. You keep us alive.

I am a Marine currently doing his second tour in Iraq. These are my opinions and mine alone. They do not represent those of the Marine Corps or of the US military, or any other.