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Thursday, September 06, 2007


"Shoot first, ask questions later": America in Iraq

An article about an ongoing in the Haditha massacre case wants us to believe this:
Does a U.S. Marine serving in Iraq have the right to shoot first and ask questions later if hostile forces could be nearby?

The question is at the heart of the case against Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 27, the U.S. Marine accused of leading a November 19, 2005, massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha.

Witnesses who were on patrol with Wuterich in Iraq have testified that he told them to "shoot first and ask questions later" as they followed up the killing of a popular Marine in their unit.

"This is not what we do," Wuterich's former commanding officer, Capt. Alfonso Capers, testified on Wednesday when asked about the "shoot first" remark attributed to Wuterich that day. "It says everybody is expendable."
Of course the "ask questions later" part is a complete joke. If only. As for the "this is not what we do" part, that's an even bigger joke, as the latest American massacre in Iraq demonstrates:
U.S. airstrikes on a Shi'ite neighborhood in Baghdad overnight killed at least 14 people including one woman and destroyed 11 houses, Iraqi police and residents said on Thursday.

The U.S. military said U.S. special forces called in the strikes after coming under fire from gunmen on rooftops during an operation against Shi'ite militants suspected of killing local police and Sunni Arabs.

Two police sources said 14 people were killed and nine wounded in the air attack on Washash, a poor Shi'ite neighborhood in western Baghdad's Mansour district. They said the operation took place in the early hours.

Reuters television footage showed at least 11 buildings caved in or leveled in three adjoining streets in the densely packed neighborhood.
You really don't have to "ask questions" to know that if you drop bombs on a densely packed neighborhood in the middle of the night when people are home sleeping, that you are going to kill civilians.

As for the presence of "gunmen on rooftops" firing on the U.S. special forces, they may or may not have even been "Shi'ite militants" who may or may not have killed local police and Sunni Arabs. As the article notes, "Many residents were sleeping on the roofs of their houses at the time, trying to keep cool in the oppressive summer heat." If armed people suddenly showed up on the street in the middle of the night, it would be perfectly understandable for residents to start firing warning shots (or real shots) in defense against a preseumed attack from unknown assailants (unknown because the residents aren't equipped with night-vision goggles).

I've said it before and I'll say it again - when the U.S. is still dropping bombs on the capital city of a country, then A) the U.S. is not in control; B) any talk of "Iraqi sovereignty" is a joke; and C) the Iraqi military, without attack helicopters and warplanes, is never going to "take over" the role of the U.S. military (which is a good thing).

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