Thursday, February 24, 2005

Off the Hook 

Everyone knows that shit happens. The problem with cameras is that they sometimes catch people shitting:
An American marine who shot dead an injured unarmed Iraqi in Fallujah, in an incident captured on video which led the Pentagon to open a war crimes inquiry, is reported to have escaped prosecution.

According to the CBS news network yesterday, investigators concluded that there was insufficient evidence to charge the marine and that given the circumstances of the battlefield it was possible that he felt his life was threatened. "At the very least, navy legal experts believe the situation is ambiguous enough that no prosecutor could get a conviction," the station reported . . . .

The shooting of the wounded Iraqi, who was lying in a mosque with other injured men, was recorded by an American television crew. Viewers were able to see the marine pointing his rifle at the man and hear him say that he was faking he was dead. A clatter of gunfire could then he heard and another marine says: "He's dead now."

At the time of the incident the shooting was described by the International Committee of the Red Cross as a demonstration of "utter contempt for humanity".

The marine was withdrawn from combat operations pending the results of the investigation.

The initial report about the incident said that the marine who had shot the man had apparently himself been shot in the face the day before and that one of his comrades had been killed the previous day by a booby-trap bomb that had been placed on the body of a dead insurgent.
UPDATE: More shocking allegations that will almost certainly fail to shock you: a British detainee says he saw Americans beat two prisoners to death at the Bagram air base near Kabul.

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