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Marine in Mosque Killing Acquitted Before Trial

Reported by Ellen - November 25, 2004

Before the investigation has begun, FOX News has already reached its verdict that the US Marine who recently shot the unarmed, wounded Iraqi in a mosque is not guilty. In fact, FOX has already made him a hero.

It's pretty clear where the article is going from the opening sentence, "The world has now seen what SOME CONTEND is footage of a Marine killing an unarmed, wounded insurgent in Fallujah." Sure enough, those who have been looking for reasons to condone that behavior will not be disappointed.

First, author Matt Hayes (identified as an immigration lawyer, not a military expert) says that the so-called insurgents (has it been proven that's what they were?) seen in the video are not protected by the law of armed conflict because they were not "organized into a command structure," were not wearing uniforms and "to a large part appear to have spontaneously resisted U.S. forces." What does "to a large part" mean? That the insurgents were only somewhat organized, but not organized enough to warrant legal protections?

Regardless of the victim's status, author Hayes says that prosecution is probably not warranted. First, Hayes makes sure to tell us that all US military departments have "procedures in place that ensure the law of armed conflict is taught and observed and its violations prosecuted." But if the Iraqi was faking being dead than HE broke the rules of engagement (which only now seem to apply to him). Besides, Hayes tells us, there's the "interesting defense" that it will be hard to prove that the Iraqi wasn't dead before the Marine found him.

Even if the Iraqi was not faking anything, but was just lying there because he was seriously wounded, Hayes finds the killing "entirely reasonable" because another Iraqi insurgent had played dead within the week. In fact, the Marine may have been a hero. "It's plausible that the Marine in Fallujah shot a wounded man who did not actually pose a threat. But it is far more likely that he saved the lives of his fellow Marines, and cameraman Kevin Sites as well." How did Hayes calculate that probability? Based on that one other example? He never says.

In cased you missed the dig at cameraman Sites, Hayes makes it clear who the real culprit in the incident is with this sentence: "Many press outlets have shown that they are willing to question the judgment of our soldiers while they are in combat." That's a crime on FOX. Unless, of course, the judgment of the soldier in combat is that of John Kerry.

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