11/23/2004: More on the Fallujah mosque incident.....
Sherman Wright, West Point grad and former Army officer, has a few very pertinent comments, echoing and expanding on a few things I've said here (in this passage, he's reacting to a few comments by Rush "The Drug Laws Don't Apply To Me" Limbaugh):
And it doesn’t matter that whatever organizations these fighters hold allegiance to have not signed the Conventions. What matters is that the US has signed them. The US signed the Geneva Conventions not to protect foreigners but to protect US soldiers. Every time the US acts in wanton disregard to the letter or spirit of these Conventions, the lives of future US soldiers are endangered, because it drags warfare back to where it was before these Conventions were signed. Back then it was the routine practice to do to injured prisoners exactly what the Falluah marine seemed to do. As a result of his action, Iraqi combatants are more likely to kill US soldiers in a fight to the death. As a result of his action, there will be a future engagement during which some enemy soldier somewhere who will execute an American POW in the belief that the US routinely executes prisoners. We don’t want to go there.He notes more problems, though:
What about the notion that this kind of thing occurs in every war so we just have to let it go when, by a fluke, it’s caught on camera? My answer is that the degree to which this has happened in past warfare is irrelevant. What matters is that it violates the Uniform Code of Military Justice and US Treaty. Iraq is a very special case because the mission is stability operations. You want stability, people have to come to believe you are on their side... An additional relevant factor here is those embedded reporters. The Defense Department agreed to the embedding in the hope that their reports would show the good will and benign intent of our forces. They thus saw it as a way of advancing the overall mission of nation-building. A single Marine’s thoughtless act has put the entire mission at risk. This is a mission for which over a thousand US soldiers have died. With the stakes so high, it is Rush’s defense of wanton acts that is “giving aid and comfort to the enemy,” rather than any muted comments by Democrats that Limbaugh so derides.
Len on 11.23.04 @ 09:31 PM CST