Thursday, November 18, 2004

Murder and Survival

"I don't care what does it: I don't care if it's the tension, the fear, the 'enemy'… it's murder. We are occupied by murderers."

I sat and read her account of the Marine shooting the Iraqi in the Fallujah mosque in horror and could hardly believe it was real. I seriously was thinking, is this real? Could this be made up?

Then I followed the link she provides to Yahoo news' account of it. Apparently, a group of Marines entered a Mosque where some wounded Iraqis had been left behind, argued about whether one was faking death or not, and then shot him.

" 'He's dead now,' a Marine is heard saying...

Sites reported a Marine in the same unit had been killed just a day earlier when he tended to the booby-trapped dead body of an insurgent.

NBC reported that the Marine seen shooting the wounded Iraqi had himself been shot in the face the day before, but quickly returned to duty."

I don't know much about war. Okay, basically nothing. But there are enough clues in that Yahoo article to make me think this is not as simple a case as it sounds. At least for me, when I try to put myself in that Marine's shoes, I don't know what would happen. A lot of people argue that killing is never okay. And, on the surface, their argument makes perfect sense. God made human life sacred; He made us to live, not to kill and be killed.

But can you really say that if someone's being murdered outside your front door, you should do nothing? Spare the murderer because to do otherwise makes you like him? Let him kill, and possibly keep killing?

Now I realize the situation in the mosque is not the same. Here, it's more an issue of your own survival--do you risk it and hope the other guy is friendly or dead or not booby-trapped? It's more than your own survival at stake; it's the survival of the men with you, who's lives are just as valuable as yours and the Iraqi on the ground.

Who's life do you choose?

I'm also not claiming the guy did everything right. He does sound indifferent to death he just caused and he probably is. It's a pretty hard state to avoid if you get into war--not that you shouldn't fight it, resist becoming cold-blooded, but you can pretty well guarantee that it's going to be a continual struggle, a constant danger.

I don't know what the Marine should have done. I don't know what I would have done. I just don't believe it's as simple as murder, or necessarily comparable with a psychopathic killer, as River does.

I will say this. I have no personal experience with war, as I said. In that department, she very definitely wins out over me. I don't know what it is like for her right now, living in the midst of all that. I would think scary beyond belief. I just think there is more to the shooting than she has perhaps considered.

I think Owen West and Phillip Carter have some thought-provoking stuff to say on the subject, especially as regards the Iraqi's killing compared to that of Margaret Hassan.

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