"We do not employ force just for the sake of employing force. We use lethal force only when justified, proportional and, most importantly, lawful," Gen. Michael W. Hagee wrote in a statement issued by his office.
His statement and the announcement of his trip to Iraq came just hours after the Marine command in Iraq disclosed a criminal investigation into allegations that an unspecified number of Marines killed an Iraqi civilian west of Baghdad on April 26. Iraqis made the charge during a meeting with Marine officers on May 1." Robert Burns AP
I don’t envy the marines the task of sorting this out. the word "proportional" as it applies above worries me. Certainly, anyone who injures an apparently unarmed civilian is subject to military law (UCMJ) for the action, and should be. Unfortunately, the situation is often not like that. Most of the time in combat, the infantry do not see the people whom they are fighting until they see their bodies or are so close to them that split second decisions must be made. Often these decisions are tragic. If you are fighting in a built up area, are taken under fire or ambushed and counter-attack into the buildings, you are not going to walk up to each door or window and call out "Any civilians in there," before you do something. If you do that, you are going to die there, or your friends are going to die there. No. You are going to grenade the rooms and go in shooting. This is not a police situation. The enemy intends to kill you.
Similarly, a patch of trees set back from a road on which you are moving in "Indian Country" is normally "searched" by fire before you approach it. Not to do so is to risk destruction. To move into the "beaten zone" of an ambush is a lethal mistake. Most people do not get to make that mistake twice.
Not going to win you "hearts and minds?" You bet it won’t, but if it were your son or brother involved which would you prefer?
The key to survival once the shooting starts is to build up a greater volume of applied fire on targets so as to suppress the other side’s fire. This enables you to move against him. This means that you shoot. You shoot a hell of a lot!! "Proportional?" This sounds suicidal to me.
I will be interested to learn what the actual circumstances of this action were. Until we know that, we should not judge. Murtha should know that, but, then, maybe he already knows the details…