A couple years ago there was a B movie where a Marine defending a US Embassy was charged with the murder of civilians, based on “local” reports and a highly edited propaganda film. .
Later, the hero of the film got hold of the original tape, proving that the marine had fired in self defense, and the “civilian” casualties were civilians who were used as shields by those attacking the embassy.

How possible is such a story? Well the movie was based on a short story by James Webb…who presumably used to defend Marines before he decided not to defend them.
Today Investor’s Business Daily has an editorial saying that a similar propaganda tape and the callus use of human shields, both by so called “insurgents” in Iraq may be the reason behind the Marines charged with homicide in the Haditha incident.

The officer was said to be in possession of exculpatory evidence, including video, that provides a minute-by-minute picture of that day’s action, confirming the Marines’ story that they were merely doing what they were trained to do — responding to a perceived threat with overwhelming force.

The evidence includes all the radio traffic describing the ongoing action between the Marines and battalion headquarters.

It shows the Marines were aware that o.

According to those who’ve seen the evidence, it clearly demonstrates that the incident was part of a planned ambush by insurgent forces, that they used the tragically killed civilians as human shields and that, despite the claims of Rep. Murtha, this was not murder but the tragic result of an ongoing firefight in which U.S. Marines were honorably defending themselves.

This comes on the heels of this report about a paper by Marvin Kalb, now at Harvard, has published an article about using the media in asymetrical warfare, which includes data on how the media spun the Israeli self defense war in Lebanon as aggression, including publishing obviously faked photographs.

Even last week’s Congressional hearings on the spinning of war news ignored that it was the media, not the Army, who invented the Jessica Lynch story–and those debunking it fail to notice that the heroism was real, merely that the hero was misidentified.

If the IBD editorial is correct, it is a miscarriage of justice, made worse by Murtha’s posturing for political gain.

Like doctors accused of murder or malpractice when there is an adverse side effect or an unexpected complication, soldiers are also in situations where the choices are between bad and worse, and no matter what they do they are vulnerable to being prosecuted for their actions.

And in both cases, being too cautious to avoid prosecution will lead to more deaths: the death of patients when doctors prefer not to try a risky procedure to save their lives, and the death of Marines who hesitate too long and get killed.


Nancy Reyes is a retired physician living in the rural Philippines. Her webpage is Finest Kind Clinic and Fishmarket.

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