2005/02/24

Insufficient evidence?!

It is reported that a US marine, who was captured on film killing a wounded Iraqi at point blank range during November's assault on Fallujah, will not be formally charged due to lack of evidence.

The death was broadcast, sparking worldwide outrage.

It has been described by the International Committee of the Red Cross as a demonstration of "utter contempt for humanity".

In the incident, a trooper raised his rifle and shot point blank at an apparently unarmed, wounded Iraqi who was slumped against one of the mosque walls.

The footage was captured by an embedded cameraman working for the NBC network.

Although the insurgents have been found to be unarmed, investigators say the one the marine believed he had seen moving could have been reaching for a weapon.

The rifleman was withdrawn from combat pending the results of the investigation, but the graphic footage enraged many, months after the scandal over US troops' abuse of inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison.

CBS News says it has learned that military investigators have concluded insufficient evidence existed to formally charge the marine.

I'm not sure what kind of evidence they are looking for. The marine was caught on camera along with his words. Maybe someone can clear this up for me?

8 Comments:

Prehaps the evidence has been 'lost', or the cameraman could have faked it, and there is nothing to prove that he didn't 

Or maybe the Attorney-General has decided that they will not prosecute for political reasons.

Or the US might just be excluded from committing war crimes as war crimes are only committed by Muslims, as we all know.


It is a terrible situation which just allows other soliders to fight on the principle that they can do anything without consequence - what next? torture? hang on, that's been done already. 

Posted by Greg Stephens
2/24/2005 09:35:00 am  
What a joke. Lack of evidence? World wide broadcast of the event is lack of evidence? Hahahaha!
2/24/2005 03:20:00 pm  
"World wide broadcast of the event is lack of evidence?  ",

The explanation is simple: there was no UN or non-US eye witnesses. Therefore, there is insufficient evidence. Bush logic. 

Posted by WhyNot
2/24/2005 04:28:00 pm  
What they would have needed was evidence that the marine acted in cold blood, knowingly executing an unarmed casualty who posed no threat.

Several accounts of the story include the fact that the marine had witnessed a fellow soldier shot and killed by an enemy combatant who had been "faking it."

I'm not sure about the veracity of that. But the marine would not have been on trial based on whether or not he shot and killed the Iraqi. The trial would have been over whether or not he was justified, and there may not have been evidence enough to prove that he was able to determine that the Iraqi man did not pose a threat.

Now, before anyone jumps all over me on this, I'd like to point out the fact that I'm very sad that this event happened -- and that if the marine shot the man solely for "shits and giggles" then I believe he should be prosecuted to the full extent of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

However, I don't think it's possible for anyone here to positively make that judgement without further consideration of any available evidence, or for us to imagine the stresses of combat and its effects without actually having been there.

That's my two cents. 

Posted by brogonzo
2/24/2005 08:48:00 pm  
Brogonzo, I think there's just been too much whitewash and injustice on the part of the US government and military that it's hard for us to see it this way. Reading Kevin Sites view of the event he obviously felt something wasn't right. Those that are judging this situation weren't there either. Mr. Sites was and he shot footage of it. The world was appalled. It seems only the US military wasn't. I see also the neo-conservative crowd are already jumping through hoops of joy that this man will go unpunished. It's not right, I don't care whose uniform you're wearing.  

Posted by Dianne
2/24/2005 09:38:00 pm  
Dianne, all I'm saying is that whoever is making the judgement on this marine isn't doing so over whether or not he shot the Iraqi man, but rather over whether or not his reasons for doing so were wrong. There may indeed be insufficient evidence for this.

Of course "something wasn't right," someone was killed by another person. However, there are always circumstances that mitigate the guilt incurred in a situation like this -- but it's the guilt that's mitigated, not the wrong that was done. A man was killed, and that's fundamentally bad. We just can't rush to decide that the marine was guilty without considering the mitigating circumstances.

I don't think it's right that people are lining up on the "punishment" or "non-punishment" side of this issue -- where are the people who just want justice to be done? There's more to this matter than just, "a marine shot an unarmed man." It's just not that simple. 

Posted by brogonzo
2/24/2005 10:43:00 pm  
Brogonzo I think you are quite correct in your assessment of what we know as facts. We do not know enough to judge what happened in this case. I think what most of us would like to see however, is even one ounce of responsibility taken by Bush or his administration for creating the context for these awful events in the first place. I for one am damned tired of hearing that twisted "War is Hell" logic: that it was somehow unavoidable that US soldiers are in Iraq, rifles in hand, pointing it at citizens of that country. Once again I am extremely reluctant to castigate individual soldiers who are lied to and compelled to be in the position they are in. Our presence there was not unavoidable. It was intentional, and I want to see some accountability from the men who sent our soldiers there. 

Posted by Sarah
2/24/2005 10:45:00 pm  
Sarah, you're right about that, and while I may disagree with you on the rightness or wrongness of the war itself, you've got my full support on who is responsible for the marine's shooting of the Iraqi man.

The "war is hell" logic is only supposed to apply to the people actively engaged in it -- they're there, normally against their will, being ordered to do things every day that would be horrific while living a normal, peacetime life.

The situation the marine found himself in is the most likely reason for what happened. That's not to say that he absolutely had to do what he did; I just don't know, I wasn't there. But his guilt in this issue is certainly not determined, and I given that, the judging authority probably made the right call - there's probably not enough evidence available to convict him. 

Posted by brogonzo
2/24/2005 10:55:00 pm  

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