Tuesday, May 30, 2006
As readers know, I value American lives much higher than I value the lives of others. I don't believe American troops ought to be dying in Iraq because I don't see that what they're doing there will save more American lives than will be lost. I don't believe the rules of engagement should require our troops to place themselves at risk in order to minimize casualties among Iraqi civilians.
And I feel our troops should be given a lot of leeway in determining for themselves when they are at risk... and a lot of leeway in determining for themselves the appropriate way of responding to perceived dangers.
If our Marines felt that the targets they were shooting at represented a threat - or even merely a possible threat - that's good enough for me. If our Marines felt that there were threats - or even merely a possible threat - in the area of where they were shooting, that's good enough for me.
Unfortunately, I don't get to determine the rules of engagement that our soldiers and Marines have to follow. They don't get to 'shoot first and sort things out later'. They have to expose themselves to risk because our feckless civilian leadership has decided that their lives just aren't as valuable as those of the Iraqis hanging around.
So... if the Marines did what they're alleged to have done, they were disobeying orders. And... if the Marines tried to cover up what they're alleged to have done, then they were disobeying orders.
And that is what they should be punished for...
As an aside, Michelle Malkin is wrong in blasting a Navy veteran's comments (which seemingly bless - or at least excuse - what the Marines are accused of doing at Haditha) that "...there is no such thing as too much retaliation". She says that this "not the way to "win the hearts and minds" of Iraq. Or anywhere else".
But Michelle, our troops are not in Iraq to 'win hearts and minds'. They're there to keep America safe, and it's important that we recognize there's a difference. Sometimes, winning hearts and minds will help keep America safe. Other times, it won't.