Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, November 17, 2004
The attention given by the media to the apparent killing of a wounded killer by a marine in Falluja is outrageous trial and conviction by media. We see the act, but nothing of the circumstances, except that "he had returned to duty after being shot in the face a day earlier".

This was a matter that should have been reported and investigated. Any military proceedings that follow must now be seen as a show trial, and other soldiers will have a reasonable grievance. If major media organisations do not understand why this treatment of their armed forces is wrong they don't deserve their ticket to accompany those facing danger for their country.

Later: Further thoughts from defence experts and the Red Cross on the circumstances of the shooting, but the usual political operators have already shot the accused and are now gunning for the US army.
Charles Heyman, a British infantry veteran and senior defence analyst with Jane's Consultancy Group in London, defended the Marine.

"In a combat infantry soldier's training, he is always taught that his enemy is at his most dangerous when he is severely injured," Heyman said.

There is the danger that the wounded enemy may try to "take one with you" with a hidden firearm or a grenade.

If the man makes even the slightest move, Heyman added, "in my estimation they would be justified in shooting him"
.A spokesman for the Red Cross was judicious.
"Seeing these images or hearing about this kind of incident is very disturbing but the important thing now is that effectively the investigation is carried out and if someone is found responsible for a violation of the law, that this person be held accountable."
but a UN human rights apparatchik joined the anti-Yank posse;
Louise Arbour, the UN high commissioner for human rights, said: "All violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law must be investigated and those responsible for breaches - including the deliberate targeting of civilians, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the killing of injured persons and the use of human shields - must be brought to justice, be they members of the multinational force or insurgents".
The crucial word Louise forgot - "alleged".