Hoo Boy

We've all heard the story of the innocent Iraqi civilian shot at point-blank range by a U.S. Marine by now. An army of apologists have crawled out of the woodwork to support him, citing everything from battle fatigue to booby-trapped bodies as important mitigating factors in his actions. Some have even come out against the reporter who took the pictures, and the issue seems to have become quite blurry, devoid as it is of factual underpinnings besides a series of four photos. Unfortunately for hill-billy marine boy, NBC photog-man Kevin Sites has his own blog, and in it he gives a pretty staggering account of that day and the actions of the member of the Devil Dogs who callously a shot a previously-wounded Iraqi:

"Through my viewfinder I can see him raise the muzzle of his rifle in the direction of the wounded Iraqi. There are no sudden movements, no reaching or lunging.

However, the Marine could legitimately believe the man poses some kind of danger. Maybe he's going to cover him while another Marine searches for weapons.

Instead, he pulls the trigger. There is a small splatter against the back wall and the man's leg slumps down.

"Well he's dead now," says another Marine in the background.

I am still rolling. I feel the deep pit of my stomach. The Marine then abruptly turns away and strides away, right past the fifth wounded insurgent lying next to a column. He is very much alive and peering from his blanket. He is moving, even trying to talk. But for some reason, it seems he did not pose the same apparent "danger" as the other man -- though he may have been more capable of hiding a weapon or explosive beneath his blanket.

But then two other marines in the room raise their weapons as the man tries to talk.

For a moment, I'm paralyzed still taping with the old man in the foreground. I get up after a beat and tell the Marines again, what I had told the lieutenant -- that this man -- all of these wounded men -- were the same ones from yesterday. That they had been disarmed treated and left here."

I don't know that I can even, in good faith, lay the blame for this to the Marine- some poor hillbilly who figured he was going to do push-ups and wash statues at Fort Butterworth, South Carolina, cracks from the stress of being a part of an unwinnable war in which anyone and everyone could be the enemy. How far from this to My Lai?

I digress. Read the account.

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