Shooting the wounded


U.S. Marines rallied round a comrade under investigation for killing a wounded Iraqi during the offensive in Falluja, saying he was probably under combat stress in unpredictable, hair-trigger circumstances.

Marines interviewed on Tuesday said they didn't see the shooting as a scandal, rather the act of a comrade who faced intense pressure during the effort to quell the insurgency in the city.

"I can see why he would do it. He was probably running around being shot at for days on end in Falluja. There should be an investigation but they should look into the circumstances," said Lance Corporal Christopher Hanson.


A pool report by NBC correspondent Kevin Sites said the mosque had been used by insurgents to attack U.S. forces, who stormed it, killing 10 militants and wounding the five. Sites said the wounded had been left for others to pick up.

A second group of Marines entered the mosque on Saturday after reports it had been reoccupied. Footage from the embedded television crew showed the five still in the mosque, although several appeared to be close to death, Sites said.

He said a Marine noticed one prisoner was still breathing.

A Marine can be heard saying on the pool footage provided to Reuters Television: "He's f***ing faking he's dead."

"The Marine then raises his rifle and fires into the man's head," Sites said.

NBC said the Marine, who had reportedly been shot in the face himself the previous day, said immediately after the shooting: "Well, he's dead now."

There is a difference between being injured and feigning death. An injured man who is no longer acting like a combatant is very different from a man who is "faking he's dead." Some one who is faking that he is dead is doing so in order to continue to act as a combatant. This is a very important difference that the reporter clearly missed. Someone who is faking could pull a weapon and kill the unwary as soon as they moved away.


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