Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Marine on to be Charged for Killing Terrorists?

This is a very disturbing story that I just caught wind of.

Back home at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Lt. Pantano, 33, found out the Corps has filed two premeditated murder charges for shooting two Iraqi insurgents in a dusty, terrorist-infested town near Baghdad. If convicted at a court-martial, he would face the death penalty.

Ok, you are on patrol in Iraq. You have seen this scenario many times. A booby trapped terrorist, dressed in civilian clothing approaches a checkpoint. He detonates his explosives within feet of Iraqi soldiers, or U.S. Marines, injuring and killing many. Now, two men are walking toward, you. You tell them to stop, in their native language, yet they continue. What do you do? You make the call. Do you wait till you can see the explosives clearly enough to know you and your men are toast? Or do you open fire to protect your command?

To Lt. Pantano, the two Iraqis who came toward him despite his order in Arabic to stop were mortal enemies. Booby-trapped suicide bombers are killing Iraqis by the score and some have even feigned surrender in order to get close to U.S. soldiers. But the Corps views it as murder and filed charges against him Feb. 1.

Right call IMHO. I have never had to face combat. I will not second guess the decision of a combat tested officer under combat conditions. This is not the case of an officer ordering civilians shot, who have been searched, or ordering a village burned after finding no evidence of Viet Cong collaboration. This is an officer who shot two men who could have had weapons, who were approaching his position, who failed to stop in response to an order to stop. The military cannot send this message to its officer corps. Once the officers in combat begin second guessing themselves, we will have a real blood bath, as the jihadists use this tactic to inflict real damage on U.S. troops.

There are several other websites covering this.

Michelle Malkin is following the story (this is where I picked it up).
Lt. Pantano's mom has a web site here, but it isn't working ATM.
Soldier's Angels.
And Opinion Bug.