Marine cleared in videotaped shooting


May 5, 2005, 01:30 PM
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Navy investigators have determined a U.S. Marine acted in self-defense when he shot an apparently wounded and unarmed Iraqi inside a Falluja mosque in November, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday.
The Marine corporal, who will not face charges, was under investigation in the shootings of four enemy combatants as part of an operation during the siege of Falluja on November 13, 2004. The mosque shooting was captured on videotape by an embedded reporter.
An investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service determined that the Marine acted in self-defense, within military law and the law of armed conflict.
Although that Marine has been cleared of wrongdoing, the investigation remains open because autopsies of some of the bodies found in the mosque turned up bullets that were not from his gun.
The incident occurred during house-to-house fighting in southern Falluja, less than a week after U.S.-led forces launched an offensive to rout insurgents from the restive Iraqi city.
The corporal said in a sworn statement that he opened fire at the people because he thought they were threat to the Marines in the mosque, according to a military news release.
The investigators who considered the facts of the incident agreed.
"The evidence indicates that based on the actions of those AIF (anti-Iraqi forces), the corporal reasonably believed that they posed a hostile threat to him and his fellow Marines and justifiably fired in self-defense.
"The enhanced videotape of the shooting supports the corporal's claim that the wounded AIF was concealing his left arm behind his head," the Marines said in a statement.
The report said that while it isn't "clear" whether insurgents in the videotape "made any overtly threatening gestures, it is clear that the Marines "were aware that feigning death was a common enemy" tactic.
"Accordingly, it was reasonable to believe that the corporal fired on the AIF after reasonably believing that the individual was committing a hostile act" by feigning death and subsequently moving his concealed arm.
Investigators weighed "multiple witness accounts, close review of video showing the incident captured by an embedded reporter and review of detailed ballistics and forensic evidence."
The incident was recorded by a television journalist embedded with the Marines. The Iraqi was among several wounded men found in a mosque that Marines said had been the source of small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire the previous day.
The Marine approached one of the men against a wall, saying, "He's [expletive] faking he's dead. He's faking he's [expletive] dead."
The Marine raised his rifle and fired at least one shot into the wounded man, at which point a companion said, "Well, he's dead now."
When told on the tape by the reporter that the men were among those wounded in an earlier firefight at the mosque, the Marine who fired the shot said, "I didn't know, sir. I didn't know."
At the time, U.S. commanders said they were concerned the video might encourage more insurgents to fight to the death rather than surrender, and Iraqis who watched the scene on television said they were stunned.
The Marine seen on the videotape was part of a squad from the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment

GOOD!!!!! I'm glad they aren't pressing charges.

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Bart Noir
May 5, 2005, 03:46 PM
I agree with you. Since other Marines had been killed or maimed by "wounded", "surrendered" terrorists (not all being Iraqis) he had good reason to be suspicious.

So what is the big deal about somebody else's bullets being in the dead terrorists???? This was a full-blown battle and I rather hope that some other Marines were getting hits on the enemy. And being shot is what wounded means.

Bart Noir
Go Marine Corp!

May 5, 2005, 04:26 PM
Good news!

Although it will probably be downplayed/questioned by the Left and the MSM.

Between this incident, Abu Ghrab, and LT Pantano, is it any wonder why Army recruiting goals are falling short.

May 5, 2005, 05:15 PM
That's a huge relief. I've worried about getting charged for a good shoot because of overzealous anti-war media out to prove Marines are bloodthirsty killers. Too many of my brothers in the Corps have died or been wounded by boobytrapped dead or wounded Iraqis.

R.H. Lee
May 5, 2005, 05:23 PM

May 5, 2005, 06:44 PM
Why do we put out soldiers through that....The media should focus on what the terrorists are doing, like cutting peoples heads off on live TV. Not on our soldiers fighting for their freedom, and defending themselves in a hostile environment.

Ben Shepherd
May 5, 2005, 06:59 PM

May 5, 2005, 09:43 PM
Should never been an issue........Damn press couldn't leave it alone ~ It was just sorry.


May 5, 2005, 10:50 PM
I'm glad to hear this as well, we asked those Marines to clear Fallujah house by house, perhaps as dangerous a job as is to be had in Iraq, and then they have the audacity to question the means by which they do this task. I'm sorry that Marine had to go through a bigger mess after the fact, but its reassuring to see reason prevailed.

May 5, 2005, 10:59 PM
Just remember. If the Democrats had their way, this man would be still be subject to prison time under ICC jurisdiction.

May 6, 2005, 09:10 PM
As it should be.


MSM=Million Screaming Mommies?

May 7, 2005, 04:01 PM
Next time, send the press in to clear the mosque.

May 8, 2005, 02:04 AM
Good deal.

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