May 26, 2006

Haditha, Jack Murtha, & The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Have you ever seen Murtha & MacBeth in the Same Room? Think about it......

Let me just add that abuses happen in war. In all wars. U.S. soldiers participated in massacres in WWII. The fact that soldiers do bad things in war says nothing about the morality of that war.

The proper response to misconduct in war is court martial, not condemnation of the war. Those wishing to condemn the war in Iraq because of the misconduct of soldiers are engaging in deceptive propaganda. They will still oppose the war, even if it turns out soldiers are innocent of the charges.

The morality of the U.S. is demonstrated over and over again each time someone is charged with abuse or other war related crimes. The fact that we actually prosecute such criminals is quite revealing.

Contrast this to our enemies who praise the very same behavior they condem us for. Hostage taking, the execution of prisoners, and the targetting of civilians are all things the so-called 'insurgents' in Iraq boast of. Not only are 'martyrs' praised for targetting civilians, to add insult to injury, their 'glorious deeds' are video taped and then distributed on the internet to much fanfare.

We at The Jawa Report unequivocally condemn any actions by U.S. soldiers which violate the customary rules of war. If any U.S. soldier participated in the massacre of civilians, they ought to receive the harshest of punishments.

But unlike extreme Leftist who want to believe the worst things about our soldiers, we reserve judgement. We do not believe any and all accusations of 'war crimes' against U.S. soldiers because we are very aware that most of these accusations are unfounded and made by people with a political agenda.

If we were to believe, prima facie, all of the accusations levelled against our troops by Islamists and Leftists, then we would be forced to believe that the U.S. nuked the Baghdad airport, that our soldiers rape and pillage, and that they kill infants while mocking crying mothers. So excuse us if we are sometimes dismissive of accusations of war crimes when each and every time a U.S. soldier kills a terrorist cries of Geneva Convention violations are raised.

As Aesop's fable of the Boy Who Cried Wolf teaches us, though, sometimes there really is a wolf.

Was there a massacre in Haditha last year? We do not and cannot know the answer to that based on the information at hand. We should let the investigation continue. If military investigators substantiate the claim, then those soldiers involved should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

But there is another moral to Aesop's fable. One that is often overlooked. That moral is that any person that would believe the boy who cried wolf after so many false alarms are naive. In the end, no one in the village believed the boy because of his long track record of deception.

In Aesop's time, wolves really were a constant threat to a flock. They were not uncommon, so the plausibility of a wolf stalking the village flock was very believable. The fact that wolves were a real and common danger made the boy's initial lies seem all the more likely.

But what if wolves were a threat, but a very an uncommon occurence? What if the boy had cried lion or tiger instead of wolf? Do you think the villagers would have been fooled more than once?

Those that prima facie accept the Haditha massacre allegations are actually worse than the villagers described by Aesop. They want to believe that U.S. soldiers are the big bad wolf. They want to believe the very worst about those that risk their lives on their behalf.

There is no other explanation. Either the U.S. routinely massacres civilians or it does not. If it does not, then why condemn soldiers before a full and complete investigation has been carried out?

There are wolves out there, but since they are so rare these days, to believe the boy before sending out independent investigators to verify his less than stellar track record would be stupid, naive, or worse.

Previous: Censure Jack Murtha

UPDATE: Could the accusations be true? Like I said, yes. One of the moral of the boy who cried wolf story is that even liars sometimes tell the truth. If the NY Times story is correct that charges are forthcoming, then whoever is found guilty ought to be strung up.


UPDATE: Allah and The Commissar have additional comments. I agree. Except, what do you do with a messenger who has an agenda?

As Orwell noted, the quickest way to end a war is to lose it.

Update: Bithead, who I haven't heard from in ages, agrees.

UPDATE: Let me clarify something: When I began writing this post, I only knew of Murtha's conveying the allegations. That's what started the post. After writing the post, I've learned that there is strong evidence against at least two Marines.

I still do not want to believe the allegations are true. But that's just me, I want to believe the best things about my country. But, those allegations may turn out to be true. Even so, my point remains valid: there were those on the Left who have been screaming about this from the beginning, from the very day it happened--they wanted it to be true. They have been beating on the "war crimes" drum for a long time now. They may be right, in this instance, but with such a track record, can you blame me for being dismissive?

In any event, I personally volunteer to pull the trigger at the execution of any Marine who intentionally killed women and children.

UPDATE: Captain Ed, "This makes me physically ill." Me too, buddy, me too. In fact, I have been in a foul mood all day over this.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:14 AM | Comments |