Supporting The Troops

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Supporting The Troops

January 10, 2008

Yesterday’s news contained two items reported separately.  The first item was the killing of 6 U.S. soldiers near Baghdad.  As reported by MSNBC:

“Six American soldiers were killed and four wounded in a house rigged with explosives during an operation in Baqouba, the U.S. military told NBC News on Wednesday.  The soldiers were clearing the house when a huge blast killed the six — the largest single loss of life for U.S. troops in the Iraq war so far this year. It's not clear whether the house was booby-trapped or the explosives were remotely detonated.”  (Emphasis added.)

The second item was about Marine Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 27.

“The man at the center of the killings of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha two years ago stood up in a Camp Pendleton courtroom this morning and was formally arraigned on charges of voluntary manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and related offenses.” 
Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 27,

“led a Kilo Company squad from Camp Pendleton's 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment that was attacked by a roadside bomb and small arms fire in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005. The bomb destroyed a Humvee, killing a lance corporal and injuring two other Marines.  During the subsequent search for their attackers, the squad killed two dozen Iraqis, including several women and children.  The first to die were five men shot by Wuterich after they emerged from a car that drove up moments after the bomb went off.  The other 19 Iraqis died as Wuterich and his men searched nearby houses.”  (Emphasis added.)

We are asking these men to enter the most dangerous places on the planet.  The enemies look like civilians, dress like civilians, and operate from houses in urban areas that look just like all the other houses.  We ask them to search and clear those houses.

But if they err on one side, they die.  If they err on the other side, we court-martial them.  And if they don’t bother to take the risk, we call it a failed mission and a quagmire.

Is this what we mean by “support our troops”?