FALLUJA, Iraq (CNN) — The U.S. military is investigating whether a Marine shot dead an unarmed, wounded insurgent during the battle for Falluja in an incident captured on videotape by a pool reporter.
The man was shot in the head at close range Saturday by a Marine who found him among a group of wounded men. The wounded men were found in a mosque that Marines said had been the source of small-arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire the previous day.
Four of the men appeared to have been shot again in Saturday’s fighting, and one of them appeared to be dead, according to the pool report. In the video, a Marine was seen noticing that one of the men appeared to be breathing.
A Marine approached one of the men in the mosque saying, “He’s [expletive] faking he’s dead. He’s faking he’s [expletive] dead.”
The Marine raised his rifle and fired into the apparently wounded man’s head, at which point a companion said, “Well, he’s dead now.”
I’m sure the videogame industry will be blamed for this one any minute now. Shift the blame, shift the blame, until it spreads into a thin enough patina so that we don’t notice those bright lines between right and wrong go all fuzzy and out of focus.
Naturally, this is not a statistical sample. This is not a poll. And because of that, the spin will be, as it was for Abu Ghraib, that this data point has no statistical value. But a single point changes your posterior distribution a lot if your prior gave probability one to the event “no torture, no atrocities.”
This news has put me off my homework for the night.