I'm not intimately familiar with the dynamics of a battle field, but killing an unarmed enemy who may still be dangerous seems like a non-issue to me.

On the video, as the camera moved into the mosque during the Saturday incident, a Marine can be heard shouting obscenities in the background, yelling that one of the men was only pretending to be dead.

"He's (expletive) faking he's dead!"

"Yeah, he's breathing," another Marine is heard saying.

"He's faking he's (expletive) dead!" the first Marine says.

The video then showed a Marine raising his rifle toward a prisoner lying on the floor of the mosque. The video shown by NBC and provided to the network pool was blacked out at that point and did not show the bullet hitting the man. But a rifle shot could be heard.

"He's dead now," a Marine is heard saying.

The shooting is shown so quickly that it is impossible to tell whether the body was moving before the shot. The only movement which can be seen is the body flinching at the moment the bullet hits.

If someone is faking being dead, it's probably because they're trying to surprise you.
Charles Heyman, a senior defense analyst with Jane's Consultancy Group in Britain, defended the Marine's actions, saying it was possible the wounded man was concealing a firearm or grenade.

"You can hear the tension in those Marines' voices. One is [shouting], 'He's faking it. He's faking it,'" Heyman said. "In a combat infantry soldier's training, he is always taught that his enemy is at his most dangerous when he is severely wounded."

If the injured man makes even the slightest move, "in my estimation they would be justified in shooting him."

That about sums it up.

When you fight a war, you fight to win and to minimize your own casualties. That means you kill the enemy, and on the battlefield you can't afford to give anyone the benefit of the doubt. Sometimes you make a wrong choice -- as this Marine may have -- but that's the way it goes. Investigate, that's fine, but this is hardly a huge scandal.

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