Bob Burns from the Associated Press reported today that the military found Marines involved in a March 4 shooting spree in Afghanistan to have used excessive force. Now the case goes to NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) for investigation. So someone is getting screwed over this.
These Marines were part of a brand new special operations unit. They had been hit by a suicide car bomber somewhere in Nangahar. Then they started shooting at who they thought were insurgents. Apparently, many of the dead and wounded were actually civilians. So the military has now said that their response to the threat was overkill.
And the people in the area must now have some serious anger toward the U.S. military - not good for the hearts and minds mission to sway them away from supporting the insurgency and toward their new "democracy."
War sucks and innocent people always are hurt and killed. It’s an awful fact that does not go away with the punishment of these Marines. (Those guys will also come home one day as veterans and have to live with the fact that they pulled the trigger on innocent people.)
This was a bad thing, no matter how you cut it.
The special operations Marine company was ordered to leave Afghanistan after the incident. Now they will look for some heads to roll. It will keep up appearance and attempt to save face.
It’s easy for some officer to pass judgment from a clean office stateside – but only those guys know what really went down. They did relieve the commander, which points toward poor leadership as a cause for what appears to be a lack of fire discipline.
But that will not address the larger issue – that our guys in Eastern Afghanistan are attacked regularly and this is a real fight we have on our hands. Or that there’s no plan or exit strategy for Afghanistan – the forgotten front, as the press has called it. Because the mission in Afghanistan is overshadowed by the absolute hell of Iraq – this may barely make the headlines.