Email of the Day II

A reader writes:

Those photographs of little children are truly heart breaking and the thought that Marines did this intentionally fills me with a very sick feeling (since I was a Marine myself).

That much said, don’t yet despair about what this country has become. This is no excuse, but such atrocities happen in all wars (My Lai for example involved scores more casualties). War is hell. I am very forgiving of the men and women fighting this war (or any war on our behalf) and believe they should get every reasonable doubt, but if they crossed that line then they need to face the consequences. The Marines should have a presumption of innocence, but if they broke under pressure of combat and committed retaliatory war crimes against innocent and even not-so-innocent civilians they need to face the appropriate penalty. 
I heard a Marine JAG describe the actual training troops get in Iraq about war crimes and make no mistake – the instruction they get about engaging civilians makes it crystal clear that retaliation against civilians will not be tolerated.  If there was a cover up here, that needs to be investigated to. If there is a complete investigation and courts martial (if warranted) and justice is done – then that makes all the difference. We do not need hyperbolic rhetoric on the left and right (thank you for not engaging in it like some other commentators have). The only remedy now is sunlight and objective scrutiny. The press and the criminal investigators both need to do their jobs. 

Sane words. But still heart-breaking.