Meanwhile, Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., U.S. military commander in Iraq, has too quickly conceded that the shooting was a "tragic incident," while U.S. Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte makes it sound as if the Marine now under military investigation is practically guaranteed a stretch of busting rocks at Fort Leavenworth: "The important point is that the individual in question will be dealt with," he said. "But I don't think that (the incident) in any way is a reflection on the quality and caliber of absolutely fine young servicemen" blah, blah, blah.
Frankly, I think it is. But that's a good thing. In other words, I have heard nothing, nada, zilch that indicates this Marine was doing anything besides trying to preserve life and limb in his unit while fighting to wrest control of Fallujah for liberated Iraq.
"In a combat infantry soldier's training, he is always taught that his enemy is at his most dangerous when he is severely wounded," commented Charles Heyman, a senior analyst with Jane's Consultancy Group in Britain. And the jihadist enemy we find in Iraq -- comrade in both faith and arms with the terrorists of Beslan, Bali, Jerusalem, Madrid and Manhattan -- are even more dangerous wounded than others.
Some are rigged with suicide-belts to detonate in extremis. Booby-trapped corpses -- a Judeo-Christian taboo Muslim jihadists overcome, I suspect, in their perverse belief that killing infidels on Earth earns them virgins in paradise -- are a common hazard in hotspots.
Even one of our beheaded hostages in June, poor devil, was packed with explosives designed to detonate at an American soldier's touch. Who, among the global millions who have watched NBC's videotaped-shooting, realizes that a comrade of the Marine in question was killed by a booby-trapped corpse the day before? That same corpse-bomb wounded five others in the unit.
And who, among those same millions, realize that even as Marine X, NBC's global antihero, was shooting the enemy he suspected was playing possum, just a block away, another explosive-rigged corpse was killing another young Marine?
In that split second of fear and indecision, our guy made the right call. Think about it during the long, luxurious minutes of the next commercial break.