Serious and/or informed opinion requested about USMC killing

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Ace_Rimmer, Nov 21, 2008.

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  1. I've had a quick search and it seems that this hasn't been discussed (although I'm surprised at this, so I think I may have missed it). So forgive me if this is old ground that people don't want to re-visit.

    I watched Battle For Haditha last night. At the end, I was left feeling thoroughly angry at either of the two possible conclusions:

    1. Someone felt the need to make a left wing propaganda film to portray the USMC as baby killing, oo-ra crazy, psychopaths.

    2. The USMC are baby killing, oo-ra crazy, psychopaths that are let loose to kill civilians.

    My girlfriend was understandably upset about it also but she is particularly soft and naive to what warfare is actually about. However, whereas normally I can offer some explanation as to what/why something has happened, this time I found it very hard to find the moral high ground.

    So I looked into the "facts" this morning and as I expected, they were upheld by various internet sites (so nothing too credible). Following from this I read about the Shinwar massacre in Afghanistan.

    Now I fully understand that isolated incidents do occur and normally by-no-means reflect the standard of a regiment/army/country but is there something in the USMC training/doctrine that makes it more likely to occur? Am I very naive in thinking that this sort of thing is entirely unacceptable and avoidable? Have there been any similar cases involving the British Army (except Bloody Sunday)?

    This is a very brief and somewhat shallow exploration of this sensitive issue but I wanted to know what those of you with experience of operating with the USMC think of their discipline/ethos/performance? IN NO WAY is this a mission to slander or defame the USMC.

    I'm well aware that there is a big difference in the way American forces behave and decorum that the British Army displays as a whole but are they really "like the movies"?

    links for basic information:

    (Please excuse the use of wiki as a source)
  2. For a start, whats written in a wiki entry isn't always FACTS or even close to the truth.

    For example one of the wiki entries you use has the sentence "Ace Rimmer done it"

  3. :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

  4. The action you are talking about makes bloody sunday look like a humanitatrian aid mission. I mean, charging around into buildings brassing up covering civilians is one thing, reacting to a percieved threat in a very stressful situation heavy handedly is another.

    I can't comment much on the USMC's conduct, but their track record in 'nam doesn't inspire much confidence.
  5. Good one! Yes, I agree wiki is shameful but in this case I think the facts are established.

    Absolutely! I would never compare the two incidents other than Bloody Sunday is the one British incident that lead to investigation and accusations of a similar nature.

    The reason for my original post was to see what people with real experience of the USMC (or US Army for that matter) really think of their conduct. I find it very hard to accept that the manner in which Battle For Haditha portrayed the Marines could be even close to the truth but then the facts would imply that the perpertrators must have been some pretty cold blooded evil *******!

    Basically, I want to go back to the girlfriend and say "I've looked into it and that film was a load of lefty-pinko garbage" but I've got an uneasy feeling that I'd be wrong!!
  6. I agree. I actually didn't bring that one up as it was a long time ago and I'd like to think that we've learnt from experiences such as that.

    Basically, given the same circumstances, would another USMC unit have behaved in the same way? That's the point I'm getting at. Is is a case of very bad judgement and heat of the moment behaviour or is that the way they opperate?

    I'd like to think that the British Army are equally (if not more) skilled in FIBUA etc. but our doctrine would preclude lobbing granades blindly into residential houses without identifying targets! Or am I being to naive?

    (btw, I'm Ex-TA so not 100% ignorant but with 0 operational experience)
  7. That's what I'm getting at. In that case, soldiers recognised that it was wrong and purely an explosion of emotion driving the slaughter. In the film, it makes out that the marines were very calculating and operating as if it was SOP.
  8. My bold the truth is probably somewhere in the middle both side's will distort the fact's to suit thier own argument
  9. That would be the norm for most arguments but in this case, if that were true, then the truth is quite disturbing!
  10. It may be of note that as the investigation and process continued, charges were steadily dropped. It's now down to just one man, implying that the problem is not as systemic as some would have had you believe a couple of years ago.


  11. IMHO.

    Regards the house clearance. They WERE operating as if it was SOP. Unfortunately the SOP was only really any good if it was used in a FULL war scenario. ie no civpop.

    British Infantry Troops (as an Army, the RGR aside can you name a Regt-bn that has not deployed to NI? Even a few Engr, Arty and Signals have) have routinely deployed to NI, Cyprus, Bosnia and Kosovo which has meant teaching soldiers to respond with almost Police style tactics and the utmost restraint in often chaotic and highly one sided events.

    This has been often in teh Interventional or Peace Enforcement/Protection phases where such contacts (ie IED followed by harrasing fire) were used.

    The same can not be said for the US forces. They have such a large Armed Forces in comparison, up until recently it wasn´t uncommon to have soldiers who hadn´t seen combat.

    I made a post many moons ago reference a BBC(?) documentary "Virgin Soldiers", which followed the fortunes of a WHOLE COMPANY of American Infantry who had never seen combat/Ops prior to Iraqi Freedom. They were Reg not National Guard.

    Basically, in the British Army in 2003, could you have found a Coy, Plt, Sect in the same circumstances? I reckon a Fire Team would have been good going!

    With this in mind, I don´t think many of the USMC lads involved were doing anything wrong. They were following their drills (note not orders) in a very stressful situation. A tradgic act, yes, but not neccesarily one that the lads involved would require further punishment, than bearing the mark of cain.

    The darkside of the scenario appears to be the dragging out of acar and execution of four men.
  12. Don't all soldiers of all nationalities (well western or western aligned ones) divide neatly between witles imbecilic dupes and crazed baby eating monsters?

    That's what Hollywood taught me (When it's not being intermittently patriotic and showing American Ubermensch taking on the evils of the lesser world)
  13. I saw this at a public screening at the Edinburgh FilmHouse where director Nick Broomfield took questions from the floor . I thought it was amazingly even handed since Broomfield differentiates between local Sunni militants and foreign jihadists . It also points out that coaltition aren't there on a picnic

    Perhaps the most interesting thing Broomfield said that night was : " If it was up to me Bush and Blair would be up for murder and not those marines " which led me starting off a very loud round of applause
  14. Biped

    Biped LE Book Reviewer

    As propoganda would have it, then yes. It's not the fault of the septics that many of their soldiers are witless imbecilic dupes, it's the fault of society, yes it is. Join da army, get a college degree, or join da army, stay out of jail.

    THESE days, after much fighting in two different countries, and many a tragic lesson learned, they are a FAR more professional force.

    The British Army always has been a FAR more professional force because, unlike their septic cousins, they've been involved in wars and 'peacekeeping' ops against hostile civvies continuously for many, many years - being such a relatively small force, it's meant everyone has had a piece of the action and thus, the experience. The policy of quickly applying lessons learned on a continuing basis has made UK forces the highly skilled and professional force it is. The downside is that the criminal negiligence of our leaders has greatly dimished the effectiveness of our professional soldiers, airmen and sailors.

    As for the USMC issue - it would appear that they did drag those guys out of a car and slot them, so naughty boys for doing that - totally reprehensible and unprofessional. As for fragging civvy houses - that's down to poor FIBUA SOPS.