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J Thomas

I have a sort of question, and this looks like the closest to the right post to comment in. The military law one looks like a distant second.

Here's how I understand the mission of the Marines in Haditha. They were supposed to wander around in enemy territory and disrupt things. They were supposed to poke around until somebody shot at them and then they could shoot back.

So they trundled around in their uparmored trucks that are still pretty easy to hit with an IED, and they kept going until one got hit with an IED and a Marine died. And they presumably killed at least one iraqi who might have been the one that triggered the IED. And then either they did or didn't get shot at from one or more buildings, so they ran into the buildings and captured them -- throwing grenades into each room before they went in just in case there were insurgents there waiting to attack them. Since there were women and children in some of those rooms the women and children inevitably were killed.

Here are my questions.

1. Have I missed the point of the operation? Were they actually doing something else?

2. If I got it mostly right, how much benefit does this sort of operation have for counterinsurgency?

J Thomas,2933,135853,00.html
Gunnery Sgt. Jason Berold says the rules, as they are now, are frustrating. Unless they see insurgents shooting at them or have what they call positive identification, there's little that the Marines can do.

"It is very frustrating," says Berold, 38, of Los Angeles.

"All we are doing is getting Americans killed and we cannot do much about it," says King. The other marines in the room nod in approval.

"None of us are scared of going out ... as long as you get one bad guy."

Because of the existing rules of the engagement, though, the only thing left after the incidents is to "pick up your dead and wounded and get out of there as soon as possible," King says.

Does this sound somehow familiar?

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