It has often been said that war brings out the best and worse of human behavior. The writer of this blog recognizes that combat situations frequently leave an individual soldier with a moment in which to make decisions of life or death. However, killing unarmed prisoners has nothing to do with combat decisions. A former Marine sergeant told jurors on Tuesday he saw dread on teh faces of two detainees after the apparent shooting death of another detainees during some of the fiercest fighting of the Iraq war. “It is something I wouldn’t forget, that face, that dread,” said Cory Carlisle. He was testifying about the deaths of four detainees who were killed. Former squad leader Jose Luis Nazario, has pleaded not guilty to the charge of voluntary manslaughter in the deaths of the four men. The case came to light in 2006 when Sgt. Ryan Weemer volunteered details to a U.S. Secret Service job interview when a lie detector screening indicated he had not spoken the truth about the most serious crime he had ever committed.
Carlisle testified he saw Weemer and Nazario kill the men who definitely were unarmed and had their arms in the air. The heat of battle makes decent people do indecent things, but to shoot four men who had their arms in the air and had no connection to the violence occurring in the situation violates human decency.