A Marine charged with murdering an Iraqi detainee captured during fierce house-to-house fighting in Fallujah, said his squad leader asked for help in killing captives after weapons were found in their house. Sgt. Jermaine Nelson told investigators that his squad leader, Jose Nazario became furious after AK47s were found upstairs in the house and took a man into the kitchen and shot him through the eye. “So Nazario come up, he says, ‘I just did one. I’m not doing all of them myself so you’re going to do one. So I’m thinking I didn’t want to get shot myself.” Nelson is charged with a single murder count because at some point he decided o go along with the unlawful conduct of Nazario. His defense attorney argued the Marine should not be held responsible for obeying a direct order in combat.
Nazario’s defense attorney has argued the entire case rests on evidence supplied by Nelson and there is no forensic evidence to support claims against his client. In a separate case, a different squad was charged with killing 24 people n Fallujah but charges have been dropped aganst the squad leader. Four officers were charged with failing to invstigate the deaths, but the charges have been dropped against two of them.
War is definitely hell and humans do things in war the would not do in ordinary life. There is a difference between understanding emotional and physical dangers an individual faces during combat and condoning such illegal behavior. A persistent pattern in abuses in Iraq has been failure to ever bring charges against top level officers who were derelict in carrying out their responsibilities as leaders.