SEAL Suspected of Executing ISIS POW
Currently, there is a Navy SEAL undergoing an investigation into wrongdoing regarding an incident where he allegedly stabbed an ISIS fighter that had been subdued or captured. While many stateside who’ve never seen the brutality of war are probably quick to judge and cast the verdict of guilt and shame upon this man, we have a few things we’d like you to consider.
The battlefield is ever evolving. There are no longer lines or fronts…there are forward operating bases and firebases sporadically placed throughout areas of operation, but once you leave those “safe'” (it’s a relative term in this instance) havens, attacks could come from any direction. The battlespace is 360 degrees of possible hostilities. Make no mistake, infiltrating behind enemy lines in order to win has always been a thing, but now…now there isn’t even really a line to infiltrate behind. The enemy is all around us and nowhere at the same time.
While patrolling the streets of Ramadi in 2005, I was privy to having many detainees in the back of our highback humvee. It was basically a cab, with a metal armored box with an open top on the back. One Marine would usually provide overwatch in the back while the other watched over the detainee. Numerous times our detainee cried out in Arabic and given my basic understanding of Arabic at the time, was calling for help, calling for us to be ambushed as we drove down the dark streets back to Hurricane Point.
At night when everything is quiet, there is that weird effect where every sound, every noise seems to be amplified. His calls for help certainly in our mind could be heard throughout the city, rousing them to come fight the Americans. Ramadi was not a super friendly city in 2005. I, not wanting my picture to end up on CNN as the latest casualty, on more than one occasion told the detainee I’d kill him if he made another sound. Sucks to be a war criminal and all, but sucks worse dying. Luckily that issue never had to be addressed as they believed I would most certainly send them to their maker. The truth remains simple, I didn’t want to die via RPG to the cargo area of our hummer. I’d rather be alive.
We don’t know the circumstances surrounding the death of this “POW,” the details of the investigation have not been leaked. We can’t ascertain if this fighter was still a threat or not, but this incident raises questions about the future of warfare.
Is an enemy fighter a POW if he/she can still influence the fight against us in a major way while on the battlefield?
Is he/she not still an active combatant and shouldn’t they be treated as such?
Rules of engagement were kind of simple at the time of me in Iraq. “If you witness a hostile act or hostile intent, you can engage.” Calling for someone to RPG us certainly seems like a credible example of hostile act/hostile intent. Luckily we got intel out of the asshole and so it’s good that I didn’t kill him…but what could have been. Would I have been crucified as a man, would my unit have suffered the ill effects as well?
With the ever evolving scope of asymmetrical warfare, we feel that this question is something that needs to be addressed.
…also, one less ISIS on the planet can’t be too horrible of a thing.