Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Autres temps, autres moeurs

You all remember this story:

The U.S. military is investigating the killing of a wounded and apparently unarmed Iraqi prisoner inside a mosque during combat operations here, the Defense Department told NBC News on Monday. *** [Kevin] Sites [who shot the video] saw the five wounded men left behind on Friday still in the mosque. Four of them had been shot again, apparently by members of the squad that entered the mosque moments earlier. One appeared to be dead, and the three others were severely wounded. The fifth man was lying under a blanket, apparently not having been shot a second time. One of the Marines noticed that one of the severely wounded men was still breathing. He did not appear to be armed, Sites said. The Marine could be heard insisting: “He’s f---ing faking he’s dead — he’s faking he’s f---ing dead.” Sites then watched as the Marine raised his rifle and fired into the man’s head from point-blank range. “Well, he’s dead now,” another Marine said. When told that the man he shot was a wounded prisoner, the Marine, who himself had been shot in the face the day before but had already returned to duty, told Sites: “I didn’t know, sir. I didn’t know.”
That poor Marine was run from pillar to post, as people in the US howled for his blood. Imagine, then, my amusement, when I came across this WWII joke in a book published during WWII (which explains the reference to the Japanese as "Japs"):
Clark Lee, author of Call It Pacific, tells of an officer, very religious, who insisted on reading a burial service over a hundred Jab soldiers who fell in a pitched battle in New Britain. Fellow officers didn't relish the notion, but he persisted. "They may be Japs," he said, "but they're dead, and I'm going to give them a decent burial." In the middle of the service, one of the "corpses" suddenly rose with a grenade in his hand. The officer dropped his Bible, whipped out a gun, shot the Jap through the temple, calming reholstered his weapon, and resumed the sermon. "Lord," he declared," I said I'd give these Japs a funeral, and that goes for every last one of them. Amen!" (From Bennett Cerf's Try and Stop Me, published in 1944.)