No one condones misconduct in combat, but this trial will be watched closely.Marines in combat have 3 seconds to make a decision to shoot. The Corps has 13 months to decide if it was the right decision.
This trial will be extremely scrupulous because of the notoriety visited on the investigation by a member of Congress. Training not withstanding, have you found yourself in MCRESS and been told that your Marines failed a particular portion of evalution - doesn't matter how insignificant the failure - training wasn't adequate to make the indivudual Marine's response the "right one."
If the allegations prove true, we can NEVER condone such actions.
That said I believe it's extremely important that we, organizationally, look internal and ask ourselves what we've done to truly prepare the "strategic" lance corporals, corporals, sergeants, staff sergeants, lieutenants, etc. for what they're being asked to do in combat.
How many times were the Marines involved in the Haditha incident given the opportunity to practice in a realistic training environment, AAR, re-execute to a level of mastery before being sent to Anbar? How many opportunities did we give these Marines to patrol in an urban setting, with hundreds/thousands of role players, and simulated explosions that would make Hollywood proud? What are the standards that the Marines have to meet WRT the people on an urban patrol?
We talk much about "strategic corporal" but often say that COIN/anything involving operating in an urban setting w/ indigenous people is graduate level "stuff" that shouldn't be in entry level training. I question when exactly we prepare the corporal or any other Marine below the rank of captain to make "strategic" decisions.
Yes, there will be aberrant behavior in battle, but it will be very rare. Whether this incident was remains to be seen.
Ultimately, gentlemen, the conduct of our troops on the battlefield is determined by how we write fitness reports. Most often, troops "misbehave" because they have a bum lieutenant. If he was a bum on the battlefield, he was a bum at OCS/TBS and during predeployment training stateside. Some reporting senior knew that, had a duty to say so, and didn't. Usually that's just plain lack of guts.
You can't always can bums, but you can hide them. You DO NOT leave them in command of troops!
Great points India Six. Learned over the past week that we can put Marines in Haditha-like situations again and again through the use of computer simulations. While not live training or combat, creating realistic simulation exercises, issuing orders, having each Marine play his assigned role, having an OPFOR throw measles into the situation t/o the exercise, and then conducting a detailed de-brief gives us a lot more than most units/schools currently do in preparing Marines for the fight. We owe our Marines this training at the very least.
Last edited by Maximus; 02-05-2007 at 09:36 PM.
India Six raises a great point. I do not know about the leadership of the Marines in Haditha, however we appear to tolerate miscreants in our ranks. Knowing when to cut the Corps losses on a subordinate who is not cutting the mustard is called judgment and doing it is called courage.