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Guilty until proven innocent

By Frank Salvato
web posted November 22, 2004

In this era of 24-hour, on-demand access to the news, the American public has grown accustomed to the pre-judgment of individuals at the center of high-profile events. We saw it with the OJ Simpson case. We saw it with the Martha Stewart case. And we saw it with the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. In each, the mainstream media ran with analysis that included information that was relevant, irrelevant, rumor and innuendo -- information that was not in context with the situations. The rational mind understands to take this analysis with a grain of salt. Sadly, we are not all gifted with rational minds.

A U.S. Marine allegedly shooting an wounded Iraqi in the headThe newest issue on the media's legal docket revolves around a young Marine in Fallujah. An embedded reporter with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment shot footage of what appeared to be a young US Marine shooting a wounded Iraqi lying in a Fallujah mosque. This news footage has created a stir that has started the media's pre-judgment machine.

Like it or not, the mainstream media has quite a bit of influence in the United States, as well as around the world. Although it didn't have enough influence to sway the last presidential election to an ultra-liberal with a past that includes actively campaigning against his country during a time of war, it does tend to be quite effective when wielding its power against those who don't have close to a billion dollars in the bank.

When thinking about that young Marine in Fallujah we must remember a few things in order to keep the images the mainstream media is providing us in context.

While the US troops, along with their coalition allies, are fighting this war against terrorism from within the boundaries of the Geneva Conventions their opposition is not. In fact, the terrorists are doing everything they can to make the Geneva Conventions a liability for our troops. They are exploiting the limitations of humanity.

It is against the conventions for the terrorists to be wearing clothing that would designate them as civilians, yet they do. This affords them the opportunity to blend in with the innocents of any given area while they move about in preparation for their next attack. This also puts all the innocents around them at risk, but then, when one is used to beheading innocents in order to make political statements, it can be assumed that they couldn't care less about putting innocents in harms way.

It is against the conventions for them to use places of worship as operational points for their aggression, yet they do. In fact, at a recently captured mosque there were signs on the walls of the great hall designating areas for each of the terrorist groups who had come to Fallujah to wage terrorist attacks. The allies have come across mosque after mosque that has been used for ammunition depots. And it has become commonplace for our troops to receive gun and rocket fire from within the walls of these "places or worship."

It is against the conventions for them to feign death when confronted with absolute defeat, yet they do. In many instances our troops have had to deal with bodies of defeated terrorists that have been rigged with explosives, booby-traps meant to take the lives of our soldiers and those of our allies. While the terrorists are well on their way to getting to know the "72 virgins" Allah allegedly gave them upon their "martyrdom," the true freedom fighters in Iraq are dealing with death rigged with death.

Combine all of that with these facts:

  • The day before the incident in question a booby-trapped corpse set-up by the terrorists killed a young Marine
  • The Marine in question had been injured earlier on the same day as the shooting
  • These Marines and allies had been conducting non-stop operations to free Fallujah from the terrorists who oppressively occupied that city

It is plain to see where the benefit of the doubt should be afforded.

All of that being taken into consideration, it is disappointing to hear US Ambassador to Iraq John Negroponte say, "no one can be happy" about the incident, "but the important point is that the individual in question will be dealt with." It should be even more disturbing that the mainstream media is leading the way in "dealing with" the young Marine in question.

We the People have to make a decision on whether or not we actually want to win this War on Terror. Listening to how the mainstream media and the liberal left in this country want us to deal with the issue of terrorism -- fighting on an "uneven battlefield," legal action against our troops at the ready -- it is hard to believe they want us to win.

Frank Salvato is a political media consultant and the managing editor for TheRant.us. His pieces are regularly featured in Townhall.com. He has appeared as a guest on The O'Reilly Factor and numerous radio shows. His pieces have been recognized by the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention and are periodically featured in The Washington Times as well as other national and international publications. He can be contacted at oped@therant.us. Copyright © 2004 Frank Salvato

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