When McArthur ordered execution of the American soldiers in Japan over the rape allegations, he hardly imagined that in the six decades the unleashed genie of wartime moralism would convict American soldiers of shooting disarmed terrorists in Iraq. Israel saw the POW nightmare when the Egyptian army surrendered en masse in 1973. Guarding that mass of prisoners and supplying it with victuals was impossible. Israel took the risk of immediately releasing enemy soldiers and generally retaining only officers. Some POWs were shot as a matter of expediency. Russians and Australians shot POWs in WWII. American shooting of POWs is documented for Vietnam.

Historically, prisoners were taken for ransom or enslaving. The concept of internment is modern and unrealistic. What were the Israelis to do with Syrian POWs taken during the fighting on Golan Heights? We did not have the resources to guard or transport them – and, frankly, we hated them. What are the Americans to do with POWs in Guantanamo or the ill-fated Abu Ghraib? To prove their participation in terrorism is impossible, to release them – impractical. Killing the POWs is by far the preferable option. Some errors would be there, but with so many civilians dying in Afghanistan and Iraq, the error would be statistically insignificant.

No military person would doubt that the 101st Airborne’ soldiers received orders to kill the Iraqis on spot – as the soldiers claim and their commanders shamefully renounce. The Lake Tharthar’s island hosted no farmers, since the land there is almost completely unsuitable for agriculture. The orders, therefore, rightly demanded to kill every military-age male – almost certainly, a terrorist – on the island. As General Jim Mattis remarked about Afghanistan, “It’s hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

shooting the POWs