A Tackhead Moment

Long, long ago I first heard the song “What’s my mission now? Fight the Devil!” by Gary Clail’s Tackhead Sound System. It was written in the 1980s but it seems to get more relevant every day.

There’s an extended sample in that song of a guy talking, some military brass describing an interview with some political types:

We can’t do this, and we can’t do that, and we can’t do that, and finally one of them stood up and said, “Well, what the hell CAN you do?”

The answer to that is, “Well, we can kill people and destroy things in the name of the United States.” [laughter] My God, you can’t say that. But that’s what we do! [more laughter] And if you don’t want that done, don’t send in the military.

Don’t send in the military and say, ‘Oh, my God, you hurt someone!” Of course we did. That’s what you sent us there to do.

Meanwhile, back in the 21st century…

( MSNBC: ) Two units that were not involved in Friday’s fighting advanced on the mosque, one moving around the back and the second, accompanied by Sites, from the front. Sites said he could hear gunfire from inside.

Sites was present when a lieutenant from one of the units asked a Marine what had happened inside the mosque. The Marine replied that there were people inside.

“Did you shoot them?� the lieutenant asked.

“Roger that, sir,� the second Marine replied.

“Were they armed?� the lieutenant asked.

The second Marine shrugged in reply.

Sites 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.â€? 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’s what we do. And if you don’t want that done, don’t send in the military.