Remember during November’s big fight in Fallujah when NBC videojournalist/independent blogger Kevin Sites filmed a Marine shooting a wounded and apparently unarmed Iraqi insurgent? Some denounced the shooting as little more than murder, many more denounced Sites as little more than a traitor, and the military announced … it would investigate. Big controversy.
That was all of three and a half months ago, and the incident has been mostly forgotten. The Marine is reportedly at Camp Pendleton. Kevin Sites left Iraq and covered the tsunami aftermath in Southeast Asia (and won an award earlier this week for his blog). And the military either has or has not come to a conclusion about whether the shooting was justified.
Two days ago, CBS News reported that Navy investigators “believe the situation is ambiguous enough that no prosecutor could get a conviction.” Thus, CBS said, he wouldn’t be charged in the shooting. Thursday, the Marines rushed to deny the report and issued statements that the investigation hasn’t been completed and no decision on charges has been made one way or the other. But the denials aren’t directly contradicting the CBS report if you read them carefully: They emphasize that the inquiry isn’t finished, which the CBS story also acknowledges. And the CBS story adds that regardless of the decision on a homicide or war-crimes prosecution, the Marine could still face some sort of internal sanctions from the Corps.