Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Perspective: Sometimes it’s hard to know who the enemy is

For one moment in February, Lance Cpl. Blake A. Soileau knew the enemy, and the Marine killed him without hesitation with a shot through the forehead.

The enemy had used a dump truck packed with explosives to drive within 10 meters of a Marine outpost in Habbaniyah, a town along the south side of the Euphrates River, in the farmlands between Ramadi and Fallujah.

The Marines from Company K, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment had seen both the truck and its driver before. But that morning, 2½ hours into Soileau’s four-hour watch, was different. An Iraqi teacher was accidentally shot earlier in the day, and a protest had erupted. By mid-morning, Soileau and other Marines were taking machine-gun fire.

The man, Soileau thinks now, had endured all he could from the war around him.

The enemy drove the dump truck straight toward Soileau, the post and nine other Marines.

“I guess it just pushed him over the edge,” Soileau, 19, of Zachary, La., said. “He was just a random guy off the street. We knew him. But he wasn’t on a list anywhere.”

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes