A Shot Seen Round The World

A Marine fires on a wounded man in a Fallujah mosque, and the world asks: Was it a war crime?

Rules of engagement. That's code for what U.S. soldiers are allowed to do on the battlefield, and it's never simple. So when troops prepped for the invasion of Fallujah, a city filled with rebels without uniforms, their commanders warned them they could shoot only armed men. But the brass also told them they could shoot first and ask questions later. Maddeningly, both orders made sense, depending, as the worn caveat goes, on the circumstances.

On Nov. 13, a freelance photojournalist working for NBC videotaped a Marine shooting first, apparently killing a wounded Iraqi lying on the floor of a Fallujah mosque....

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