Cost of Looting in Iraq

I figure day to day life in Iraq much be pretty rough. With limited access to power, thus refrigeration, things we take for granted like drinkable milk in the refrigerator become impossible.

Unemployment numbers are insanely high, but beyond that, something like 2 million people have be dislocated from their homes due by either having their homes destroyed or simply due to the danger they faced living in their now-dangerous neighborhoods.

So, what does a person without a job, a home, refrigeration, and general safety do? I imagine just about whatever it would take to provide those basic needs for themselves and their families. I’m certain that if someone kicked down my door in an attempt to find WMDs, the first thing I’d do after they left would be to repair the darn thing. Would you be able to sleep at night without a secure door on your home?

With this in mind, I find the behavior of the US troops in this video from Iraq absolutely disgusting. According to the non-FOX News reporter, the US troops featured in this video stumbled across a group of men and children who were looting lumber. This, of course, is a crime and deserves some attention. Considering my preface to the video above, what would be an appropriate solution to deal with this situation? I’d like to see something like this:

1. Ask them why they’re looting lumber. Maybe they have a justifiable reason.

2. Arrest them.

3. Make them return the lumber.

Or, you could do what the US troops did: shoot the looter’s car then crush it with a tank.

I’m not sure what the punishment is for looting lumber in the United States, but looking at the lumber on their car, it looks like it would probably be a misdemeanor charge in most states. I imaging a typical US judge would listen to the defendant’s case, “Your honor, the doors to my home were destroyed by US troops, and my kitchen is missing due to an errant shot from a tank. This is why I look, your honor.” Somehow, I think the sentence would fall somewhat short of a crushed car given the circumstances.

My questions:

Why didn’t the troops arrest the looters?

Isn’t there a criminal justice system set up to deal with things like this?

Does the punishment fit the crime?

Who made the troops the judge and jury?

What do these troops do when the camera isn’t running? When a reporter isn’t standing right there? When children aren’t present?

Any thoughts?

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