Law of War brief opens Marine eyes
By Sgt. Juan D. Alfonso
| | June 23, 2010
CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Officials with the Marine Corps Mobilization Command gave a series of Law of War and Unit-level Rules of Engagement briefs to service members assigned to U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, June 23 at the Sunset Lanai, Camp H. M. Smith, Hawaii.
The purpose of the event was to fulfill annual training requirements and educate Marines about the law of war, according to Capt. Lee C. Kindlon, a criminal defense attorney with Mobilization Command.
“This training does a lot to break down misconceptions about rules of engagement and the laws of war,” Kindlon said. “It’s not just the law. More than anything else, it’s a part of our culture as Marines. It keeps our honor clean.”
During the presentations, Kindlon and his counterparts broke down the laws of war stated in the Geneva Convention and presented a series of hypothetical situations to better illustrate when an individual is a combatant and when he is “out of the fight.”
“I thought if you could see that the enemy was injured and you could get to him, that you could care for the wounded at that time,” said Cpl. Marvin A. Carmona, Administration Section legal noncommissioned officer for Headquarters and Service Battalion, MarForPac. “I didn’t know you had to wait for the firefight to be over before you could do that.”
During the brief, Kindlon explained principles all Marines are taught since their time in basic training. Marines do not harm enemies that surrender, harm their prisoners, steal, attack medical personnel, facilities or equipment. Above all, Marines destroy only what the mission requires and treat civilians with respect.
Kindlon encourages small unit leaders to continue similar training within their sections to ease the decision-making process on the battlefield.
“Don’t be afraid of the rules of engagement or the laws of war,” Kindlon said. “These laws are put in place to protect us and our allies. I get a lot of, ‘why do we follow these laws if the enemy doesn’t?’ It’s because we’re the good guys.”