This dispatch comes from the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot about an amphibious assault “launched” by Marines during this week’s Bold Alligator exercise along the North Carolina-Virginia coast:
Operating on information gathered by a 10-man reconnaissance team that swam ashore on Saturday, about 50 Marines made their way to the village – 10 buildings, including a mosque, behind a plywood fence in a deserted wooded area of the base…Two Marines took fictional gunshots and had to be evacuated on stretchers. And following the rules of engagement in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the village mosque – its crescent moon silhouetted against the sky – was guarded but untouched, and noncombatants were allowed to remain inside.
Last week, Battleland asked Admiral John Harvey and Marine Lieut. General Dennis Hejlik if they were commanding the exercise with Iran in mind. Both denied it. So can we do away with a “mosque” and Islam’s “crescent moon” in such U.S. war games? It was seven years ago that the companies building the V-22 tilt-rotor found themselves embarrassed – and apologizing for — a magazine advertisement showing U.S. troops attacking a mosque. So how about a fake generic chapel open to all faiths – you know, like you find on U.S. military bases – for the next such operation?