Iraq's My Lai?
One more dead Iraqi caused by the chickenhawk
brigade. Flowers and candy? Try graves and
Haditha Civilian Killings: "This One Is Ugly"
Wed May 17, 2006 at 07:14:23 PM PDT
Back in November, Iraqi residents in the town of Haditha claimed the U.S. Marines went on a civilian killing spree, leaving 15 dead, 10 of them women and children. A Marine spokesman initially denied the charge, saying that they had been killed by an IED and that in a following gun battle, eight insurgents were killed.
At a news conference today originally called to mark the six-month anniversary of his call for withdrawal from Iraq, John Murtha confirmed that the Iraqi civilian reports were indeed true and that the Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
NBC News contacted and interviewed officials today who confirmed the story:
Murtha, a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said at a news conference Wednesday that sources within the military have told him that an internal investigation will show that "there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood."
Military officials say Marine Corp photos taken immediately after the incident show many of the victims were shot at close range, in the head and chest, execution-style. One photo shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer, shot dead, said the officials, who spoke to NBC News on condition of anonymity because the investigation hasn't been completed.
One military official says it appears the civilians were deliberately killed by the Marines, who were outraged at the death of their fellow Marine.
"This one is ugly," one official told NBC News.
The Marine Corps, citing an ongoing investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, refused to provide an official comment.
Time magazine had reported in March that an Iraqi civil rights group claimed "that the Marines barged into houses near the bomb strike, throwing grenades and shooting civilians as they cowered in fear," according to the Marine Times, which also reported:
"It's much worse than was reported in Time magazine," Murtha, a Democrat, former Marine colonel and Vietnam war veteran, told reporters on Capitol Hill.
"There was no firefight. There was no [bomb] that killed those innocent people," Murtha explained, adding there were "about twice as many" Iraqis killed than Time had reported.
Murtha, an outspoken advocate for bringing troops home, said he believed the alleged rampage was due to combat stress, the Marine Times reports.
RenaRF has more background on the investigation here.
Update: Crooks and Liars has video up of Murtha discussing the issue on Hardball.
Murtha's a nice guy, but combat stress is a bullshit answer.
This is murder.
Lots of US Army and Marine units have stressed out, Paxil taking young men. Most do not walk into villages and start murdering people.
PTSD should go by another name, guilt. Dead kids are an special trigger for this. Shooting innocent people is part of war, which is why you don't send soldiers to make your points unless you can live with the consequences, not that Bush can.
Overreact? You mean like the torturers of Abu Gharib?
Because when you have women and children cowering in fear and then they wind up dead execution style, we are not talking stress. Stress is curling up like a ball and losing your shit. It's shaking constantly. It's shooting up a car at a traffic stop. It isn't murdering children.
Those fine young men decided that murdering children was an appropriate reaction and went about their business like an SS platoon in Russia, circa 1941.
The fact is that the leaders of this unit failed. They failed to teach their men respect for the law, and their role in war. You aren't street gang members free to murder people. Even then, they kill other gang members, they don't do home invasions and murder women and children.
This is a failure of leadership, not combat stress or any other excuse for this. The NCO's lost control of their men, and the officers took months to do the right thing.
I sympathize with US troops and their shitty, impossible situation. But to walk into a room, someone's home, and start shooting, not only dishonors their friend who died, it makes them no better than Al Qaeda. Iraqis aren't disposable for God's sake. You can't murder a few for payback.
If they're proven guilty, they need to be in jail for the rest of their lives.
We need to get the hell out of there.
posted by Steve @ 7:43:00 AM