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Friday, May 26, 2006

Marines to face investigation in Haditha killing

Lucian Read/WorldPictureNetwork

The military is looking into civilian deaths in Haditha, Iraq.

Military Expected to Report Marines Killed Iraqi Civilians

Published: May 26, 2006

This article is by Thom Shanker, Eric Schmitt and Richard A. Oppel Jr.

WASHINGTON, May 25 — A military investigation into the deaths of two dozen Iraqis last November is expected to find that a small number of marines in western Iraq carried out extensive, unprovoked killings of civilians, Congressional, military and Pentagon officials said Thursday.

Two lawyers involved in discussions about individual marines' defenses said they thought the investigation could result in charges of murder, a capital offense. That possibility and the emerging details of the killings have raised fears that the incident could be the gravest case involving misconduct by American ground forces in Iraq.

Officials briefed on preliminary results of the inquiry said the civilians killed at Haditha, a lawless, insurgent-plagued city deep in Sunni-dominated Anbar Province, did not die from a makeshift bomb, as the military first reported, or in cross-fire between marines and attackers, as was later announced. A separate inquiry has begun to find whether the events were deliberately covered up.

Evidence indicates that the civilians were killed during a sustained sweep by a small group of marines that lasted three to five hours and included shootings of five men standing near a taxi at a checkpoint, and killings inside at least two homes that included women and children, officials said.

That evidence, described by Congressional, Pentagon and military officials briefed on the inquiry, suggested to one Congressional official that the killings were "methodical in nature."

Congressional and military officials say the Naval Criminal Investigative Service inquiry is focusing on the actions of a Marine Corps staff sergeant serving as squad leader at the time, but that Marine officials have told members of Congress that up to a dozen other marines in the unit are also under investigation. Officials briefed on the inquiry said that most of the bullets that killed the civilians were now thought to have been "fired by a couple of rifles," as one of them put it.

The killings were first reported by Time magazine in March, based on accounts from survivors and human rights groups, and members of Congress have spoken publicly about the episode in recent days. But the new accounts from Congressional, military and Pentagon officials added significant new details to the picture. All of those who discussed the case had to be granted anonymity before they would talk about the findings emerging from the investigation.

A second, parallel inquiry was ordered by the second-ranking general in Iraq to examine whether any marines on the ground at Haditha, or any of their superior officers, tried to cover up the killings by filing false reports up the chain of command. That inquiry, conducted by an Army officer assigned to the Multinational Corps headquarters in Iraq, is expected to report its findings in coming days.


Military investigators have since uncovered a far different set of facts from what was first reported, partly aided by marines who are cooperating with the inquiry and partly guided by reports filed by a separate unit that arrived to gather intelligence and document the attack; those reports contradicted the original version of the marines, Pentagon officials said.
The pro-child murder coalition speaks

FOX News doing their part to swift boat Murtha (

Michelle Malkin says Murtha "hangs the Marines" (

Blogs for Bush: "damned traitor" (

Say Anything Blog says it was a "craptacular thing to do" for Murtha to speak out about this (

An entire site called "Murtha Must Go" that in its tag line calls him a "traitor" (

Right Voices say "Anyway you slice it, he is a traitor!" (

Hugh Hewitt ( " I cannot imagine a more irresponsible statement from Congressman Murtha given that the investigation is still open. The Congressman should explain his sources, or face the charge that he has judged the men involved before the evidence is even compiled."

Political Pit Bull ( Murtha makes an "outrageous allegation"

Rick Edwards, Powerpundit ( - Listen how he rattles off all this stuff about how its just an allegation and we should wait for evidence, trial, yada, yada, yada...

Assrocket adds at the bottom of Not Assrocket's post that "Jack Murtha is a disgrace," trying to rally support for his Republican opponent saying "Let's at least make that miserable *** sweat." (

Gary Gross calls Murtha a "traitor" proclaiming Murtha's statement a "pack of lies" (

Neal Boortz weighs in with " Just whose side is he on, anyway? It doesn't appear to be ours." By definition, that's a traitor (
Anyone who defends the murder of children and women isn't really much of a person. The US Marines are not the SS, when they kill civilians, they must be held accountable and if they murder the innocent, they need to face a general courtmartial if the charges can be tied to them.

It does not honor the men and women who patrol Iraq daily or the Marines to defend the murder of children. But Murtha, who left college to be a Marine, was a DI, then commissioned and returned to active duty in Vietnam would understand that. That isn't his idea of a Marine, and it isn't mine.

These pro-child murderers would not, since the only thing they do is type. They think soldiers are fragile and demanding justice for the murdered is cowardly.

They have no clue that the ONLY reason that this is a case is because a Marine made it one. Other Marines saw this, realize a crime had been committed and reported it, like any person of conscience. Enough people die in the byproducts of war, car stops, errant artillery strikes, stray rounds to leave a lifetime of guilt. But these young men saw murder and refused to shut their eyes and walk away, as the pro-child murder coalition would have had them do.

It doesn't make them heroes, although I suspect there's one in this, but it makes them citizens. I can't say what the pro-child murder people are.

posted by Steve @ 12:33:00 AM

12:33:00 AM

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