The Marine Massacre at Haditha, Iraq. How will history judge this event in the annals of time?
The Military, especially the US Army has within its War College something called,”Lesions Learned”.
These are to teach the young officer, and sometimes the NCOs about the mistakes of the past and to insure that history does not repeat itself! Well, at this point in history, it would seem that the purpose of lesions learned have done nothing short of fail!
Within the Army Times we begin to see this story unfold. You will see that the timeline for this event extends back some 38 years ago. This is a story which must be reported, a story that must be told truthfully and honestly. Yes, This is a story that I wish someone else was doing but the torch was passed to me and I alone must bear the responsibility for reporting it correctly from the view of a mere by-stander! I will attempt to do my best. I owe you that!
I begin my journey into this story from the 05 June 06 Army Times. From a report that has left the Marines in preparation to inform Congress of the worse. Honestly, I have to bring Rep. Charles Taylor of
The 11th Congressional District of N. C. into the picture weather I want to or not. I am surprised, that the
Congressman has not had the time to comment on this incident and demand answers. Democratic Rep. John D. Murtha has been vocal in asking for answers and in a statement from his office he says the following;
Washington D.C. - The following is a statement from Congressman Murtha regarding the incident at Haditha:
I am a Vietnam combat veteran. I understand full well the type of situation those Marines were in. These are allegations. I believe that the case should and will be fully investigated and that the Marines involved will be treated fairly by the military justice system.
I talk to commanders and soldiers all the time about the circumstances they face in Iraq. I talk to not only the brass at the Pentagon, but to the officers in the field and the soldiers I see every week at Bethesda and Walter Reed medical centers with their arms and legs blown off by IEDs. I am acutely aware of the type of situation those Marines were in. Our soldiers are incredibly brave and are fighting in an extremely difficult combat environment with extremely difficult rules of engagement. They perform heroically and have been for going on four years now, with very few exceptions. As a nation, we can be extremely proud of the conduct of our US military.
As I've said, I understand the fog of war and the confusion of battle. But we are a nation of laws, including the UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice). The United States of America has never condoned, nor should it ever condone, indiscriminate, deliberate killing of civilians. When we do that, we become no better than the enemy we are trying to eradicate.
Further, to ignore this incident, which happened six months ago and has now been publicized around the world, is to invite criticism that the United States does not practice what it preaches. That will severely undermine our goals of promoting democracy, as did the Abu Ghraib scandal. Again, the United States of America does not condone the deliberate killing of innocent civilians.
Yet, Sen. John Warner – R of Va ,who happens to be the Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee seemingly is following in Taylor’ Footsteps in that I went to his website and could not find and Press Release on this subject just as at Taylor’s site. We should get a press release shortly after Heath Shuler takes office.
The Army Times reported that it was a week of growing gloom for Marine Commandant Mike Hagee as he briefed Congressional Leaders (behind closed doors) on what now seems likely to become a incident on the same level as Abu Ghraib or worse. The Lawmakers emerged from the meeting visibly shaken by what they heard and seen. Terms such as “cold blooded murder” & “atrocity” & “war crimes” were being used!
The greatest fear is that a small group of Marines of the 3rd Batt., 1st Marine Division possibly seeking revenge for the death of USMC Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas who was killed by a roadside bomb on November 19,2005 in Haditha. This group is reported to have carried out a 5 hour killing spree that left as many as 24 Iraqi civilians, including women & children dead! Although no official charges have been filed to date, it is expected that as many as 12 Marines will face charges. An inquiry done by Time Magazine in February found enough evidence of wrongdoing to prompt Army Lt. General Peter Chiarelli to launch a more extensive probe by his office! A Naval Criminal Investigative Service inquiry is expected to wrap up this month. The USMC also announced that the NCIS has also launched an investigation into another alleged killing on April 26 in Hamandiyah.
The USMC has officially asked the Army to assist the NCIS with its investigation. Not only does this incident have the extreme possibility to inflame our adversaries in Iraq ,it could also cause our allies to back away from supporting the U.S. and then where would we be left? The official investigative reports are expected to show that among the 24 civilians dead, 5 ,all unarmed were shot in a car with no warning, 7 were women, and 3 were children.
Yes, my usual job here at BlueNC is to report mostly the good things happening to our troops and benefits for them and to let them know that we, the Democrats here in North Carolina support them and are behind them 100%. But, I find that in covering this story for you I MUST take a much more objective view of the facts at hand. And I have to be Honest in that if the findings are bad then I must report them to be such. There is no way to put Whipped Cream & Cherries on top of this one. And folks, you can slice this 6 ways to Sunday and it is going to apparently come out the same. Unarmed people were killed! Unarmed Women & Children were killed. From all reports they did not have the Luxury of so called self defense in this. The only Luxury they were afforded was to possibly look up a split second before they died, probably not even making eye contact or really seeing the face of their killers.
Anglico, old friend, feel free to jump in here at any time Brother. Anglico and I are soldiers of the old guard. The old guard is that which existed before the New versions of the Army, Marines etc . Before these new versions came along and took shape those of us from the old school did things different. If you had a chip on your shoulder you didn’t go round looking for someone to knock it off. And if revenge came into play then you learned really quickly that the very best thing to do was to allow this bad karma to just flow right on through you. To hold revenge & Hate inside can be very destructive to ones self! We were taught that in the event you could not let it flow through and get it out of your system then you found a nice little corner of the brain to stick it in and hang onto it. Then when the time would come, where you were taking incoming rounds and they started it then you reached into that corner and drug that revenge out. Funny how those types of things can really keep you on your toes, alert and even serve to protect you.
But even though the duty station for these Marines is Camp Pendleton, Calf and the 3/5 Marines have been removed from operations pending the criminal investigation we need to remember something. The Great State of North Carolina is possibly the most military friendly state in the union. We probably have more Marines and Army personnel here than any other state.
But my Ultimate question folks is this: Why are Charles Taylor, Elizabeth Dole & Richard Burr not being more vocal and asking questions and demanding answers of he USMC? Is it just the simple fact that right now they are waiting for the end of the investigation or that they simply don’t care!
In Part 2 of this series, we will take a field trip in time and explore a similar incident to see what was learned from it.