26 May 2006

Haditha, another Mai Lai?

There's now an investigation into the killing of 24 Iraqis on November 19, 2005 who appear to have been killed in retribution for a nearby bomb explosion. The incident is sounds familiar to all who remember Vietnam--the hostility of the populace, the suspicion and anger of the occupying Americans, the frequently random targetting of civilians. According to a story at Mercury News:

Investigators believe that their criminal investigation into the deaths of about two dozen Iraqi civilians points toward a conclusion that Marines committed unprovoked murders, a senior defense official said Friday.

According to ABC News, the following facts have been established thus far:

— Early in the morning of November 19, a roadside bomb hit a small convoy of 12 Marines killing Marine Lance Corporal Lance Terrazas. All of the marines belonged to Kilo Company of the 3rd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment.

— Shortly after the bomb went off, the Marines saw a car approaching and fired, killing five Iraqi men. Military officials say all of them turned out to be unarmed.

— Some of the Marines, including a sergeant, entered a cluster of nearby homes from where, they later claimed, they had taken enemy fire.

— In the first house, however, they allegedly found only unarmed civilians. Exactly what happened inside is unclear, but by the time they left, six of the civilians were killed, including a three year old boy.

— In a second house, the Marines allegedly found and killed 8 more unarmed civilians.

— A man was allegedly shot by a Marine as he fled one of the houses.

— In still another house, the Marines said they encountered four Iraqi men , including one armed with an AK-47, and another reaching for a weapon in a closet. The Marines allegedly shot and killed all four men. It's unclear to investigators if the AK-47's were found before or after the shooting. (As in the U.S., many Iraqis legally own guns.)

Other blogments:

The FP Blog , Confederate Yankee, and Bits Blog have somewhat sympathetic analyses of the story. Also check out Waldenswimmer.


CyberKitten said...

This from the LA Times:

Photographs taken by a Marine intelligence team have convinced investigators that a Marine unit killed as many as 24 unarmed Iraqis, some of them "execution-style," in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha after a roadside bomb killed an American in November, officials close to the investigation said Friday.

The pictures are said to show wounds to the upper bodies of the victims, who included several women and six children. Some were shot in the head and some in the back, congressional and defense officials said.

Mai Lai was my first thought too....

Peter Matthes said...

And it doesn't matter if they found AK-47s because the people of Iraq are allowed one per person by law. My heart goes out to all the innocent people who will die for nothing in Iraq.

When you put troops in a no win situation, you are going to get situations like this. I must say that I somewhat feel sorry for those Marines.

My Uncle is a Marine in Hit, Iraq, and I can already see a change in him from his letters. He is becoming angry and bitter. He was one of the finest and most honorable men I have ever met before he left. I hope most of those qualities come back intact.

Time to change the leadership in this country. Time to get ready for the 2006 elections.

Great Blog. keep it up.

Karlo said...

Thanks Peter. Many of us have become bitter about this war. And your solution is right on. Change the leadership. I'd add that we should hold those who lied to us accountable.

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