From CNN today: U.S. military mourns 'tragic' Haditha deaths.
The U.S. military offered condolences on Thursday to relatives of 24 Iraqi civilians killed in Haditha last November in events that are now being investigated as possible murder by Marines. ...
The Washington Post on Thursday reported that the U.S. investigation into the aftermath of the killings is expected to say that some officers gave false information to superiors, who then did not check details.
A military source said it was evidence, including death certificates, indicating that many of the 24 civilians had been shot at close range that led to a full-scale criminal probe into the alleged massacre in March.
The media frenzy around the actions of a handful of Marines is now building and, as happened with the illegal acts at Abu Graib, will be used to advance agendas unrelated to the allegations, agendas which trade on the slander of the American military, and which use the very rare exceptions to paint broadly, even as the enemy will.
It actually took me a while to put all the pieces together -- that I know these guys, the U.S. Marines at the heart of the alleged massacre of Iraqi civilians in Haditha.
I don't know why it didn't register with me until now. It was only after scrolling through the tapes that we shot in Haditha last fall, and I found footage of some of the officers that had been relieved of their command, that it hit me.
I know the Marines that were operating in western al Anbar, from Husayba all the way to Haditha. I went on countless operations in 2005 up and down the Euphrates River Valley. I was pinned on rooftops with them in Ubeydi for hours taking incoming fire, and I've seen them not fire a shot back because they did not have positive identification on a target.
I saw their horror when they thought that they finally had identified their target, fired a tank round that went through a wall and into a house filled with civilians. They then rushed to help the wounded -- remarkably no one was killed.
UPDATE I: A soldier's perspective at Frontline Forum: The Haditha Killings by Jeffrey Barnett.
While I cannot speak intelligently on the Haditha incident, I do think I can comment on possible causes of these types of tragic events: a frustration most canít understand. I donít condone any use of force outside our directed rules of engagement and escalation of force procedures. However, I can understand why violations of the ROE happen, however unjustified they may be.
UPDATE II -- June 2: Here we go ... from The New York Times: Iraqi Assails U.S. for Strikes on Civilians.
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki lashed out at the American military on Thursday, denouncing what he characterized as habitual attacks by troops against Iraqi civilians.
As outrage over reports that American marines killed 24 Iraqis in the town of Haditha last year continued to shake the new government, the country's senior leaders said that they would demand that American officials turn over their investigative files on the killings and that the Iraqi government would conduct its own inquiry.
In his comments, Mr. Maliki said violence against civilians had become a "daily phenomenon" by many troops in the American-led coalition who "do not respect the Iraqi people."
"They crush them with their vehicles and kill them just on suspicion," he said. "This is completely unacceptable." Attacks on civilians will play a role in future decisions on how long to ask American forces to remain in Iraq, the prime minister added.
This article is accompanied by a photo of two Iraqis mourning over coffins. You have to read the caption to know that the deaths have nothing to do with the headline about American soldiers killing civilians.
UPDATE III: AllahPundit has lots more good coverage at Hot Air: Tuning out: Henninger on Haditha and the anti-war left.Posted by Forkum at June 1, 2006 04:33 PM