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Haditha: another perspective
Posted by: McQ on Wednesday, May 31, 2006

I'm still not commenting on the particulars of Haditha until the investigation is completed, charges filed and the court martials held.

But here's a little perspective for those among us who are quick to say that the alleged murders in Haditha are only the tip of the iceberg and that, in fact, it is something which happens all to often. My guess is CNN reporter Arwa Damon would disagree. More interesting is the fact that what I'm about to quote from her pretains to Marines from the very unit which is under investigation:
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.

I was with them in Husayba as they went house to house in an area where insurgents would booby-trap doors, or lie in wait behind closed doors with an AK-47, basically on suicide missions, just waiting for the Marines to come through and open fire. There were civilians in the city as well, and the Marines were always keenly aware of that fact. How they didn't fire at shadows, not knowing what was waiting in each house, I don't know. But they didn't.
That speaks eloquently of restraint, leadership and living by the Rules of Engagment (ROE). It speaks, frankly, of iron discipline. More importantly, it speaks of what is being reported about the alleged incident in Haditha being more of an anomaly than the rule.

We all know that brutal things happen in split seconds in war. We also know that atrocities do happen ... on all sides. That's not to say that's the case in Haditha, yet. But it should be clear that a random act is much different than a policy which directs such actions. Governments with policies such as that aren't prone to investigate alleged atrocities. And the story of how the Haditha investigation came about is worth reading.

It points to a system with integrity. It also points to this event being something which is not at all condoned by the chain of command.

I am content to let the military handle the case, do the investigation, prefer the charges and conduct the courts martials. If, in fact, those involved are found guilty of the charges brought, I want them to face the maximum penalties allowed under military law.

But until then it shouldn't become a political football thrown around by both sides and certainly not the focus of a Senate hearing before the military proceedings are complete.
 
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"But until then it shouldn’t become a political football thrown around by both sides and certainly not the focus of a Senate hearing before the military proceedings are complete."

But then Murtha and the Democrats can’t benefit from the incident.

How can you be so cruel as to suggest they deny themselves political advantage as they see it?

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
But then Murtha and the Democrats can’t benefit from the incident.
Murtha isn’t the one pushing for a Senate hearing on the matter.
A senior Republican senator said today that he would hold hearings on the disputed role of a small number of American marines in the deaths of up to 24 Iraqi civilians in November, an incident that a Democratic war critic called an unprovoked murder that the military had covered up.

Senator John W. Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said his panel would examine the Nov. 19 incident in Haditha, a farm town on the Euphrates in a particularly lawless part of Anbar Province.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Thanks for the good finds.

Totally unexpected from a CNN reporter.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
I don’t recall Warner convicting anyone before the trial, though. Murtha is already willing to string ’em all up, clear to the top.
 
Written By: JorgXMcKie
URL: http://
If the military is investigating and prosecuting the incident, and that is an ongoing process (up to the completion of court martial) what purpose, in terms of justice, does a Senate hearing serve at this time?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Warner, VA... oh, different Warner.

Serves no purpose whatsoever, except to get the Senator’s name in the news.

Frickin’ politicians. Calling them or the MSM "jackals" or "vultures" insults some fine scavengers.
 
Written By: Dave
URL: http://
At least he said he would wait for the investigations to finish before he holds his hearing. Perhaps he will have the good sense to also wait until after any court martial. On the other hand, people want to know what happened, and politicians aren’t known for denying the folks their wants; Vox populi, vox dei and all that.
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
My guess is CNN reporter Arwa Damon would disagree. More interesting is the fact that what I’m about to quote from her pretains to Marines from the very unit which is under investigation:
Hey!!!

There’s that context I was looking for earlier.
Thanks, McQ.

Cheers.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
There’s that context I was looking for earlier.

Thanks, McQ.
There you go buddy ... now that you know what it looks like see if you can convince them to do it on more than one story, OK?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The thing that really irks me about the things Murtha says, and a lot of the reaction to this whole thing, is that it is precisely the response that our enemies want to see.

This is what Mogadishu taught them. That even though they cannot fight us in the field and force us to withdraw, they CAN fight us in our press and win.

Honestly, if I were fighting a war against the US, and didn’t care about civilian casualties, my chief battleplan would be to always fight in such a way that the US troops had to endanger the lives of innocents, because it would be easy to present it as a massacre.
 
Written By: Dustin
URL: http://
There you go buddy ... now that you know what it looks like see if you can convince them to do it on more than one story, OK?
Hey man, don’t tell me. Tell the US military.
Lara Logan explains…
LOGAN: I mean, I really resent the fact that people say that we’re not reflecting the true picture here. That’s totally unfair and it’s really unfounded.

KURTZ: So what you’re saying is that what we see on the "CBS Evening News" or other networks actually is only a snapshot, is only perhaps scratching the surface of the kinds of violence and difficulties that you are witnessing day after day because you can only get so much of this on the air?

LOGAN: Oh, yes. Absolutely. And, I mean, our own — you know, our own editors back in New York are asking us the same things.

They read the same comments. You know, are there positive stories? Can’t you find them?

You don’t think that I haven’t been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let’s see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can’t take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they’re going to be attacked about, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack.

Oh, sorry, we can’t show this reconstruction project because then that’s going to expose it to sabotage. And the last time we had journalists down here, the plant was attacked.


I mean, security dominates every single thing that happens in this country. Reconstruction funds have been diverted to cover away from reconstruction to — they’ve been diverted to security.

Soldiers, their lives are occupied most of the time with security issues. Iraqi civilians’ lives are taken up most of the time with security issues.

So how it is that security issues should not then dominate the media coverage coming out of here?
Unless you believe she is lying. But you probably don’t. After all, why would she? And if she is, wouldn’t the military easily rebut that?

I keep asking you what this “context” is that the MSM is ignoring and you refuse to answer.

Regarding this good news – big picture context that I believe that you are referring to, would you really want them to?
Tim Cavanaugh over at Reason puts it best,
…That a new primary school is being built in the Qadisiyah governorate?
That’s what you’ve bought with more than $220 billion and 2,000 American lives: a set of process-oriented half-measures so humble they wouldn’t have made it into a Brezhnev-era progress report to the Supreme Soviet. War supporters counter that while these achievements may look pathetic to Americans, they’re vital to Iraqis. That may or may not be true, but the point is whether this stuff is worth it to Americans. Can any American worthy of the name suggest that public-works boondoggles in a foreign country are worth a red cent or a drop of American blood?
The story isn’t that the media ignore the good news out of hatred for President Bush. It’s that, just as in the prewar period, the media are doing the president a huge favor. If the good news were regularly circulated, if the American people were daily presented with the idea that this is what success looks like and that teacher training programs are the payoff for a grim toll of blood and treasure, they’d be abandoning the war effort even faster than they are now.
If that fact that the vast majority of these Marines aren’t cold-blooded murderers constitute the “good news” from Iraq…
Then we’re in deep trouble.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
sorry Pogue, that’s a crock.

$220 billion and 2,000 American lives bought a chance for the Iraqi citizens to live free of one of the world’s most brutal dictatorships. The ’process-oriented half-measures’ just happen to be a necessary by-product.
 
Written By: Dustin
URL: http://
You don’t think that I haven’t been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let’s see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can’t take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they’re going to be attacked about, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack.

Oh, sorry, we can’t show this reconstruction project because then that’s going to expose it to sabotage. And the last time we had journalists down here, the plant was attacked.
And in the past this has stopped how many good journalists from getting the story Pogue?

Geez, that’s pathetic. It’s one of the reasons no one has to worry about this war’s "war correspondents" becoming household names.

But there is always time to write a story like this:
U.S. forces killed two Iraqi women — one of them about to give birth — when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in a city north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials and relatives said Wednesday.

Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, was being raced to the maternity hospital in Samarra by her brother when the shooting occurred Tuesday.

Jassim, the mother of two children, and her 57-year-old cousin, Saliha Mohammed Hassan, were killed by the U.S. forces, according to police Capt. Laith Mohammed and witnesses.

The U.S. military said coalition troops fired at a car after it entered a clearly marked prohibited area near an observation post but failed to stop despite repeated visual and auditory warnings.

"Shots were fired to disable the vehicle," the military said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press. "Coalition forces later received reports from Iraqi police that two women had died from gunshot wounds ... and one of the females may have been pregnant."

Jassim’s brother, who was wounded by broken glass, said he did not see any warnings as he sped his sister to the hospital. Her husband was waiting for her there.

"I was driving my car at full speed because I did not see any sign or warning from the Americans. It was not until they shot the two bullets that killed my sister and cousin that I stopped," he said. "God take revenge on the Americans and those who brought them here. They have no regard for our lives."
Notice he had the time to go to the hospital and get the drivers story, and he obviously disputes there being clear markings.

But does the reporter go to where the incident himself and find out whether, in fact, the area is clearly marked?

Uh, no.

But he or she has plenty of time to write up the anti-American remarks of a grief stricken brother and then wander on into a comparison with Haditha and, joy of joys, even include a gratuitous reference to Abu Ghraib.

But actually investigate to see which side was telling the truth?

Ha!
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
You don’t think that I haven’t been to the U.S. military and the State Department and the embassy and asked them over and over again, let’s see the good stories, show us some of the good things that are going on? Oh, sorry, we can’t take to you that school project, because if you put that on TV, they’re going to be attacked about, the teachers are going to be killed, the children might be victims of attack.

Oh, sorry, we can’t show this reconstruction project because then that’s going to expose it to sabotage. And the last time we had journalists down here, the plant was attacked.
And in the past this has stopped how many good journalists from getting the story Pogue?
So. You wish the reporters to ignore the requests of the US military, US State Dept., and the US Embassy?

Hmm?

Geez, that’s pathetic. It’s one of the reasons no one has to worry about this war’s "war correspondents" becoming household names.
You mean like Kimberly Dozier?
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
So. You wish the reporters to ignore the requests of the US military, US State Dept., and the US Embassy?

Hmm?
Well those three don’t seem to get in their way over here.
You mean like Kimberly Dozier?
Actually, yes.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
"You mean like Kimberly Dozier?"

You mean the journalist who became a household name by being injured and becoming a story covered by other journalists?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Anyone who trusts the pentagon investigations should read the following article, fifty years later and they still are covering up!
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060529/ap_on_re_as/no_gun_ri_letter_lh1_3
 
Written By: vs
URL: http://
I live in the Iraq and I KNOW that Haditha is not the first war crime scene and it wont be the last.
we used to love the American culture but now we HATE IT !!!!
 
Written By: Waleed
URL: http://
The Americans killed thousands of Iraqis ... Saddam’s trial has no meaning
 
Written By: Waleed
URL: http://
Gotta tell ya, I’ve heard of Michael Yon and Mr. Totten—I’ve never heard of Kimberly Dozier.

Curiously, their coverage seems unbiased.

If I didn’t personally know four Iraqis who are glad they ive in the US, I might take you seriously.

Yours, TDP, ml, mdl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
—I’ve never heard of Kimberly Dozier.
You’ve obviously been spending too much time in Aruba.
 
Written By: PogueMahone
URL: http://
You’ve obviously been spending too much time in Aruba.
So are you contending that she is a "household name" as a war correspondent, or the victim of an IED?

I’d contend it is the latter. I’d ask, other than the two mentioned above (Yon and Totten) who you would consider to be "household names" as war correspondents in Iraq?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I have to agree with McQ on this one.

I certainly don’t remember Dozier...

I would add Bill Roggio to the list to, as I’ve been following him for quite a while now.

But, of course, who’s households are we talking about? Those connected only through the MSM, or those connected through the internet and all it has to offer?
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://

 
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