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Haditha Massacre of Iraqi Civilians
Massacre at Haditha
A front page article in the December 15, 2011, NY Times about the massacre of 24 civilians on November 19, 2005, in Haditha by U.S. Marines did not make me proud to be an American. Despite the horrific killings of civilians, including children between ages 3 and 16, some in their homes, and a 76-year-old man in a wheel chair, no one has been convicted of misconduct. Charges against six marines were dropped; one was acquitted and staff sergeant Frank Wutterich is scheduled for trial next year.
The NY Times article was prompted by the discovery by a Times reporter of 400 pages of secret documents from the Marines' internal investigation of the Haditha massacre investigation in a junkyard outside Baghdad where an attendant was burning them to cook a meal. The transcripts of the testimony revealed that civilian casualties were common and regarded as unremarkable and "routine" by Marine commanders. Major General Steve Johnson commander of the Marines in Anbar testified that frequent civilian casualties were "a cost of doing business." According to the Times article, "Troops, traumatized by the rising violence and feeling constantly under siege, grew increasingly twitchy, killing more and more civilians in accidental encounters. Others became so desensitized and inured to the killing that they fired on Iraqi civilians deliberately while their fellow soldiers took pictures and were court-martialed."
"We had one where Marines had photographed themselves taking shots at people," Col R. Kelly testified saying that they immediately called the Naval Criminal Investigative Services and "confiscated their little camera."
Marine Colonel Barry Johnson, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq, said that many of the documents from the Haditha investigation remained classified and should have been destroyed. "Despite the way in which they were improperly discarded and came into your (NY Times) possession, we are not at liberty to discuss classified information," he said, adding "We take any breach of classified information as an extremely serious matter." What abouit the killing of 22 civilians?
The high incidence of civilians killed by members of the U.S. military no doubt contributed to the Iraq' government's refusal to grant immunity to prosecution for U.S. troops in Iraq and the celibratory mood of Iraqi citizens over the U.S. troop pullout.
The Haditha massacre and the Marine Corps' apparent failure to deal with its perpetrators brings to mind our failure to punish Lt. Calley and 25 other U.S. soldiers for their role in the massacre of more than 300 civilian My Lai villagers in Vietnam. Calley was convicted and initially sentenced to life for personally killing 22 villagers, but was released after serving three plus years under house arrest. Charges against the other twenty-five soldiers were dropped.
3-11-12NYTimes--U.S. Army Sergeant Methodically Slaughtered 16 Afghanistan Civilians Including 6 Children
- U.S. Sergeant Kills 16 Afghan Civilians, 9 of Them Children - NYTimes.com
A United States service member methodically killed at least 16 civilians, 9 of them children, in southern Afghanistan early Sunday, igniting fears of a new wave of anti-American hostility, officials said.
3-11-12NYTimes--A Massacre of Afghan Civillians by Apparently Berserk U.S. Soldier
- American Is Held After Shooting of Civilians in Afghanistan - NYTimes.com
A U.S. service member walked out of a military base on Sunday and opened fire on three nearby houses, killing 16 civilians, including several children, local villagers and provincial officials said.
2-12-12AlterNet--"Why Was No One Punished for America's 'MyLai' in Iraq?"
- Why Was No One Punished for America\'s "My Lai" in Iraq? | | AlterNet
The U.S. military presence in Iraq was marked by the callous American attitude toward civilians, and the thorough lack of accountability in the military justice system.
1-25-11HuffingtonPost--Wuterich Let off With a Slap on the Wrist
- Haditha Killings: Frank Wuterich, Convicted Of Killing Iraqi Citizens, Escapes Jail Time
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — The lone Marine convicted in his squad's killing of two dozen unarmed civilians in one of the Iraq War's defining moments escaped jail time Tuesday after defending his order to raid homes in Haditha as a necessary a
1-25-11NYTimes--Iraqis Outraged Over Failure to Try and Convict Haditha Perps
- Anger in Iraq After Plea Bargain Over 2005 Haditha Killings - NYTimes.com
Iraqis were outraged to learn that the Marine considered the ringleader of the 2005 killings in Haditha was sentenced on Tuesday to a reduction in rank but avoided any jail time.
1-24-11WashingtonPost--Marine Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich Accused in Haditha Slaughter of Women and Children Let Off in Deal for up to 3 months in the Brig
- Marine facing up to 3 months in brig for Iraqi deaths at Haditha - The Washington Post
Military prosecutors worked for more than six years to bring Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich to trial on manslaughter charges that could have sent him away to prison for life. Yesterday he was let off in a deal for up to 3 months in the brig.
12-15-11NewYorkTimes "Junkyard Gives Up Secret Accounts of Massacre of Civilians in Iraq" by Michael S. Schmidt
- Marines’ Haditha Interviews Found in Iraqi Junkyard - NYTimes.com
Hundreds of pages of interviews with Marines, once closely guarded as secrets of war, were meant to be destroyed as the last American troops prepare to leave Iraq.
12-14-11National Journal--NYTimes Reporter Stumbles on Haditha Massacre Documents in Baghdad Junkyard
- Reporter Found Classified Haditha Massacre Documents in Baghdad Junkyard - Erik Hayden, The Atlantic
In a chance incident, New York Times reporter Michael Schmidt stumbled upon hundreds pages of classified documents of U.S. Marines being interrogated about the Haditha massacre--documents that were supposed to have been destroyed but ended up strewn
- Haditha killings - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Haditha killings refers to the incident where 24 Iraqi men, women and children were killed by a group of United States Marines on November 19, 2005 in Haditha, a city in the western Iraqi a city in the western Iraqi province of Al Anbar.
North County Times--Captain Randy W. Stone
- Capt. Randy W. Stone
Less than three months before the Haditha killings, President George Bush recognized one of the men charged in the Haditha
War Chronicle--"Defend Our Marines"
- Defend Our Marines
Defend Our Marines | Haditha
My Lai Massacre--Wikipedia
- My Lai Massacre - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
While 26 US soldiers were charged for their actions at Mỹ Lai, only 2nd Lt. Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, was convicted. Found guilty of killing 22 villagers, he was given a life sentence but served only 3.5 years under house arrest.
War Made Easy and Collateral Murder in Iraq
- War Made Easy by Norman Solomon and Collateral Murder in Iraq Courtesy of Wikileaks
April 5, 2010 WikiLeaks released cockpit video footage from a U.S. helicopter gunship in Baghdad. The footage, which documented the killing of 12 people, was released in two versions: the full, original video and an edited video. Critics of WikiLeaks
Lapham's Quarterly "The Pinkville Incident at My Lai"
- The “Pinkville” Incident - Lapham’s Quarterly
It was a notorious area, and the men of Task Force Barker had a special name for it: They called it “Pinkville.” Task Force Barker moved out from its firebase headed for “Pinkville.” Its mission: destroy the trouble spot and all of its inhabitants.