haditha massacre

fresh allegations of soldier misconduct, which in this specific case means murder, have emerged in the wake of the november haditha massacre where two dozen unarmed civilians were brutally killed. the british media has uncovered new video footage showing the aftermath of the alleged killings of 11 iraqis, many women and children in an u.s. attack back in march in ishaqi.

the military confirmed the raid on march 15 2006 as one in search of high profile al-qaeda members. they said a firefight ensuded and only four people died. ishaqi residents say otherwise, and any explanation by the american military is now seen as suspicious especially after what looks like am attempt at a cover up with the haditha massacre.

in that incident, initial reports said 15 civilians and one marine died due to a roadside bomb. then eight insurgents were killed when marines returned fire. however, new evidence appeared thanks to an iraqi journalism student that showed a different story, prompting an investigation and allegations of a cover-up. the u.s. military has now admitted to the massacre, months after time magazine first reported it.

rumsfeld, in his traditional cut throat way, has said simply that 99.9 percent of u.s. soldiers behave themselves, but that in conflicts "things that shouldn't happen, do happen."

now rumsfelt is a prick. let's be clear about that, but what he says does have truth to it. i don't know if 99.9 percent of the u.s. soldiers are exeplary as he says, but i am sure the majority of u.s. soldiers handle themselves as well as humanly possible in such a high pressure, tense situation. to paint all u.s. soldiers with the same tarnished brush isn't fair.

now i have never been to war, nor do i intend to. i am a conscientious objector, which is true, and i am a coward, which is also true. however, i do believe that at some point a decision is made in the human mind to kill someone. yes, the military trains you to turn that off your conscience, but you still have to turn it off. simply saying you were following orders is no longer a valid excuse thanks to the nuremburg trials.

i can understand that people make mistakes, and i can understand that in such stressful, dangerous situations, it's better to be safe than sorry, which sometimes means you need to shoot first and ask questions later, but the haditha massacre is a completely different story.

time magazine reports that the evidence "indicates that the civilians were killed during a sustained sweep by a small group of marines that lasted three to five hours and included shootings of five men standing near a taxi at a checkpoint, and killings inside at least two homes that included women and children." this means it was methodical, this means there was plan, this means it is murder.

what remains to be seen is how the u.s. government reacts and deals with this... misconduct, but i am not very optimistic. it is probably next to impossible now for the u.s. government to win the hearts and minds of the iraqi people. it's sort of like being offered candy by a big guy with a stick. i don't believe the u.s. should withdraw just yet, because they still have responsibilities, but at the same time, i don't think the administration is doing anything substantial to deal with these... misconducts.

(source 1)

(source 2)