Sunday, May 28, 2006

We Are Not Winning Hearts and Minds

Haditha I & II = Mai Lai II?

Last July, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Samir al-Sumaidaie, accused the Marines of killing his 21-year-old cousin in cold blood during a search of his family's home in Haditha, a city of about 90,000 people along the Euphrates River 140 miles northwest of Baghdad.

The military ordered a criminal investigation but the results have not been announced.

The current Haditha case involves both the alleged killing of civilians and a purported cover-up of the events that unfolded Nov. 19.

That day, Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, 20, of El Paso, Texas, was killed by a roadside bomb in Haditha, a Sunni Arab city considered among the most hostile areas of Iraq.

After the blast, insurgents attacked a joint U.S.-Iraqi patrol with small-arms fire, triggering a gun battle that left eight insurgents and 15 Iraqi civilians dead, the Marines said in a statement issued the following day.

That version stood for four months until a videotape shot by an Iraqi journalism student surfaced, obtained by Time magazine and then by Arab television stations. The tape showed the bodies of women and children, some in their nightclothes.

Although the tape did not prove Marines were responsible, the military began an investigation. Residents came forward with claims that Marines entered two homes and killed 15 people, including a 3-year-old girl and a 76-year-old man - more than four hours after the roadside bombing.

Sheik Sattar al-Aasaf, a tribal leader in Anbar province, which includes Haditha:
America in the view of many Iraqis has no credibility. We do not believe what they say is correct. U.S. troops are a very well-trained and when they shoot, it isn't random but due to an order to kill Iraqis. People say they are the killers.AP
Marines are not killers. Trained as combat troops, they are being misused as constabularies by our misleaders who are the killers. Those same leaders will claim that atrocities are the fault of a small number of rotten apples, presumably at the bottom of our manpower barrel.

As in a good many things in which Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld have attempted to delude us, this is a lie. The rot may be limited to a small number of men, but it is located at the very top of our government.

9 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Malfrat said...

There are two explanations for violating posted rules of engagement.

One says, the pattern of random and unexpected sudden death by I.E.D.'s creates situations of overwhelming stress and trauma.

The other says, the Geneva Convention does not exist in Iraq because we are dealing with terrorists, not an army.

I think the latter of these two alibis is susceptible to greater abuse. In fact, you can expand it and apply it to all cases of insurgency everywhere.

Was it not used by the French in Algeria, for example? Or the Russians in Chechnia? Or the Russians in Afghanistan, for that matter?

5/28/2006 06:51:00 AM  
Anonymous James said...

When you taked armed men and put them in harms way, with no real strategy, and no clear cut enemy these are the kinds of things that will happen. It is an impossible situation with no good to come of it.

Also I cant help but mention that the only "evidence: so far is a tape that shows dead people (which the marines admitted) and the testimony of some Iraqi people who very well could be resistance fighters.

Sadly it is a quagmire that the sooner we get out of the better.

5/28/2006 04:13:00 PM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

With the soldiers and marines in a no win situation be prepared for more news like this to leak out. No matter what those over here say about hurting morale when we debate the war nothing hurts a soldiers morale more than putting your life in danger over lies.

5/28/2006 07:57:00 PM  
Blogger Malfrat said...

Agreeing with comments posted above, I would like to suggest further that nothing hurts morale of troops in theatre more than people not thinking of them constantly. And I think this points to going further than just putting a ribbon on your car of whatever color, and going about business as usual. I think troops want their presence in Iraq discussed, if not debated.

5/29/2006 07:40:00 AM  
Blogger Beach Bum said...

Malfrat I agree, one of the many reasons I fell out of the neocon/Bush camp was the fact that far too many people who support these wars have no member of their family serving in the armed forces. If these wars are the "noble causes" so many say they are why are recuriters having such a hard time finding people to join? I have noticed it's really easy for a upper class soccer mom or dad to slap a ribbon on the family SUV and say they support the troops but they laugh when someone says something about there child joining and fighting. That of course is for someone else's child to do.

5/29/2006 11:37:00 AM  
Anonymous James said...

It is almost always a poor mans sons and daughters that will die to preserve the freedom of the rich not their own.

5/29/2006 01:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Pekka said...

Excellent post and comments all the way through.

I have no idea how you guys rate your ex president D.Eisenhower but, boy, does he turn out to be prophetic with his warning about military-industrial-complex. Thus, it seems to have started to go wrong for you already in the early 60's.

I have said this before some where, but I say it again; when you load your toolbox with hammers, you tend to do awfully lot of hammering. To have all your excessive armaments around, is to start relying on them, instead of diplomatic solutions, as a panacea to straighten out your international and politica knots.

War has this bad effect of brutalizing those who fight it. It's almost inevitable that the standards start slipping and consequently incidents like Haditha happen. These sort of incidents, regretably, have happened in almost every war and it's only by chance and "luck" we hear about them. It is reasonable to assume that this is by no means the only one of it's kind and here is the crux of the matter why I hate wars. They are so easy to sell to public and they are always so unpredictable as to where they will lead.

My final point is that you have engaged in too many wars within the relatively short time and their effects to your society are felt by Americans becoming one of the most war-like nation. Vietnam fiasco didn't teach you the valuable lesson that was there to be had, and here is hoping, that this one, when ever the hell it will end, will do the trick. No more "tough guys" in the White House, please!

5/29/2006 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Indicted-Plagiarist said...

A Pulitzer Prize nomination to this guy, Prekka for this:

War has this bad effect of brutalizing those who fight it. It's almost inevitable that the standards start slipping and consequently incidents like Haditha happen. These sort of incidents, regretably, have happened in almost every war and it's only by chance and "luck" we hear about them. It is reasonable to assume that this is by no means the only one of it's kind and here is the crux of the matter why I hate wars. They are so easy to sell to public and they are always so unpredictable as to where they will lead.

Yes, he's right. I think they say in West Texas that Bush is a "drug store cowboy". I know they say of him that he's "All Hat and No Cattle". I wonder if Prekka wouldn't agree with me if we call these chicken hawks, "Drug Store" war mongering militarists. All spit and polish, no blood and guts.

Bush's a class a-1 fake,without a clue as to what bad things happen when the dogs of war are loosed.

5/30/2006 08:52:00 PM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Massacre at Haditha: Return of the Bad Apple Defense

5/31/2006 08:23:00 AM  

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