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May 26, 2006

Comments

keatssycamore

That's some Jean Rohe courage there, you know "shouldering some responsibility" and all "when you are in the heart of the **blogosphere** surrounded by thousands of like minded **conservatives**".

Bob Kerrey would be proud and not just of your noble dissent from American death squads, of course, but also (and simultaneously) of the Marines involvede and civilian massacre in general.

Patrick R. Sullivan

Well, taxis, civilians, and even women and children are used in suicide attacks against both American military and Iraqi civilians. So, Tom is right, this is a regretable but almost certain side-effect of the cure for eliminating Uday's rape rooms and Qusay's human paper shredding.

Appalled Moderate

keats:

And where does your personal moral authority come from? Does the safety from which you author your blast come, in part, from those who visted atrocities on others?

We're frequently are in the priveleged places we are because somebody many years ago did a very bad thing to someone else, or many someone elses. To function in life, or to have an opinion, even, we have to in some way accept it, get past it and not waste energy brating others about it.

Personally, I believe this sort of thing is one of the reasons a President who engages in a War of Choice needs to consider his actions very very carefully. War does things to people who might otherwise have led productive, godly lives, and moral, spirtual as well as physical cost.

I do not think Iraq was a well-considered action. I hope I am wrong, because I am not, this massacre belongs on the President's conscience as well as those who committed the actions.

Richard Aubrey

Well. A deliberate killing of civilians the left notices.

And condemns.

capitano

this sort of incident is a deplorable but predictable consequence of putting people in a violent and confusing situation.

Precisely. It's nasty business.

That's what makes Murtha's earlier comments so abominable -- I voted for the war, but I didn't know it would take so long or that _____ (fill in) number would be killed and wounded.

If you're not willing to make the commitment, vote against the resolution and accept the political fallout.

It's inexcusable that a veteran would take such a position. War deaths are a natural consequence of war. Once committed to war, weak kneed politicians who voted for the war need to be called out when they lose their nerve, or worse, see a chance for partisan advantage through US defeat.

This BS of politicians jumping on the war bandwagon when it's popular and then claiming "nobody explained it would be so hard" is total hogwash.

Rick Ballard

AM,

You might want to work on your causation chain a bit. Unless you would care to defend your apparent proposition that the President's actions occurred ex nihilo and are the primary cause for every sparrow that falls.

Frankly, gutless moderates sitting on the sidelines with their invisible scales of justice pre-loaded are (IMO) as least as large a 'cause' in the creation of a belief among Muslim fanatics that the West can be intimidated without fear of reprisal as any other.

Appalled Moderate

capitano:

Sounds great. But all those votes were taken in the belief Iraq had substantial WMD capacities and the belief the war was adequately staffed.

The ones who bear the most responsibility are those who chose to staff the war at light levels. A lightly staffed war puts a lot more pressure on the soldiers, who them may be more inclined to break down, and also provides them inadequate supervision. See, also, Abu Gharib.

capitano

AP-

Oh please!

I was actually paying attention during the runup; I don't need any revisionist assistance.

But thanks anyway.

Appalled Moderate

Capitano:

As has been repeated constantly, everyone believed saddam had WMDs. You saying that didn't tip some Democrat votes?

I also prefer to think politicians (including Murtha) did not vote for the war knowing that staffing levels were not adequate.

What you need to consider is that there are reasons that the formerly pro-war could chnage their minds that have something to do with conviction.

Good Lt

"A lightly staffed war puts a lot more pressure on the soldiers, who them may be more inclined to break down, and also provides them inadequate supervision. See, also, Abu Gharib."

I call BS. This incident is unfortunate and against UCMJ no doubt.

Otherwise, how many other incidents, and significant numbers of military personnel can you cite as "war criminals" other than this isolated case and the frat-boyish antics at Abu Gharib (for which ten soldiers have already been charged and sentenced)?

"But all those votes were taken in the belief Iraq had substantial WMD capacities and the belief the war was adequately staffed."

Those votes were not strictly and exclusively based on WMDs, Appalled Mod. Read this post at All Things Beautiful to read about the connections between Bin Laden, Saddam and their collusions and overtures reported in 1999. After you read this and hear the ABC newsclip, come back and tell us how WMDs were the only reason for going into Iraq after 9-11. Those who want to keep believeing that it was the "main reason" are flat wrong at worst and were severely misinformed (perhaps from selective listening to the evidence presented for over 13 months at the UN) at best.

I'm not excusing this military blunder, but keep it in context before making generalizations about the military, the war, etc. Nothin' personal.

http://www.allthingsbeautiful.com/all_things_beautiful/2006/05/manipulated_int.html

Good Lt

  • This post
  • Sorry bout the bad link...

    boris

    I do not think Iraq was a well-considered action

    The same could be said about the retaking of flight 93. The "nobility" of sitting there in seat 23C cursing the rash actions of others escapes me and always will.

    There is the possibility that this action is related to gang members serving in the military.

    JamesH

    I support the war and don't feel any personal responsibility for the massacre. When going to war it's inevitable that innocent people will get killed. Not every bomb hits its target and even those that do might kill innocent bystanders etc. It's part of the moral calculus required to justify a war and part of the reason nations don't go lightly down this path. In the case of Iraq it seems inarguable that violent premature deaths among innocent Iraqis have fallen from the Saddam era averages. In other words this incident doesn't reflect much on the war as a whole. We have a UCMJ so that we can properly judge incidents like this after the fact. The courts martial were able to handle the Abu Ghraib situation, let them look into this.

    Sue

    AM,

    Conviction or poll numbers? Poll numbers is my vote.

    Sue

    Bad things happend during war. If they didn't we wouldn't need military tribunals, court martials and the discipline that is the norm rather than this. It really pisses me off when our entire military is judged by the actions of a few. Yet we are told not to judge Islam because of the actions of a few. If these marines did what they are accused of, the military will punish them.

    Sue

    I also wonder why newspapers report with breathlessness each and every bad act that is committed by our military but totally ignore people like http://www.michaelyon-online.com/wp/gates-of-fire.htm/>LTC Erik Kurilla? Oh wait, no I don't wonder. I know why they do it. Blood leads as long as it is not American blood.

    Geek, Esq.

    Remember when a bunch of chickenhawk bloggers were calling John Murtha a 'traitor' for telling the truth about this incident?

    How many of the cowards do you think will offer an apology?

    Sue

    Telling the truth? Have they been convicted?

    verner

    War is Hell. Investigate, put them on trial, and if guilty, lock them up for the rest of their lives.

    That said, the marines involved are guilty, not every supporter of the war. There is no excuse for their behavior. They knew damned well that killing unarmed civilians was against the law.

    If you consider the scale of this operation, and the hundreds of thousands of men and women in uniform involved, the number of "war crimes" committed is remarkably low. I would even go so far as to say unprecidented in military history. That to me is the real story.

    PeterUK

    AM,
    "A lightly staffed war puts a lot more pressure on the soldiers,"

    You make it sound like a Walmart sale,your choice of words indicates a certain ignorance of the subject.

    GeekEsq,Remember the rulse,you can't call Chickenhawk unless you have served.

    Geek, Esq.

    PeterUK: When rightwingers stop calling war heroes 'traitors' and 'cowards' then I'll think about obeying your rule.

    Geek, Esq.

    Telling the truth? Have they been convicted?

    Murtha was, quite accurately, describing what the contents of the report would be. So yes, he absolutely was telling the truth.

    cathyf

    As far as troop levels, the higher the troop levels the more scum you get among the troops, just by the law of averages. And if the demand for troops gets strong enough that the military starts letting in more losers than they otherwise would have, then the increase in the scum level will be significantly greater than what you expect just from the increase in raw numbers. Like boris, I'm also wondering about whether this has anything to do with gang members in the military.

    And also some significant responsibility for civilian casualties lies squarely with the terrorists who use war crimes as their primary tactics. Whose responsibility is it that taxis and un-uniformed men standing around are sometimes armnaments and combatants? The GC rules about hiding among civilians are all about protecting civilians; the war criminals who violate those rules are the ones primarily responsible for the civilian casualties that result when the war criminal terrorists bring the field of battle into the midst of civilians.

    cathy :-)

    verner

    Murtha was grandstanding, and using an alledged horrible crime, that was committed by a handful of marines to condemn the whole war--and whether he likes it or not, all the men and women who are serving in it.


    That is disgusting to me. He should not have done it. For one, it makes life even harder for the men and women serving in iraq--troops he says he supports --when Al Jazerra broadcasts Murtha's over the top rhetoric.

    And I'd like to remind everyone, the US is not at war "Against" Iraq. We are in Iraq in support of a constitutionally,democratic elected government, against Al Qada and what's left over of Saddam's murderous associates. The Iraqi government wants us there--and both parties agree, that as the Iraqi military gets up to speed, American troops will start coming home.

    Until then, let's support our troops, and those who desire freedom in liberty in Iraq.

    SmokeVanThorn

    "Murtha, a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said at a news conference Wednesday that sources within the military have told him that an internal investigation will show that 'there was no firefight, there was no IED (improvised explosive device) that killed these innocent people. Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.'"

    That's describing, "quite accurately," what the report says, according to Geek.

    Wilson's a liar

    Guess nobody noticed that this story appears to be yet another leak to the NYT from somebody on Capitol Hill. I'm sure the leakers had no ax to grind with the military or the President and gave the Times only factual and accurate information. /sarcasm

    Me, I'd rather wait for a real news source with integrity to report on this before reacting.

    PeterUK

    Geek,
    "When rightwingers stop calling war heroes 'traitors' and 'cowards' then I'll think about obeying your rule."

    No Geek that is what the left do,don't forget Murtha wasn't a hero to your crew when he was one,it is only now when he is against the war.
    Hypocrite!

    Sue

    It was Murtha scoring points at the expense of the very branch of service he served in. If he feels good about it, then fine, I'm sure he's a big enough man he can take a little criticism. But last I looked, I had every right to voice my opinion of his gloating attitude to score political points.

    Appalled Moderate

    boris:

    Boy, is that analogy ever a false one.

    peter:

    And you have expereince that you can use to muster an argument that what I say is bunk? Then let's hear it.

    cathyf:

    Atrocities happen in war. They just do. Nothing changes that. It's one of the reasons a war decision is one not taken lightly, or for political reasons, or with reckless disregard for the costs. As for your point about there being more "scum" in a larger army, perhaps. But also more Sergents watching people and guiding them, and more inspectors and the like seeing that the rules are followed.

    Sue

    And last I heard, you are innocent until proven guilty and Murtha standing up saying they committed cold blood murder is irresponsible.

    PeterUK

    Easy Appalled Leftist,
    The use of the word "staffing" is so ignorant as to be risible,and the fact that you used the hoary old Murtha troop levels meme as a root cause,indicates you are think by sound bites rather than rational analysis.

    As it stands,would it not be better to get the investigations over first,or is your leftist bias so strong that you have pre-judged the case.
    Furthermore it is a disgrace that Murtha should be using this in the media to promote his his talking points,what happened to a fair trial?
    There is no disgrace that you are ignorant of these matters,but it is utterly reprehensible you should make a pretense of knowledge simply to make a point.
    Not very Christian is it?

    ed

    Hmmmm.

    Frankly there's no information available that would allow me to form an opinion on this. It's entirely possible that gunmen used these civilians as decoys and/or human shields. Terrorists in Iraq have used civilians before in such ways. Even in the West Bank and Gaza the Palestinian terrorists have often used civilians, most notably children, to transport weapons, supplies and ammunition to fighters.

    Additionally there have been incidents in the past where drivers have deliberately driven cars through checkpoints and been shot for it because they were forced to by terrorists.

    And it's also possible that this is a setup by media savvy terrorists. It's entirely possible that these civilians were either armed or interspersed with armed terrorists. The Marines may very well have returned fire after having been fired upon. What little facts are known about this incident is that the Marines left the area after the firefight and an Iraqi police force followed up several hours later. It's entirely possible that some bodies were removed and any weapons there, along with the spent brass, were also cleaned up and removed.

    Is this speculation? Sure it is. But until the facts are known, anything is possible.

    So I'll withhold judgement until at least a substantial amount of facts about all this is available.

    Appalled Moderate

    peter:

    You a military guy? A military expert? Guess not.

    Notice I have not defended Murtha, whose "cold blood" language is too unmoderate for me. But I believe the people who were killed were those said to be killed.

    PeterUK

    "But also more Sergents watching people and guiding them, and more inspectors and the like seeing that the rules are followed."

    Yes you could have platoons made up of sergeants and a couple of brigades of inspectors with clipboards,Don't forget the Anger Management consultants and that Stress Councilors.

    Geek, Esq.

    Apparently, the report indicates that the killings were 'methodical.' Sounds like cold blood to me.

    Soylent Red

    Sue nails it folks...

    No one is guilty of anything. Yet.

    If or when guilt is determined, the liberal peanut gallery and troop level apologists can pipe in. And we need to quickly and publically burn the offenders to the ground. But we haven't gotten there yet, so let's just take a deep breath, and quit with the "I told you so" rhetorical onanism.

    Now, I will say this much: We're learning a practical lesson in the potential consequences of a lighter, leaner force and rotational deployment, in particular on shooters.

    But that is the nature of things these days. We don't have a template for rebuilding a nation from scratch, and left to the judgement of a handful of overworked 19-year-olds, perhaps mistakes will be made.

    The fact that relatively few have factually been made says a lot about the current state of training and leadership. Condemning the whole lot for the alleged sins of the few is pretty short sighted, and generally not helpful to the overall learning curve we are trying to overcome.

    I could, by that rationale, suggest that the graft and corruption of a few Senators and Congressmen is evidence that all are crooked, and that Congress should be disbanded.

    OK...that last was a bad example.

    PeterUK

    "You a military guy? A military expert?"

    You aren't either are you Appalling Leftist?

    But nor am I a garrulous, opinionated buffoon as you seem to be.

    You simply do not know whether the incident was because of troop levels or what the cause was,so why not stop parroting leftist talking points until the enqiry is in?

    boris

    Boy, is that analogy ever a false one.

    Time will tell. History will decide if flight 93 was a microcosm of the war on terror. In the meantime those who support taking action are not interested in sanctimony from the sideliners.

    boris

    Sounds like cold blood to me.

    Murtha: "there was no firefight, there was no IED"

    That would be cold blood. If there was a firefight or IED, not cold blood.

    PeterUK

    Apparently Geek?
    Care to give a link to the actual report,not the story in that rag the NYT?

    Davebo

    Great post Tom, really. And I don't think you should have to shoulder any of the blame just because you supported the war.

    The blame belongs to those who committed the atrocities. I'd say you deserve credit for treating this issue with the importance you have.

    But Boris, with this..

    "There is the possibility that this action is related to gang members serving in the military."

    You have officially flown the coop.

    Perhaps we should consider the possiblity that this action is related to having too much soy bean product in the school lunch program?

    It's just as likely.

    maryrose

    Too early to take a position as all facts in the case are not in. Patience and not biased opinion is the order of the day. Plenty of time to pontificate later.

    SmokeVanThorn

    I should have known you wouldn't be able to understand, Geek. Murtha claimed "no IED." What does the report say? "Quite accurately," huh?

    Wickedpinto

    I hope this isn't cold blooded murder, that said.

    a "squad leader" and "as many as 12 other marines" yeah, good work on your research. A squad leader, and 12 more Marines is called A Squad.

    JM Hanes

    Appalled:

    "And you have expereince that you can use to muster an argument that what I say is bunk? Then let's hear it."

    I'm not sure it even really takes military experience, but if you'll clarify precisely what you mean by "lightly staffed" I'll take a shot at it.

    Appalled Moderate

    JM --

    Lightly staffed = "boots on the ground argument". Pardon my thesaurus addiction.

    JM Hanes

    AM

    Which putatively optimum number are you using boot-wise?

    Appalled Moderate

    Shinseki famously said "several hundred thousand" (a somewhat vague number). I would go for 365,000. This is about equal to the 425,000 we had in the region for Gulf War I, reduced by the 60,000 navy.

    I realize that the choice in 2003 was send what we had or not fight until we had the right number to fight a war. If we assume what we believed about Iraq was true, we had a situation similar or slightly worse to what we have with Iran. So that was part of the policy maker calculus.

    boris

    "There is the possibility that this action is related to gang members serving in the military."

    So this speculation is way out of bounds but blaming it on troop levels or administration policy is just fine.

    Sorta like how exaggerating the risks of global warming and dismissing the skeptics is good and proper but explaining the true consensus on Saddam's danger and leaving the skeptics to make their own case was wrong and dishonest.

    Do re mi fa Q

    Barney Frank

    Is there any objective evidence that troop levels influence the volume of war crimes or is this just an intuitive argument? It is just as likely that more crimes would occur with more troops (and therefore more potential criminals), is it not?
    We had a half million men in Viet Nam, a rather smaller country than Iraq, and My Lai still occurred.
    We seemed pretty well staffed in WWII but numerous cases of civilian shootings occurred.
    Even after the war was over we sent hundreds of thousands of Soviet refugees and POWs back to certain death in the gulag.
    There's a reason they say war is hell and its not because its 'understaffed'.

    Karl

    The President's primary responsibility in ths case is to make sure that justice is done here.

    Murtha's claims are incoherent on their face -- killing in "cold blood," but under the pressure of the situation. It's a bizzare claim constructed in order to blame Bush. However, if Murtha was correct, one might wonder why this case and Abu Grahib are the exceptions, rather than the rule.

    The same reply is due the suggestion that this happened because of the "small" US footprint in Iraq. The US had a much larger footprint in Vietnam, and yet there was still Mai Lai. Atrocities by a few are probably an inevitable part of war; to that extent, there is the responsibility of knowing this. For that reason, it's alo not a reasonable basis for judging a war, either. Moreover, cases like Algeria demonstrate that a larger (and more brutal) footprint is not necessarily the key to success.

    As for the responsibility for the invasion itself, the fact that people like AM might not have agreed with the decision to invade Iraq does not mean it was not "well-considered." First, it was publicly debated for months. Second, the Iraq Study Group showed that in many respects, Saddam's WMD-related program activities were worse than we thought. Third, Saddam's record is supporting terror was clear: funding suicide bombers in Israel; the assassination attempt on fmr. Pres. Bush; welcoming Ansar al-Islam, Abu Nidal, Zarqawi, etc.; training terrorists at Salman Pak, as borne out by evidence gathered on the US raid there.

    There is evidence of gang members (or former members) serving in Iraq, but no evidence they were involved in this incident.

    maryrose

    This is going to be the lead story for NBC News with Brian Williams tonight.

    Davebo
    Second, the Iraq Study Group showed that in many respects, Saddam's WMD-related program activities were worse than we thought.

    Talk about twisted logic!

    It turns out that we were wrong, we thought Saddam had huge stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons and was actively pursuing nuclear weapons.

    But he wasn't.

    But he might have started doing so in the future, and that is even more dangerous than him having them already!!!

    Karl

    Yes, of course, whether he had stockpiles is the only measure of threat level. "Davebo" has convinced me he knows more about this than professional weapons inspectors who, prior to serving in the ISG, served with UNSCOM, IAEA, etc.

    Terrye

    I think we need to wait for the facts before passing judgment, but I had heard some time ago that there was an incident last November following an IED attack which killed a young man from ElPaso and wounded several others. It could well be that after the attack the Marines on the scene responded in a way they should not have. It happens. I remember reading years ago about American soldiers shooting unarmed Germans at Dachau. Under extreme circumstances people do strange things.

    But we are hearing about it, it is not being covered up and people will be held to account. The military can be very harsh that way.

    But back when Saddam was in power his soldiers got bonuses for this kind of thing so maybe the anti war crowd who would be more than happy to sit back and watch Saddam wipe out half his population without so much as a kiss my behind could lay off the sanctimonious moralizing.

    Davebo
    Yes, of course, whether he had stockpiles is the only measure of threat level.

    Of course it's not the only measure.

    But feel free to explain how a Saddam with no WMD's was more dangerous than a Saddam with tons of WMD's.


    In what "respects" does that ring true to you?

    Terrye

    As far as weapons are concerned...where are they? Can the people who claim Bush lied tell us what happened to the weapons Bill Clinton swore were there when he passed the Iraqi Liberation Act and bombed Baghdad in 1998?

    cathyf
    "there was no firefight, there was no IED"

    That would be cold blood. If there was a firefight or IED, not cold blood.

    So, you are a marine squad in the pacific in WWII. You are invading an island. Your squad sets up an ambush on a road. 5 uniformed Japanese soldiers drive into your ambush in a marked military vehicle (Japanese equivalent of a jeep.) You kill them all. Nineteen more Japanese soldiers, all in uniform, walk into your ambush. You kill all of them, too.

    Was this "in cold blood"? Was it an "atrocity"? The killing of 24 civilians is clearly an atrocity -- but it was a atrocity perpetrated by the guys who pulled the triggers or the guys who committed the war crime of hiding among civilians?

    cathy :-)

    PeterUK

    This is the basic internal contradiction of leftist thought,on the one hand troop levels are too low on the other hand troops should be withdrawn completely.

    So which number of troops is likely to kill more people,
    "I would go for 365,000."
    or some 140,000 ?

    Karl

    The belief in the existence of stockpiles of WMDs was not the only reason for invading Iraq. It was not even the only WMD-related reason for invading Iraq. A regime that progressed futher than everyone thought in WMD-related activity is more dangerous than one that has not, just as a regime with stockpiles is more dangerous than one without them. They are different types of threat.

    Moreover, folks like "Davebo" also implicitly and improperly shift the historical burden of proof. Saddam was subject to a 1991 ceasefire agreement he repeatedly violated, not least by refusing to transparently disarm. The burden of proof was on Saddam.

    cathyf

    As for "stockpiles" of WMDs -- you can ask the Japanese about how dagerous a country is that doesn't have "stockpiles" of nuclear weapons. (In the summer of 1945 we had 3 nuclear weapons. One we tested at trinity, one we dropped on Hiroshima, and one we dropped on Nagasaki. It turns out you can do a lot of damage without a "stockpile".)

    cathy :-)

    PeterUK

    Davebo,
    Under the terms of the Gulf War ceasefire,note ceasefire,Saddam Hussein was to not only dispose of his WMD,which he had,but to openly manifest that he had.
    Iraq was to show good faith,it did not according to Hans Blix demonstrate this,harassing inspectors,targeting Coalition aircraft in the "No Fly Zones",purchasing equipment such as the aluminium tubes clandestinely.In short Iraq was not only to disarm but to be seen to disarm,the onus was on Iraq to prove that it had disarmed,not for the rest of the world to prove that it had not.

    Bruce Hayden

    AM

    Your troop level suggestions are not realistic. The problem is that we had the "Peace Dividend" during the Clinton Administration, which resulted in the Army effectively disbanding approximately half of the divisions that it had been available during the First Gulf War.

    Yes, theoretically, we might have fielded twice the manpower that we initially did. But it wouldn't have been sustainable. At the present troop levels, it is barely so - units are rotated in for maybe a year, out for about that long, and then back in.

    Then, you have the question about what all those troops would have done there in the first place. Very shortly after our invasion, most of the Baathists had gone underground, merging back into the population. About all I can see that might have benefitted from more troops would have been to pacify the Sunni Triangle NE from Baghdad to the Syrian border a bit earlier - we didn't really get that going until a little under a year ago. But then, Saddam Hussein never pacified that area either, and what we really needed to do it were trained up Iraqi troops, which weren't forthcoming until then (because, for one thing, they are much, much, better at picking out foreign terrorists from a crowd than our troops ever will be).

    So, the reality is that if we had put 250,000 troops into Iraq initially, after a year, we would have had to cut it to probably half of what we have there now. And, then, where would we have been?

    Bruce Hayden

    The other thing that has to be taken into account here is that this is a handful of miscreants out of hundreds of thousands of our troops who have served, with honor, in Iraq and Afganistan. If you do the numbers, by dividing the number of troops who have rotated through those countries by the numbers who have committed anything close to atrocities, you find probably less than 1% of 1% of those who have served there. That is remarkable discipline and professionalism. If we could get even it down to even 10 times this rate in the civilian sector in this country, we would be happy.

    Also note that if these guys are convicted, or it even looks close, the careers of the officers over them, up at least a couple of levels, are effectively over, even if they were miles away when this happened.

    PeterUK

    But there WAS an IED

    maryrose

    CNN has an incredibly graphic picture on their web-site from the incident. Is this their version of shock and awe?

    kate

    This whole incident is terribly discouraging. However, these incidents happen in every war. The problem is that the US if fighting this war with a hostile global media who can't wait until the official report is out at the end of June before calling this My Lai.

    The media is trying to return us to their glory days of losing wars, impeachment, and scandals.

    boris

    From PeterUK's link:

    The insurgents had mounted a wave of attacks, and the town was one of the most dangerous in Iraq for US troops. Three months earlier insurgents had ambushed and killed six Marine snipers, then released a video showing the mutilated body of a dead servicemen. Later 14 Marines were killed by a bomb near the town.

    The plot thickens. Religous leaders in the town allege a pattern of human rights abuse by US forces. There is a sense that insurgents were more welcome there than marines.

    clarice

    My rule of thumb in the ME is doubt first and verify before pointing fingers..These people are master manipulators of the media.

    Ron Wickers

    What happened is inexcusable - but that gives John Kline no right to make his outlandish statements before all facts surface. He is endangering the lives of our military forces!!!!
    He is undermining this war and should apologize to the Marines!!!

    John Kline, a retired marine colonel, was briefed on the findings. "This was not an accident. This was direct fire by marines at civilians. This was not an immediate response to an attack. This would be an atrocity."

    PeterUK

    It is also interesting that an Iraqi trainee journalist was there to make a video of the scene and send it to Time.Where have we seen this before?
    It certainlt isn't beyond a Zarqawi to slaughter people for propaganda.
    This need extremely close inspection.

    PeterUK

    What is also inexcusable is "Murtha Lied,there was an IED,A Marine died"

    kate

    It is standard practice apparently for the Marines to do a sweep after an IED goes off.

    I've read in some reports that there were insurgent in the houses as well as civilians.

    I believe the situation will be bad, but murkier than the leaked reports are.

    The coverup is going to get most of the Marines in trouble. One of the reports indicates that most of the shots came from 2 rifles.

    I suspect that those 2 and the staff sergeant are facing murder or homicide charges. The others dereliction of duty, coverup.

    Ron Wickers

    I wish to retract my earlier statement denigrating retired marine colonel John Kline who has apparently been a strong supporter of the war. I believe I received bad information about what he said or at the very least the context in which it was delivered.

    clarice

    Well, I can see another wave of misquotes, distorted reporting, staged shots by Iraqi photojournalists, etc etc. Hold your powder everyone till we see what's real and what isn't.

    Sue

    Ron,

    I thought you were quoting Murtha. Maybe you just have your marines confused?

    Ron Wickers

    You are probably right. John Murtha not John Kline.

    kate

    Don't know why the Marines decided to brief Congress, and thus essentially make the first report public, the Friday before Memorial Day. Bad timing.

    Now we have 30 days to wait until the official criminal report is released.

    Sue

    Something happened there or they wouldn't have tried to cover it up. But that doesn't give Murtha or anyone else that has the power of the media behind them to convict them before a trial. Us discussing it here is one thing but Murtha did it for political brownie points and for that I condemn him.

    Sue

    It makes me sad that those who have served honorably will be tarnished with this too.

    Ron Wickers

    Not necessarily - Vietnam Vets by and large get respect for their efforts despite a few bad apples. These vets will be honored for their efforts as well.

    DrBB

    Bad shit always happens in war, and even the good guys sometimes do it. Think the US committed no attrocities in WWII? Wrong.

    Here's the thing: this doesn't mean you must never go to war. It DOES mean you should never go to war to satisfy the bullshit vanity of a rich-boy politician or a bunch of ivory tower theorists with a nifty idea about how to fix the Middle East. Because nasty ugly shit is going to happen. And if you really love your country and don't want to see it sliding into some soft version of a banana republic, you want to be able to stand up and say "Yes, okay, this was bad but we HAD to do this because our national existence was at stake." It wasn't. There was NO real urgency necessitating this war. It was an agressive war, pure and simple. And it was a stupid, foreseeable, horrible mistake. I'm sorry the Dems weren't courageous enough to stand against it. But millions of the rest of us were, and the Dems' lack of courage doesn't excuse any of you who failed to see through the obvious, OBVIOUS bullshit we were being handed in the run up to the invasion.

    DrBB

    What happened is inexcusable - but that gives John Kline no right to make his outlandish statements before all facts surface. He is endangering the lives of our military forces!!!!
    He is undermining this war and should apologize to the Marines!!!

    John Kline, a retired marine colonel, was briefed on the findings. "This was not an accident. This was direct fire by marines at civilians. This was not an immediate response to an attack. This would be an atrocity."

    Lovely example of the "la la la la la la I'm not listening" response. You were being satirical, right?

    Reading this thread I keep wondering: Why is it so impossible to say, "Okay, yes, these guys were furious, confused, and did something horrible, and that is the kind of thing that happens in war"? Because it IS the kind of thing that happens in war. And that doesn't mean we should never go to war; sometimes we have to. It DOES mean we shouldn't go to war because we WANT to. Which, as is unequivocally, unconscionably obvious, is precisely what we did.

    Hope you're all enjoying the propaganda campaign warming you up for the attack on Iran. I know I am.

    kate

    Wars always seem nasty and awful when you're in the middle of one. I've been reading lots of books about the Civil War and that was a terrible war.

    You're trying to use the incident to underscore your opposition to the war. I have mixed feelings about Iraq, but I do support figting the terrorists in the Middle East, where they train, before they deploy.

    We thought Iraq had WMD. Hussein was certainly capable of handing off a WMD to a terrorist, that was a risk Bush was willing to take.

    Sara (The Squiggler)

    If this has been covered, I apologize in advance. I began to GAG about half-way thru the comments. I can't believe how fast everyone is to (1) believe the MSM version of this story, and (2) to condem our military in toto.

    I am going to wait for the report as I've read that the story changed and that it all hinges on a child claiming that masked soldiers shot up the house and that those soldiers were American after first saying they were Iraqi.

    Let us also not forget that 3 of our own were killed in the original ambush blast that precipitated the event.

    If it turns out that American Marines did go off the reservation and shoot indiscriminately, killing civilians, then punish them, but don't start tarring a whole group and for everyone's sake can the its Bush's fault rhetoric.

    The war is over, we won. We are now in a police action in a support role for the Iraqi government at their request ... thugs, gansters and al-Queda has beens are the targets now. Everyone except the American media and the American far-left moonbats and looneys is happy that Saddam is in the dock and will soon be meeting Allah. Everyone, except the American media and the American far-left moonbats and looneys is happy that we have an ally and a good base of operations as we deal with Iran and Syria.

    ed

    Hmmmm.

    I want to point out:

    1. The WMD debate is cute, but largely irrelevant on this issue.

    2. There have been allegations by European military officers in the past of war crimes committed by American soldiers, including Marines, because a number of terrorists had been found shot in the head with a single bullet.

    It turns out that this charge was a mistake because American soldiers, specifically both Army and Marine infantry, are trained to a much higher standard of marksmanship than the European officers were experienced with.

    Frankly some aspects of this case reminds me of the movie "Rules of Engagement" starring Samuel L. Jackson. Anything is possible so I'll continue withholding judgement until more is known and not just guessed at.

    Pat West

    Unless there are outright railroaded confessions, which is highly doubtful, it will not be possible to convict these brave Marines of anything. This was not My Lai, involving hundreds of people and troops, many of whom did not wish to do what they had been ordered to do. This was a very small action, involving a small squad of Marines and a few dozen possible partisans. The incident occurred six months ago, and was only recently thoroughly investigated. In other words, stale and questionable evidence in the middle of a war zone! I am reminded of the action in Afghanistan last summer when medals were awarded to a Special Forces Team for carrying out a raid on a village harboring several dozen Taliban who were protecting a famed Taliban Regional Leader. All twenty of the Taliban bodyguards were killed, and just as the Team was leaving, the Regional Leader was detected and captured. Where was he hiding? Why under two native women who were sitting on him with their clothes spread out over him. Yes, the scumbag was armed, and no the women were not killed in the capture of this senior Taliban thug. But they easily could have been, and justifiably so!

    kim

    Sic Semper Tyrannis Fidelis.

    My Latin is so ignorant as to be misleading, so I'll explicate. That is supposed to be a commentary on the tyranny of love.
    ========================

    boris

    a rich-boy politician or a bunch of ivory tower theorists

    Thus your opinions are utterly discredited,

    Taking the war on terror to the middle east after 911 was the only politically viable course. Now we see who was sincere and who was faking it.

    One side commits to the war ...

    The other side goes along and votes in favor because the country is angry and voting against is political suicide.

    Then the other side balks as the anger subsides.

    Then the other side wages an anti war campaign.

    Then the other side lies about being lied to cover for their insincerity from the beginning.

    Then the other side wages a leak campaign of secrets and false "secrets" to further influence the public against the war.

    Then the other side engages prosecution of the administration for responding to false leaks.

    But don't call them unpatriotic. Don't call them traitors. Don't call them hypocrites.

    Call them craven.

    kim

    The early 21st Century is going to be very interesting for historians. Bush is epic, likely.
    ============================

    Lurker

    I can't stand Murtha. Every time he opens up his mouth, his credibility gets knocked down an inch or so. A newly released report will disprove Murtha once again.

    Davebo, Jveritas already proves how dangerous Saddam was to the entire world.


    Recently translated documents

    But on the other hand, you probably won't believe those documents, written and taped by Saddam and his cohorts.

    kim

    Well, cyanide has wide industrial uses; I think chromium is a catalyst.

    Besides, Chalabi forged all this crap, dontcha know?
    =============================

    Lurker

    The "more troops mentality" is disproved by reading Robert Kaplan's "Imperial Grunts" book. Most of the troops already over there do NOT believe in the "more troops" concepts. Today's world is different from the 1940's, 1950's, and 1960's.

    And to see how quickly the country of Iraq was reconstructed as opposed to Germany back in the late 40's is simply phenomenal. Likewise with the quelching of the insurgencies in Iraq versus Germany.

    boris

    The "more troops" argument is fake.

    In order to spin the success in Iraq as failure, there needs to be some plausible explanation how the most powerful military in the world could possibly fail.

    The number of trrops has nothing to do with a failure that didn't happen.

    J2

    TM -

    ...shoulder some responsibility for the consequences.

    To make a provocative suggestion using such murky language and then going away for the weekend is quite rude.

    What does that mean if the consequences are atrocities? How would one help shoulder them? By feeling guilt, by offering apologies? We will be hearing a lot about how the actions of a few should not besmirch the honor and heroism of the many. And it is true. Criminals should be isolated and punished.

    I support the war.

    I do not believe in collective guilt.

    PeterUK

    John Patrick "Jack" Murtha, Jr. (born June 17, 1932) ,considering his age,perhaps a medical examination is in order.

    richard mcenroe

    I think, at the end of this investigation, we're going to find that the USMC cares more about justice than Dennis Hastert does.

    MayBee

    J2- "I do not believe in collective guilt."

    Agreed. After all, where would it end? We have teachers, policemen, firefighters, corporate executives, parents (the list goes on) that commit violent crimes in the US. I don't take on their guilt even though I want schools, police forces, etc.

    I support investigation, prosecution, and punishment where warranted. I don't think our country has ever promised to not have criminals in its ranks, and that includes the military. As Sue pointed out, that's why we have tribunals and investigative branches and the brig. We don't promise to be perfect, but we strive to set things right when things have gone wrong.

    Murtha scoring political points off from this is reprehensible. He wants to make it seem representative of the whoe Iraq operation and taint our military with the actions of a few. He sickens me.

    Sue

    Amen Maybee...

    Aaron

    Anyone who thinks we needed the same amount of troops as for GW I (minus the Navy) is an idiot.

    GW I's force structure wasn't planned on an insurgency and occupation - why use that as your template?

    Plus, after GW I, the Iraqi armed forces were severely degraded and much less powerful. Their air force was gone.

    I'm not sure what would have been needed if we could plan with 20/20 hindsight, but I doubt it would be 365,000 men.

    The comments to this entry are closed.

    Wilson/Plame