Thursday, May 18, 2006


Marines Murdered Iraqi Civilians

Americans like to imagine themselves as self-reliant and merciful, courageous and tender, the chosen and the repentant sinners. That isn’t, though, quite the way things are.

America’s shadow side exposes itself whenever the nation is stressed. In 1892, American soldiers shot down and killed hundreds of fleeing Lakota men, women and children. In the 17th Century, our Pilgrim ancestors murdered New England Indians by the scores. When American soldiers occupied the Philippine Islands after the Spanish-American War, the native Filipinos were killed by the thousands because they thought they were freed by the defeat of the Spanish; entire villages were wiped out. There was the Trail of Tears, the Long March, Mai Lai, and Sand Creek.

The truth is this: Americans, soldiers or civilians, are no better than any other nationality. We just lie about it more.

Subject: AFP, KR: Rep. Murtha says Marines killed civilians 'in cold blood' at Haditha
Date: Thu, 18 May 2006 06:17:14 +0000

NEWS: Rep. Murtha says Marines killed Iraqi civilians 'in cold blood' at

[On Wednesday, AFP reported that Rep. John Murtha (D-PA 12th), himself a
Marine veteran decorated in Vietnam, has told reporters that Marines "killed
innocent civilians in cold blood" at Haditha in Iraq on Nov. 19, 2005, that
"[t]here was no firefight," and that "It's much worse than reported in
*Time* ( magazine."[1] -- In
March, an account given by U.S. military officials of how Iraqi civilians
died in Haditha, a town on the banks of the Euphrates in western Iraq,
unraveled when a video shot by a local journalism student and obtained by an
Iraqi human rights group showed that the civilians could not have been
killed by a bomb. -- Knight Ridder reported that Mu rtha's remarks were
based on the findings of military investigators, but the Pentagon declined
to comment because the investigation was "ongoing."[2] -- Three of the
Marine commanders involved in the Haditha incident have already been
relieved of their commands, but not specifically because of what happened at
Haditha, according to the Pentagon. --Mark]



May 17, 2006

A U.S. lawmaker and former Marine colonel accused U.S. Marines of killing
innocent Iraqi civilians after a Marine comrade had been killed by a
roadside bomb.

"Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed
innocent civilians in cold blood," John Murtha told reporters. The November
19 incident occurred in Haditha, Iraq.
<>"There was no firefight" that led to the shootings at close range, the
Vietnam war veteran said, denying early official accounts, which said that a
roadside bomb had killed the Iraqis.

"There were no (roadside bombs) that killed these innocent people," he said.

*Time* magazine reported the shootings on March 27, based on an Iraqi human
rights group and locals, who said that 15 unarmed Iraqis died, including
women and children, when Marines barged into their home throwing grenades
and shooting.

"It's much worse than reported in *Time* magazine," Murtha said.

At least three Marine officers are under official investigation, and no
report has been released, *Army Times* said Tuesday.

Murtha is a harsh critic of the war in Iraq and said that such incidents are
the result of inadequate planning, training, and troop numbers in Iraq.


Politics & government

By Drew Brown

Knight Ridder
May 17, 2006

WASHINGTON -- A Pentagon report on an incident in which U.S. Marines shot
and killed more than a dozen Iraqi civilians last November will show that
those killings were deliberate and worse than initially reported, a
Pennsylvania congressman said Wednesday.

"There was no firefight. There was no IED (improvised explosive device)
that killed those innocent people," Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said during a
news conference on Iraq. "Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on
them. And they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. That is what the
report is going to tell."

Murtha's comments were the first on-the-record remarks by a U.S. official
characterizing the findings of military investigators looking into the Nov.
19 incident. Murtha, the ranking Democ rat on the Defense Appropriations
subcommittee and an opponent of Bush administration policy in Iraq, said he
hadn't read the report but had learned about its findings from military
commanders and other sources.

Military public affairs officers said the investigation isn't completed and
declined to provide further information. "There is an ongoing
investigation," said Lt. Col. Sean Gibson, a Marine spokesman at Central
Command headquarters in Tampa, Fla. "Any comment at this time would be

Both Gibson and Pentagon spokeswoman Cheryl Irwin said that the military has
yet to decide what, if any action, might be taken against Marines involved
in the incident.

"It would be premature to judge any individual or unit until the
investigation is complete," Irwin said. Said Gibson, "No charges have been
made as we have to go through the entire investigatory process and determine
whether or not that is a cou rse of action."

Three Marine commanders whose troops were involved in the incident were
relieved of duty in April, but the Marines didn't link their dismissals to
the incident, saying only that Gen. Richard Natonski, commander of 1st
Marine Division, had lost confidence in the officers' ability to command.
Gibson reiterated that point Wednesday. "It's important to remember that
the officers were relieved by the commanding general of 1st Marine Division
as a result of events that took place throughout their tour of duty in
Iraq," he said.

The dismissed officers were Lt. Col. Jeffrey R. Chessani, commander of 3rd
Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, and two of his company commanders, Capt.
James S. Kimber and Capt. Lucas M. McConnell. Gibson said all three have
been assigned to staff jobs with the 1st Division.

U.S. military authorities in Iraq initially reported that one Marine and 15
Iraqi civilians traveling in a bus w ere killed by a roadside bomb in the
western Iraq insurgent stronghold of Haditha. They said eight insurgents
were killed in an ensuing firefight.

But Lt. Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli, the ground commander of coalition forces in
Iraq, ordered an investigation on Feb. 14 after a reporter with *Time*
magazine told military authorities of allegations that the Marines had
killed innocent civilians.

After CNN broke the news of the initial investigation in March, military
officials told Knight Ridder that the civilians were killed not in the
initial blast but were apparently caught in the crossfire of a subsequent
gun battle as 12 to 15 Marines fought insurgents from house to house over
the next five hours. At that time, military officials told Knight Ridder
that four of the civilians killed were women and five were children.

Subsequent reporting from Haditha by *Time* and Knight Ridder revealed a
still different account of e vents, with survivors describing Marines
breaking down the door of a house and indiscriminately shooting the
building's occupants.

Twenty-three people were killed in the incident, relatives of the dead told
Knight Ridder.

The uncle of one survivor, a 13-year-old girl, told Knight Ridder that the
girl had watched the Marines open fire on her family and that she had held
her 5-year-old brother in her arms as he died. The girl shook visibly as
her uncle relayed her account, too traumatized to recount what happened

"I understand the investigation shows that in fact there was no firefight,
there was no explosion that killed the civilians on a bus," Murtha said.
"There was no bus. There was no shrapnel. There was only bullet holes
inside the house where the Marines had gone in. So it's a very serious
incident, unfortunately. It shows the tremendous pressure these guys are
under every day when they're out in combat and the stress and consequences."

Murtha, who retired as a colonel after 37 years in the Marine Corps, said
nothing indicates that the Iraqis killed in the incident were at fault.

"One man was killed with an IED," Murtha said, referring to a Marine killed
by the roadside bomb. "And after that, they actually went into the houses
and killed women and children."

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