Thursday, June 01, 2006

With the Haditha Marine battalion

the AP has an interesting story up from one of its reporters who was with the Marine unit which was involved in the Haditha killings. there are some intriguing sections in the article.

Several Marines approached me and asked my opinion about a controversial incident during the Fallujah offensive in the fall of 2004.

A Marine from the battalion shot and killed a wounded, unarmed man in a mosque. The killing was videotaped by a cameraman and broadcast worldwide.

Several Marines wanted to know if I thought the shooting was justified. I hadn't examined the footage. I saw it in passing on CNN. I wasn't there, and I didn't claim to understand the raging hell the storming of Fallujah must have been.

But some Marines were eager to discuss the shooting, arguing that the Marine was entirely justified in firing at a perceived threat.

To them, it was a litmus test to identify those who understood combat. The Marine Corps agreed on some level, opting not to press charges against the Marine. Only one Marine in the battalion, in a private conversation, said he believed the Marine had done wrong by shooting the man.


Just a few miles from where the alleged massacre occurred, 14 Marines were killed in a bombing near Haditha on Aug. 3 last year, only a month before the 3-1 arrived for its third Iraq tour.

Minutes after the Aug. 3 attack, Marines covered the maimed corpses of their friends with cheap military blankets. A Marine officer later described to me the rage that immediately consumed his unit, swelled by the knowledge that local residents likely saw the men who planted the bomb that killed their friends.

But restraint held that day.

"We don't do that. We're better than that," the officer told me just a couple of weeks later.

He's right the Marines are better than that.

No comments: