Military officials: Haditha might be another My Lai

posted at 9:17 am on May 26, 2006 by Allahpundit

I meant to post about this last week when Murtha was making the rounds but I got caught up in other things. Yeah, it’s awful and par for the course that he’d pronounce the Marines guilty before the investigation is complete; and yeah, no one’s surprised that he’d exploit the incident to promote a pullout. But it rubbed me the wrong way to watch righty bloggers go ballistic on Murtha while dismissing the underlying allegations with a perfunctory “these are serious charges.” I’m not accusing anyone of not caring, mind you; this is Hot Air, not the Daily Dish. I’m just saying that it’s bad form to kill the messenger when serious malfeasance might be afoot. Not unlike how lefties reacted to the Swift Vets, to take a more benign example.

Anyway, the Pentagon briefed Congress on the matter yesterday. And … it doesn’t look good.

As this unfolds, military officials say they fear “Haditha” will come to mean what “My Lai” — the massacre of Vietnamese civilians American troops in 1968 — meant for an earlier generation…

Although the investigation is not complete, the Pentagon has already briefed key members of Congress on the details of the investigation. After a briefing on Thursday, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee John Warner told reporters, “there are established facts that incidents of a very serious nature did take place.”…

Sources familiar with the investigation say another group of Marines who came on the scene shortly after the killings took photographs of the dead Iraqis. Those photos were seized by military criminal investigators just before those Marines finished their tour of duty in Iraq in early April. Sources familiar with the photos say they show people shot at close range.

Marine Corps Times has a report, too.

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, who was also briefed on the reports, said his committee will hold hearings on the incident after lawmakers return from their Memorial Day recess.

Hunter was matter-of-fact about the reports’ contents.

“It is not good,” he said. “Let the chips fall where they may.”

Gen. Michael Hagee, the Corps’s commandant, takes it seriously enough that he flew to Iraq last night to remind Marines that human life isn’t cheap and lethal force isn’t always necessary. Gulp.

We’ll be hearing more about this story — check that; we’ll be hearing nothing but this story — for months to come. Stay tuned.

Update: The LA Times cites military officials as saying the investigation is over. And they’re guilty.

Update: The Commissar feels sick.

Update: Confederate Yankee feels sick, too — not just over what apparently happened, but at the fact that some leftists are gloating over it. Do what I do, Bob: lower your expectations of them to zero and they’ll never let you down.

Update: Rusty asks, “What do you do with a messenger who has an agenda?”

Update: The Commissar responds to Confederate Yankee and Rusty:

This story is not about Murtha, nor his detractors. (Personally, I never mentioned Murtha’s comments on this.) The Haditha story is a tragedy for the victims and their families. It is another tragedy for the people of Iraq, as the blowback from this story will play into the terrorists’ hands. It is a tragedy for the armed forces of the United States, who will be tarred by the actions of a few. It is a tragedy for the people of the United States, as it will help inflame global terrorists; our own security is weaker today due to this story.

Update: Hot Air’s own Bryan Preston weighs in below.

Update: Left-leaning blogger David Anderson of In Search of Utopia says he’s not going to politicize the incident. Good to know there’s someone across the aisle who won’t.

Update: Jon Henke says it’s hard to tell how much damage this will do to the U.S., but Captain Ed despairs:

This makes me physically ill. We can say it happens in every war, and that would be accurate, but it doesn’t excuse it in the least. Our military has the reputation of high discipline and morale, and 99.9% of our troops live up to that standard. As with Abu Ghraib, only on a much less serious scale, the actions of one undisciplined unit will reflect horribly on those who have done their best to protect Iraqi civilians, especially the children. Those 99.9% of our troops provide the best possible security for the United States. If these men turn out to be war criminals of the most despicable variety, they will have damaged the work done by our armed forces immeasurably.

Update: The Times of London claims to have an interview with a ten-year-old girl who survived the incident. It’s horrendous.

Update: Dan Riehl keeps things in perspective.

Update: Michelle says things look bad, but reminds us that Marines have been falsely accused before.

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If true, this is bad–very bad–on many levels.

It undermines the integrity and morale of many thousands of honorable marines and soldiers.

The moonbats will be orgasmic and will feed on this for years to come.

It may prove to be the proverbial “straw that breaks the camel’s back” with regard to the already diminishing public support for the war on terror.

IrishEi on May 26, 2006 at 9:51 AM

IrishEi

Ditto your concern with impact on public support. The wavering will at least get worse. However, the integrity, morale, and honor of our armed forces can be preserved by swift prosecution and harsh punishments.

If the first reports are close to the truth, the death penalty is justified for some. Our forceful judgement on any who perpetrate war crimes – especially among our own troops – PRESERVES the justness of our cause and clearly separates us from the animals we fight who laud the most heinous war criminals.

The Ritz on May 26, 2006 at 10:01 AM

Uh Oh!

This story is already taking on a life of it’s own. Whether true or not, there are enough people who want to believe it that if found false it won’t die easily.

If true, then it is very bad.

Lawrence on May 26, 2006 at 10:03 AM

Bad? Maybe. A My Lai, no way! In the first place, the alleged number of innocent deaths is only a tiny fraction compared to what took place in My Lai. There is no evidence of a cover-up, unlike what occurred in the My Lai case. Although we need to wait for the facts to officially come out, it appears that whatever innocent persons were killed were killed in “hot blood,” i.e., in the course of a battle that arguably should have been terminated, rather than “cold blood,” i.e., a calculated act in which the participants were not in any perceived danger and had plenty of time to think about what they were doing.

This event may be no “My Lai,” but the worst thing that could happen would be sweep it under the rug. This would allow the worst rumors to gain currency at the same time sending the troops a message that “anything goes.” Let the official report come out and punish those responsible for any wrongdoing and do it in such a way that the military as a whole is not tarred.

ptolemy on May 26, 2006 at 10:04 AM

I don’t think the comparison to My Lai is fair either. For one, as said above, the number of deaths isn’t anywhere near as high as before.

Second of all, we don’t have a bunch of wannabes coming back saying this kind of behaviour is commonplace. Yah, there is MacBeth, but he isn’t trying to be president one day and is an obvious fraud.

Bodacious2182 on May 26, 2006 at 10:14 AM

It’s bad enough that we’re trying to fight this war under the burden of White Guilt (as described by Shelby Steele), but when the Treason Media hammers on things like this and Abu Grahib while throwing footage of 9/11 and those slaughtered by Dubya’s “religion of peace” down the Memory Hole, it points out the absolute failure of Team Dubya to anticipate and counter the enemies within while they pussyfoot around dealing with the enemies without.

Yes, Hillary! and a Democrat takeover would be a disaster, but what are Dubya and the Stupid Party (ht: Tony Snow) doing that’s so admirable now? Face it, if there was a (D) after Dubya’s and McCain’s Chyron super, Republicans would be lighting torches, but now it’s only real conservatives who are up in arms.

DirkBelig on May 26, 2006 at 10:22 AM

If these Marines are indeed guilty of murdering in cold blood, they should get the maximium penalty- a firing squad.
Not only may they have committed an inexcusable atrocity, they may have damaged our country and the US Marine Corps irreparably.

Abigail Adams on May 26, 2006 at 10:57 AM

ptolemy and Bodacious2182,

I agree. The comparisons to Mỹ Lai are extremely surface. If similarities are gauged stricly on the fact that victims were civilians, women, and children, then okay. But we’re talking about over 500 victims in Quảng Ngãi province versus considerably less in Haditha.

But I hope you guys (and gals) don’t turn this into an “Oh gosh now the ‘Moonbats’ (whatever the hell that means) are going to use this to their advantage!” thing. Innocent civilians are dead. That goes beyond politics — I hope we would all agree on that at least.

TheThink on May 26, 2006 at 11:00 AM

The Think- yes, I agree that the death of innocent civilians goes beyond politics.

The question is, does the left agree??? Time will tell.

Abigail Adams on May 26, 2006 at 11:06 AM

“Officials briefed on preliminary results of the inquiry said the civilians killed at Haditha, a lawless, insurgent-plagued city deep in Sunni-dominated Anbar Province”…that is a very key phrase!
We are much too concerned about “innocents” ..we are AT WAR! I remember My Lai from my school days when it happened. It was used to vilify the Armed Forces ..ALL of them.. from this day to that. It is why John Kerry was able to be taken seriously all this time for his lies. Frankly, brutal force is sometimes the only answer. I will NOT judge and I will NOT vilify.

labwrs on May 26, 2006 at 11:14 AM

Abigail Adams,

I’m actually pretty left and anti-war (here comes the backlash…) but I realize that there is such an unstable vacuum of power and chaos in Iraq right now that I’m conflicted about the entire thing. I think if given the choice of having fellow Americans dead (for whatever cause) and coming home, we would all like our men and women to come home. But I know leaving would result in absolute bedlam. But one has to wonder: didn’t the U.S. worry about the domino effect of Communism in the Vietnam era before leaving? I guess the difference here is the fact that radical Islam is in play, which I would agree is BAD, no matter how you slice it.

TheThink on May 26, 2006 at 11:20 AM

It is hard to make judgment with a paucity of details. EG: If the rumors are true, did the Marines confess or were they convicted without confessing and, if the latter is true, did the convicting officers have relevant and recent combat experience?

It should be noted that a Marine was accused of “murdering” a “surrendering” soldier in Fallujah by a leftwing blister on the backside named Kevin Sites. More likely the “surrendering” fanatic was going for his weapon to shoot Marines in the back.

It should further be noted that all combat troops in Iraq, Army or Marines, are subject to catacylysmic disadvantages including fighting against an enemy which plays by no rules at all, never wears a uniform and quite often employs women and children to do reconaissance and even laying explosives.In World War II such “civilians” would be considered “spies” and “partisans” and would be summarily executed. Not so in today’s politicvally correct world.

Then too, in order to defend yourself, it is also politically incorrect to return fire when being shot at by religious fanatics hiding in a mosque or else you will be called “insensitive” to the Muslim faith and to Third World “needs” and, also, Congressman Murtha will call you a “Nazi.”

MaiDee on May 26, 2006 at 11:30 AM

After totally looking this over I’ve decided that this is just another way to smear the Military.

This was an obvious case of acceptable collateral damage, the jihaddis ran into a barn where they knew these people were hiding and should bear the brunt of the blame.

This will show who REALLY supports the troops.

Maybe the Marines should find a way to “lose” any reporters working for obviously left-wing press because the man who repported this, the one whose story the case is hung on, is a dyed in the wook ultra-liberal.

Personally, I support whatever the troops need to do in order to complete their mission and come back home. Hell, the air-strikes should still be happening today. Bombing worked well on Germany and Japan, the only time it doesn’t work is when the “congressional oversight” or pentagon interferance stops the comanders in the field from picking the targets.

Duty, Honor, Country
(in THAT order)
Rowane

Rowane on May 26, 2006 at 12:24 PM

I agree w/ Allahpundit “it’s bad form to kill the messenger ”
and have been thinking about why we do get so upset at the messenger. I now think that there is a strong belief that if the other ‘messengers’ (read MSM and leftist politicians) had been much more supportive of our entire operation in Iraq, this just might not have happened. Troops hear and see mostly bad news coming from inside the US, they see crazies protesting fallen soldiers funerals, and it has to hurt them beyond our knowing (those who havent served). I AM NOT giving an excuse for their behaviour if true, but we put men and women in impossible situations in impossible places and the damn opinionated MSM stages a psychological war on its own. What impact does that have on a soldiers mind?
So we patriots back here lash out against messengers when they bring us the worst news as if we have been waiting for the other shoe to drop, so to speak.
I for one can only pray for all invloved, and try not to let my resentments drive me to do, or say, selfish things.

shooter on May 26, 2006 at 1:49 PM

I’m now really getting worried that this is just what the left and the terrorists need to help relight their fires. If this is even partially true we are in a world of trouble

Defector01 on May 26, 2006 at 1:50 PM

For Abigail Adams I suggest you watch the documentary on A&E titled “Combat Diaries”. It is about the Marine Corp unit from Ohio, Lima Company 3/25. It is 2 hours long and relies almost entirely on video footage and pictures taken by the marines themselves. A little background on the unit. They are a Reserve unit and they suffered rate of casualties of any unit. 23 out of the 184 members did not come home.
You watch that and pay attention to some of the comments they make especially in the aftermath of a 6 member sniper team that they found dead. One of the snipers body was found the next day across town from where they were fighting. They talk about their rage and later when they get a chance to revisit the site of the incident they encounter some civillians.
Watch it and then post comments like put them in front of a firing squad.
People this ain’t a football game, you don’t go back into a locker room at halftime and discuss things and the game doesn’t end after 4 quarters or because of rain.
If the acts occurred then of course they should be tried and punished in accordance with the UCMJ and as far as tarnishing their image I think that has already been handled quite while by our MSM, who while ignoring our real heroes, continue to promote those wrong doers. Everybody is familiar with the name Lynddie England but have you ever heard of Lt Chontosh or SSG Hester?
Unless you have had a couple dozen bullets whiz by your head I suggest you resist the urge to condemn so quickly.

LakeRuins on May 26, 2006 at 1:52 PM

I’m sorry, but I’m a little sick and tired of trashing, yes trashing, those involved in the My Lai “Massacre” because if you haven’t walked a mile in your brother’s bloody boots, you have no room to even comment!

Try watching your friends die in some hell hole! Try watching them in some snake pit of a hospital attempting to lift a f’in beanbag as part of their physical therapy, straining every muscle in their body in the process! Try being trained day in and day out to hate and to kill and then, somehow you’re expected to turn it off like all you have to do is reach under your helmet and throw some mental switch!

And when some poor bastard can’t, then men in a tall black hats back in some capital city somewhere living the good life, thump their chests and exclaim what a tragedy is all is and how our soldiers, who they sent to that hell hole in the first place, should now be punished because they are fallible human beings.

As for me, you start a war and everyone pays! Men, Women, Children! All property is destroyed! All wealth taken! It’s not TV, and it’s not the movies, it’s called WAR and if you haven’t been in one you can’t understand. It isn’t nice, it isn’t pretty and attempts to regulate it or pass rules of engagement in an attempt to control it are ridicules. In WAR, civilians get killed accidentally, by design, or by frustrated or hateful individuals.

Take Antietam in the American Civil War, 25,000 casualties in a single day! 10 Months later Gettysburg and 53,000 casualties over 3 days. Now that’s WAR! Could we tolerate that level of carnage today today? All “American” Soldiers.

But let’s take the bombing of Dresden, 100,000 civilians! But that’s ok, because killing those people was approved by the Government! Hogwash!

If we stopped trying to make it what we see on TV or in the movies, when we become enlightened enough to understand the true meaning of the word WAR and it’s consequences, when we recognize that it is the ugliest of human experiences and realize exactly what you get when you start one, perhaps we would all elect brighter leaders!

I pity these poor Marines and may God Bless them for being human! And just remember that Monday is Memorial Day and while you are sitting around on your big fat otsit suckin’ down a brew and stuffin’ your fat face, some American Soldier, who was sent by US, is lying under the dirt somewhere because he hesitated when confronted by a civilian and he was afraid of what might happen to him if he made a mistake!

From this Vietnam GI to all you Marines out there, Semper Fi Mac! Semper Fi. It’s just a shame there were not more of us Combat Soldiers! If there were more we wouldn’t have WARS!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on May 26, 2006 at 1:57 PM

Sad to hear this, but lets find those responsible and let justice judge them.

Murtha is still a punk-b in my book though. ~B

Brian on May 26, 2006 at 2:19 PM

Before you all come down hard on the military, just think how difficult it is to separate the enemy from the friendlies WHEN THEY ALL LOOK THE SAME!! Also consider that they are operating in stealth ready to ambush you when you turn your back or suicide bomb you in their midst. I also think the natural reaction is to want to kill somebody in return when you see a friend killed and I’m surprised that it hasn’t happened more often.

docdave on May 26, 2006 at 2:30 PM

And I find this little gem in new account from AP on this matter
“The official, who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the yet-to-be-completed investigation, said the evidence strongly indicates the killings last November were unjustified.”
To clarify this sentence,
A low level employee, who cleans the offices at night, gossiped about the story, but asked to remain anonymous, probably due to questions about his citzenship status, talked about seeing a couple of pages from an investigation which is not complete, unlike the one in Duke Lacrosse team situation, about an incident that occurred last November involving the killing of some [strike]wedding guests[/strike] er civillians were unjustified, as opposed to the killings committed by Zarqwari which were fully justified.

LakeRuins on May 26, 2006 at 2:42 PM

docdave, There are men, women and children and they don’t all look alike. However my point is, if in WAR children were made to pay for the sins of their fathers, do you think we would have so many!

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on May 26, 2006 at 2:45 PM

I pity these poor Marines and may God Bless them for being human!

You pity the poor Marines for being human by allegedly gunning down unarmed women and children?

Are you insane?

Allahpundit on May 26, 2006 at 2:50 PM

A tragedy. It both is and isn’t My Lai, if true.

It isn’t My Lai in terms of the number of victims or a cover-up.

It is My Lai in terms of it being a human tragedy involving innocent civilians and being something that will damage the reputation of our military and the cause we are fighting for.

Damn.

tommy1 on May 26, 2006 at 3:12 PM

If (and I emphasize that word ‘if’) they committed a massacre, I don’t pity these Marines regardless of the circumstances.

Rather, I pity those fine Marines who are going to bear the brunt of this PR and morale disaster and I pity the innocent who lost there life.

Sorry, I don’t care for excuses. This is not a drafted military. These people, just like police officers, volunteer for this duty and we should rightfully hold them to a higher standard of conduct.

tommy1 on May 26, 2006 at 3:16 PM

This is a real tragedy, and talk of “losing” unfriendly reporters does not help. Nor does it remove the stain.

Haditha does not compare to My Lai in raw numbers, but raw numbers have meant next to nothing in this war. By historic standards, Iraq has been a low-level insurgency occassionally flaring up into a mid-level one. But by press accounts, Iraq is the apocalypse and the End of Days all rolled into one. Likewise, Haditha will join Abu Ghraib if not surpass it as the enemy’s rallying cry and the left’s beating stick. That’s just a fact. This is a post-modern war, and these Marines (should they turn out to be as guilty as they presently seem) have handed the enemy a major victory they could not have won in straight up battle. Their crime makes the war harder to win. Some folks writing here need to understand that.

There is no excusing this. It’s not Hiroshima, a justified destruction to end a war and prevent much greater loss of life. Haditha appears to be a crime, and should be treated as such. It resulted in the deaths of innocent civilians and will hurt the war effort. It’s unfair, of course–the enemy targets civilians as a central part of his strategy. But it is the reality of this war and those Marines knew that.

As a former military man, this saddens and sickens me. Every time a crime is committed by one or more of our troops, it reflects on all of us. Two or three sailors commit crimes off-base in Korea and the thousands who stand ready to protect that country get smeared for it. A small group of Marines commits very serious crimes in Iraq, and their actions will be used to smear the noble work and sacrifice being done throughout that country. But that, too, is the reality of this post-modern war, and those Marines knew that. The bottom line is or should be, they killed innocent civilians and made the war harder to win.

Bryan on May 26, 2006 at 3:28 PM

I am sorry but all of you who think the conduct of battle is like a debate in some college classroom or inside the sanctuary of of a corporate boardroom you really need to get a clue to what combat is all about. You think that service members are above giving in to their emotions or getting swept up in the emotions of the moment. Don’t give me this crap about training, brainwashing, or any of these other super human traits you think people who wear BDU’s posess. They are human. They are doing a job in the most asture of conditions not knowing if today is the last time they will see the sun rise. That is real. It isn’t 9 to 5 and then gripping about rush hour traffic that was a bear. On your drive home sometime while stuck in traffic have you ever wondered if the car next to you was going to suddenly blow up? When you are sitting out at your BBQ grill this weekend thanking the vets who served will you be wondering if the guy selling cotton candy is a homocide bomber?
All I am demanding is that these guys be given the same consideration that was extended to anybody else accused of a crime.
Speaking of which have we heard back from that grand jury in the Cynthia McKinney case?

LakeRuins on May 26, 2006 at 3:33 PM

LakeRuins,

I was in the Army as a Chemical Op. Specialist. The bottom line is that there are plenty of Marines in Iraq who are not engaging criminal behavior despite doing their duty under difficult circumstances.

We can, of course, analyze the pressures that people are under and try and make things easier, but at the end of the day: no excuses.

tommy1 on May 26, 2006 at 4:12 PM

I spent 22 years in the submarine service. No combat but it IS a part of the military, stressful enough that on my last boat the leader of a SEAL team we transported swore we all had to be crazy to do what we did. Amazing how a tight space and a bit of radiation will affect some people, I never minded it.

My former career is cited in support of the following point; without having experienced the day to day tension of what these Marines went through we’re not qualified to issue blanket condemantions or defenses. Yep, if true then what they did was a crime and deserves whatever appropriate punishment the military sees fit to issue. But it should be left to the military to handle this. Even though they answer to civilian authority, only members of the armed services can truly judge something like this, and only those members who have served in a combat arm.

The following will raise a few hackles, but tough.

Difficult as it is for any military service to perform it’s job, that difficulty is exponentially increased whenever some civilian “expert” starts overseeing things. And the same is true when some former service member starts adding his/her two cents (hello John Murtha). So everyone not directly involved in our present combat military should butt out and let the real experts sort this out.

From all accounts it’s an ugly little affair, it shouldn’t be made worse by a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks. And that includes bloggers from the left, right, and straight up the middle.

Let the Marines handle this and wait for the dust to settle.

God Bless America

SSvet on May 26, 2006 at 4:13 PM

So some Iraqi civilians died. So WHAT? War is Hell!

How many Japanese bemoaned the Bataan Death March — until after we dropped Fat Man and Little Boy? How many Nazis bemoaned the death camps — until after we liberated those poor souls and conducted the Nuremberg trials? ? How many Iraqis or ANY Muslims for that matter, have yet bemoaned or condemned the savage 9-11 sneak attacks?

Are only Americans to be held accountable in time of war? For how long are we to tolerate an enemy’s actions no matter how reprehensible? Sure, our troops are supposed to be “better” — BUT THEY ARE STILL HUMAN!

We took thousands of young Marines, separated them from their families, sent them to a foreign killing field with inadequate armor, inadequate training, inadequate weaponry and WHOLLY inadequate commanders (including Bush and Rumsfeld), repeatedly “re-upped” them against their will (extended their terms of enlistment beyond the contracted lengths), held them to standards to which no one else in the world can match, tried to reduce or eliminate their health and other benefits, encouraged civilian asses via American media’s relentlessly evil propaganda campaign to spit on them when they return on leave, verbally berated and otherwise disrespected them, unleashed Hollywood losers and similar traitors (like Cindy Sheehan) upon them, and then we tell them that their jobs are gone when they return to civilian life.

How could any reasonable person think that these young people would be able to stand or withstand this kind of pressure? And now we are about to sacrifice these Marines to placate and please THE LIBERAL MEDIA AND THE ENEMY (same thing!).

In civilian life, absent a jury stacked with liberals, this would be justifiable homicide, EED (Extreme Emotional Distress) or another MEDICALLY JUSTIFIABLE defense.

In this political world IT WILL BE A GOOD OLD FASHIONED HANGING!

ForYourEdification on May 26, 2006 at 4:17 PM

For the record: I’ve been weighing what to do about comments like FYE’s and the Dread Pirate’s, because frankly, I find them reprehensible.

I’m going to let them stand, but take note — they most certainly do not represent the views of Hot Air.

Allahpundit on May 26, 2006 at 4:20 PM

“docdave, There are men, women and children and they don’t all look alike. However my point is, if in WAR children were made to pay for the sins of their fathers, do you think we would have so many!”

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on May 26, 2006 at 2:45 PM

I’m certainly not condoning what they allegedly did but I can’t help wondering how I might react in similar situations and I confess I can’t be sure that I would not get a bit homicidal when I saw my best friends get killed.

As far as those ‘innocent’ Iraqi civilians are concerned, many knowingly harbor terrorists, and children and women have been known to carry out suicide bombings.

From the LA Times article is this quote “In his statement, Hagee said that Marines should overcome the tendency “of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life” in their dealings with Iraqi civilians.” When one lives in the presence of death each day, it probably is easy to become indifferent to death.

docdave on May 26, 2006 at 4:35 PM

ForYourEdification,

How could any reasonable person think that these young people would be able to stand or withstand this kind of pressure?

I don’t know FYE. Maybe you should ask the Marines and other military personnel who grapple successfully with the pressures in Iraq every damn day without engaging in criminal activity.

I’m glad that you brought up the excuses that we hear so often for disgusting behavior in civilian courts, though, as though that is something we should strive to emulate. Just like in civilian courts, all the defenders of these sort of people have is excuses and more excuses for behavior that merits definite punishment.

Example:
I have a family member who was sexually molested when they were young. This person has went on to live a great and accomplished life and certainly as never “returned the favor” on some innocent child. So, I don’t want to hear a molester’s excuse that they, themselves, were molested when they were young also and so ‘how could anyone expect any better’. Sad. Sorry. Excuses. I’m tired of them.

tommy1 on May 26, 2006 at 4:39 PM

tommy1
Don’t get me wrong if the investigation finds them in the wrong then by all means they will need to be held responsible for their acts. What I am getting upset over is so many of these “journalists” whose closet contact with the military nevermind a hot zone will continue to barrage us with a daily dose of news pushing the stereotype of the battle fatigued, blood thirsty, possibly PTSD suffering illerate boy from the streets who joined the marines to become a more effective killing machine stories.
For the record I did 20+ years in the Infantry in the Army. Retired in ’99. I don’t take kindly to folks far removed from the enemy passing judgement on those who daily have to look the enemy in the eye and recognize evil for exactly what it is.
A rule of thumb of mine is AF, Navy tend to vote Dem while Army, Marines tend to vote Republican. Something with being close to the action.

LakeRuins on May 26, 2006 at 4:43 PM

Sure, LakeRuins, I agree with you on that. The LLL is a joke and we all know that.

tommy1 on May 26, 2006 at 4:46 PM

A rule of thumb of mine is AF, Navy tend to vote Dem while Army, Marines tend to vote Republican. Something with being close to the action.

LakeRuins on May 26, 2006 at 4:43 PM

Funny, the majority of sailors I’ve known were all die hard conservatives. Being “close to the action” doesn’t amount to squat.

Check your hands, I think the thumbs are missing!

SSvet on May 26, 2006 at 4:51 PM

If true, it is tragic – but not unprecedented. Let the chips fall. It should only remind us that war IS hell.

Things like this, unfortunately, come with the territory. Our troops are under tremendous stress and pressure, and are heroes – but also human. While we try to avoid it, we cannot do so completely.

The left will exploit this for their treasonous purposes. They will use it to demoralize our troops, just as Tokyo Rose and others like her did in other wars. Resisting these attacks is part of the ‘grit’ required for us to prevail.

What makes us different from the enemy is that we will make an honest attempt to get to the truth and deal with those responsible.

dman on May 26, 2006 at 5:08 PM

My Lai helped hasten our retreat from South Vietnam. The news media is no doubt clamoring for this tragedy to do the same.
On this Memorial Day weekend, let us all give thanks to those soldiers that have given their lives. My U.S. flag will be flying as always and hot dogs are on the menu.
I just wish I could be in Iraq grilling up some dogs for the guys that are doing the work that some Americans won’t do !!

gary on May 26, 2006 at 5:39 PM

The investigation is not over and they are not guilty until and unless they are found guilty by courts-martial.

bdfaith on May 26, 2006 at 6:28 PM

Yes SSVEt,

I agree. Most Navy personnel I’ve ever met were rather conservative. Not necessarily as hardcore as, say, some Marines but definitely not flaming liberals by any stretch.

tommy1 on May 26, 2006 at 6:31 PM

The Think- no backlash from me. You present your position in a civil,thoughtful way. We need more of that from both sides IMHO.

Lake Ruins- I am a strong supporter of our armed forces and the fight against Islamic terrorism. I am not second guessing the Marines- it hasn’t been determined yet whether they are innocent or guilty. That said, these Marines may have committed murder- the ultimate penalty for which is death. We’re not talking about a friendly fire incident, or having civilians get caught in a crossfire between the Marines & the terrorists. We are talking about the possible deliberate execution of unarmed civilians by United States Marines. I have no doubt the Marines will give these men a fair trial (which is a damn sight more than you could say about the media & the civilian legal system) and while I await the outcome I am not going to pre judge them the way the moonbats & the media (one & same I suppose) have already done. Innocent until proven guilty. If proven guilty, the maximum punishment (death) should be given.

Abigail Adams on May 26, 2006 at 7:06 PM

Why should the death penalty be given to the marines if found guilty?? Liberals and their allies fight against the death penalty all the time…..This is just another example of the bias against our miltary….. Of course if guilty they should be punished….but not the death penalty……

Will they be judged by a group of their peers or will the court be all high ranking officers removed from the stress of trying to stay alive every moment of every day…..

robo on May 26, 2006 at 8:19 PM

Lets assume for a moment that the accusations are true.

If the killings were “hot blooded”, what penalty would be applied given today’s standards.

And if the killings were “cold blooded”, what would the penalty most likely be given today’s political climate?

.

GT on May 26, 2006 at 9:43 PM

Not likely that the shootings were premeditated. The LA Times article says “The report concludes that a dozen Marines acted improperly after a roadside bomb explosion killed a fellow Marine, Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas”. In the heat of military action, wrong decisions can easily be made especially in urban settings where the enemy hides within the non-combatants as these so-called insurgents do.

docdave on May 27, 2006 at 6:21 AM

This is a story which could have happened at any time during the past three years. I’ve sort of been expecting it, as terrible events in war can warp someone’s sense of right and wrong, and anger can take over when troops are faced with brutality everyday. I’m not excusing anyone-as it was said, “Let the chips fall where they may.” But we are not robots, and eventually the training will be broken, discipline drilled into someone will fail, and such events as Haditha will occur.
Don’t let anyone trash the Military in your presense over this. We have a great Military with an important mission. This weekend especially don’t let anyone say a bad thing about our fighting forces. They still deserve our respect and trust.

Doug on May 27, 2006 at 9:54 AM

robo- I am not a liberal, not by any means. I strongly support the death penalty for murder- whoever commits it should get it. Period.

Abigail Adams on May 27, 2006 at 11:52 AM

I hope if there was a crime committed, the appropriate justice is served on those responsible. But the demagoguery we are about to witness is unjustified. Abu Ghraib + Haditha (potentially) still equates to less than .01% of our troops, the 99.99% should not have their heroism besmirched. I have no doubt that the left will swing Haditha wildly, striking the reputation of any soldier no matter how brave and honorable.

I am saddened not for the impact this might have on the elections in ’06 or ’08, but for the 99.99% of our Armed Forces who are about to be spat on by the likes of Pelosi, Dean and Reid. The action I am going to take out of this is to give more to the 99.99%. They need our support now more than ever. They need to know there are people who genuinely care about them and appreciate their sacrifice. This is the most important time to show support for our troops. Let every criticism from the left be overwhelmed with love from the right.

gash on May 27, 2006 at 2:04 PM

IMO: until this whole allegation is properly investigated and examined, the accused Marines should be recalled from that country and assigned to US/mexico border-patrolling.
Waste not, want not – they’ve got essential skills.

solitas on May 27, 2006 at 5:47 PM

Why if this was found out in November, is it coming out three days before the day this country honors our veterans. I suspect strategy of the media.

The war in this country between liberals and conservatives is hotter than the war on Terror. From my perspective, we are in a multipronged war/attack on the United States and the Values it was built on. Those of us who are God centered in our values, conservative in our economics (you eat when you are willing to work) are trying to do the right thing to protect our country with the WOT, but are also being attacked by illegal immigration, cultural penetration by countries unfriendly to us, and socialist/communist values in the political arena, media bias, and indoctrination of our children and university students.

The real enemy is fuzzy, and we don’t really know what we are fighting for. Until we figure that out, we are at risk of defeating ourselves with inefficient focus. Sometimes I think we have already lost the critical battles already, and it is just a matter of time.

There is still hope, that throught the democratic process, we could turn things around. But it will take massive education, and empowerment of people who are not in power.

Unfortunately, in this case, the law that we believe in takes a higher priority than the unfortunate circumstances that led to this alleged crime. Our enemies, especially those in this country, feel that they are above the law. We are disadvantaged by believing we have to abide by the law we defend. Our enemies in this country do not feel this constraint.

CountryDoc on May 27, 2006 at 7:17 PM

“So some Iraqi civilians died. So WHAT? War is Hell!”

Hmm. Well, we refuse to identify the enemy. It is “bad” to completely destroy the venomous islime cult. We are not there to win. Winning would mean that we kill the enemy of freedom and all mankind (ISLAM).

We must “kill nice”. Be reasonable. If we only kill the “bad” muslims, the rest will ignore and forget about the thousands of verses in the koran that commands them to “fight non-muslims until they are no more.”

We deserve to lose. We can’t fight to win. Don’t you get it?

ecamorg on May 27, 2006 at 8:28 PM

Allahpundit, it’s great to know that we can go to you to clarify for us what is and what it not Hot Air’s position!

As with regard to your question as to my sanity, might I remind you, or educated you to the fact that WAR is insane and any attempt to regulate, control, establish rules of engagement, or sanitize it is what is insane!

Sherman knew it and so did Lincoln and “they” thought Sherman insane. It took Lincoln 3 years to find a general (Grant) who understood. As a result, it cost us over 640,000 causalities and Lincoln his life.

Truman knew it and while it cost several thousand Japanese their lives, it’s estimated that over 1,000,000 lives would have been lost in the invasion of the Japanese Home Islands. But you forget, or don’t want to understand, that TENS OF MILLIONS of American, Australians and JAPANEESE are alive today because of Truman and his understanding of the cost of WAR. That the best way was to make it so horrible that, when it was over, the 4 Horseman would never ride again. But No! Let’s forget about history.

Let’s forget that the First World War was fought and ended humanely, and how many TENS Of MILLIONS of lives did that cost the world in WWII!

Korea was fought and ended humanely, and that cost us Vietnam and will cost is Taiwan one of these days.

The 6 Day War was fought and ended humanly, and it cost the Iranians several million lives in its war with Iraq and we got the and the first Gulf War.

The 1st Gulf War was fought and ended humanely, and it cost us the mess we have on our hands now.

So you go on and sleep well because you are ok with institutional, government approved slaughter the few thousand people, but let’s hang a few Marines because they are human!

Happy Memorial Day

Dread Pirate Roberts VI on May 28, 2006 at 12:42 PM

I’ll be damned. Someone else gets it. There will never be peace…EVER until islime ITSELF is completely destroyed. The cult feeds on blood. It always has since that madman and the Devil spawned it. This has been proven time after time after time after time after time, and STILL “decent people” refuse to see it.

So they plug their ears and close their eyes and say “La la la la la la la” and hope when they open their eyes islime will have gone away or will have agreed to play nice. They are shocked to find that the cult has swallowed up another country and are descending on yet another. STILL the cowards just don’t get it.(BS, they may see it , but are too arrogant, shortsighted, or chicken$#!^ to say so out loud).

But mo-hamhead (piss be upon him) surely understood the iron rule of force and greater force. That is why they deserve to win. The muslime fanatics won’t play by the imaginary ridiculously insane “rules of engagement”

THERE ARE NO RULES!!!!!!

Why do our “leaders” insist we fight with one hand tied around our balls? WHY? No one else does! Where is the virtue in our boys dying or getting maimed unnecessarily?

Stinking yellow bastards. No wonder the world hates us.

ecamorg on May 28, 2006 at 5:48 PM