Tuning out: Henninger on Haditha and the anti-war left

posted at 11:52 am on June 2, 2006 by Allahpundit

If they turn up the volume of bad news high enough, we’ll pull the plug just to have some peace and quiet. That’s always been the goal, of course, but now they’ve got a new woofer to play with:

In El Paso, Texas, the father of Marine Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas, whose death from a roadside bomb is the event said to have precipitated the Marine shootings at Haditha, said simply: “I don’t even listen to the news.” This may be the widespread reaction as the Haditha story overwhelms all else–enough, I don’t want to hear about it.

And there begins the Iraq Syndrome…

The missions in Iraq and Afghanistan grew from the moral outrage of September 11. U.S. troops, the best this country has yet produced, went overseas to defend us against repeating that day. Now it isn’t just that the war on terror has proven hard; the men and women fighting for us, the magnificent 99%, are being soiled in a repetitive, public way that is unbearable.

And that’s the key. To cover it, as we’ve done here, in order to find out what went wrong is one thing; to exploit it in hopes of delegitimizing the entire war, and in particular the heroism of the rest of the troops in the field, is something else entirely. And it’s already begun, both on television and in print. But here’s the silver lining in a very dark cloud:

Opinion polls put support for the war below 40%. Still, it has become obligatory now as a nod across the political spectrum to the corrosive Vietnam Syndrome, to reassure that one’s opposition is only to the war, not to the men fighting it.

Really? How does that work?

If nothing else good comes from this incident, perhaps at least it’ll spell the end of the knee-jerk compulsion from some quarters to insist they “support the troops” while ignoring or dismissing out of hand their every accomplishment. I’ve always thought part of the reason Bush is despised so viscerally is because pacifists no longer are permitted to blame the soldiers who actually carry out the killing; as Henninger says, America is too ashamed of how Vietnam vets were treated to allow that again. So Bush becomes the lightning rod, taking not only his own heat but the heat that would have been spent on the troops themselves if this were 1970. Here’s a perfect illustration from the Nation’s editorial:

A generation of future US military officers were taught the details of the My Lai massacre as a particular lesson: What makes war crimes is criminal leadership. Whatever the responsibility of the unit commanders in Haditha, it is George W. Bush as Commander in Chief who has sent the clear message that human rights abuses and violations of international law are justified in the “war on terror.”… What we need is not the “picture of what happened” promised by the White House but a full-scale investigation both of the massacre in Haditha and of the climate of impunity that allowed it to happen and to be ignored for so long.

Even here, after they’ve pronounced the Marines guilty, they’re afraid to blame them for what happened. It’s Bush’s fault: he created the “climate of impunity,” he “sent the message,” and never you mind that magnificent 99% to which Henninger refers whom the so-called message never reached. Murtha does the same thing, blaming the “exhaustion” the Haditha Marines felt from having been deployed for so long — because, after all, the 99% who don’t shoot babies aren’t tired in the least.

Or, as Cox & Forkum put it:


Today there’s news of a new supposed massacre. Dan Riehl and Newsbusters are suspicious, and rightly so, I think, for precisely the reason given by the Commissar. The fringe left will use this to lend credence to every new claim of atrocities made against U.S. forces, no matter how anecdotal. They might finally have gotten the war crime they’ve been waiting for.

More from Victor Davis Hanson and Ben Stein, who’s keeping things in grim perspective. Meanwhile, the Iraqi PM is walking a fine line. His first responsibility is to his people, of course, but I wonder if he realizes what effect this incident could have on the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. Or is that the point?

Update: Here’s some actual news on Haditha: investigators want to exhume the bodies of those killed for examination. Will it happen? Here’s what Time reported on Monday:

The families say they cooperated fully with the NCIS, but drew the line at exhumation; investigators’ requests for the bodies to be dug up for forensic examination were flatly turned down by the families. Islam doesn’t permit bodies to be disturbed after burial.

Update: In case you didn’t know, the Ishaqi “massacre” story is several months old and has been reported on by media both foreign and domestic. How incredibly convenient that the BBC would be handed new evidence just as the Haditha story is taking off.

The U.S. military denies the allegations.

Update: In case you’re not drawing the proper parallels, the AP is here to nudge you along.

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In Sep 2005, 14 Marines were killed instantly by a massive IED in Haditha (worst one ever) and during the same month 6 more were blown to smitherines. This history is not known by the public.

I found out about this when I was listening to Congressman Curt Weldon on the radio. Weldon puts things into CONTEXT.

I believe the town people were pretty much in cohoots with the terrorists. When the Nov ‘05 incident occurred and yet another 20-yr old was blown in half, the Marines decided “a new tactic” (my words).

To me, all these “civilians” are collaborators.

None of them are guilty of anything.

I SAY OUR MARINES DON’T KILL ANYBODY WHO DON’T DESERVE IT. (at least 99.999% of them don’t). They do what they have to do.

the left is running rampant with more similar stories (ie: pregnant women shot, man shot and troops put a shovel in his hand, etc etc..). More than likely the man did use a shovel to bury an IED. I STAND WITH OUR MARINES!

Also, now the Marines have to get MORE mandatory “sensitivity” and “rules of war – civilian rights” training.. (THEY GET TONS OF IT ALREADY!)

I don’t like this cycle…. This could be the beginning of the end… We have to do something!!

Richard Davis on June 2, 2006 at 12:10 PM

No exhumation, no charges. Period.

Mike H. on June 2, 2006 at 12:36 PM

If the MSM reported the facts, and did not try too “manufacture news”, and to push their left-wing agenda, the American people would be behind the war in Iraq by like, 70% to 80%, or higher. This kind of mind set, “gives aid and comfort to the enemy”.

birdman on June 2, 2006 at 12:36 PM

Excuse me, but GEORGE BUSH sent the message that human rights violations are okay?

Oh, and I thought it was MUSLIMS who did that, on 9-11.

I thought it was MUSLIMS who did that by blowing themselves up in cafes, on bus stops and in public markets.

I thought it was MUSLIMS who did that by blowing up a Marine barracks.

I thought it was MUSLIMS who did that by blowing up diplomats in our embassies.

I thought it was MUSLIMS who did that by trying to blow up the USS Cole.

I thought it was MUSLIMS who did that when they tried to topple the World Trade Center the first time, in 1993.

I’ll worry about OUR “human rights violations” when the Islamic barbarians learn how to behave like human beings.

ForYourEdification on June 2, 2006 at 12:37 PM

well put, ForYourED…..I am digusted by the msm and their allies always damming our military for anything…..

robo on June 2, 2006 at 6:49 PM

The liberal minded answers are in the end cowerdice, appeasement and being diverse and politically correct. They seem or not interested in the truth and sanity in dealing with an Idoligy that whose goal is total domination of the world by Islamic thought. That means, any form of government, Religion not in line with the barbaric suppression of freedom, is in the end not worthy to exist. Whether we are in Iraq or not is not the issue.
War is not a clean process. Cleansing the world of these diviant thugs is a dirty business. THe liberals seem to think terrorists have rights. I believe they have none, that means there are no rules for curbing their killing of innocents, surpressing of individual rights. Islamic terrorists have no rights, those that demand they are covered under International Rule of Law and treaties are insane. Democrates are doing their Roll Over Rover slight of hand again and are critically not interested in anything but their own agenda, and that is not protectiing America, and other Non Islamic nations.

jgm666u on June 3, 2006 at 10:41 AM

I agree, Mike H. No corroborating evidence, no conviction. Even if the ‘slaying’ is proven to be true, the war setting should mitigate the sentence. Those responsible should do time – no one can condone the action – but excessive punishment is not in order.

It’s easy to support the troops when they’re ‘flying high’. Real support, like true friendship, happens when they are ‘down’.

dman on June 3, 2006 at 10:50 AM

Chances are the people who were killed were harboring the terrorists who constructed and then set off the IED. In Vietnam the Viet Cong used to hide among the civilians to protect themselves from the retribution of our soldiers. When a combatant hides among civilians to prevent his own death or capture, it is he who is reponsible for the deaths and injuries that may be subsequently suffered by those civilians. Hasn’t anybody seen the photos of little kids throughout the Middle East, brandishing AK 47’s? Those photos aren’t mirages. Check out Michelle Malkin’s site. She has some examples there. http://michellemalkin.com

cwcsquared on June 3, 2006 at 5:40 PM

You are all dancing around it.

Birdman almost comes out and says what we are all thinking by his referring to “aid and comfort.”

So let’s say what we all think. The American so-called “mainstream media” is actively committing TREASON. Yep. They are working FOR the enemy and attempting to sabotage the war.


Because they are leftists? Because they hate Bush? Because they hate America and America only does bad things? Because they want to see the Democrats take over?

Whatever. Who really knows or cares.

Sometime after the fall of Baghdad, the media decided to undermine the war. Whether they did it by explicit conspiracy, or it was simply a “meeting of like minds,” they began a nearly 3 year long plan to undercut popular support of the war, through the use of deliberately biased news, through the use of US KIA, without combat context or without reporting enemy casualties, and now through outright fabrication.

Those “roll of honor” bits that the PBS News Hour does was deliberately designed to create an atmosphere of belief among the American people that the enemy is “picking us off one by one and we’re helpless to stop it.”

By demoralizing the public, the “mainstream media” is attempting to move the public into a “cut and run” mood. And they are succeeding.

Ernie Pyle, America’s best-known WWII correspondent, said “Every reporter is a citizen of somewhere and a believer in something.” Even though the reporters and news readers are American citizens, it is clear that these media people *believe* that America must lose this war.

And so, by both common and contemporary as well as in the Constitutional meaning, the media is committing treason.

There it is, I’ve said it!

Even with the 1st Amendment, the Constitution is NOT a suicide pact. In WWII, FDR recognized how a hostile media could sabotage the war effort, so the government instituted strict and harsh censorship, to buffer the images of wounded, and dying men from the public.

It is no accident that the media downplayed the USMC casualties at Iwo Jima in WWII — 1/3 of the force that landed there, over 25,000 (nearly 6000 KIA and MIA). It was censorhip that kept this news silent until long after the fact. Had there not been war-time censorship, and had these numbers been made known as they were happening, there would have been a demand to “cut and run” and not seek victory over Japan.

So let’s call what the “mainstream media” is doing what it is — treason.

Then,let’s develop a strategy for defeating the media’s lies and distortions.

And the next time America goes to war, we must insist that war-time censorship be established to make sure the “5th Column Media” does not have the opportunity to sabotage the next war, as they did with this one.

My 2 cents….

georgej on June 5, 2006 at 6:23 AM