Haditha: New details of Bargewell report leaked (Update: Hamdaniya Marines to be charged with murder)

posted at 11:25 am on June 21, 2006 by Allahpundit

A DoD source read part of the executive summary over the phone to the L.A. Times. I said in the last Haditha post that it sounded like negligence, but maybe “recklessness” is a better fit for culpability. Red flags waving:

For instance, the executive summary of Bargewell’s inquiry argues that problems with the reports submitted by the Marines of Kilo Company should have been apparent to leaders of the Marine command in the area, called Multinational Force-West, or MNF-West.

“No follow-up actions regarding the civilian casualties were deemed necessary by the senior leadership of MNF-West,” the report reads. “Initial reports of K Company and its subordinate units were untimely, inaccurate and incomplete. They were conflicted, poorly vetted and forgotten once transmitted.”

The summary suggested that Marine officers missed several opportunities to probe more deeply into the incident. One of those involved the 2nd Marine Division comptroller, who would have been responsible for making compensatory payments to the families of the civilians who were killed. The comptroller told the staff judge advocate’s office — which functions as the division’s legal counsel — that he believed the incident “might require further reporting.”

But the advocate’s office didn’t act on the comptroller’s request…

Top Marine Corps officials have also concluded that the $38,500 in compensatory payments made to the relatives of those killed in Haditha should have caused the 2nd Marine Division to examine the incident more closely.

The Times reiterates that there’s no finding of a deliberate cover-up according to those who have seen the report. So how to account for the missed warning signs? Could be that the Corps is simply too consumed with operations to go picking through the rubble except in all but the clearest cut cases of atrocities. Less charitably, it could be that they had an inkling of what went down and, while not suppressing any information, decided they were better off not knowing all the details. Or, if you want to go the full Sullivan route, it could be that incidents like this aren’t that uncommon and the Corps has taken to processing them as a matter of routine.

We’ll see. All I know is, it’s Bush’s and Rumsfeld’s fault because, well, everything is.

Update: They’re out of shackles but in hot water — the AP says the seven Marines and Navy sailor accused of killing a man in Hamdaniya will be charged with murder.

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General Michael Hagee must retire. He is a disgrace to the country for putting shackles onto the soldiers, treating them worse than treating any AlQeada terrorists, and worse than any other war enemies. Our enemies are protected by the Geneva Convention but our soldiers are abused by General Michael Hagee.

RETIRE NOW! General Hagee!

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 11:44 AM

Why am I seeing reports all over the place suddenly citing unnamed Pentagon sources or anonymous Marine sources regarding this incident and possible actions against these Marines and the one Navy guy being investigated?
First I think all of these anonymous sources are pure fabrication but why does the press have to prove anything? If somebody identifies then of course they will call for indictments of the person who unmasked the source. So much BS nowadays in the reporting of news that it has simply become impossible to separate fact from fiction, and most reporting nowadays seems to be fiction.
Let’s wait on the news conference.

LakeRuins on June 21, 2006 at 12:01 PM

I’m with you about the anonymous sources. I just have a hard time believing them anymore.
Also, I always have to remind myself that although our military goes to great strides to train our soldiers and marines (and they do a damn fine job), they are for the most part, still teenagers and young adults. I remember I was pretty reckless back then. It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a bit of recklessness. But, I’ll wait until the final report to make up my mind on the whole affair. After all, I still believe we should give them the benefit of the doubt – they ARE in a war zone.

pullingmyhairout on June 21, 2006 at 12:45 PM

I still believe we should give them the benefit of the doubt….

Benefit of the doubt only applies to jehadis and enemy symps….

ScottG on June 21, 2006 at 12:56 PM

Yep, every after action report needs to be veted properly… after all, its not like the staff is over there in a war or anything…

/sarcasm off

This being leaked to the press needs to be investigated… and we need to do somthing about the press at this point. I DO believe in freedom of the press, but do not believe they get a free pass… all this anonymous source crap to cover someone illegaly leaking information has got to stop.

Romeo13 on June 21, 2006 at 1:11 PM

And still we are waiting on the press conference that is being promised. It is 1:30 pm EST and wasn’t the briefing supposed to be at noon or is that Pacific time?

LakeRuins on June 21, 2006 at 1:32 PM


Are you confusing the Haditha incident with the Marines that were shackled at Camp Pendleton. I think they are not the same. The Marines being held at Pendleton were involved in a much more recent incident where the evidence is a bit more clear. Whereas, the bad guys in Haditha have had much more time to manufacture the evidence to try and implicate Marines of some kind of wrongdoing.

However, I do agree with you in that the presumption of innocence is sometimes hard to find these days, for everyone.

Melba Toast on June 21, 2006 at 1:35 PM

Ummmm….Yeeaahhhh….Because all the other leaks have been so acurate so far.

Kid from Brooklyn on June 21, 2006 at 2:00 PM

A DoD source, named Wesley, read part of the executive summary over the phone to the L.A. Times reporter Mary M. who verified the info with fellow reporter Dan who confirmed he had heard it from a high placed CIA operative codenamed “Valerie” further corrobrated by ex high ranking service members John & John. Final verification of the story was provided by the janitor at the Pentagon, Howard, who needs to change the mop water because it is starting to smell like Boones Farm.
/not that I know what it smells like

LakeRuins on June 21, 2006 at 2:24 PM

Melba Toast, still, General Hagee has to go.

As to these seven Marines and one sailor, they should receive fair and equal treatment. They should have the right to fair trials. I expect President Bush to pardon them immediately if they are found guilty.

These marines are fighting terrorists, they are not fighting a war. I never think they should face court martial based on current Geneva convention. In fact, I think we need to define new laws for the war against terrorisms.

They are not that much different from the pilot that bombed Iraq ( the Shock and Awe missions, remember?) They know damn well that some civilian will be killed too. And our Commander in Chief still authorized them to drop the bomb.

If any one has to be tried, it is the top, not the marines.

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 2:39 PM


The defense lawyers should really question the validity of the military court to try these soldiers on current military laws.

They are not fighting a conventional war. Unless the court can prove the guys they shot are not terrorists, the court has no case. It is the court to prove, not the soldiers. The court has to provide proof that what they have killed are innocent civilian. They just shoot anything they feel threatening to them.

It is extremely unfair to our soldiers that they have to follow Geneva Convention while their enemies don’t.

The entire court martial thing is a joke. We cannot possibly allow it to happen without say a word.

Until Bush and the congress can define a new set of law and engagement conduct guideline for the soldiers to follow when fighting terrorists, there is no case.

Of course, they can still persecute the soldiers using Geneva Convention, per force. But who is the commander in cheif on the other side? Who is their legal leader? What is their sovereignty?

This is the biggest injustice our country has imposed onto our soldiers. They are fighting terrorism aganist a group of terrorists that don’t follow Geneva convention. There is no way they can tell who they are shooting against because none of them wear uniform.

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 3:10 PM

Easy87us, thanks for clarifying with your latest post. You had me a little confused with the one above it… which you can ask others here and they will tell you that is not difficult to do. :)

Good writing by the way, now that I understand your point. And yes, it is a serious matter; and one that is not being addressed as it should be.

Cary on June 21, 2006 at 3:16 PM

I hope to bring the conservatives to the most important point of the issue…

Who determine the people our soldier shot at are civilians, but not terrorists?

This is a crock of sh%t Bush is dishing to us. The Congress must stop this monkey show now! In fact, it is illegal to try our soldiers because they are not fighting an armed forces that wear a uniform!

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 3:20 PM

In fact, it is illegal to try our soldiers because they are not fighting an armed forces that wear a uniform!

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 3:20 PM

Are you SURE about this? I’m just asking a question, that’s all. I’m not a lawyer nor was I in the military. Please enlighten/educate me.

pullingmyhairout on June 21, 2006 at 3:30 PM

Of course they can persecute the soldiers. But do they have a case? and what law do they based upon?

So far I have not seen any laws passed by any international body or by our own country regulate armed confrontation against terrorists that are non-uniform.

Because the congress and our Commander in Cheif do not have a set of law written to guide engagement with non-uniformed terrorist, I say that trying them is illegal because there are no law regulating their engagement.

In fact, do you remember a few years ago we took out an entire wedding party north of Iraq? Was anyone getting persecuted?

I am just trying to fight for our soldiers the same way they treat them terrorists at Gitmo.

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 3:44 PM

Well let’s make no mistake. Anyone who thinks our military courts cannot try our soldiers if said soldiers are accused of outright murder by our own military, is wrong. Murder of civilians goes against the Uniform Military Code of Justice. Geneva is acknowldged there but is hardly the criteria. We are dealing with people that strap bombs to little children; handling the war (and YES it is a WAR) with ‘kid-gloves’ is hardly an option.

In the context of our enemies in the Middle-East: whoever takes up arms against us is NOT a civilian, if you aid the enemy or give them refuge then you are NOT a civilian.

The most important point in this issue is whether or not these specific marines actually committed murder. Anything else is simply a deflection. Unless these marines are convicted you can bet I will be siding with them instead of blaming Bush or apologizing for terrorists.

Cary on June 21, 2006 at 3:47 PM

Cary on, these soldiers are fighting for their life. Should we expect them to ask every one they encountered.”hey..may I see your ID?”

As I said, the military court can try them on murder, but Americans will see it as the biggest injustice we have imposed on our military by sending them into a battle ground fighting an enemy without uniform, but we would have no way to discriminate between terrorists and civilian.

The defense lawyers should really explore our deficiencies in this area.

Bush should pardon them. He really should.

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 3:56 PM

No charges have been brought yet.

LakeRuins on June 21, 2006 at 3:57 PM

I know. I just want to point out the obvious.

If they brought charges, they would stir up a nest of killer bees.

I warned them here.

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 4:01 PM

I’m also wondering, on what grounds, they are holding prisoners in detention for weeks or months at a time, without either pressing charges, or setting bail… sounds like NEITHER group has even gone to NJP yet (Article 34’s), and are yet being held in SHACKLES??? HUH????

Soldiers do NOT sign away their Rights when they join, they still get due process.

I can see them being restricted to base (simple order) but not incarcerated without due process.

The Right so Habeus Corpus, is being erroded in this country… and needs to be fixed.

Romeo13 on June 21, 2006 at 4:15 PM

The military legal process is different then the civillian process. There is no bail or bond. The Marines are being held in what is called pre trial confinement. This is allowed for service members suspected of committing a crime during the investigative pahse and the what is called Article 32 process or basically the grand jury phase. I have often had soldiers in pre trial confinement for charges ranging from possesion of drugs to AWOL. It is not unusual however in the case of these Marines it does seem excessive restraint is being used. The Marines supected in the Haditha are not being held while this group is which also brings up some questions about double standards.

LakeRuins on June 21, 2006 at 4:27 PM

easy87us is right. The terrorists are mostly anonymous people without uniforms looking like any other civilians. Typically they are embedded with the civilians striking out to ambush our troops at their convenience. Using the rules of conventional warfare to judge our troops is pure p.c. lunacy and has the potential to be very demoralizing perhaps affecting reenlistments and new recruiting adversely.

docdave on June 21, 2006 at 4:43 PM

Interesting that resident liberal troll Vanya is squawking like a duck in heat over the fact that you have not yet discussed a case involving three soldiers … but she’s completely absent in a thread covering other similar stories in depth.

I wonder why that is.

Professor Blather on June 21, 2006 at 4:48 PM

At the rate the Left is going, someone is going to have to come up with a new IQ scale because “0” won’t be low enough.


GT on June 21, 2006 at 5:11 PM

Given the fact that the soldiers were not given a mean to discriminate friend and foe, the congress and the President will be responsible for their errors, not the soldiers.

The only way to fix this problem is for the pentagon to draft a detailed procedure regulation regarding engagement with non-uniform combatants, and have it approved by congress. Also we should draft a regulation for how we should treat prisoners.

Then our country should propose to include the regulations into Geneva convention. This may take decades.

Before they have a set of law and regulation on engagement of non-uniformed combatants, they should not try these soldiers.

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 5:19 PM

right, easy87us, this type of warfare needs new rules. In previous conventional wars, those who fought in civilian dress were summarily shot as was those civilians that sheltered them.

docdave on June 21, 2006 at 6:24 PM

Thanks, docdave.

Also, I think some ones in the military are playing politics with the soldiers’ future. That is why I demand the resignation of General Michael Hagee.

easy87us on June 21, 2006 at 6:47 PM