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

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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