The Marine Corps’ analysis of how the Haditha incident was handled has come out, and the Washington Post could choose to emphasize one of two angles. Well, possibly more, but two are suggested by the excerpts they chose to give. Here’s one possibility:

1. “I found no direct evidence of any orchestrated effort or any effort on the part of any individual above the squad level to cover up this incident. “…

Recommendations

“I recommend that this investigation be used to inform the continuing development and improvement of ROE [rules of engagement] reset training and that it be used as a case study for training in staff procedures and reporting.” [and, by implication, nothing more severe was recommended–See Dubya.]

or do you think they ran with this?

2. “Leaders from the platoon through the 2nd Marine Division level, particularly at the Company and Battalion level, exhibited a determination to ignore indications of serious misconduct, perhaps to avoid conducting an inquiry that could prove adverse to themselves or their Marines. . . ”

and

“The RCT-2 Commander, however, expressed only mild concern over the potential negative ramifications of indiscriminate killing based on his stated view that the Iraqis and insurgents respect strength and power over righteousness.”

Okay, decide which angle the WaPo took, and look at the headline to see if you were right. Me, I think I’m going to wait to see the whole report, because it sounds to me like the Marine Corps was cleared of a coverup, even if there are problems with the way they regard Iraqi civilians, and there will be changes to the rules of engagement based on this incident.

Whatever those changes are going to be, I hope they don’t make it any harder for Marines to defend themselves.