Call me analytical or what, and I say this with a heavy heart, but last year on 08 August I posted Haditha another Fallujah?
I recall the tragedy of Fallujah as “a truly disgraceful exhibition of American military might used in the most barbaric fashion with nationalistic angry vengeance, unbecoming of any civilized nation. Many innocent women and children were killed, and homes of innocents were pounded to debris. Red Cross ambulances were prevented from rescuing any injured. A Marine cold bloodedly executed unarmed and wounded Iraqis in a mosque. All to satisfy a need for revenge.”
Based on the feral barbaric behaviour of the American military’s propensity to punish every Iraqi in sight in a particular area where Americans had been killed, without careful application of conventional rules of engagement or regard for the treatment of civilians under international laws, I had worried for Haditha’s citizens.
My concern was relevant vecause at that time a 1000-strong joint US-Iraqi force launched a third attack against the insurgents at Haditha. The US aim was to interdict the insurgents, meaning, seal off all entries and exits to/from the area, and finished those trapped within. The usual civilians including women and children would also be ‘within’.
On 21 March this year I sadly posted what I had feared all along, Another My Lai!. I referred to the morning of 19 November 2005 when the vehicle of a group of US marine troops was struck by a roadside bomb near Haditha. One man, Lance Corporal Miguel Terrazas died from that blast.
According to eyewitnesses and local officials interviewed by the Time magazine over a period of 10 weeks, the Marines sought revenge for their dead comrade by going on a bloody murderous rampage in the nearby village after the attack, killing 15 unarmed Iraqis in their homes, including seven women and three children [this figure has since increased to 24]. They then falsely reported the murdered villages were killed by unknown armed men.
Thanks to the report by Time magazine, and the reality that currently the Iraqi war has become extremely unpopular for Americans, President Bush has decided to add his concerns on the killings. He has promised to make public all the details of inquiries into the alleged massacre.
Now, other witnesses have come out to tell of four Iraqi university students in a taxi being summarily executed by US troops, despite pleas for mercy from the taxi driver.
Samir Sumaidaie, the new Iraqi ambassador to the US, after presenting his credentials to President Bush, told CNN that his cousin was unjustifiably murdered by US marines in his home in Haditha last July. He lamented that the US military had failed to adequately investigate his death.
When asked whether there was a pattern to the way marines operated in Haditha, Mr Sumaidaie said there might be and that he knew of a case where three unarmed youths in a car had been shot by US forces shortly after his cousin.
There are three issues for the Americans to resolve, namely (1) the truth of the massacres and those responsible, (2) the attempted cover up that led all the way to the top of the military, possibly at the Joint Chiefs level, and most important of all. (3) will those responsible/guilty be appropriately punished? Let's hope it won't be another bullshit Lt Calley-type gloved treatment for the Haditha murderers.
Mind you, if the war had gone President Bush’s way, he would have brushed the Time magazine report aside, probably forcing the ‘unpatriotic’ editors, like those at Newsweek related to the case of US troops desecrating the Koran, to apologize.