GRAFFITI ON WALL IN HADITHA: "DEMOCRACY ASSSASSINATED THE FAMILY THAT WAS HERE"
More on Haditha. Horrifying, simply horrifying.
Kilo Company did not dwell on what happened Nov. 19. Mike Coffman, who was a Marine Reserve officer in Haditha at the time, recalled that another officer, telling him about the incident, "indicated to me that he thought from the beginning that it was overreaction by the Marines, but he didn't think anything criminal had occurred."
Dear Lord, nothing criminal? An officer of the U.S. Marine Corps thought it was LAWFUL to murder babies, children, and wheelchair-bound grandfathers in cold blood, that it was merely an "overreaction"? Maybe we SHOULD be giving "remedial decency" lessons to our troops.
On March 10, the findings were given to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Gen. Peter Pace, the first Marine ever to be chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Rumsfeld told aides that the case promised to be a major problem. He called it "really, really bad -- as bad or worse than Abu Ghraib," recalled one Pentagon official. On March 11, President Bush was informed, according to the White House.
Stories differ about when Bush was informed. This detailed and graphic account of the events has Bush "apparently roasting" Rumsfeld for not informing him as soon as Rummy was briefed, but the Post article cited above has Bush being informed the day after Rumsfeld.
That weekend, almost four months after the incident, "we went to general quarters," recalled one Marine general, using the naval expression for the call to arms. The following Monday, March 13, Marine officers began briefing key members of Congress on defense-related committees. Their message was succinct: Something highly disturbing had happened in Haditha, and its repercussions could be serious. The alacrity of the Marine response surprised some of Rumsfeld's aides in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. OSD, as it is called at the Pentagon, told the Marine Corps a few days later not to say anything to anyone about the investigation, recalled the general. Too late, the Marines responded, we've already briefed Capitol Hill.
Typical Rummy. "Don't tell anyone!"
But even then, nothing had been made public about the November event that might have distinguished it from Iraq's daily bloodshed. Then, on March 19, the Time magazine article appeared.
From the Sunday Herald:
CIVILIANS who spent time at the Haditha Dam base of the Third Battalion of the First Marines describe the place as something out of Apocalypse Now or Lord Of The Flies. It was “feral” one said. Soldiers didn’t wash. They had abandoned regulation billets and had built make-shift, primitive huts bearing skull-and-crossbone signs. The place stank. One American civilian engineer attached to the camp, with the task of keeping the huge hydro-electric dam nearby operating, said he was terrified of the soldiers he had to live alongside.
The bodies of the 24 men, women and children killed in the hours after Terrazas’s death are in a cemetery known as the martyrs’ graveyard. On a nearby wall graffiti reads: “Democracy assassinated the family that was here.”
Waleed Mohammed, a lawyer representing some of the families, said the survivors were waiting desperately for news of criminal charges being pressed against the marines of Kilo Company. “They are convinced that the sentence will be like one for someone who has killed a dog in the United States,” he said, “because Iraqis have become like dogs in the eyes of Americans.”
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