Four United States Marines have been charged in connection with the deaths of Iraqi civilians in Haditha a little over a year ago. Four other Marines have been charged with failure to properly report and/or investigate the deaths of the Iraqi civilians. Link to the story from Military.com.
I understand that the Marine Corps must take allegations of any wrong-doing by Marines very seriously, and I am satisfied in my beliefs that they carried out the investigations thoroughly, and believe that the proceedings are being conducted fairly, impartial, and will come to the proper conclusion.
It is entirely possible that after a Marine was killed by the explosion of an IED, the remaining Marines massacred 24 Iraqi men, women and children out of anger, or whatever. It is also possible that either these innocents were killed in the crossfire between Marines and insurgents, or that these civilians were assisting the attack upon the Marines and became combatants as a result, jusifying the actions of the Marines.
The initial report, if you recall, was that 15 Iraqi civilians were killed in an IED explosion, and eight insurgents were killed in the ensuing firefight. Later, it was determined that none of the civilians were killed by the IED.
What it all came down to was whether or not the deaths of these people happened under circumstances that followed the Rules of Engagement and Law of Armed Conflict.
Here in America, we do not understand what it is like for these troops. Anyone in these war zones can be the enemy. Children wield weapons. Women (even grandmas) are willing to wear bomb belts. Any action considered offensive will put any soldier in such a situation at the ready. And word from the region has it that the insurgents often blend in with the civilians, using innocents as shields, or as deliverers of death.
Perhaps these Marines are guilty, but I fear that those that have condemned these people are applying standards consistent with civilian societal views and understandings, and not consistent with the atmosphere of war.
This action of charging the Marines, and conducting a criminal investigation into the follow-up actions of the chain of command is damaging. Hey, if they are guilty and committed these attrocities as charged, then they have coming what they deserve, but even if that is the case, this is damaging beyond repair.
An accelerating media frenzy over this is overwhelming American politics. The mainstream media is using Haditha to further compare Iraq to Vietnam. In fact, I think that the liberal press is unable to think of any American war without reflexively placing it into a Vietnam mindset. The Western Press seems to be compelled to be anti-US military and anti-Conservative. The liberal press is willing to use any situation (with a little twisting usually) as a political tool to dismantle America's effort in Iraq and destroy the legitimacy of our presence. They desire to directly affect the case against these Marines as well as use it to their political means. The left wishes to disrupt the morale of the troops, and to undermine the image of the United States as a military power.
As far as the left is concerned, what happened in Haditha is a case of out-right murder. Doesn't matter if they have little or no idea of the facts in the situation. As far as they are concerned these were wanton killings performed in cold blood.
The only people that knows what truly happened in Haditha is the Marines and the insurgents that were there. The reports that the surviving Marines went on an hours-long killing spree by the media was tainted by the fact that these reporters desire to discredit Bush and the war in Iraq at any cost, including the futures of our fine United States Marines.
People don't seem to realize that Haditha was (and is) controlled by the insurgents. The insurgents call all the shots. The insurgents decide who lives and dies. The civilians in that region cooperate out of fear, coercion, or in some cases a desire to be part of the murderous effort carried out by Radical Islamism.
Anti-war lefties don't consider the hellish conditions that our troops must fight there way through. It does not seem to ever cross the minds of the liberal media to give our troops the benefit of the doubt. Apparently the press does not believe that we owe that to our troops, and instead will not be satisfied unless Haditha becomes their justification that Bush was wrong to go to war in Iraq and a lever to pull our troops from the region. They are feeding the public opinion, and with Hollyweird's history of producing films about out-of-control, cold blooded soldiers the public has been quick to jump on the wagon. Here's where the left doesn't get it. If this pushes us out of Iraq in a manner similar to when we pulled out of Vietnam, there is one difference that the left hasn't been willing to recognize. When we left Vietnam, the enemy didn't follow us home. Radical Islamists will. If we leave the region, we will lose. And I don't mean lose like someone loses a game. We will lose our safety, freedom, and eventually, we will lose our country to Islam.
Don't think we'd ever allow that? We already have a Muslim in public office by the name of Ellison who was only willing to take his oath on the Koran.
The left is ready to do whatever they can to ensure that the Haditha incident becomes synonymous with the entire effort in Iraq. Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia would be more than happy to see us withdraw from Iraq in defeat. The mainstream media is determined to sabotage any public support for the Iraq war, and demonize those that supports it. They claim to support the troops as does the conservatives, yet they call them baby killers, and play psychological games on the American public.
Political fallout from the charges will innevitably be the press and the left refueling their theory that President Bush lied us into the war. And they will say, if Bush lied then, why not the Pentagon and the troops lying now regarding the massacre of innocents?
And all of this on the eve of a Democratic take-over of Congress.
What the left doesn't seem to realize is that the conditions of Haditha, controlled by the insurgents to the degree that it is, is what will become of Iraq if we depart from Iraq. Murderous thugs armed by Iran and Syria will turn Iraq in another Cambodian nightmare. The sands of Iraq will become killing fields beyond what any of us could imagine.
I refuse to accept the idea that the left puts forth.
I refuse to accept the idea that we should disgrace ourselves and pull out of Iraq with our tails between our legs with a lable of "murderers" posted on our backs.
We have troops in harm's way around the world. We cannot allow them to believe that they are regarded with scorn as their fathers in Vietnam came to believe. And if those Marines truly did kill innocents in Haditha, their conduct is an aberration, not the norm. Despite the left's desires and treasonous activities, we must not allow Haditha to tarnish the noble service of our military men and women. Our military is faithful to America. They haven't failed us, and we must not fail them.