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Tilting at Windmills

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June 1, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

ISHAQI....More bad news. The BBC has a videotape that seems to confirm another American massacre of civilians in Iraq, this time in the town of Ishaqi, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. Knight Ridder first reported on this back in March, but the official response from the military was to dismiss the story, which was based on Iraqi police reports: "We're concerned to hear accusations like that, but it's also highly unlikely that they're true," said Major Tim Keefe.

The BBC video is here. It comes from a "hardline Sunni group opposed to coalition forces," but the BBC says that it "has been cross-checked with other images taken at the time of events and is believed to be genuine." If that turns out to be the case, it directly contradicts the American version of events.

In related news, Iraq's new prime minister demanded that American officials turn over their files on the Haditha massacre so that Iraq can conduct its own investigation. The New York Times reports:

The move also came as the new Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, lashed out at the American military in the harshest terms anyone in his office has so far used to condemn what he characterized as habitual atrocities against Iraqi civilians.

The American-led forces "do not respect the Iraqi people; they crush them by vehicles and kill them by suspicion," Mr. Maliki said. "This is extremely unacceptable."

At the risk of repeating the obvious, this is a very delicate situation. We desperately need to do the right thing.

Kevin Drum 7:48 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (231)

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Comments

What the fuck?

Posted by: Boorring on June 1, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Will this turn the public against the troops?

Seriously, these two incidents appear to be only the tip of the iceberg. If more shit starts oozing out, it could fracture the anti-war movement, which would play out very loudly in media.

Does anyone here remember the Vietnam era? (I don't) What effect did My Lai have on the protestors and public opnion?

Posted by: plum on June 1, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Someone should tell the president about this.

Posted by: Alf on June 1, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

At what point can we seriously consider charging Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld with war crimes?

Posted by: Amit Joshi on June 1, 2006 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Well, just make noises about 'bad apples' etc no matter how often the US military gets caught murdering civilans. Talk loudly about 'investigations'.

And us non US people will compare with how truthful the US government was about torture,renditions,wmds, war crimes etc etc. And wonder why the US military should be given an inch of credit when they're trying to avoid accusations of war crimes.

Posted by: kb on June 1, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

the liberal BBC says a video they got from terrorists is "believed" to be accurate. how about we wait for some actual evidence? the marine corps report should be done within weeks. is waiting for that too long, or do you lefties want to start calling americans baby killers early?

Posted by: American Hawk on June 1, 2006 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

At what point can we seriously consider charging Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld with war crimes?

Posted by: Amit Joshi on June 1, 2006 at 7:55 PM

Do it any goddam time you like and the rest of the world will be cheering you on. Alternatively, just impeach the little imbecile. Just make sure you impeach Cheney too. You don't want to just replace an incompetent fascist with a competent fascist.

Posted by: Joe Canuck on June 1, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

The BBC has a videotape that seems to confirm another American massacre of civilians in Iraq, this time in the town of Ishaqi, about 60 miles north of Baghdad. It comes from a "hardline Sunni group opposed to coalition forces,"

You probably don't realize this but it's really easy to create fake videos and images by using Photoshop. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised liberals would so easily believe terrorists saying the worst about American troops.

Posted by: Al on June 1, 2006 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

We desperately need to do the right thing.

No, no, no! All the real patriots like Malkin, Hindrocket, and theri ilk will be the first to tell you: We must commit many, many more atrocities. The only possible way to make the people of the Middle East love us is to kill, torture, and maim as many of their friends and relatives as possible.

Just ask InstaCracker--He'll explain to you how we're just not massacring enough brown people.

Posted by: Derelict on June 1, 2006 at 8:03 PM | PERMALINK
the liberal BBC says a video they got from terrorists is "believed" to be accurate. how about we wait for some actual evidence? the marine corps report should be done within weeks. is waiting for that too long, or do you lefties want to start calling americans baby killers early?

Sure, waiting seems fair. Then, when the truth comes out in the report, I'll expect your swift condemnation of these isolated incidents. Furthermore, I would hope they would provide more depth to your view when you next come upon a similar situation in the future, or it would increase your skepticism. But, it and you won't.

You probably don't realize this but it's really easy to create fake videos and images by using Photoshop. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised liberals would so easily believe terrorists saying the worst about American troops.

Evidence of evolutionism at its finest.

Posted by: Boorring on June 1, 2006 at 8:06 PM | PERMALINK

plum >"...Seriously, these two incidents appear to be only the tip of the iceberg. If more shit starts oozing out..."

In a real war, as opposed to the movie/television variety, this sort of stuff happens regularly & so, yes, there is plenty more "shit" to come out & there ALWAYS IS.

Of course it is, as always, unacceptable to focus, in polite company, on the equally barbaric behaviors of the Shia/Sunni death/IED squads that are destroying Iraqi society while claiming to fight the infidel invaders

And on a side note :

Once you have actually worn the uniform and gone through the experience American Hawk, I might actually give you some credibility but for now you are just bullshit

"Every once in a while, you've got to do something hard, do something you're not comfortable with. A person needs a gut check." - Corporal Chad Ritchie, U.S.M.C.

Posted by: daCascadian on June 1, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

Alternatively, just impeach the little imbecile. Just make sure you impeach Cheney too. You don't want to just replace an incompetent fascist with a competent fascist.

Unfortunately, it's imbeciles and incompetents all the way down...

Posted by: Alf on June 1, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

This sort of shit is par for course when it comes to the political garbage that spews itself out of right wing radio. When you have comments like Michael Savage claiming that you need racist stereotypes in order to hate the enemy, when other clost homosexual-conservatives whine about the "wussification" of US troops, you can then see how this childish and insecure way of thinking leads to the degrading of our political discourse.

Don't you "people" have no shame? Non-chalantly passing over the massacre of civilians reveals your loss of humanity, and puts a spotlight on your failings as a person, and as a movement.

Yet you think actions like this are strength, or just a "frat-boy" steaming off session (as in Abu Ghraib). Cowards, what you see as a weakness on the part of the moral superiors is just the strength of human dignity and morality. It is you who are immoral.

Come this fall, here is hoping some justice is in order.

Posted by: Boorring on June 1, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

What was all that nonsense about Iraq not being Vietnam?

Posted by: JeffII on June 1, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

...or do you lefties want to start calling americans baby killers early?

I don't want to call any of our troops baby killers, but more importantly I don't want any of them to be baby killers.

Waiting for the investigations and their conclusions is prudent. One thing that should be considered in the interim, is the strain and stress of this war has put our troops in for no good reason. Our Army is very nearly broken and we're sending soldiers who previously would have been deemed too psychologically damaged for line duty back into the line of fire.

I lay any and all atrocities of this kind at the feet of GWB (well, Rumsfeld too).

Posted by: cyntax on June 1, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

And just for clarification, I reserve honor for those who fight with honor, and I don't want innocent people killed on both sides. Yes, it is eventual in war, but when it happens you punish out of principle.

The military can be an honorable tradition, it is situations like this that really hurt our military, not the practice of free speech.

Posted by: Boorring on June 1, 2006 at 8:16 PM | PERMALINK

Personally, I'll take Paul Hackett at his word that: while it IS possible that American Troops just "snapped" in these cases, they represent a very tiny fraction of all US troops, and the wrongdoers in these cases will be punished by the UCMJ.

Opine all you want about the culpability of superiors, or of the architects of the war. It ain't ever gonna happen.

The sick part of it is going back to 2002-2003 time frame, and remembering talking (on blogs) to loudmouth wingnuts who claimed to have joined up for the purpose of "going over there and getting some payback for 9/11." - I sincerely hope that boot-camp filtered that shit out of who we sent over there. At least in the Marines, I understand there's extensive ethical training. But who knows what the polices are under Rumsfeld.

In the end - this will probably be a much welcomed excuse for the Right to call for a withdrawl, so in the future, they can blame Liberals for calling the troops baby-killers, and forcing the withdrawl, bringing about the inevitable genocide of Iraqi Sunnis. Just as Liberals today, are blamed for the Killing Fields of Cambodia - we will be blamed for the Sunni Genocide in Iraq. Mark my words. These incidents will be the catalyst that make it happen.

Paul Hacket also pointed out that Murtha has wrongly named a marine officer who was removed from command, and implied he was part of the Haditha massacre, when in fact, he had nothing at all to do with it, and was relieved for completely unrelated reasons (his troops appeared on a German TV interview using profanity).

Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten on June 1, 2006 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

This all hangs on the head of aWol like a very dead fish. If he had paid more attention while in the TANG, he may have known more about war and its consequences.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on June 1, 2006 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

"You probably don't realize this but it's really easy to create fake videos and images by using Photoshop."

You mean we really didn't paint those schools?

Posted by: Cruel troll killer on June 1, 2006 at 8:36 PM | PERMALINK

Wingnut hawk writes: "...how about we wait for some actual evidence?..."

Sure. Who's doing the investigating? And who will decide when it's done? What will be actually published?

And why is the Haditha investigation supposed to end only after there was a huge outcry from the left?

Posted by: Amit Joshi on June 1, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

And what happens when damaged men and women like this return to the US and are thrown back, with minimal treatment, into a society which is, not incidentally, full of guns?

These people have been reduced to the stage where they can commit crimes such as this, and in six months time they'll be dumped into US society to fend for themselves.

The people who did this will be walking around your suburban streets. Wanna bet that they'll be able to forget - to just 'switch it off'?

Washington Sniper.

Oklahoma City.

Posted by: floopmeister on June 1, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

At least in the Marines, I understand there's extensive ethical training. But who knows what the polices are under Rumsfeld. Posted by: Osama_Been_Forgotten

As a matter of fact, the ethical training for this kind of thing is spotty at best. I have a friend who teaches just this at the Army War College. His students are mostly senior officers. Very little of this gets down to the enlisted ranks. I had an exchange with this friend after the Haditha killings were reported. I'd sent him LTC Bateman's most recent post at Altercations.

Very interesting, thanks.

I've had to sit through the Army's annual "ethics training" that he mentions, and it's as bad as he says.

We definitely need officers like him, questioning their troops to elicit their assumptions (which obviously are sometimes wildly wrong), explaining what they should do in situations like the hypothetical one he described, and running them through realistic exercises, ideally so they come to understand what the right thing to do feels like (in the words of a wise colonel I heard in the fall of 2003).

I talk with my students every year about the My Lai massacre and what it says about human nature, a spectrum of likely behaviors, organizational and peer pressures etc.

Posted by: JeffII on June 1, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

"You probably don't realize this but it's really easy to create fake videos and images by using Photoshop."

You mean Bush didn't really visit Iraq a couple Thanksgivings back?

Posted by: hopeless pedant on June 1, 2006 at 8:45 PM | PERMALINK

Freedom, Freedom, Kevin hates America, You are all surrender monkeys.

There. Kevin, aren't you humilated enough?

Posted by: Freedom Phukher on June 1, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Take any good kid, any young American, and put him in that situation--a CIC who has no plan to end (much less win) a war, a war that shouldn't have been started, irrational hatred from an enemy that blends in with the innocent, irrational sporadic violence, toxic patriotism, fear, fatigue--then give him combat training, tell him he is a Hero and that killing these terrorists is a-okay, put powerful weapons in his hands--and he could behave exactly the same.

I heard a Seymour Hersh lecture recently in which he described meeting the mother of one of My Lai massacre soldiers. "I sent you a good boy," she said, "and the government sent me back a murderer."

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 1, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, but were all the "good deeds" of the insurgency and Al Qaeda and the Taliban rendered asunder by their ethical "mistakes" (the head choppings, strapping bombs onto the mentally challenged, killing of children receiving candy, assassinating elementary school teachers in front of their students, drilling holes in captives with power tools prior to shooting them, etc.)

This war is being fought in the news even more than the last. Ethical lapses can bring the whole house of cards down. For us, that is. Not for the enemy. He can just keep head chopping and child bombing.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 1, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

And btw, "At the risk of repeating the obvious, this is a very delicate situation. We desperately need to do the right thing."

And what is the right thing??

Robert Kennedy Jr. is publishing an article in Rolling Stone in which he makes the case that the election of 2004 was stolen by the Republicans.

What if that were true? What would happen next? Could we toss Bushco in its vicious entirety out the door--just pack the lot of them off to the War Crimes courts in Europe?

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 1, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

We lost this war shortly after it started.

This is just the eventual outcome. Of course there are more examples of atrocity. There seems to be plenty to go around.

America is too damn lazy to do much about it though. They would rather view their military as saintly heroes than the tool of political will that they are.

These kids in the Marines are tools, and tools can be used to do great works or great destruction.

Fish rot from the head. This goes back directly to the complete incompetence of GWB and his pack of cronies.

They of course will never be held to account though. And when we leave Iraq, it will be blamed on the liberals who didn't "support" our troops.

You watch.

Posted by: Monkey on June 1, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, but were all the "good deeds" of the insurgency and Al Qaeda and the Taliban rendered asunder by their ethical "mistakes" (the head choppings, strapping bombs onto the mentally challenged, killing of children receiving candy, assassinating elementary school teachers in front of their students, drilling holes in captives with power tools prior to shooting them, etc.)

Gee, you sound just like the 'liberal' media.

BTW, this is textbook moral relativism: "Yeah, but they are worse than us!" A morally reprehensible act is morally reprehensible, no matter who does it.

You sound like a postmodernist, Mike.

Oh, and since when did being against this war equate with being pro-terrorism? Of course the insurgency is committing crimes. They are fighting to win, in an assymetrical war, and they are using the tactics of propaganda and terror to do so.

You are surprised?

If you want to think of yourself (and your country) as being better than they are, morally speaking, you need to be better than they are, morally speaking.

Morality is absolute, Mike. Isn't that the whole conservative creed?

This war is being fought in the news even more than the last. Ethical lapses can bring the whole house of cards down. For us, that is. Not for the enemy. He can just keep head chopping and child bombing.

Well duh.

Mike has an epiphany and discovers one of the basic truisms of insurgency. It's all political - military 'victories' mean nothing. America could win every battle and encounter and still, inevitably, lose this war.

Funny, but that's why a lot of us were against it to begin with...

Posted by: floopmeister on June 1, 2006 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike: "This war is being fought in the news even more than the last. Ethical lapses can bring the whole house of cards down. For us, that is. Not for the enemy. He can just keep head chopping and child bombing."

But that is why the enemy is the bad guy. We are trying to be the good guys here--the ones that people cheer for. We don't want to be vicious enemy #2. This is not about the news media. It is not about marketing communications. It is about reality, about what we are doing. This is about Americans being vicious bastards no different from the enemy in the eyes of the Iraqis.

But I don't blame the American soldiers though. Put any one of us in their shoes, and we might do the same. The blame goes straight to the TANG-shirking CIC who treats war like a political game.

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 1, 2006 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

The BBC's record on deciding if photos are real

Posted by: foxnews on June 1, 2006 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK

For every family killed in the American bombing I get a pudding cup. I have 7 pudding cups!!! Thank you Uncle Sam!!"

Posted by: DJ on June 1, 2006 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Even if the BBC decides the pictures are fake, the damage to our reputation in Iraq will be real.

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 1, 2006 at 9:31 PM | PERMALINK

Foxnews confuses the BBC with the Daily Mirror.

Posted by: floopmeister on June 1, 2006 at 9:33 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah its well past time to start holding military and civilian leadership responsible for their criminal mismanagement. Long past time.

Posted by: patience on June 1, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Atrocities are the norm in any war. War is an atrocity. Innocent people are killed. Good boys and girls are turned into murderers. The social fabric is always frayed. As insurgencies drag on all troops become more and more fatigued both physically and emotionally. As they lose more and more of their friends to an enemy that blends in with the civilians, troops become more and more frustrated. Occasionally one or more of our soldiers snap. Innocent civilians die and the honorable soldier become a murderer. That seems to be what happened in Haditha. I haven't heard enough about Ishaqi, but I wouldn't be shocked to find Americans killed Iraqi civilians. Why would anyone?

War is organized murder. It isn't just another political tool. It seems the people in Washington forgot that simple truth or, if they didn't forget, they decided to ignore it. Don't blame the troops. Blame the people who put the troops in an impossible position.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 1, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

If the United States abided by international law, George W. Bush could be tried as a war criminal, just like Slobodan Milosevic was, for war crimes committed by troops under his command. But since the GOP has demonstrated their contempt for international law time and time again, such as when the World Court found the U.S. guilty of war crimes in Nicaragua, I dont expect the right-wing American fascists to change now. The downward spiral continues under this sick Administration.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 1, 2006 at 9:51 PM | PERMALINK

Reason number (n) to fire Rumsfeld. If a President with a normal level of involvement in the goings-on in his administration was not informed immediately of this, how many seconds would elapse before heads started to roll?

The lack of accountability in this administration boggles the mind.

Posted by: Wombat on June 1, 2006 at 9:55 PM | PERMALINK

A few bad apples can do massive harm when they are in the White House.

Posted by: trueblue on June 1, 2006 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

You mean Bush didn't really visit Iraq a couple Thanksgivings back?

Not only that, but he's not really the president. Pass it on.

Posted by: craigie on June 1, 2006 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

Ethical lapses can bring the whole house of cards down.

Interesting choice of words there, Mr Freud.

Posted by: craigie on June 1, 2006 at 10:03 PM | PERMALINK

You are right wombat. Bush learned about Haditha from a reporter. You would think that somebody should have given him a heads up. That somebody should have been Rummy. This is not the first time Bush has been bushwacked by Rummy's failure to keep the President informed of important information. Any other President would have fired Rumsfeld out of hand for failing to keep him informed on such sensitive matters.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 1, 2006 at 10:08 PM | PERMALINK

Do the right thing!? You mean sorta like offering a warm towel and an aspirin to a woman after you've raped her? WTF would be the right thing at this point? Short of a very public hanging for every S.O.B. involved I think the right thing is a pretty damned elusive concept.

Posted by: steve duncan on June 1, 2006 at 10:09 PM | PERMALINK

According to the BBC:


The US military has announced that coalition
troops in Iraq are to have ethical training
following the furore surrounding the alleged
killings.

For the next 30 days, they would receive lessons
in "core warrior values", a military statement
said.


It might be more reassuring if they were receiving lessons in "core MORAL values."

Posted by: Ross Best on June 1, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

This isn't a surprise. The prime minister of Iraq or something other high ranking official said it earlier this week. Hadithas happen all the time in Iraq.

Posted by: eRobin on June 1, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Do the right thing!? You mean sorta like offering a warm towel and an aspirin to a woman after you've raped her? WTF would be the right thing at this point? Short of a very public hanging for every S.O.B. involved I think the right thing is a pretty damned elusive concept.

Thank you. That "do the right thing" comment is laughable. What the hell would that mean, Kevin? Being thorough with an investigation, after trying to squash the incident for a few months, and only after you've been called on it by a non-American media outlet? If you think that's the "right thing," I would hate to hear what you think would be the "wrong thing" to do.

Posted by: Craig on June 1, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

"Of course it is, as always, unacceptable to focus, in polite company, on the equally barbaric behaviors of the Shia/Sunni death/IED squads that are destroying Iraqi society while claiming to fight the infidel invaders"

Wasn't the claim that the US got into Iraq because of the terrible things Hussein did? What's your argument now --- "well the Hussein follow-ons are doing terrible things therefore we can do terrible things therefore ... ???".

It is completely IRRELEVANT what everyone else in Iraq is doing. If you go into Iraq to prevent this sort of thing, you can't then complain when everyone else points out that you're doing the exact same thing (and that gee, maybe it really was actually all about oil).

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 1, 2006 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

Short of a very public hanging for every S.O.B. involved

It would be a start to demonstrate that we are a nation of laws. Failure to punish crimes is the same thing as condoning crimes.

In my opinion, when this is over, we need to have a truth and reconciliation system, like South Africa after apartheid. We need to give the troops a means to confess their sins and crimes, and receive absolution or punishment, and we need to remove the worst from the military (and in cases society).

The Army took 15-20 years to recover from Viet Nam: it just so happens that 20 years is the length of a military career. We cannot let the worst of this lot spoil the Army and Marines for another 20 years.

Posted by: Wapiti on June 1, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

At the risk of repeating the obvious, this is a very delicate situation. We desperately need to do the right thing.

Yes, it's called leaving. It's long past the time for Americans to leave Iraq.

There's no way to fix this, to make this right, to make amends. Even if this was a rare and isolated occurrence (which it is NOT - it happens DAILY), there is no way to make the Iraqis trust Americans.

There is an exodus of the middle class going on in Iraq. Even if Bush's last declared reason for attacking Iraq (to turn it into a democracy that would spread throughout the Middle East) was the truth (and it wasn't), without a middle class you can't have a democracy.

The only chance for Iraq now is for the U.S. to leave, NOW.

Posted by: Maeven on June 1, 2006 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

We desperately need to do the right thing.

These people are genetically incapable of doing the right thing. Their track record is complete.

And the whitewashers in Congress have their paintbrushes at the ready.

Posted by: curious on June 1, 2006 at 10:49 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: lami on June 1, 2006 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone here remember the Vietnam era? (I don't) What effect did My Lai have on the protestors and public opnion?

Posted by: plum on June 1, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

As I recall, Americans didn't learn about My Lai until a long time after it had happened -- and then there were "investigations" that were dragged out and stalled, and then whitewashed. All the while, the war continued and we were told that atrocities like My Lai were anomalies. They weren't. Colin Powell was also (tangentially) involved in an investigation of abuses of civilians by U.S. military. You don't get to be a 4-star general, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, by not playing ball, and as I recall, Powell was up to his oak leaf clusters in burying the stories.

I remember watching televised hearings, with testimony about what they did to those villagers, and thinking "How the hell can Americans be doing this to other people??" I know that many other Americans were asking the same thing, and the anti-war movement which had already been in full swing only got bigger and louder. But even then, after the truth of My Lai came out, Nixon got re-elected and the war went on.

That's why there are so many of us who remembered those days, and were so adament in the pre-Iraq-war days to not rush into this. We knew why Bush was so desperate to get started - once in, it's difficult to get out.


Posted by: Maeven on June 1, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Maeven, the war in Nam ended on May 4th, 1970. It just took a few years to dawn on everyone.

Posted by: steve duncan on June 1, 2006 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

It gets dirtier and dirtier. But why should we be surprised? Did anyone really think a nice clean war with only bad guys getting killed was possible? Answer: A large percentage of Americans, including Americas prophet, Kevin Drum, thought it was possible. Naive fools! Will the erupting collection of awful incidents finally break our belief that war can be a reasonable tool for achieving laudable goals? It has never happened. It never will.

Massacres always happen in war. The troops have been trained to hair-trigger readiness. They have been trained to become killing machines, even using kill-a-second video games designed to overcome their natural aversion to killing. And we are surprised when they kill?

The realists in the military expect massacres. Sure, theyd prefer that they didnt happen, but hey, that's war. The ensuing cover up is standard operating procedure. The only way to avoid massacres is not to go to war in the first place.

Time to change course. Lets throw out our militarism along with George the Bush. We can continue to be the 21st centurys Sparta, spending as much as the rest of the world combined on our machines of death and expect massacres to happen, or we can greatly reduce our forces and train them to fight defensively only. What a delusion, that we need this vast military edifice. If we dont have it, a delusional president cant use it to fight pre-emptive wars and slaughter innocents.

Posted by: James of DC on June 1, 2006 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

KILL KILL KILL FOR PEACE!

Posted by: someOtherClown on June 1, 2006 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

Actually the AP and CNN had reports on March 15, the day of the killings. The Knight Ridder report followed on Sunday March 19. The earliest news reports already indicated that the Army's official version was false, and that the local police were investigating the killings. Four days later, according to KR, the Army spokesman said he had only just heard of any allegations of wrongdoing, from a reporter.

In other words, the unraveling of the official story with this massacre is parallel to the unravelling of the official story about Haditha.

Posted by: smintheus on June 1, 2006 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

I'd recommend that everyone read Lt. Col. Bateman's piece at Altercation (already linked by JeffII). Here's another excerpt:

I had just put forward the question, “What would you do?” to a hypothetical situation in which several prisoners had been captured who may, or may not, know about an ambush the enemy had emplaced for our unit some distance away. The prisoners appeared to be civilians, taken in a village from which we had, in this notional scenario, recently taken fire.

“I’d shoot one of them sir, to see if it got the next one to talk,” said Ericsson with a perfectly straight face. The room remained silent.

“WHAT?!” It was not my calmest reply because I was, frankly, stunned. Standing at the front of the room I looked around at the assembled men seated before me. Nobody was leaping to contradict his comment. Their attention was split between us.

Ericsson repeated his response, looking me straight in the eye. “I’d shoot one of them sir. And then, if that didn’t get the next guy to talk, I’d shoot another.”

About half the troops agreed. Note that this was back in 1995, long before the invasion of Iraq.

Apart from the stress of facing an insurgency and a civil war, our troops in Iraq are apparently also under the impression that Iraq was complicit in 9-11, which means that they consider Iraqis to be our nation's enemy.

In addition to ethical training, our troops could benefit from a little honesty concerning the war in which they find themselves.

Posted by: bad Jim on June 2, 2006 at 12:12 AM | PERMALINK

Bad Jim:

In addition to ethical training, our troops could benefit from a little honesty concerning the war in which they find themselves.

Nice post.

Let's just reaffirm something here:

War is fucking hell.
Always has been.
Always will be.
It brings out the absolute worst in everybody.

That's why going to war should always be the...
ABSOLUTELY LAST FUCKING CHOICE OF A SANE LEADER.

Bush went to war on a lie and on a whim.
It wasn't near the last choice.
It wasn't even near the penultimate choice.

Rather it was:
Contrived
And...
Premeditated.


Ergo:

BUSH IS THE BABY KILLER.
BUSH IS THE WAR CRIMINAL.
BUSH IS HISLER...

This is HIS war.
This is HIS mess.
These are HIS crimes.

In a fair world...
He would be tried...
Hung from a lamp post...
And stoned.

Of course...
If the world was fair...
He'd also be an auto mechanic...
Wearing a bowling shirt...
And getting in bar fights every Friday night...

Alas... the world is FFF...
(far from fair)

Posted by: koreyel on June 2, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK
"The American-led forces "do not respect the Iraqi people; they crush them by vehicles and kill them by suspicion," Mr. Maliki [Iraqi Prime Minster] said. "This is extremely unacceptable."

Why boys... thems are fighin' words!

What do you say repugs?

Shouldn't we invade Iraq and teach them ragheads a thing or too????

ROTFLMAO @ every repug in America.

Posted by: Cruel troll killer on June 2, 2006 at 12:44 AM | PERMALINK

Alas... the world is FFF...
(far from fair)
Posted by: koreyel on June 2, 2006 at 12:34 AM | PERMALINK

Yes.

In THIS world, his appointees get to retire with cushy "consulting" gigs making millions, and write books making more millions, and get insider info on sweet investment deals making more millions, and then they get appointed to future criminal administrations. And Bush gets to retire with a Secret Service detail for the rest of his life. And of course, gets the same treatment wrt consulting and speaking gigs.

It's the American Way.

Posted by: osama_been_forgotten on June 2, 2006 at 12:51 AM | PERMALINK

Ya... O_b_f...

And to add to that:
In a fair world...
Rummy would never be one of People Magazines "most sexiest men."

Yuck.
How depraved is that?

Also... to amend what I wrote up above...

In a fair world,

He'd also be an auto mechanic...
Wearing a bowling shirt...
And getting in bar fights every Friday night...
And he'd also be snaggletoothed

Because lets face it...
Bush wold be shitty in a bar fight too...

Posted by: koreyel on June 2, 2006 at 1:04 AM | PERMALINK

Extremely sobering and depressing thread ... I read every post carefully. Many were quite poignant in their thoughtfully understated outrage.

Something to think about during Memorial Day week, for sure.

One thing atrocities like this can do is bring out a good deal of eloquent reflection.

All things considered -- I think I'd rather have the snide troll-thwackery if it'd bring those people back to life -- and our soldiers back to the degree of frail and contingent normalcy they felt the day before.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 2, 2006 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

What Haditha has brought is a little more realism to what war is about. US media has done a horrible job -- probably wrapped in the false flag of patriotism -- of investigating and informing all that has been going on. Seems like most Western main media has been too circumspect. We ignored amnesty international and the IRC.

For years Iraqis have been crying out about US forces behavior and liberal use of firepower. Same in Afghanistan. The military, without excception, has not been the one to initiate a response or discliplinary action, whether events took place "in the field" of behind US walls. And we're meant to believe every case is an "anomaly" and with never an officer in sight or with any knowledge. Some army.

The catalog of errors that has led to this point is becoming endless. But no responsibility is taken at the top either.

As soon as the ground war was won, the army should have come under a civil administration. It seems that Rules of Engagement are interpreted at the most liberal level, necessity and proportionality taking a back seat. Particularly the use of air weapons has inflicted unwarranted casualties on the civil population, from the wedding party in 2003 to the Afghan event last month.

The inability of US forces to relate to the population at a human level in a sympathetic manner in many cases is blatant and now expected. There have been some notable exceptions but it is not the rule.

When Ben Griffin, an 8-year vet of the Parachute Regiment with 2 years in the SAS, refused to return to Iraq he said he had witnessed "dozens of illegal acts" by US forces against Iraqis. "I did not join the army to conduct American foreign policy." He received an honorable discharge.

P.S. Tonight the BBC TV news said that there are "3 or 4" concurrent investigations. Wonder why the army is vague on the number? And in Afghanistan, Hamid Kasai is accusing coalition troops of firing into the riot.

And I might as well add that Afghanistan has seemingly dropped from the US consciousness but will come back to bite. We're trying to draw-down under the NATO commitment but, if I were them, I'd keep the US as lead so we have responsibility for the mess.

Posted by: notthere on June 2, 2006 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Time to remind David Brooks of his Nov. 2003 column "A Burden too heavy to put down" (or something close to that) in which he said that Americans would be too soft to support the troops after their atrocities are discovered.

Posted by: marky on June 2, 2006 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

"We desperately need to do the right thing."

"We", or the Bush Administration? The latter is inconceivable, the former implies there's something we can do about it.

Posted by: nova silverpill on June 2, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

In 1950, the Nuremberg Tribunal defined Crimes against Peace (in Principle VI.a, submitted to the United Nations General Assembly) as

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).


Posted by: gcochran on June 2, 2006 at 3:40 AM | PERMALINK

At the risk of repeating the obvious, this is a very delicate situation. We desperately need to do the right thing.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I have no confidence in the Bush adminstration's ability to do the right thing in this situation.

This war is being fought in the news even more than the last. Ethical lapses can bring the whole house of cards down. For us, that is. Not for the enemy. He can just keep head chopping and child bombing.

Well, when you spend several years demonizing Iraqis (for example Saddam and 9/11) and the Iraqis misbehave, it's no surprise. Dog bites man.

At the same time the other side of your mouth has been full of bullshit rah rah jingoist propaganda masquerading as patriotism--support the troops. With us or against us. PATRIOT Act. Mission Accomplished. Freedom on the march. Calling Afghanistan a "crusade." ad naus--when the Knights In Shining Armor are found executing children, well, now the Man is biting the Dog.

It's not that what The Bad Guys are doing isn't Bad. That's a constant. It's that the self-appointed Good Guys are also out of line. That's the variable.

And that's the story man. You don't even believe your own lies. America is behaving no better than terrorists by your own definitions. Terrorism is political violence directed at the innocent, right? That's what 9/11 was, right? People with no chance to defend themselves murdered in cold blood, en masse, as publically and as messily as possible. So what's the difference between 9/11 and Fallujah? What's the difference between kidnapping and executing foreigners and Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib, other than the level of coordination?

That's the story. Just cause they do it doesn't mean we can. Never has, never will. Bad acts are what we're purportedly there to stop.

Because the hawks can't come to grips with the fact that they fucked up and there's no nice way to put it, they will not see why we are bound to lose the war, they'll go on and blame the liberals, the media, the ungrateful Iraqis, the generals, Congress, the troops, and sex drugs rock and roll for whatever's within easy reach when the inevitable happens and America is forced to withdraw from Iraq.

The emperor's butt naked and you're still here bitching at people for not applauding.

But I know, it's all Bill Clinton's fault. Somehow. That bastard. We ought to impeach him.

Posted by: nota bene on June 2, 2006 at 5:28 AM | PERMALINK

Arabs don't feel pain and value life the way we do, you see.

Posted by: CloseMyEyes on June 2, 2006 at 6:22 AM | PERMALINK

Who will be this generation's John Kerry, the public face of Winter Soldier II?

The hate the Stay-At-Home Coward Right had for Winter Soldier was because it made their heads explode. How could they say "The troops don't support the troops!", or "The troops are calling the troops baby-killers!"?

Posted by: derek on June 2, 2006 at 6:24 AM | PERMALINK

How is this worse than the masacre of 100,000+ "collateral damage" during "shock and awe"?

Posted by: JamesP on June 2, 2006 at 6:45 AM | PERMALINK

koreyel

Nice post, but why the gratutious shot at auto mechanics? For the most part they are honorable and skilled individuals who work hard for their money. We all know about the presidents adversion to hard work.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 2, 2006 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers. Agreed. My bad.

Posted by: koreyel on June 2, 2006 at 8:05 AM | PERMALINK

"... need to do the right thing?"

It's too late.

Posted by: Name on June 2, 2006 at 8:07 AM | PERMALINK

Alternatively, just impeach the little imbecile. Just make sure you impeach Cheney too. You don't want to just replace an incompetent fascist with a competent fascist.

Unfortunately, it's imbeciles and incompetents all the way down...

Yes. There was a great expos early on in the Bush regency that showed how Cheney has always had the reputation of great competence but has always chosen the blinkered, stupid, incompetent road. Early on he mastered the confidence posture and the rest was gravy.

A medical study several years ago tried to analyze the kinds of things that testosterone does. Basically, aside from the physical manifestations -- hair in various places and longer vocal cords -- what it mostly does is give the male irrational confidence. Cheney in a nutshell. Irrational confidence. I suppose when you're a huddled mass of freezing cro-magnons uncertain of which way to turn, it's better to move than to starve, and following the dunce who says, "Hell, I know the way" makes evolutionary sense. That hasn't been as useful in the last 60,000 years, but people still follow the dunce with the knowing snarl.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on June 2, 2006 at 8:11 AM | PERMALINK

We are a country at war, and at war with terrorists at that. I think this should be encouraged. There's just too much hoopla surrounding this issue by the liberal media and public.

We must not bow to international pressure, the law of the land does not applies to us, this was stressed by Bush again, again. Our army of GOD must be able and encouraged to attack and destroy even more devil worshipping terrorists. It's the Christian thing to do.


Posted by: Left Behind Advocate on June 2, 2006 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

@all

What about the thousands of innocent Iraqis killed by US bombings of "wrong houses", or whole families, pregnant women, little children, babies etc., murdered by US soldiers shooting the shit out of "suspicious looking, a little too fast driving cars" at dusty improvised checkpoints. What about the US air force bombing Iraqi wedding parties, or the central hospital of Fallujah in 2004 ? What about the new US massacre of 11 IRaqi civilians (incl. 5 women and 4 children) dicovered by the BBC in Ishaqi ?h ttp://www.outsidethebeltway.com/archives/2006/06/ishaqi_massacre_video/ . What about all the regular massmurder the US does in Iraq EVERY DAY. It makes no difference to a Iraqi family if they get murdered by US soldiers because the US soldiers felt disappointed or 'threatend' or simply because of pure rage and frustration like it was obviously the case in Haditha. See, Dead is dead. That's why all the talking but punishing these down the chain of command sorry undereducated marine goofys is completely hypocratic and worthless, as long as the daily massmurder of Iraqi people by the US military continues. The marines and the Iraqi people are both victims of the criminals that kicked loose this horrible illegal war against an innocent nation. Iraqis never attacked the USA, but still the US occupies IRaq and attacks IRaqis EVERY DAY. So damn - get out of IRaq NOW !!!

You ought to impeach the real criminals responsible respectivly Bush, Halli-Cheney- Wolfowitz, Pearl, Rumshead etc. etc. and not the sorry idiots down the chain of command in the US military -> as they are - like the civilians they kill - victims too !!!

Posted by: Seele on June 2, 2006 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

This hurts....This hurts so much! What is going on?!

Posted by: Skamycat on June 2, 2006 at 8:40 AM | PERMALINK

This is quite an active -- and profane -- blog. Perhaps profanity and blogging go hand-in-hand. I don't know how that helps the dialogue, but maybe some of you cyberspace vets can explain it.

I'm amazed at the vituperativeness of the comments. I know many hate Bush, but really. Does anyone out there remember what the trigger for the Iraq War was? It was Saddam's refusal over 12 years to openly comply with U.N. resolutions.

I suspect many of the Bush-haters are ironically also people who support and defend the institution of the United Nations. Some call folks like that One-Worlders. [I'm not sure whether that's a term of endearment or not, but the U.S. was the only power able to enforce the U.N.'s will against Saddam.]

Of course, the Bush Administration badly mangled the public affairs management of the War. I recall critics questioning the War, only to have the administration provide a new reason. Oh, it was because he was a dictator. Or, oh, it was because he had a nuclear program, etc., etc.

Saddam dug his own hole by resisting the world in his macho manner, which plays well with some in that part of the world. In fact, check a 2003 article in the Washington Post by Barton Gellman that explains that generals in Saddam's inner circle actually thought weapons of mass destruction existed. That's what they told Saddam. My guess is that they lied to avoid Saddam executing them for failure.

Even if we had a "mole" in Saddam's inner circle, which I perversely believe we did, he (probably not a she - am I beng sexist?) would have felt that the existence of WMD was a given. He was hearing this from the horses' proverbial mouths. In other parlance, per George Tenet, he would have thought it was a "Slam Dunk."

It's more than clear that the campaign in Iraq is not without its problems. Only time, and some objectivity, will conclude if the U.S. and its military are craven incompetents or whether more went well than not. After all, the media is designed to report man-bites-dog stories -- the exceptions are the rule in that venue.

One thing's for sure. As soon as any negative reports surface, correct or not, many jump to conclusions, which they want to be true. Of cours,e you'd have to ask yourself why someone would want these stories to be true, unless there was a desire to portray America in a poor light. I won't go as far as saying people hate America, want to see it fail, or aren't patriotic, and all that foderol that the Administration's supporters throw at critics, but one can see why some in that camp would come to that conclusion.

I don't know the total number of troops who have cycled in and out of Iraq since the War began. 130,000 are there now, give or take. But if two dozen deviants (of the 130K) are responsible for outrageous criminal behavior, that means 1 in every 5,000 soldiers went off the track and fell into a terrible abyss. As hideous as these alleged atrocities are -- and may or may not have been committed as reported (of course, no one would mis-report something like this, right? No one would want to spread inaccurate, anti-American messages in the world, right?)-- perspective is necessary, for no other reason than it's the right thing to do.

Place all this is the context of war, with its inherent risk for mistakes whether out of a soldier's need for self-preservation or an unfortunate outburst of instanteous outrage. [Some comments on this blog make me wonder how well contributors would do with a gun in their hands... Just another one of my perverse thoughts]

In any case, if any soldiers have committed such crimes, punish them appropriately. Please don't generalize.

"You're Entitled To My Opinion," A Balanced Point of View
www.yetmo.com

Posted by: YETMO, A Balanced Point of View on June 2, 2006 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

PTate
But I don't blame the American soldiers though. Put any one of us in their shoes, and we might do the same. The blame goes straight to the TANG-shirking CIC who treats war like a political game.

No, you should blame the American soldiers, if they did it. It was their fingers on the triggers, and they know better. People are responsible for their own actions. Period.

floopmeister
BTW, this is textbook moral relativism: "Yeah, but they are worse than us!" A morally reprehensible act is morally reprehensible, no matter who does it.

I'm not saying otherwise, floopmeister, as much as you want me to. Believe me, nobody cringes when this sort of thing happens more than someone in the military. It stains us all. Always.

There was an article (CNN?) just the other day, something along the lines of, "Ex-Marine Fights Off Muggers." When you read the article, the guy had been a Marine for 4 years active duty, and that had been over 15 years ago. They could have just as easily said, "Ex Little Leaguer Beats Off Muggers."

Seele
You ought to impeach the real criminals responsible respectivly Bush, Halli-Cheney- Wolfowitz, Pearl, Rumshead etc. etc. and not the sorry idiots down the chain of command in the US military -> as they are - like the civilians they kill - victims too !!!

Wrong. They're criminals (if it happened). They are moral actors and make their own decisions.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Does anyone here remember the Vietnam era? (I don't) What effect did My Lai have on the protestors and public opnion?

IMHO, the My Lai massacre just hardened positions on both sides. The other side's hardened support for the war showed the anti-war side just what they were up against. Things were still hopeful for the anti-war side, for King and Kennedy were still alive. History, history.

Now, though, despite a lack of anyone of King's and Kennedy's stature, as support for the war keeps melting poll by poll, the result might be different, and that historical model might not apply.

Posted by: Bob M on June 2, 2006 at 9:00 AM | PERMALINK

To every wingnut and knee-jerk Bush supporter who keeps making excuses for this kind of thing: just remember, karma is a bitch, and you're building up a LOT of bad karma.

Posted by: Red on June 2, 2006 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

For once I have to agree with Red State Mike. The individual soldiers involved in the massacre should be charged, tried and if convicted, punished.

That still doesn't give Bush, Rummy and the rest a free pass. The Iraq war was preemptive. We invaded the other country for some undetermined reason, while the official reason keeps shifting, the bottom line is that we probably invaded to steal oil. Bush, Rummy and the rest should have anticipated that bad things might happen. In a sane world they would be off to the Hague to defend themselves. At the very least they would be answering to congress.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 2, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

"Does anyone out there remember what the trigger for the Iraq War was? It was Saddam's refusal over 12 years to openly comply with U.N. resolutions."

Saddam did comply with the U.N. resolutions that he abandon his WMDs. The trigger(s) for the U.S. invasion of Iraq were the specious claim that aluminum tubes being sought by Iraq were for uranium enrichment, the specious claim that Iraq sought to purchase yellowcake uranium from Niger, the specious claim that Iraq had mobile bioweapons facilities and the specious claim that Saddam had a working relationship with al Qaeda.

Please don't continue to tell lies here about the reasons this Administration gave to invade Iraq. We all know the facts, and your attempts to distract fall on deaf ears.

". . . the U.S. was the only power able to enforce the U.N.'s will against Saddam."

The U.N. did not authorize the U.S. to invade Iraq.

Posted by: Joel on June 2, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Has anybody noticed that Maliki seems to be asserting Iraqi independence quite aggressively? He's been very outspoken the last few weeks, trying to set some kind of timetable for US troops to leave, criticizing our attacks on civilians, and generally letting us know that he's not a US puppet.

Posted by: Huxley on June 2, 2006 at 9:09 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, we all know that UN resolutions apply to everybody except the US and Israel. All other countries must follow them or risk being bombed.

Posted by: Speed on June 2, 2006 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Victims??? When Saint Ronny went to the Bitburg Cemetery, he spoke the words of Pat Buchanon by referring to the SS Panzer dead as "victims" - The soldiers had all been volunteers and were some of the most fanatical killers in the war. Have any untoward act by the locals inflicted upon any of the Germans and they would kill local men, women and children in reprisal - They were as evil as their beloved leader in Berlin.
When troops kill women and children, or even innocent men, in reprisal, they are killers - They are as responsible as their beloved leader.
One of the SS Panzer units involved in atrocities in France, along with the Liebstandarte Adolf Hitler division, was the Hitler Jugend (Youth) division - as guilty as Hitler - Have we begun a Bush Youth unit within the Marines?
Victims??? - Rubbish

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 2, 2006 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

I was just on the phone with a retired USAF Colonel. You know what party he belongs to. He is pissed at chickengeorge.
Real men, real veterans are fucking pissed off, not like the chickenhawk cowards red ass mike and AMchickenhawk.

Posted by: gus on June 2, 2006 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK

the marine corps report should be done within weeks. is waiting for that too long, or do you lefties want to start calling americans baby killers early?
Posted by: American Hawk

Waiting for the report is fine, Chickenhawk, but keep in mind the USMC whitewash of Haditha prior to Time magazine publishing eyewitness accounts of the atrocities. So you'll have to excuse us if we take the USMC report with a grain of salt.

Of course, if the Pentagon ends up reporting the atrocities, you will show up here to denounce the actions of these Marines? This is why we are so against this war. Dumbya put so much stress on the armed forces that some were bound to break. It was inevitable.

But since you're just a paid troll, what the fuck do you care. Human lives? Who cares, just give Chickenhawk his paycheck. It's blood money, my friend, and I hope you enjoy it.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 2, 2006 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

It's improbable and perhaps impossible for the Bush Administration to do the right thing.

Posted by: Mazurka on June 2, 2006 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

How is this worse than the masacre of 100,000+ "collateral damage" during "shock and awe"?

got a cite for that number ?
(trick question)

Posted by: cleek on June 2, 2006 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

This war is being fought in the news even more than the last. Ethical lapses can bring the whole house of cards down. For us, that is. Not for the enemy. He can just keep head chopping and child bombing.
Posted by: Red State Mike

You're no longer Red Ass Mike, you're Red Stain Mike. How the fuck do you live with yourself? Because we decry the actions of some of our troops, we support the insurgents? Now we measure the humanity of our troops as it compares to the insurgents? You are a fucking asshole.

These families in Iraq didn't ask for this war, we brought it to them. As much as you may think we're doing them a favor, why don't you ask them about it? What kind of answer do you think you'll get? Stop with the bullshit charade about invading Iraq to "liberate its people". Some liberation.

You people are truly pathetic. You will go to any lengths to defend the actions of an amoral imbecile. Talk about the cult of personality. Why don't you get your fucking red ass over to Iraq if you hate the insurgents that much. At least what I can say about them is that they are fighting for their country. What are you doing?

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 2, 2006 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

"I'm amazed at the vituperativeness of the comments. I know many hate Bush, but really. Does anyone out there remember what the trigger for the Iraq War was? It was Saddam's refusal over 12 years to openly comply with U.N. resolutions."

Maybe the comments are vituperative because the commenters are sick of dealing with morons?
Your very own words make no sense. How can "twelve years of refusal" be a "trigger"? The very language makes no sense. If the refusals were acceptable over the previous period of twelve years, why weren't they acceptable for another year or two. What made it imperative that now, after 12 years, the US, against the wishes of the entire world and the advice of many of its own citizens, invade. THAT's what a trigger is.

Let's, of course, leave aside the fact that your claim, factually, is a lie. As others have pointed out, Iraq did in fact comply with the important parts of the the UN resolutions. Let's also leave aside the fact that Israel has refused to comply with UN resolutions since what, 1967. Do you advocate the US invade there?

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 2, 2006 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

gus
Real men, real veterans are fucking pissed off, not like the chickenhawk cowards red ass mike...

Learn to read you f$%$^-ing moron

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

Because lets face it...
Bush wold be shitty in a bar fight too...

No doubt, he's a coward. He'd be the guy that comes up from behind and hits the guy over the head with a beer bottle when he's not looking.

And then he'd look to his buddies to back him up.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 2, 2006 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

MeLoseBrain...
You're no longer Red Ass Mike, you're Red Stain Mike. How the fuck do you live with yourself?

How the fuck do you live with your lack of reading comprehension, numbnuts?

Because we decry the actions of some of our troops, we support the insurgents? Now we measure the humanity of our troops as it compares to the insurgents? You are a fucking asshole.

You want me to excuse their behavior so you can be pissed off at someone in the military, and therefore are reading into it what you want to see. Well guess what, dumbshit. I'm not excusing their behavior, unlike some here who would excuse it so they can place the blame strictly on the Whitehouse. I'm saying it is *their fault*.

But if you can't understand why someone would lament the fact that we are fighting someone who laughs at the "Marquis of Queensbury" rules the rest of humanity is held to, and who would gladly line up a family of 11, shoot them each in the head with an M-16 while filming it, and then ship it off to Al Jazeera for "news at 11 report of American atrocities" then you are truly a gullible moron. Do you doubt they would do it?

And I've been to Iraq. Twice. And I've been to war. Twice.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK

gus, others: reading through Red State Mike's comments, I think he's plenty pissed off that the alleged murders may have happened. Read the 8:52 post.

He's on your side or on the fence. When he writes: Believe me, nobody cringes when this sort of thing happens more than someone in the military. It stains us all. Always., he isn't a chickenhawk.

Posted by: Wapiti on June 2, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

*sigh* Why does the new Iraqi prime minister, Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, hate America....?

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Al: You probably don't realize this but it's really easy to create fake videos and images by using Photoshop.

Ah, I knew that video of the supposed "Iraqis" tearing down the statue of Saddam was a fake!

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 10:15 AM | PERMALINK

In any case, if any soldiers have committed such crimes, punish them appropriately. Please don't generalize.

You can keep your own opinion, Yetmo, I want none of it. If you read any of this thread, you would see that almost all posters understand that those that perpetrated the alleged crimes do not represent the military as a whole. But all you could get out of this thread was how vituperative it is. Well, no shit, people are pissed off. Shouldn't we be? And you can understand that those guilty should be held accountable while also seeing the incredible stress this immoral clusterfuck of a war has put on the troops.

And I love your logic. Well, you couldn't know if Saddam had weapons or not, because even he didn't know! FACT: the senate resolution to authorize the use of force was not to allow the US to invade Iraq, it was to force Saddam to allow weapons inspectors back in the country. He did. Hans Blix said Saddam was cooperating. Why did we invade? Becuase Dumbya and Cheney got antsy. They didn't expect Saddam to cooperate and they wanted their war.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 2, 2006 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

RSM: This war is being fought in the news even more than the last. Ethical lapses can bring the whole house of cards down. For us, that is. Not for the enemy. He can just keep head chopping and child bombing.

So the premeditated murder of an entire family, including mothers and little children, is now merely an "ethical lapse"?

Wow, that moral outrage is so strong you can feel it, isn't it....?

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

There was an article (CNN?) just the other day, something along the lines of, "Ex-Marine Fights Off Muggers." When you read the article, the guy had been a Marine for 4 years active duty, and that had been over 15 years ago. They could have just as easily said, "Ex Little Leaguer Beats Off Muggers."

Yes, but the second headline's kind of dirty....

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Maynard:"Your very own words make no sense. How can "twelve years of refusal" be a "trigger"? The very language makes no sense. If the refusals were acceptable over the previous period of twelve years, why weren't they acceptable for another year or two. What made it imperative that now, after 12 years, the US, against the wishes of the entire world and the advice of many of its own citizens, invade. THAT's what a trigger is."

Your words made it very clear to me what the trigger was. It was Saddam's admittance of Hans Blix and the inspectors to Iraq. At that point Bush and Cheney could wait no longer, because there was a danger that the inspection team would determine that there were no WMDs, which would remove their excuse for invading Iraq. That was the real threat.

Posted by: cowalker on June 2, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

The last refuge of a scoundrel is:

a) Der Cheneybunker
b) Federal prison
c) Patriotism
d) 101st Fighting Keyboarders
e) All of the above

The answer, children, is E.

Posted by: TR on June 2, 2006 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

Do you doubt they would do it?

This isn't about the insurgents. I find their actions reprehensable and I've said so. Your post made it seem as though you were OK with the US military being held to the same standard. If I misread it, I apologize, but even after re-reading it, I had the same perception.

You act as if the insurgency is a surprise. It shouldn't be. It was predicted by most military analysts prior to the war. The fact that this information was ignored, the fact that we were inundated with stories of being welcomed with flowers and candy, well, Mike, that is on this administration. The actions of the troops in question is reprehensible, but unfortunately predictable. You can't put that much stress on the troops, multiple tours in an unfriendly wasteland, and not expect some to snap. That is why war should be an absolute last resort, but in this case, it was not.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 2, 2006 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

But if you can't understand why someone would lament the fact that we are fighting someone who laughs at the "Marquis of Queensbury" rules the rest of humanity is held to, and who would gladly line up a family of 11, shoot them each in the head with an M-16 while filming it, and then ship it off to Al Jazeera for "news at 11 report of American atrocities" then you are truly a gullible moron. Do you doubt the Americans would do it?

Of course, an Iraqi could say "But if you can't understand why someone would lament the fact that we are fighting someone who laughs at the 'Marquis of Queensbury' rules the rest of humanity is held to, and who would gladly line up a family of 11, shoot them each in the head with an AK-47 while filming it, and then ship it off to Fox News for 'news at 11 report of insurgent atrocities' then you are truly a gullible moron. Do you doubt they would do it?"

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:
"They are moral actors and make their own decisions."

Of course, this is true of all people who are deemed sane and competent under the law. But, for a growing percentage of the American public including many rank and file Republicans (many of them now former Republicans including myself), it does seem as if some people are exempt from this rubric of being held responsible as "moral actors". It seems The Decider and his pals get a pass on actually being morally acting..er..uh...Deciders.

Why is it that some Pvt Pyle gets crucified but those up the chain of command get off with a medal of commendation and a promotion from the CIC? Why should this inspire confidence in those among the brightest and best young students contemplating future career military service? Those who would bring high intelligence, leadership skills and technical savvy as career officers?

Before you trash me, know that there is a great deal of military service (and sacrifice) in my family. And whether you believe it or not, our very own son was fervently hoping to attend a service academy at one point in time before he got grandly put off by the goings-on via BushCo. He got accepted and is now attending a university more academically selective than the service academies. The career plan will be done as formerly planned but instead in private enterprise instead of "for country". Why sacrifice for your country when you can enrich yourself? And why do so when those at the top who are "serving" seem to be doing thusly themselves?

Presently, he is of the mindset that the US has become such damaged goods, he is considering relocating after graduation, taking that high tech education with him, to what he deems "a neutral country". TOTAL disillusionment with the direction of this country. So, here we have one of America's brighest, just one of many like him, totally unwilling to "serve" what he sees as a sinking ship of hypocrisy and venality.

I cannot even begin to relate how sad that makes me to see the arc of his disillusionment. Both in that as much as it pains me to verbalize, I totally agree with him. And also that one day I may have to travel to another country a half a world away to visit my grandchildren.

While this experience is purely personal and anecdotal, what would you say to that? You guys all seem to think about this from some Commander Grabcrotch stance and think that the views of the military wives and mothers is just some pantywaist, hankywaving, wussified clucking.

Who will teach the next generation and supply you military minds with warm bodies to use as cannon fodder if not for the American woman who gestates same? What about OUR sacrifices? As much as I have found Ms Sheehan's actions a bit over the top at times, God knows, I can feel her pain. Too bad she cannot seem to make a dent in making W feel her pain.

What damage has been done to the US military yea, the entire country, our integrity in the world, our leadership stance, our own self respect, the strength of our economy and technological prowess, our hard won freedoms and liberties being discarded for the securocrat state,...the way the current crew are defecating on the graves of thousands of America's past and current sacrifices of some of our best and bravest by way of their lives and treasure for those very freedoms...for a generation to come because of the folly and avarice of this administration? The "wussified" US media will not say the word "lie" but I will.

Is it possible that some here who are unwavering, kneejerk apologists for the current administration **at any and all costs** can speak without trollspeak to one, namely myself, who used to be firmly a Republican and respectful of the decent and hard working men and women of the US armed services? I highly doubt it. Not without going off message of the propaganda text.

Today, sir, I am nothing more than disgusted with the entire termite-ridden structure of our government. I, as a rank and file citizen out here in yahooland of flyover fame, feel repeatedly lied to and misrepresented to the world.

It has absolutely NOTHING to do with party affiliation or blue/red state or being a "left wing surrender monkey" or a "right wing bible thumper". I am a broken wing, unempowered, disenfranchised, fed up middle class citizen who fantasizes about doing as some of my forebears did one hundred years ago and emigrate. They left Europe. I sadly wonder if I could go back. I feel like a stranger and misfit in my own once beloved country. If one is a stranger and misfit, why not live as such in a place with at least a higher quality of tea and bakery goods?

So, to bring this full 'round: If Dubyah et al are not to be deemed full moral actors fully responsible for their own decisions as the CIC/Leader of the Free World or second tier folks working fully at his discretion and good pleasure, are we to deduce that none of them then are to be deemed legally sane, competent and culpable for anything under their command to the same degree as the lowest on the food chain, a nineteen year old, high school dropout, borderline IQ, shellshocked third tour of dutied Pvt Pyle, USMC? I wonder what his mom thinks of that? She sent them a good boy and they will send her home a murderer. Oh yeah. That sort of thinking is "Wussified".

Indeed. Where exactly does the buck stop these days?!

Posted by: Grandly Peeved on June 2, 2006 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

We desperately need to do the right thing.

Like get out of there?

Posted by: Moe is me on June 2, 2006 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

this is a very delicate situation. We desperately need to do the right thing.

Given the Bush Administration's track record when it comes to doing the right thing, I suspect we're hosed.

Posted by: Gregory on June 2, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

Plum,
I recall very well the Viet Nam era. I was a part of that "police action." I also recall,the My Lai incident and it's effect on the American psyche.
What comforts me, is the constant denials by the Pentagon, Rumsfeld and Dumb-bya, that this is not like Viet Nam. I wonder sometimes,if any of them could find Viet Nam on a map.
It's time to get ourselves out of this current political swampland, and try to rebuild our image abroad. Anyway, that's the view from my basement window.
Dan

Posted by: Dan G. on June 2, 2006 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

And while we're on the subject of Dumb-bya, why do the words "incompetent," and "impeachment" continue to jump to the forefront of my mind?---Dan

Posted by: Dan G. on June 2, 2006 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

We desperately need to do the right thing.
Like get out of there?

That's one thing we could do, which is a start. But just pulling our troops home still leaves us with our heads planted in the sand.

There has been a pattern of atrocity and wrongdoing, from Guantanamo to Abu Graibh and other prisons to Fallujah and to the present day. The pattern points to leadership establishing and/or condoning standards that directly led to war crimes.

Impeach these two. Try them and if the facts are there, convict. Punishment if convicted? Having the victim's family on the stand in the punishment phase seems all the rage in the States - bring over some family members of the dead Iraqi's and I'll accept their recommendation.

Posted by: Wapiti on June 2, 2006 at 11:02 AM | PERMALINK

America has already lost this "war." We lost it by going in the first place. Shock and awe was a failure. No WMDs were found. We allowed the sacking of everything except the oil ministry. We flattened archeaological sites for our helos and tanks. We crush innocents with our tanks, shoot pregnant women and children in cars drive by frightened people, and consider all Arabs to be beneath us. We use Christ to justify killing, and now we're waving the bloody shirt towards Iran. How anyone can defend any of this is completely beyond me. It's cruel, un-American, and exactly what bin Laden wants. We deserve all of what we're going to get from it, and none of it will be good.

Posted by: retrogrouch on June 2, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

You can't put that much stress on the troops, multiple tours in an unfriendly wasteland, and not expect some to snap.

While combat soldiers are indeed placed in an incredibly stressful and inhuman situation, I've noticed that whenever American soldiers or Marines commit a rape or murder it's supposedly because they've "snapped" -- language which, I believe, is meant to be partly exculpatory. When the rebels blow up a car bomb in a crowded square we don't say it's because they've "snapped," and when a criminal from a poor inner-city area here in the US rapes or kills we don't offer him the excuse of saying "he snapped" either. And when the Nazis or the Japanese, say, murdered innocent villagers in WWII we didn't say "you can't put that much stress on the troops, multiple tours in an unfriendly wasteland, and not expect some to snap."

Look, some people are just weak and/or evil -- the fact that they've put on a US uniform doesn't suddenly make them virtuous and pure.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 11:07 AM | PERMALINK

But, but, but Bill O'Reilly is very concerned about those "poor" SS troops of Joachim Peiper's tank unit who were "gunned down" by our 82nd Airborne at Malmedy - Twice he has thrown up this piece of garbage to Wesley Clark.
Peiper's men murdered 84 of our soldiers at Malmedy, a thought of no significance to O'Reilly and his ilk - after the war, the isolationists of the GOP fought for parole of Peiper because he had fought the Communists. The fact that he ordered the execution of 84 US Army soldiers, be damned.
This 82nd Airborne story is a canard - O'Reilly, that pompous Chickenhawk is dispicable for attempting to use it to justify Haditha and Abu Graib.
We honor our military by allowing them to be buried at Arlington - If convicted of murder, perhaps the Marines involved could be granted a section of Bitburg Cemetery to be with their ilk.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on June 2, 2006 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Your words made it very clear to me what the trigger was. It was Saddam's admittance of Hans Blix and the inspectors to Iraq. At that point Bush and Cheney could wait no longer, because there was a danger that the inspection team would determine that there were no WMDs, which would remove their excuse for invading Iraq. That was the real threat.
Posted by: cowalker

Terry Gross interviewed Blix on Fresh Air last night. The UN inspectors had investigated over 700 sites, directed to many of them by information from the CIA and other Western intelligence agencies. As we know, they found nothing. As did David Kay's group post-invasion. And, as was well-known by the intelligence agencies in the West, Iraq had no connections to bin Laden or involvement in the 9/11 attacks.

Shrub and company wanted this war no matter what. As with Vietnam, we will be living with the consequences for a couple of decades if not longer. And though this won't change anything, Bush and Cheney should be impeached, and Rumsfeld tried for war crimes.

Posted by: JeffII on June 2, 2006 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan, I ususally agree with you, but not in this case. In many instances "snapped" is an appropriate word because it reflects the notion that an individual has suddenly reached an end to his ability to restrain his emotions. The term is not an excuse. It is intended to explain why occupation troops might act the way they act.

Your car bomber comparison is not well taken because car bombers are always taking calculated offensive action.

Neither are your comparisons to the actions of Nazi troops in WWII. Murdering innocent villagers was an approved technique to suppress insurgency. The theory is that insurgents would be reluctant to kill Nazi occupation troops if they knew it would result in the deaths of innocent civilians. The Japanese and Russians also employed murder as an offical tool for dealing with insurgency. The US has not adopted murder as an approved technique for dealing with resistence. By definition, if an American soldier commits murder he is an aberation. He has violated the American code of conduct. He has to be punished.

The reason murder was an overt tool of the Nazis, Japanese and Soviets, is because it sometimes seemed to work. The Isrealis employ a similar tool (destroying houses) with great vigor.

Posted by: Ron Byers on June 2, 2006 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Ron Byers makes a good point, Stefan.

There is also "snapping" immediately after the incident (gunning down bystanders), and something more calculated (returning to the scene and taking revenge on those living in the area).

Posted by: Wombat on June 2, 2006 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:

> But if you can't understand why someone would lament the fact
> that we are fighting someone who laughs at the "Marquis of
> Queensbury" rules the rest of humanity is held to, and who
> would gladly line up a family of 11, shoot them each in the
> head with an M-16 while filming it, and then ship it off to
> Al Jazeera for "news at 11 report of American atrocities" then
> you are truly a gullible moron. Do you doubt they would do it?

Mike, for the record I think you're an honorable guy, and
more a contrarian who likes to argue than a bona-fide troll.

But this argument is disingenuous. It's also a moral slippery slope.

First, Mike -- there is *no* enemy that America would fight
full-on -- including France and Germany -- that would stay on
the Marquis du Queensbury rules. We have *overwhelming* military
superiority. There is no such thing as a fair fight with
the world's only superpower. Living by those rules while our
enemies inevitably will not is only the price of civilization.

If you were cornered in a vicious bar fight with jacked 250
lb guy and you weighed 180 with a beer gut -- are you *honestly*
telling me you wouldn't bite, scratch or reach for a beer bottle?

Terrorists use ... terror. That's how they level the
playing field. Throughout the entire history of warfare, the
outmatched and outnumbered enemy evens it out by attempting
to present themselves as super-/in- humanly ferocious.

To expect anything different is to misunderstand the nature of war.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 2, 2006 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

US soldiers have allowed themselves to be put in situations where the contingency to shoot babies and women is inescapable. Anathema upon them.

Posted by: Hostile on June 2, 2006 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Wombat and Ron,

Yes, indeed, you do make a good point -- but what worries me is that EVERY TIME a US serviceman is discovered doing something like this I can count on the fact that within five minutes I'm going to hear someone say that "he snapped" without any real evidence that would support that conclusion. Maybe they snapped -- or maybe they were just evil.

Consider again the post by Lt. Col. Bob Bateman that someone linked to above. The soldier in Bateman's command, keep in mind, are saying this in peacetime, in the comfort and safety of their base in Fort Hood, and yet half of them still say, quite calmly and without hesiation, that they see nothing wrong with committing premeditated murder against innocent civilians. This isn't a result of them "snapping" -- it's a result of their moral callousness and cruelty:

Fort Hood, Texas, Summer 1995:

Private Ericsson was the blond-haired blue-eyed epitome of American youth. A little older than his peers at 22, he was often the first to speak up when I called for a response. In this case I had just put forward the question, What would you do? to a hypothetical situation in which several prisoners had been captured who may, or may not, know about an ambush the enemy had emplaced for our unit some distance away. The prisoners appeared to be civilians, taken in a village from which we had, in this notional scenario, recently taken fire.

Id shoot one of them sir, to see if it got the next one to talk, said Ericsson with a perfectly straight face. The room remained silent.

WHAT?! It was not my calmest reply because I was, frankly, stunned. Standing at the front of the room I looked around at the assembled men seated before me. Nobody was leaping to contradict his comment. Their attention was split between us.

Ericsson repeated his response, looking me straight in the eye. Id shoot one of them sir. And then, if that didnt get the next guy to talk, Id shoot another.

Jesus.

Ericsson I started to reply, about to tell him how wrong that was, to lecture him and explain about not only the laws of land warfare but how this would additionally be entirely counterproductive in addition to being illegal and immoral, but I stopped myself. If Ericsson thinks this way

"No, waitOK, how many of you think that this is the correct response? Now I was addressing the whole group, most of my company in fact. After a few seconds almost half of the hands went up.

I had a lot of work to do.....What I learned was that my men, a perfect mlange of middle Americana, (and absent their sergeants and lieutenants) were more than willing to use violence in completely inappropriate ways in order to accomplish what they saw as the mission. In short, what they told me they would do was (were they to actually do any of these things) a collection of violations of the laws of land warfare. It was a direct confirmation of something which Id only suspected before....

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

The US has not adopted murder as an approved technique for dealing with resistence.

Overtly? No. Covertly? I believe, yes, we have. Most American soldiers and Marines know that, if they do commit a war crime and it's not actually captured on film by a reporter, they can count on their superior officers to cover it up. There's a grave difference between what we claim to do officially and what we allow to happen every day in the field.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Yetmo,

Bite me.

How twelve years of continuous action can be a 'trigger' is beyond me. So please tell me, what changed?

Wave your hands and mutter 'a few bad apples' all you want. The fact is that I opposed this war from the beginning, and one of the reasons was because even in a 'good' war it damages the victors as well as the defeated. War creates bad apples.

Also I find it despicable that you can refer to "public affairs management of a War" as if we are talking about coming up with some new packaging for a candy bar.

Thank goodness your opinion is in the minority and fewer people each day share it.

Posted by: Tripp on June 2, 2006 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

I think that's true.

I think it's the quintessential nature of warfare, and precisely why the civilized world adopted the Geneva Conventions.

The temptations to violate the civilized codes of behavior while feeling hard-pressed on a battlefield becomes overwhelming.

And this is why people who otherwise support the right of self-defense become pacifists -- because all moral codes break down in a time of full-blown war.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 2, 2006 at 11:57 AM | PERMALINK

So, to bring this full 'round: If Dubyah et al are not to be deemed full moral actors fully responsible for their own decisions as the CIC/Leader of the Free World or second tier folks working fully at his discretion and good pleasure, are we to deduce that none of them then are to be deemed legally sane, competent and culpable for anything under their command to the same degree as the lowest on the food chain, a nineteen year old, high school dropout, borderline IQ, shellshocked third tour of dutied Pvt Pyle, USMC?

That is just the way it is. The military holds its own to a higher standard of conduct. If voters want to vote in Mayor Barry the crack addict, they do it. Doesn't make it OK for federal, state, or local employees to do so. If the people vote in and choose to keep a President who has sex with employees under their office, that doesn't make it OK for a military officer. The officer will lose his clearance (lack of integrity in personal relations) and likely be kicked out with loss of rank. In short, politicians do not set some sort of roving standard for personal conduct.

I wonder what his mom thinks of that? She sent them a good boy...

No she didn't. He volunteered. Every single one in the military.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit literally blames antiwar liberals for Haditha and other abuses.

http://thismodernworld.com/2930

This is assertion of a supposedly reasonable rightwinger opinion. Kevin, why exactly do you link to Instapundit as part of your blog roll?

Posted by: Catch22 on June 2, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

The United States does not have a stated policy of reprisal (as the Germans and the Japanese did in WWII); and to shade the argument in that direction is disingenuous. What the US does have is an almost total lack of moral accountability built into the military.

The Bateman article that is cited is a perfect example of that. Bateman should have reamed out the soldier who proposed shooting captives until one of them provided information, and as a lesson, ensured that the soldier spent his career in the motor pool.

Posted by: Wombat on June 2, 2006 at 12:07 PM | PERMALINK

That is just the way it is. The military holds its own to a higher standard of conduct. If voters want to vote in Mayor Barry the crack addict, they do it. Doesn't make it OK for federal, state, or local employees to do so. If the people vote in and choose to keep a President who has sex with employees under their office, that doesn't make it OK for a military officer. The officer will lose his clearance (lack of integrity in personal relations) and likely be kicked out with loss of rank. In short, politicians do not set some sort of roving standard for personal conduct.

Shorter Red State Mike: "Look, over there! It's Bill Clinton!"

As a corollary to Godwin's Law, I hereby propose Stefan's Law -- the first right-winger to try to mitigate some Republican abuse by invoking President Clinton loses.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:

Well, to be fair, he also invoked Marion Barry :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on June 2, 2006 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Al -- you can't use photoshop to do video.

Posted by: NAR on June 2, 2006 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike:

"No she didn't. He volunteered. Every single one in the military."

Yup. You are exactly right. But that was not my point. My point was: who exactly raises future service members? And its corollary, the implications of how does a government sustain ANY action if the folks back home are not fully approving? (including the witty wifey and momma)

And further: Who will teach and raise the next generation of those who would stand for our defenses if you lose the women of America? The hand that rocks the cradle and all of that, you know. THAT, sir, is my point. Even those who volunteer (all of today's service members) are not self-hatching eggs or raised by wolves. Unless the military can figger out a way to procreate entire armies out of test tubes...Who will serve the day after tomorrow???

Posted by: Grandly Peeved on June 2, 2006 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe they snapped -- or maybe they were just evil.

That's a fair point, I felt if I was going to generalize, I would generalize in favor of the accused. I have to believe that the majority of them snapped, although I have zero evidence to prove that. But your point is valid, there were undoubtedly some who are just crazy mofo's. I think LTC Bateman is right on when he decries the glorificaation of the military. These men and women are just normal Americans, normal Americans with an unbelievably hellish job.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 2, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Re the comment on creating armies out of test tubes: Maybe Dr. Dobson will have an idea of how we can "raise" an entire generation of our next soldiers and sailors out of test tubes, mother-free, so as not to let family values get in the way. Just a suggestion. Snarky tho it be. We seem to have sunken into a perverse amoral hole of our own making.

Posted by: Grandly Peeved on June 2, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

...it worked for ancient Sparta to raise an army without a family unit or nurturing mother. (ancient world version of test tubes) We seem to have no interest in an Athens-like culture, so, maybe that Spartan-esque way of raising kids is the ticket...OK. That's enough snark for one day.

Posted by: Grandly Peeved on June 2, 2006 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
Shorter Red State Mike: "Look, over there! It's Bill Clinton!"

Not my fault that he is the gold standard example of the difference in standards that the military and their civilian leaders are held to. That he is a democrat is besides the point.

I threw in Mayor Barry for EEO reasons.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile: US soldiers have allowed themselves to be put in situations where the contingency to shoot babies and women is inescapable. Anathema upon them.

Huh? Not sure what you mean by "allowed." Do you mean they should have gone AWOL and refused deployment?

If these soldiers did what they're accused of, then they should be punished just as Red State Mike said, because they are moral agents. There is no way (and I say this as a combat vet myself) that shooting women and children is ever "inescapable." And I can't understand why you'd think it was.

Posted by: cyntax on June 2, 2006 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK
The United States does not have a stated policy of reprisal

I'm not sure that is actually the case; certainly even the official justification for many of the instances of apparent collective punishment during this war has suggested such a policy. Of course, since such a policy would be a war crime, its not a clearly articulated policy, but it seems very much like an effort has been made to walk the knife edge of terrorizing the populace into submission with the specter of reprisal while maintaining a thin veneer of "plausible" deniability about having an official policy of collective punishment.

Posted by: cmdicely on June 2, 2006 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely
...but it seems very much like an effort has been made to walk the knife edge of terrorizing the populace into submission with the specter of reprisal while maintaining a thin veneer of "plausible" deniability about having an official policy of collective punishment.

Huh? Based on what do you form that opinion?

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

For us, that is. Not for the enemy. He can just keep head chopping and child bombing.

Which "enemy" would that be?

The Shia who are drilling holes in the heads of Sunnis after they kill them execution style at the rate of twenty or thirty a day, or attacking British soldiers in Basra and torching their vehicles? Is it the Sunni who are planting IED's and blowing up mosques when they're not being forced out of their homes by Shi'ite militias? Or is it the Kurds who have displaced over 200,000 people in Kirkuk at gunpoint, forcing them to live in tents outside the city?

Could it be the various religious militias protecting their families and neighborhoods by attacking strangers? The corrupt government ministries embezzling money and supporting death squads? The criminal gangs? The religious police, unheard of in Iraq, now patrolling Basra and forcing women to follow the strict dress and behavioral mandates of Sharia law?

Or is it Iraq's Prime Minister, who just alleged that U.S. troops criminally attack innocent Iraqi citizens "daily" and "kill them on suspicion" because they have "no respect for Iraqis"?

There is no "enemy" in Iraq. There are just numerous groups vying for power, wreaking revenge, and acting in the worst possible ways because we destroyed the security and infrastructure of their country thinking there would be no need for postwar security or rebuilding.

That was right after we invaded it on false pretenses.

The Bush administration has opened Pandora's Box in Iraq. To solemnly pretend that there is some nefarious enemy to defeat there if only we have the right weapons and tactics is farcical. The only enemy is the spirit of desperate violence among the populace that wars inevitably unleash. The true enemy to be defeated was our own national ego and its pride and fear, whipped into a frenzy by a deceitful administration with a self-serving agenda.

Because we failed to defeat that enemy everyone in Iraq is now paying a terrible price.

Posted by: Windhorse on June 2, 2006 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely: ...but it seems very much like an effort has been made to walk the knife edge of terrorizing the populace into submission with the specter of reprisal while maintaining a thin veneer of "plausible" deniability about having an official policy of collective punishment.

Well, I don't think that's really the case. You could certainly argue that the US military often does not do a good job with insurgencies and policing civilian populations, especially when compared with the techniques and results the Brits get in similar situations. But much of that has to do with how you define your military goals. It's really important to remember, as other posters have pointed out, that the US military (the rank and file) were told that they were going into Iraq to get terrorists. When you start a war from false assumptions, you generally don't get good results. Add to that this adimistration's complete lack of understanding of matters military and how to apply force, and you get a situation that goes FUBAR pretty damn fast.

I can recall feeling outraged by Rice's remark so many years ago (before the first GWB "election") that "we don't need to have the 82nd Airborne escorting kids to kindergarten;" she was making a snide criticism of the Clinton administration's decesion to send troops to Kosovo. At the time I wondered what if anything the Bushies knew about the military and what the military would be called to do in the 21st Century, but mostly thought their short-sightedness would be of little consequence. I had no idea how often my assesment would come back to haunt me. Beyond showing a complete lack of understanding for the real world training such deployments afford, that statement shows a complete disconnect from the core values of military life and a willingness to exploit the military for political gain.

Posted by: cyntax on June 2, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Which "enemy" would that be?

That'd be the ones who use torture and kill innocents over there and who, unlike us, see it as a tactic to be expanded on due to its success, not one to be punished and corrected in a public process.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

@Red state mike

Of course the soldiers are responible for their own actions. But nevertheless, you do not have the right to punish them without punishing the people who did the real crime.

I advise you to get yourselve involved into international law and you will see that starting a war of aggression is THE maximum international crime - which includes all actions commited in itself. (and therefore ALSO the crimes commited by the marines)

So it is not allowed to punish for example SS Nazi commandos, and letting Hitler and Himmler go, without being punished.

But that originally what you demand. You say punish the marines, without punishing Bush, Halli-Cheney- Rumsfeld, Pearle etc. tec.

That's all. Stick to international law - or shit on it. But both in one isn t possible.


(See you can punish the marines - but not without also impeaching the guys who sent them their.)

Posted by: Seele on June 2, 2006 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

That'd be the ones who use torture and kill innocents over there and who, unlike us, see it as a tactic to be expanded on due to its success, not one to be punished and corrected in a public process.

That's a non-answer answer. All sides in Iraq, including us and the groups nominally allied with us, such as the Kurds, use torture and kill innocents -- so again, exactly who's the "enemy" and why are we fighting them? What purpose is being served by us being over there? Just who are we fighting and why and how will we know when we've "won"?

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin said: "We desperately need to do the right thing."

We won't. We can't. How do you fix a broken window on a house that isn't built on a sound foundation? When you have so-called leaders like Lil' Boots and Rummy the Bullshitter running the show (into the ground), who won't acknowledge reality, much less admit to a mistake (something my ex-fighter pilot father drilled into his children) and then fix what's broken, things won't change. They can't admit that Marines did something terribly wrong (and apparently, not just once), because they believe that their whole sand castle will come tumbling down. And all the trolls and brownshirts know just how much sand everything they believe in stands upon.

War is hell. Everybody agrees with that. But shooting women and children, and kicking around the heads of your enemies like soccer balls--that's evidence of evil. We've truly lost Iraq already. We're just trying to get out with our butts intact. Whatever good reputation the U.S. once had is gone.

Posted by: retrogrouch on June 2, 2006 at 2:05 PM | PERMALINK

cmdicely,

I'm not sure that is actually the case; certainly even the official justification for many of the instances of apparent collective punishment during this war has suggested such a policy.

Your contradicting yourself. You just claimed that you are not justified in believing anything. You claimed that all such claims are "vacuous gibberish." Therefore, on your own account, you are not justified in believing anything about what the "the official justification for many of the instances of apparent collective punishment during this war" suggests about anything.

I'm going have a lot of fun with the latest piece of cmdicely nonsensicality.

Posted by: GOP on June 2, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

But both in one isn t possible.
See you can punish the marines - but not without also impeaching the guys who sent them their.)

It's not so much that the marines can't be punished without taking culpability up the chain of command, it's that they shouldn't be.

But I'll be surprised if this goes above the battalion level.

Posted by: cyntax on June 2, 2006 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Of course the soldiers are responible for their own actions. But nevertheless, you do not have the right to punish them without punishing the people who did the real crime.

Yes we do. In fact, we have the responsibility and the obligation to do so, in accordance with the Uniform Code of Military Justice. Nowhere in it does it say anything about punishing the folks who perpetrated the "real crime".

Here it is, in case you'd like to become more informed...
http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/ucmj.htm

I advise you to get yourselve involved into international law and you will see that starting a war of aggression is THE maximum international crime

First, we went to the UN for their imprimatur, and got it. There's a reason why we had the coalition we had at the beginning. It was the right thing to do. Too bad it hurt France and USSR's pocket books. Second, any law which somehow gives a brutal dictator such as Saddam Hussein a place to hide is complete, absolute, total BS.

So it is not allowed to punish for example SS Nazi commandos, and letting Hitler and Himmler go, without being punished.

Allowed? It'd be wrong. But if you held Himmler and let him go, that would in no way obligate me to release my prisoners who may have worked beneath him.

But that originally what you demand. You say punish the marines, without punishing Bush, Halli-Cheney- Rumsfeld, Pearle etc. tec.

No, that's not what I'm saying. I am saying the Marines should and most likely will be punished for their actions, as they are held to a higher standard.

Politicians? That is a whole nuther ball game. We can argue until the 2008 elections about whether it is right or wrong. It's just the way it is. The idea that the politicians must also be punished, or punished first before the Marines, flies in the face of political reality. We tolerate crooks and cheats and liars in our politicians on both sides of the aisle, voting them in and keeping them in as it serves us, but not in the military.

That's all. Stick to international law - or shit on it. But both in one isn't possible.

See my comment above re: international law providing safe haven to despots.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

First, we went to the UN for their imprimatur, and got it.

No we didn't -- that's a complete and utter lie. Here from Slate (emphasis mine):

Flip: On March 6, 2003, Bush said he would demand a U.N. Security Council vote on whether to sanction military action against Iraq: "No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council."

Flop: On March 17, 2003, with a possible resolution waiting in the wings, Bush announced he would not call for a vote, saying, "The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours."

Context: France and other anti-war nations made it clear that they would vote against any resolution. Bush noted this on March 16 when he observed that France and Russia "said they are going to veto anything that held Saddam to account. So cards have been played." Bush and his coalition allies decided that the diplomatic road through the United Nations would be a dead end and that the only way to remove Saddam Hussein from power was through military intervention.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

cyntax, what I was trying to say, perhaps too concisely, is that US soldiers have volunteered, the allowed part of my earlier post, putting them in a war zone where events escalate into greater violence and they find themselves in a situation, not of their making or choosing - the contingency, where they can act out violence against anyone, including women and children, for reasons of vengeance or other rationalized reasons. When these US soldiers signed up, I doubt very much they could envision being in such a situation where they would kill unarmed men, women and children. However, when they were in a war zone, their own lives at risk, and the death of a comrade occurred, they were trapped in an environment that could easily massacre innocents. I am not excusing these killers, but trying to understand how they could do what they did. I say the moment they signed up they were on a path to perdition, caused by the circumstance of war.

I would prefer they not join the military. I would prefer they refuse to obey orders to serve in Iraq. I would prefer they go AWOL. Most soldiers are not going to do these things after they join up. Most soldiers are going to obey and become caught up in the moment of vengeance and peer pressure. Now they have to be tried and, if found guilty, punished. Nevertheless, the victims are dead and they are dead because these soldiers wanted to be patriots and serve their country. The desire to serve created a contingency that led the soldiers directly to murder.

Posted by: Hostile on June 2, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

There's a reason why we had the coalition we had at the beginning. It was the right thing to do. Too bad it hurt France and USSR's pocket books.

'Many people also felt that many of the governments that had aligned themselves with the US, despite strong opposition among their constituencies, did so because of their own economic ties to the United States. The United States used strong pressure and threats against other nations to attempt to coerce nations on the Security Council to support them. For example, Mexican diplomats complained that talks with American officials had been "hostile in tone", and had shown little concern for the Mexican government's need to accommodate the overwhelmingly antiwar sentiment of its people. One Mexican diplomat reported that the US told them that "any country that doesn't go along with us will be paying a very heavy price."' [3]

'The Institute for Policy Studies published a report [4] analyzing what it called the "arm-twisting offensive" by the United States government to get nations to support it. Although President Bush described nations supporting him as the "coalition of the willing", the report concluded that it was more accurately described as a "coalition of the coerced." According to the report, most nations supporting Bush "were recruited through coercion, bullying, and bribery." The techniques used to pressure nations to support the United States included a variety of incentives including:

Promises of aid and loan guarantees to nations who support the U.S.
Promises of military assistance to nations who support the U.S.
Threats to veto NATO membership applications for countries who don't do what the U.S. asks
Leveraging the size of the U.S. export market and the U.S. influence over financial institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
Deciding which countries receive trade benefits under such laws as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which, as one of its conditions for eligibility for such benefits, requires that a country does "not engage in activities that undermine United States national security interests".
Deciding what countries it should buy oil from in stocking its strategic reserves. The U.S. has exerted such pressure on several oil-exporting nations, such as Mexico.

'At a press conference, the White House press corps broke out in laughter when Ari Fleischer denied that "the leaders of other nations are buyable".'

http://66.102.7.104/search?q=cache:QrUhVCzLKkMJ:en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_UN_Security_Council_and_the_Iraq_war+bush+un+security+council+vote+iraq&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=11

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 2:34 PM | PERMALINK

It's easy to condemn reports like this as soon as they come out, especially when you are looking for reasons to destroy this war. I have no idea what happened, and I believe very strongly that that videotape is a fake as this sort of thing is (and was) easily faked by anti-coalition focres. But in my experience in Iraq things like this have and do happen. It is a part of war. I can say with strong conviction that I never met a man or woman over there that killed without just cause. What would our motivation be to do such a horrible thing? We want to get out of there, killing innocents isn't going to help us get back to our families. It in fact will do just the opposite. You believe that soldiers snap, and they do. They do not snap to the tune of brutally murdering tens upon tens of people.

Why is it that people are so quick to condemn those of us who put on the uniform of military service? I hear stories of William Jefferson being caught on tape recieving huge sums of money for bribes, his home is raided, evidence found, and immediately there are all these people defending him -- a man who is a crooked politician. And there is incontrovertible evidence to support that! Then there are reports of my military bretheren being "accused of possibly committing heinous crimes" and immediately they are arraigned, prosecuted, and convicted.

What is wrong with us?

Posted by: Smitty on June 2, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

Of course it is, as always, unacceptable to focus, in polite company, on the equally barbaric behaviors of the Shia/Sunni death/IED squads that are destroying Iraqi society while claiming to fight the infidel invaders

No matter. No matter how barbaric or monstrous they may or may not be, that is NO justification for us to do it, period. It is NEVER EVER OK to do what they do, to sink to their level, assuming your characterization is 100% accurate.

See, that's the difference between a good society and good people vs "evil" people. NO JUSTIFICATION IS POSSIBLE. Ever. For doing this shit.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on June 2, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration has opened Pandora's Box in Iraq. To solemnly pretend that there is some nefarious enemy to defeat there if only we have the right weapons and tactics is farcical. The only enemy is the spirit of desperate violence among the populace that wars inevitably unleash. The true enemy to be defeated was our own national ego and its pride and fear, whipped into a frenzy by a deceitful administration with a self-serving agenda.

Beautifully written. Thanks, Windhorse.

Posted by: Hostile on June 2, 2006 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

You believe that soldiers snap, and they do. They do not snap to the tune of brutally murdering tens upon tens of people.

"The My Lai Massacre was a massacre committed by U.S. soldiers on hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians, mostly women and children, on March 16, 1968, in the hamlet of My Lai, during the Vietnam War.....The soldiers found no insurgents in the village on the morning of March 16, 1968. The soldiers, one platoon of which was led by Lt. William Calley, killed hundreds of civilians primarily old men, women, children, and babies. Some were tortured or raped. Dozens were herded into a ditch and executed with automatic firearms. At one stage, Calley expressed his intent to throw hand grenades into a trench filled with villagers.[1]

"The precise number reported killed varies from source to source, with 347 and 504 being the most commonly cited figures. A memorial at the site of the massacre lists 504 names, with ages ranging from 1 year to 82 years of age....."

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Here's one writer's take on the mentality of those who do our fighting for us these days:

http://www.dissidentvoice.org/Jan06/Bageant10.htm

Posted by: retrogrouch on June 2, 2006 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile: ...I say the moment they signed up they were on a path to perdition, caused by the circumstance of war.

I would prefer they not join the military. I would prefer they refuse to obey orders to serve in Iraq. I would prefer they go AWOL. Most soldiers are not going to do these things after they join up. Most soldiers are going to obey and become caught up in the moment of vengeance and peer pressure. Now they have to be tried and, if found guilty, punished. Nevertheless, the victims are dead and they are dead because these soldiers wanted to be patriots and serve their country. The desire to serve created a contingency that led the soldiers directly to murder.

To not obey the orders of the CiC after you have taken an oath to do so, is in my opinion, not a viable choice, unless those orders are unconstitutional or in violation of the UCMJ or Geneva Conventions.

You see the desire to serve as morally wrong; I see it as morally right, and make distinctions based on what the soldiers do while serving.

Further, your contention that the desire to serve leads directly to murder is a slippery slope fallacy where you take an event at the beginning of a long, complicated chain of events, connect it to the end result, and ignore all the decision points in between.

I have to say I find your argument neither compelling nor logical.

Posted by: cyntax on June 2, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

That'd be the ones who use torture and kill innocents over there and who, unlike us, see it as a tactic to be expanded on due to its success, not one to be punished and corrected in a public process.

I remind you, Mike, that the military was perfectly happy to cover up these events until damning evidence surfaced in the public domain. Don't hand us that "punished and corrected in a public process" claptrap.

Posted by: Gregory on June 2, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike wrote:

First, we went to the UN for their imprimatur, and got it.

No, we didn't.

Then RSM covers himself by insisting that the US was justified in acting without the UN mandate he claimed we had:

Second, any law which somehow gives a brutal dictator such as Saddam Hussein a place to hide is complete, absolute, total BS.

Mike makes the equivalent of the claim "I never shot that guy, and anyway it was self defense."

Posted by: Gregory on June 2, 2006 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory
I remind you, Mike, that the military was perfectly happy to cover up these events until damning evidence surfaced in the public domain.

While not up on the Haditha story, Shame On You, Gregory, for failing to note that the investigation of Abu Ghraib was well under way prior to the New Yorker catching wind.

No, we didn't.

Yes we did.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

While not up on the Haditha story, Shame On You, Gregory, for failing to note that the investigation of Abu Ghraib was well under way prior to the New Yorker catching wind.

I was referring to these massacres, Mike -- which were indeed covered up -- not Abu Ghraib, but duly noted.

Yes we did.

In fact, no, Mike. You were corrected upthread already. Apparently your so-called military honor doesn't prevent you from lying to justify your pet war. In that you and Bush have something in common.

Posted by: Gregory on June 2, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

Yes we did.

Huh? Based on what do you form that opinion?

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 3:10 PM | PERMALINK

In fact, no, Mike. You were corrected upthread already. Apparently your so-called military honor doesn't prevent you from lying to justify your pet war. In that you and Bush have something in common.

I'll make the charitable assumption that Mike missed my post (and doesn't seem to remember 2003), rather than that he's an inveterate liar and/or delusional fantasist, so I'll repost it:

Flip: On March 6, 2003, Bush said he would demand a U.N. Security Council vote on whether to sanction military action against Iraq: "No matter what the whip count is, we're calling for the vote. We want to see people stand up and say what their opinion is about Saddam Hussein and the utility of the United Nations Security Council."

Flop: On March 17, 2003, with a possible resolution waiting in the wings, Bush announced he would not call for a vote, saying, "The United Nations Security Council has not lived up to its responsibilities, so we will rise to ours."

Context: France and other anti-war nations made it clear that they would vote against any resolution. Bush noted this on March 16 when he observed that France and Russia "said they are going to veto anything that held Saddam to account. So cards have been played." Bush and his coalition allies decided that the diplomatic road through the United Nations would be a dead end and that the only way to remove Saddam Hussein from power was through military intervention.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

"No we didn't."

"Yes we did."

Bunch of children y'all are... Meanwhile, the Americans continue to brutalize the Iraqis at the same time we're painting their schools and trying to repair the damage wrought by four years of pointless war, on top of a decade of sanctions.

This is similar to the argument that Congress gave a blank check to Lil' Boots following 9/11.

Posted by: retrogrouch on June 2, 2006 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Guys, ease up on RSM. By becoming a pilot in the military, and killing people just because he was ordered to, he gave up something most of us would be unwilling to part with - his humanity.

Posted by: not saying on June 2, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

To not obey the orders of the CiC after you have taken an oath to do so, is in my opinion, not a viable choice

Taking an oath to obey puts one in the position of letting events and superiors dictate behavior. Forsaking one's humanity to become an automaton almost always creates a bad circumstance.

Posted by: Hostile on June 2, 2006 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

"There's a reason why we had the coalition we had at the beginning. "

And it had nothing to do with the fact that a small contribution of mostly non-combat troops that would be given relatively easy missions and who would not be indefinately stuck in Iraq if things turned out badly could ease relations (or even provoke a shower of aid money) with the highly vindictive right wing administration of the most powerful nation on earth while failing to make such a token contribution would put you on thier blacklist?

Posted by: jefff on June 2, 2006 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

But in my experience in Iraq things like this have and do happen. It is a part of war...

You believe that soldiers snap, and they do. They do not snap to the tune of brutally murdering tens upon tens of people...

What is wrong with us?

Posted by: Smitty on June 2, 2006 at 2:37 PM | PERMALINK

So they only "snap" so far?

You have experience I don't but I don't believe I have a bias. Both my parents served with distinction in wartime. My father was a 20-year vet.

This stuff happens in every war. Horrible things that are illegal under international law. Many times, most times they get passed over, buried figuratively and literally.

As the twentieth century proceeded communications have improved and, particularly in an insurgency situation, there is an increasing likelyhood of witnesses and documentary evidence. I actually believe main media has been lax in reporting the realities of this war.

As an observation, the US Army and Marine Corps do not answer directly to a civil administration and interpret Rules of Engagement to the liberal side -- necessity and proportionality take a low priority. The US is an occupying power and, as such, law is more constraining than in a war zone. This subtlety seems to escape many.

Despite the British Army's 30+ years experience in N. Ireland I fully expect something similar to appear from Basra, especially as it heats up now.

I'm not there to hear what officers say but I do hear those at the top here. This is still categorized as a war. It's not. It is an occupying power facing an insurgency or civil insurrrection (whichever you would like to call it) and a low-level civil war.

The troops are faced with behaving more like police than soldiers and without the training or, I believe, that clarification from the top down. And has not been enabled by strategic decisions from the top -- disbanding the Iraqi army, isolation of Ba'athists, extreme slowness, ineffectiveness and lack of resources in building internal police and security forces.

There's nothing wrong with you.

War is a nasty, despicable business and should be the very last, if sometimes necessary, resort of any democracy.

This administration decided to go to war unnecessarily, for the wrong reasons and has directed the campaign incompatently. This is the result.

Posted by: notthere on June 2, 2006 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

It will also be necessary to examine the desensitization training that US troops undergo. This training was instituted after discovering that a suprising percentage of troops in combat did not fire their weapons, even under appropriate circumstances.

Posted by: Wombat on June 2, 2006 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Taking an oath to obey puts one in the position of letting events and superiors dictate behavior. Forsaking one's humanity to become an automaton almost always creates a bad circumstance.

You're grossly over-simplfying as you did with your slippery-slope fallacy. You're conflating "forsaking your humanity" with joining the military. That's your opinion and you're welcome to it. If you want to check your opinion against reality though, you can read up on the UCMJ and the Geneva Conventions.


Posted by: cyntax on June 2, 2006 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

An aside - regarding the good boy that was sent to the US military who returned him a murderer.

The quote was from the mother of one of the participants in My Lai.
Which was in Viet Nam.
During which period the draft was in effect.
Meaning many people were NOT there voluntarily.

Posted by: kenga on June 2, 2006 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan
I'll make the charitable assumption that Mike missed my post...

Yep

...rather than that he's an inveterate liar and/or delusional fantasist

Gee, that's big of you.

Context: France and other anti-war nations made it clear that they would vote against any resolution. Bush noted this on March 16 when he observed that France and Russia "said they are going to veto anything that held Saddam to account. So cards have been played." Bush and his coalition allies decided that the diplomatic road through the United Nations would be a dead end and that the only way to remove Saddam Hussein from power was through military intervention.

Ah yes. Resolution 1441, which specifically stated "That 1441, and its deadline, represented Iraq's final opportunity to comply with disarmament requirements." Now there's one for the cmdicelys of the world to debate about "the meaning of 'is'".

Yes, it was legal!

No it's not! Except for a couple of opinions!

I'll let the lawyers argue. I'm glad Saddam is gone, his safe haven having been overturned in spite of the countries he bought off.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

RSM, why aren't you in Iraq right now? They could use a strapping, argumentative right-winger like you, so obviously willing to strap on 60 lbs of gear, electronics, ceramics, ammo, etc. and fight dirty in the hallowed names of Lil' Boots and Rummy. Go ahead, man, I've got a thirsty car to keep on the road! I'm right behind you 100 percent! And hey, don't let the door hit you in your ass on the way out, huh?

Posted by: retrogrouch on June 2, 2006 at 4:05 PM | PERMALINK

not saying
Guys, ease up on RSM. By becoming a pilot in the military, and killing people just because he was ordered to, he gave up something most of us would be unwilling to part with - his humanity.

Oh, the inhumanity!!!

retrogrouch
RSM, why aren't you in Iraq right now?

You're new around here. I'll type s l o w l y so you can understand. Been there twice, been shot at both times. Also Kosovo.

They could use a strapping, argumentative right-winger like you, so obviously willing to strap on 60 lbs of gear, electronics, ceramics, ammo, etc. and fight dirty in the hallowed names of Lil' Boots and Rummy.

I did it for Clinton...

Go ahead, man, I've got a thirsty car to keep on the road! I'm right behind you 100 percent! And hey, don't let the door hit you in your ass on the way out, huh?

Moron.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 4:12 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes. Resolution 1441, which specifically stated "That 1441, and its deadline, represented Iraq's final opportunity to comply with disarmament requirements."

...and specifically required UNSC authorization before launching military action, as even our own ambassador acknowledged.

I'll let the lawyers argue. I'm glad Saddam is gone, his safe haven having been overturned in spite of the countries he bought off.

Shorter RSM: I don't really care if the invasion had a legal pretext, because the ends justify the means.

Posted by: Gregory on June 2, 2006 at 4:15 PM | PERMALINK

Ah yes. Resolution 1441, which specifically stated "That 1441, and its deadline, represented Iraq's final opportunity to comply with disarmament requirements." Now there's one for the cmdicelys of the world to debate about "the meaning of 'is'"....I'll let the lawyers argue.

Well, as one of the lawyers I'll explain that it's up to the UN Security Council itself, and not up to its member nations, to decide whether and how to enforce UNSC resolutions. (Otherwise, for example, we'd be left with the ludicrous situation in which Russia, say, could simply decide to invade Israel due to Israel's breach of numerous UN resolutions and it would be completely legal. Or it would be like me, as a lawyer, deciding to enforce a judge's decision on my own). But, of course, we never got such a Security Council resolution, because Bush flip-flopped on his boast to get a vote there "no matter what."

Regarding the legality of the US and Britain taking enforcement into their own hands Secretary General Kofi Annan said "I have indicated it was not in conformity with the UN charter. From our point of view, from the charter point of view, it was illegal."

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

...the investigation of Abu Ghraib was well under way prior to the New Yorker catching wind....

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

So we'll ignore Amnesty International's public reports and the IRC's private reports direct to the US government? AI was reporting torture and abuse at Gitmo, Afghanistan etc. from 2002 on. Torture and abuse's apparent institutionalization carried it to Iraq. And the civilians present? Any of them get anything less than a promotion? Anybody know?

On legality of the Iraq war, the UK Attorney General told Blair it probably wasn't legal. Nothing is certain 'til the verdicts in. Probably time to try it in court.

Posted by: notthere on June 2, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory and Stefan...
...and specifically required UNSC authorization before launching military action, as even our own ambassador acknowledged.

That's a bone of contention between the legal experts.

Ah well, it's Friday, time to take my ball and go home. I think it'll come out that Ishaqi was an unusually cruel (and that's saying a lot) stunt by Sunnis to make us look bad. Hope I'm right.

Posted by: Red State Mike on June 2, 2006 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

red state mike: "No, you should blame the American soldiers, if they did it. It was their fingers on the triggers, and they know better. People are responsible for their own actions. Period."

This is your response to my comment upthread that I didn't blame the American soldiers. Of course. Not blaming them is different from holding them responsible for what they have done. Or from rationalizing what they have done as somehow okay or understandable. Ultimately it does come down to them. But the leadership of this country is equally to blame for putting them in harms way. "Harm's way" is both physical and spiritual.

But I know that any of us, in their shoes, has the capacity to behave the same. That knowledge makes me unwilling to judge them as uniquely evil or presume that I would be incapable of such actions. I have to admit that I've never been tested. I do know that there was a moment in my life when I realized that I would have gone for my lying, cheating boyfriend's jugular if he had walked through the door. He didn't, I didn't, and I remain gentle to this day. But that moment of awareness has kept me very humble about the possibility.

On the other hand, I know that some soldiers would not have responded as they did. And that difference--between those who will run amok in such a brutal way and those who will not--lies at the heart of civilization. We must do everything we can to cultivate the qualities of spirit that would lead someone to do the right thing.

And every time someone says in a bloodlust kind of way, "We need to kill Osama Bin Laden!" or "Dead or alive!" or revels in some other aggressive violent imagery, I wonder about the difference between those who will commit atrocities given the right situational pressure and those who would not. Everytime a rightwing stooge like Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh foams at the mouth with hatred, I wonder about the difference. What does it mean to love our neighbor, to turn the other cheek, to love our enemy?

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 2, 2006 at 4:55 PM | PERMALINK

notthere --

In my experience in Iraq I never saw anyone snap like that. My men have taken gunfire for hours from unidentified assailants refusing to fire back before we could positively ID our attackers. Many times. We do not kill at random. One of the most amazing things you will never see is the brutality of the people we are against. The "civilians" as they are called -- usually only because they live in a town -- use those very infants and children that are dead in those ditches as sheilds. We fire, they fire back, then grab a kid and walk out into the middle of it, sacrificing both their lives and the lives of their children. They'll pay a kid $5 to walk up to you with an explosive in his hand -- often a rogue grenade -- and you can either let him pull the pin and launch it at your men or you have to shoot that 8 year-old in the head. All of a sudden there's a battle and these "civilians" have turned into attackers. This is not an easy thing to do. It literally becomes us or them, and sometimes the "them" are "innocent civilians."

My point about all of this is that it isn't as cut-and-dried as it looks. I've seen the pictures and they are brutal to say the very least. but again, I refer to the point I made in my previous post: If you're going to give William Jefferson the benefit of the doubt and the right to a trial you at the VERY LEAST owe that same benefit to those of us that defend the country.

Posted by: Smitty on June 2, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

That's a bone of contention between the legal experts.

Again, speaking as one of the legal experts no, it's really not. The Bush regime's tame in-house lawyers may claim there's a gray area all they want, but the overwhelming majority of other credible legal observers disagree with them.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

I think it'll come out that Ishaqi was an unusually cruel (and that's saying a lot) stunt by Sunnis to make us look bad. Hope I'm right.

Shorter Red State Mike: It's not true, it's not, it's not!

Yeah, and I'm sure My Lai was just an incredibly cruel Viet Cong stunt to make us look bad as well....

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

When an individual voluntarily gives up their autonomy by joining a group and taking an oath of obedience, that individual becomes involved in an environment that will dictate behavior outside of their will. That is why the military and gangs make recruits recite oaths. An oath is a psychological manipulation intended to prevent the recruit from acting out his will and instead adopt the will of the group. I think that when people turn over their will to a higher authority, inhuman behavior has a much higher chance of occurring.

Posted by: Hostile on June 2, 2006 at 5:00 PM | PERMALINK

In my experience in Iraq I never saw anyone snap like that.

In my experience living in the US I've never seen a rape or a murder -- so does that mean they don't happen here?

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

It literally becomes us or them, and sometimes the "them" are "innocent civilians."

My God, you mean they have the temerity to defend their homes, families and faith against a foreign invader? Is there nothing these monsters won't do?

There's a way to avoid all this, you know -- don't invade their country. You stay at home in the US, they stay at home in Iraq. But once you go over there and invade and occupy them, don't start bitching when they shoot back at you. You asked for it -- they didn't.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

Red State Mike,

First off, thank you for your service to our country.

think it'll come out that Ishaqi was an unusually cruel (and that's saying a lot) stunt by Sunnis to make us look bad. Hope I'm right.

I hope you are right, too, but I'm not betting on it. As I said above one of the horrors of war is what it does to the winners as well as the losers.

We all have the capacity to do terrible things and it is a tragedy when that happens.

Posted by: Tripp on June 2, 2006 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

Horrific images of Iraqi adults and children have fueled new allegations that U.S. troops killed civilians in the Iraqi town of Ishaqi. But ABC News has learned that military officials have completed their investigation and concluded that U.S. forces followed the rules of engagement.

A senior Pentagon official told ABC News the investigation concluded that the allegations of intentional killings of civilians by American forces are unfounded.

Posted by: Doug on June 2, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

Hostile,

An oath is a psychological manipulation intended to prevent the recruit from acting out his will and instead adopt the will of the group. I think that when people turn over their will to a higher authority, inhuman behavior has a much higher chance of occurring.

Most certainly, but out of fairness I want to point out that the self-less-ness can lead to great acts as well as terrible acts.

That is why war is so compelling - it contains the extremes of human behaviour, both good and bad.

Posted by: Tripp on June 2, 2006 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=2032795&page=1

Posted by: Doug on June 2, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Jeez, did no one here actually bother to watch the video? Just because the BBC (or Kevin for that matter) states that a video "seems to confirm another American massacre of civilians in Iraq" doesn't mean you should take their word for it. The video seems to confirm nothing. At most, it might show that the bodies in the home were also shot. At worst, that could theoretically mean they were shot down in cold blood - though to believe that, you would need to ignore the fact they there was a firefight (i.e. people in the house were shooting at our troops).

The military is investigating it and one way or another we'll know as best we can what happened. It is possible that these soldier snapped and took out a family, though I rather doubt it. It is of course also possible our enemies are lying. It's not like that hasn't happened before.

Kevin is right, we desperately need to do the right thing. That means doing right by the Iraqis to ensure these things never happen and, if they do anyway, prosecuting those guilty to the fullest. But it also mean doing right by our soldiers, trusting them and witholding our judgments until the facts come out.

Above all it means recognizing that, whatever you view on the war or on the military, it is quite unfair to use these accusations, even if they turn out to be true, to cast wide dispersions about the military or its leadership. They have gone out of their way to a degree never before realized in combat to keep the innocent out of harms way despite facing an enemy with no qualms about killing civilians, using them as shield, and hiding among them while attacking our soldiers and marines.

Shame on all of you who have allowed political hate to make you forgot this basic truth.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 2, 2006 at 5:18 PM | PERMALINK

Shame on all of you who have allowed political hate to make you forgot this basic truth.

Shame on the liberals for denouncing unprovoked wars of aggression. Shame on the liberals for denouncing the savagery of war. Shame on the liberals for attempting to hold their own government accountable.

Posted by: obscure on June 2, 2006 at 5:28 PM | PERMALINK

They have gone out of their way to a degree never before realized in combat to keep the innocent out of harms way despite facing an enemy with no qualms about killing civilians, using them as shield, and hiding among them while attacking our soldiers and marines.

Again, the best way to keep the innocent out of harm's way is not to invade their country. I can't arm myself, go to my neighbor's house, kick in his door, shoot him and occupy the house and then claim that I'm doing my best to avoid hurting his family, can I?

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan --

Did you bother to read any of what I typed in context? Read the part before where I talk about the circumstances under which "they" become the "enemy."

You say that we could avoid this by not invading the country, but that is no longet an option. We are there and that is the way it is. Your concept does not exist -- we have already invaded.

And please, Stefan, tell me, what do you do when an 8 year-old comes at you with an explosive?

Posted by: Smitty on June 2, 2006 at 5:33 PM | PERMALINK

Grandly Peeved @12:27 pm: Who will serve the day after tomorrow?

Darleks. Robot warriors with Predator drones humming above. You probably think I'm joking...

Posted by: Nell on June 2, 2006 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

You say that we could avoid this by not invading the country, but that is no longet an option. We are there and that is the way it is. Your concept does not exist -- we have already invaded.

So let's leave. Apologize for our dreadful, ghastly mistake and and pull out.

And please, Stefan, tell me, what do you do when an 8 year-old comes at you with an explosive?

That depends -- have I been shooting at his family? Have I blown up his house? Have I tortured his brother or killed his parents and his sister? Because why would an Iraqi 8 year old come at me with an explosive while I'm sitting in my office in New York?

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 5:40 PM | PERMALINK

No Obscure, shame on those liberals who place a quick chance to score political points over their basic responsibily to do right by their military and wait until all the fact were present before hanging out the soldier to twist in the wind.

Stefan - yes the best way to avoid innocent casualties is to avoid war. But your little analogy is pretty silly. In any event, the point isn't that war is without these terrible moments but rather that our military has gone beyond what any other armed force in history has done to minimize the costs the innocents bear in war. And we should not forget that in the zeal to nail the administration once again.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 2, 2006 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

It seems that real icing on the Haditha story was that at last one of the Marine perps _took photos_ with his cellphone and emailed them home.

I think it's interesting how the atrocities that get acknowledged have this funny patten of undisputable self-incrimination.
Gee, what might explain this?

Posted by: gcochran on June 2, 2006 at 5:43 PM | PERMALINK

But ABC News has learned that military officials have completed their investigation and concluded that U.S. forces followed the rules of engagement.

With respect, that kind of wording from the pushback is somewhat meaningless. The US military report still contradicts the Iraqi police report. The images still back up the Iraqi police report.

And, more pragmatically: the Iraqis in that village really aren't going to say 'oh, okay, the rules of engagement were followed. That makes it all right.'

Posted by: ahem on June 2, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan - yes the best way to avoid innocent casualties is to avoid war.

Yes.

But your little analogy is pretty silly.

First, I'm not sure "analogy" means what you think it means. Second, it was your example, not mine.

In any event, the point isn't that war is without these terrible moments

That is the point, actually. War is full of these terrible moments which is exactly why one shouldn't go to war lightly, as the Bush regime did, but should only do so as a last resort. It's precisely becuase these sorts of massacres and murders happen all the time in war that sane and responsible men do their best to avoid it.

but rather that our military has gone beyond what any other armed force in history has done to minimize the costs the innocents bear in war.

And you base this comparison to "any other armed force in history" on...what? Where's your evidence for this claim? The US military is not exactly known for its light touch.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

But ABC News has learned that military officials have completed their investigation and concluded that U.S. forces followed the rules of engagement.

Oh, well, as long as the US military says that the US military didn't do anything wrong....after all, no one has more credibility on this than they do, right?

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 5:56 PM | PERMALINK

Smitty --

Okay. I consider the dialogue with you closed as you have failed to realistically and respectfully respond to anything I have typed. I simply hope you enjoy your warm meal tonight after a day in your New York office and at some point show some respect to those who have helped make your free life in the greatest country in the world possible.

Posted by: Smitty on June 2, 2006 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

Apologies, that last post was to be addressed at Stefan.

Posted by: Smitty on June 2, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

No Stefan you're right.

We should trust a handful of unsourced, unaccountable, but openly anti-American Sunni group and their ultimatly non-descriptive video more than we should the military investigation done by people whose names and futures are on the line under our system of law. After all, the terrorist-affiliated Sunni group has no reason to lie? I mean propoganda only comes from the occupiers doesn't it? Only the US military lies, is that it? After all the BBC wouldn't lead us astray would they? They've been so honest and balanced thus far?

Gimme a break.

Posted by: Hacksaw on June 2, 2006 at 6:03 PM | PERMALINK

@gcochran above: The 'perps' did not take the pictures (if by that term you mean the Marines who are accused of shooting the 5 unarmed men in the taxi, the 15 unarmed family members in houses, and the four brothers in a house who had one pistol among them.) The pictures were taken, according to testimony by one of them, Ryan Briones, by two lance corporals who were ordered to clean up the bodies and were also ordered to take pictures, with their personal cameras.

Briones has told investigators he left the camera at the battalion HQ, picked it up later assuming the photos had been downloaded, and erased the pics. Don't know what happened to the other guy's.

But it's looking very much as if, without those photos and especially without the video taken by Taher Thabet in Haditha the day after the killings, there'd be no investigation into this incident at all.

The pictures from the official, routine after-action intel unit that is supposed to take pictures did not show any bodies. That's really after-action...

Posted by: Nell on June 2, 2006 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

One thing we need to remember, people like Red State Mike haven't actually defended our nation. No one attacked us in the entire time he was in the military. In fact, his service is a blight on America's ideals. One of his trips to Iraq was to restore monarchy and the other was to terrorize the Iraqis because the United States and Great Britain didn't want to lose their target practice range.

Let's fact it, the military is a toy for monsters like Bush to use to commit war crimes like unprovoked invasions.

Posted by: not saying on June 2, 2006 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

For those who are saying that this sort of behavior must be due to the stress of months or years of combat, here are some excerpts from "Generation Kill," a memoir by Evan Wright, who was embedded with a Marine platoon in the first three weeks of the war during the push to Baghdad. What's striking when reading the book is realizing just how many civilians were killed by the American forces:

"'Major General Mattis has expressed a concern to me that, division wide, we're killing more civilians than we should.'" -- pg. 190

"Kocher, just 150 meters up from Colbert's position, watches the white truck set on fire by the Cobra and believes this is one of the worse things he's seen so far in the war. He later says 'I saw civilians in that truck, and I watched them burn up alive.'" -- pg. 208

"After he leaves, Espera offers his own assessment of the battalion's performance thus far in the war. 'Do you realize the shit we've done here, the people we've killed? Back home in the civilian world, if we did this, we would go to prison.'" -- pg. 277

"I personally saw three civilians shot, one of them fatally with a bullet in the eye. These were just the tip of the iceberg."

"[Sgt.] Colbert despairs when he hears reports of other units accidentally firing on civilians. One episode reported on the BBC enrages him. U.S. soldiers, newly arrived in Iraq to begin the occupation, accidently slaughtered several Iraqi children playing on abandoned tanks. Under the ROE, the children were technically 'armed' since they were on tanks, so the GIs opened fire."

"'The American people ought to know the price we pay to maintain their standard of living,' Espera says. Despite his avowals of being a complete cynic, he continually turns back to the incident at Al Hayy, where he shot and killed three unarmed men fleeing a truck at the Marine's roadblock. 'I wish I could go back in time and see if they were enemy, or just confused civilians," he says. 'It could have been a truckful of babies, and with our Rules of Engagement you did the right thing,' Fick says."

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

I simply hope you enjoy your warm meal tonight after a day in your New York office and at some point show some respect to those who have helped make your free life in the greatest country in the world possible.

Again, can you explain to me how our soldiers in Iraq are protecting me? There were no Iraqis attacking us before we invaded them, so just who is at risk from who?

And please, go fuck yourself with that "show some respect" nonsense. My father was a US Army captain and no one is more upset about these massacre revelations than him. He feels sickened by this.

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 6:25 PM | PERMALINK

We should trust a handful of unsourced, unaccountable, but openly anti-American Sunni group and their ultimatly non-descriptive video more than we should the military investigation done by people whose names and futures are on the line under our system of law.

Yeah, their names and futures are really on the line, aren't they? Why, if they screw up enough Bush might even award them a Medal of Freedom....

Posted by: Stefan on June 2, 2006 at 6:28 PM | PERMALINK

The BBC led with this story last night here in London - even though they admitted that a lot of the allegations were from a source totally hostile to the Coalition.

Tonight they are leading with the news that the investigations have shown the allegations to be without foundation.

This exoneration is going to leave the BBC with egg on its face - again.

The Newsbusters site has a good punchline on all this - editors saying "Get me another Marine murder story from Iraq. I don't care where you get it - just get it".

The BBC has been unremittingly hostile to the Iraq operation from the start. It seldom reports anything positive, it stays ensconced in central Baghdad, and it spins like crazy on all its channels, worldwide.

And we here are forced on threat of imprisonment to pay for their biased output. They are in lockstep with the ultra-liberal Guardian newspaper on virtually every topic - anti-US, anti-Bush, anti-capitalism, pro-taxation, pro-immigration, and forever equivocating on terrorism. Heck, they usually refuse to use the word terrorism for anything that happens in the Middle East.

The BBC was appeasing towards Hitler in the 1930s. It greatly improved after that, and I can remember from 50 years back feeling I could trust the BBC. Not any more - I couldn't trust it any further than I could throw it. A hugely inefficient and biased organisation, fed by a compulsory tax.

Posted by: dumbcisco on June 2, 2006 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

The Ishaqi story was a set up by the Marines so this story of atrocity could be debunked and make the murderous American people feel good about themselves and their patriotic children.

The children of Haditha thank them.

Posted by: Hostile on June 2, 2006 at 7:42 PM | PERMALINK

My point about all of this is that it isn't as cut-and-dried as it looks....

Posted by: Smitty on June 2, 2006 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Thank you for your point. If you had been reading the similar posts the last 2 months you will find I never blame the troops outright.

I was "that close" to joining the armned forces myself but took a different route. Although they must be held accountable, not all the guilt lies with the troopers (except the most callous and murderous acts). THIS IS WAR. It has ever been thus.

I only wish the president viewed war the way I do and the way I have heard every military officer who has seen war express it. There is no present grasp on the responsibilities, the repurcussions and the possible outcomes.

But I stand by my conditions. As an occupying power, the reponsibilities are different from war and the evidence is that the US uses their same battlefield doctrine of overpowering firepower in situations endangering civil population. The move from war to occuppying power has been underdefined, not only with the troops but in the US too.

As an aside, a question: Where did "Warrior" come from, who brought that in? I think it is part of an ethos that has removed people from the reality.

"Soldier" to me implies discipline and duty. "Warrior" implies unlimited war. Your input?

Posted by: notthere on June 2, 2006 at 8:31 PM | PERMALINK

Got on this thread late, dont know if someone else posted this, but in this article, an Iraqi vet claims that he came across GIs kicking around the heads of decapitated Iraqis. He had to desert, or lose his sanity.

Yup. Winnin hearts and minds

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 2, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

Notthere --

Semantics makes little difference to me. I feel that warrior is a mentality more than it is an actual state of being. That aside I feel that the larger issue of whether the president views the war in the proper way is also up for interpretation. He has made some awful decisions. The war itself was a good idea but it has been worked out poorly. We needed more of an aerial assault early. Less foot soldiers and a more paralyizing campaign from above. Being on the ground taught me much about the validity of this effort. Those that truly passionately hate the American and coalition occupation are uninterested in democracy and seem to have liked things the way they were (you know, with Saddam gasing his own people). The people interested in living a free life are okay with our being there.

Posted by: Smitty on June 2, 2006 at 9:32 PM | PERMALINK

Andrew Sullivan puts it pretty well:
http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/06/ishaqi_update.html

And a fellow serviceman puts it even better:
http://time.blogs.com/daily_dish/2006/06/email_of_the_da_1.html

Posted by: Smitty on June 2, 2006 at 10:30 PM | PERMALINK

Smitty: Those that truly passionately hate the American and coalition occupation are uninterested in democracy...

People uninterested in democracy do not necessarily hate it, or the US, or the US attempt to promote it. However, when it comes at the expense of other priorities, such as eating and staying alive, expect at best express bewilderment, and at worst active resistance.

You've seen one side of war up close and personal, and I very much respect your courage and your perspective.

But don't presume to lecture or condemn others based on an abstract value, policy or luxury you or any other first-world denizen holds as self-evidently beneificial--unless and until you've been on the other side.

Posted by: has407 on June 2, 2006 at 10:55 PM | PERMALINK

The people interested in living a free life are okay with our being there.

You know this how?

Maybe the words roll off your tongue for no other reason than they sound good to you.

Comforting.

Posted by: obscure on June 3, 2006 at 12:09 AM | PERMALINK

There was a bummper sticker a while back that read "US out of North America" - submitted without comment.

Posted by: tresca's ghost on June 3, 2006 at 12:40 AM | PERMALINK

Hey I'm with that. To steal and adapt a Rhinocerous Party concept, we could hire a giant fleet of tugboats to tow you guys to somewhere off the southern coast of Oman where you could be closer to your oil (and we Canadians in place could have a nice new sea to the south of us). Getting around the Cape of Good Hope a bit of a bitch though and if not careful could end up with you guys stuck next to Antarctica (Hey but with Global Warmning this could work to your advantage).

Posted by: snicker-snack on June 3, 2006 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

@stefan

You wrote:

Overtly? No. Covertly? I believe, yes, we have. Most American soldiers and Marines know that, if they do commit a war crime and it's not actually captured on film by a reporter, they can count on their superior officers to cover it up. There's a grave difference between what we claim to do officially and what we allow to happen every day in the field.

:

Right ! That's exactly what I think is fact.
Of course the US military cannot openly declare "our soldiers are allowed to do everything in order to damage the IRaqi Resistance, as long as the do it without the press getting wind of it". So of course the whole thing goes covered. We had enough examples proving exactly what you and I are stating here. By the way, we even had highest commanders in the Marines (his name was US marine 3 star general Mattis) saying "they (all muslims) beat their own wifes - so therefore it's a lot of FUN to shoot them".

So here we were allowed to see the real ugly face of the US military, resp. the orders the US military gives to it's soldiers, and we get a hint what kind of "mental instruction" the US military and especially the marines are operating on in Iraq and Afghanistan.

P.s: Personally I feel yet even the fact that it is common practice in the US military, to respond to IED ambushes by random 360 return fire into the whole surrounding is a horrible war crime, that takes places several times EVERY DAY in Iraq, and has led and still leads to dozens over dozens of IRaqi civilians, slaughtered by completely senseless and illegal US gunfire in Iraq. Why does nobody address this ? In numbers Haditha is nothing - compared to all the daily massmurder US troops commit against the IRaqi civilian population every day (!), by several different methods. Be it random gunfire on civilians, or passerbys after an IED attack, the US air force bombing "terrorist safehouses" - and by doing so hitting IRaqis civilians in 9 in 10 times. Riddling IRaqi vehicles with bullets on checkpoints or on roads because the US soldiers feel "threatend" and so on and on. All this daily massmurder and genocide commited against the IRaqi people by the US military, obviously accepted or at least ignored by the US population, is - when doing numbers at the end of a normal month in IRaq, several times the My Lai massacre in Vietnam.

Therefore - the IRaq War has to stop !!! And Bush and Cheney, Rumsfeld etc. need to be impeached as fast and as hard as possible for what they did to sovereign state of IRaq and the IRaqis as well as for what they did to America's economy, the US image, it's military etc. and of course for what they did to the US soldiers and their families.

By the way: I always wonder why the US people do not press Bush to allow the media film all the coffins arriving daily from IRaq. And moreover why the US people still allow Bush to smuggle the dead US troops home at midnight, like dead rats, and without the press being allowed to film it and put it on air daily. IS that the way patriots support the troops ? Clapping their troop's continued senseless slaughtering in IRaq by screaming "no withdrawl - stay the course", even though the IRaqis don t want you in their country. And further supporting the troops by allowing Bush and his miserable cronies to smuggle home the bodies of the deceived brave US men, who gave away their lifes for the cause of Bush's non-existent "WMDs" + "victory strategy", only after sunset and in complete darkness, like they were dead rats or drugs or something even nastier than trash.

I really wonder how some americans can really believe that this is "supporting the troops" ? (Personally I feel Bush's, Cheney's and Rummi's behaviour and that of their stupid neo-con chicken followers is more like - pissing on the graves of the dead US soldiers and into the face of the ones still alive.)

Posted by: Seele on June 3, 2006 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

How lucky for those people overthere they now know about how it feels to be free, thanks to the NeoNAZI racist cowboys in US Uniform

Posted by: Dan on June 3, 2006 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Many more stories from soldiers, Iraqi's and filmtapes of even more disturbing and graphic nature are to be found on the internet, especially that particular Israeli website that shows barbaric, bloody, pornographic pictures shot in Iraq by US forces. Actually your brave soldiers were offered some money for their snapshots..

Posted by: Dan on June 3, 2006 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

Seele: "I always wonder ...why the US people still allow Bush to smuggle the dead US troops home at midnight, like dead rats, and without the press being allowed to film it and put it on air daily. IS that the way patriots support the troops ?"

The last thing that the American people want is to be conscious of the consequences caused by this disastrous administration.

Ah, no fantasy is much preferable. In fantasy we get to be the good guys, the leaders, everyone will be rich and powerful because of tax cuts and cheap oil, the economy is fantastic and the American Way of Life will go on forever.

Posted by: PTate in MN on June 3, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

The US military serves the interests of the Corporatocracy that rules America. As does the US media.

Iraq is under a racist/fascist Occupation and hundreds of thousands have been killed. The country and it's people are being poisoned with radioactive and chemically toxic depleted uranium ordnance, which has caused a very dramatic rise in cancers, birth defects and leukemia- oftentimes an individual will suffer such things simultaneously- particularly in young children. Thousands of academics and intellectuals have been killed by occupation forces and Iraq's rich cultural heritage has been destroyed. The Iraqi people every single day are being tortured and murdered, at the hands of CIA-trained Interior Ministry Death Squads, for expressing anti-Occupation views; what USAns call "sectarian violence".

But everyday the heroic Iraqi National Resistance grows stronger and better coordinated. There is no hope for US/UK Stormtrooper Wire-Monsters. They WILL be defeated.

All praise and thanks is due to Allah.

Posted by: Jawbreaker Tenderpain on June 3, 2006 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

I wish those individuals who continue to conflate "spreading democracy" with slaughtering innocent Iraqis, would find a synapse. Saying it is so, does not make it so.

We are no more spreading democracy than the man in the moon.

Posted by: Stephen Kriz on June 3, 2006 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

@ALL THE DELUDED USAns

Tell us about the two British SAS agents who were arrested by Iraqi police, dressed up like Arabs and with explosives in their car.

Tell us about the four Mossad agents arrested in Gaza, trying to establish an "al Qaeda" cell.

Tell us about Rumsfelds "P2OG", and their desire to "evoke responses".

Tell us about how US/UK troops take shovels with them when they go out on patrol, for the sake of claiming the civilians they kill were trying to plant IED's.

Tell us about the Bearingpoint Plan, which puts Iraq's national economy into the back pocket of your stuttering, drunken, murdering President's golf buddies.

Tell us about the "Transitional Administrative Law", which absolves Iraqi's of their self-determination.

Tell us about all of the criminal expatriates, like Chalabi and Allawi, who rode into Iraq on the backs of your tanks.

Tell us.

Posted by: Jawbreaker Tenderpain on June 3, 2006 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

not to worry, all american troops in iraq and afghanistan will be sick within 3 years and dead in 7.

only a lunatic would authorise radioactive weapons and then send troops in to live in the dust from them.

depleted uranium is a weapon of genocide and it does not recognise uniforms or flags,
it just kills every living thing it gets into the bloodstream of.

israel must be laughing soo loud that your troops are getting killed for there wars - maybe one day americans will learn why the rest of the world hates them.

Posted by: truth-bringer on June 3, 2006 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

For the folks who don't know history, civilians being killed in war did NOT become the norm until American's did it to their own during the Civil War. Until then, wars in Europe were set piece battles among combatants only away from towns and cities.

Then, Hitler targeted cities at the outbreak of WWII, but it was the Americans that took it to new heights with fire bombs and two nukes.

Even the Romans weren't this bad. Nor even the Huns. The only people worse than America were the Assyrians. The city of Nineveh remains a ghost city even after 2600 years. BTW, Nineveh is near Mosul in Iraq.

History comes full circle. Our doom awaits us if we don't change course.

Posted by: NeoLotus on June 3, 2006 at 11:14 AM | PERMALINK

250.000+ Iraqui people has been slaughtered in this war, source Lancet Magazine
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/
article11674.htm

War is illegal, as ruled by a German Administrative Court in June 2005

http://www.germanlawjournal.com/pdf/Vol07No01/
PDF_Vol_07_No_1_25-44_Developments_Schultz.pdf

Bradleys and humvees get blown day in day out

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwWcfSUW9OU

BTW have you noticed that Nick Berg was beheaded wearing an orange jumpsuit? same as other Abu Ghraib inmates...

http://dodgone.blogspot.com/2006/03/
el-horror-de-abu-ghraib-al-completo.html

(linked to SALON.COM)

Irak Resistance Report Friday June the 2nd
(there is one every day)
http://iraqwar.mirror-world.ru/article/90245


other interesting links:

http://iraq-kill-maim.org/

http://nobravery.cf.huffingtonpost.com/

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2842

http://www.rainews24.rai.it/ran24/
inchiesta/body.asp

http://dahrjamailiraq.com/gallery/

http://www.interactorg.com/
depleted%20uranium%20home.htm

Terrorists? what would you do if your country was invaded? your wives raped? your children shot at?

Posted by: VietCong on June 3, 2006 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

Just a warning to you all.
Be carefull not to post any personal information here.
I made the mistake one day and managed to post a link to one of my articles on this website.
For two months straight, the Pentagon was the highest visitor to my website in terms of bandwidth.
The blogs of the Washington Post are being harvested.
Post at your own risk; Big Brother is watching.

Posted by: GWB4th on June 3, 2006 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

NeoLotus:

Are you insane? Entire populations sold into slavery by the Romans? The Albigensian crusade (where "kill them all, God will know his own") came from? The Crusades in general? The religious wars of the 16th century; Timur, Genghis Khan? The 30 year's war, which depopulated Germany? the Taiping rebellion, which killed millions?

What can be said of the US civil war is that it left large portions of the civilian population unaffected, and with a few exceptions not deliberately targeted.

NeoLotus demonstrates an almost complete lack of historical knowledge by his/her statements.

Posted by: Wombat on June 3, 2006 at 1:04 PM | PERMALINK

Many more stories from soldiers, Iraqi's and filmtapes of even more disturbing and graphic nature are to be found on the internet, especially that particular Israeli website that shows barbaric, bloody, pornographic pictures shot in Iraq by US forces. Actually your brave soldiers were offered some money for their snapshots..

Posted by: Dan on June 4, 2006 at 6:54 AM | PERMALINK

Speak out !
Against war !
Against lies !
don't be afraid of your government, They can't arrest us all !
Write to your MP's to your Newspapers, let them know you find this important otherwise they're going to listen to the CIA only.

In the Netherlands where I live, the minister and defence scretary are invited on a weekly basis since the discussion started about which jetfighter to order: the cheap and good Eurofighter or your US-product.
Guess which one it is...


Same procedure before we bought your Starfighter and F16's...

Know what to do with governments telling lies an being corrupt? Remember what they did do in France ( the Revolution )
Such action makes generations of politicians more aware of their task and gives them a certain conscience.

Posted by: Dan on June 4, 2006 at 7:11 AM | PERMALINK

Good morning! I hope all is well with everyone. I'm so glad it's Friday. Can't wait to sleep in tomorrow. I shall go I shall come on the site (All about cellular telephones
http://cellphone.ccity1.com/

Posted by: Constantin on June 4, 2006 at 3:08 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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