A military investigations into alleged war crimes involving the Haditha killing in Iraq, cited as potentially the worst single incident involving the deliberate killing of Iraqi civilians by the U.S. forces, will show that a squad of U.S. Marines are responsible for the death of at least 24 Iraqi civilians, including women and children, while on a patrol in the city last November, a congressional Republican said Friday.Reply
U.S. Congressman John Murtha, an outspoken critic of the U.S. President policies in Iraq who last November urged the U.S. government pull out American troops from Iraq within six months, was quoted as saying that a Pentagon investigation into Haditha killing will show that U.S. Marines “killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”
23 civilians, including seven woman and three children, were gunned down on November 19 by U.S. troops in Haditha, a predominantly Sunni town 200 kilometers northwest of the Iraqi capital.
House Armed Services Committee will hold hearings on the two investigations, a probe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, expected to be completed next month and a second report by a two-star Army general expected next week, to ensure they are "undertaken by the military with integrity," said the panel Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif.
Haditha victims were shot at close range by the U.S. occupying troops, Haditha residents asserted in numerous interviews with reporters representing various news agencies, in contrast to claims by many of the U.S. Marines who said in initial reports that one Marine, Miguel Terrazas, 20, and 15 civilians were killed “from the blast of a roadside bomb.”
Most of interviews with witnesses of the horrific incident contradict the Marines claims and provide a more accurate account of what should be called the worst massacre that took place in Iraq since the beginning of the invasion.
Speaking last week at a press conference on Capitol Hill, Murtha, a former Marine intelligence officer and Vietnam veteran and the senior Democrat on the House Defense appropriations subcommittee asserted that the number of Iraqi civilians killed in Haditha was twice the number given in initial report, which claimed that only 15 were killed in the incident, first publicized in a March 19 article in Time magazine, headlined: “One Morning in Haditha: U.S. Marines killed 15 Iraqi civilians in their homes last November. Was it self-defense, an accident or cold-blooded revenge?”
Murtha, who said he had been briefed by military commanders, added that the military now concedes that 23 died.
“I understand the investigation shows that in fact there was no firefight,” Murtha said, “there was no explosion that killed the civilians on a bus. There was no shrapnel. There were only bullet holes inside the house where the Marines had gone in.”
“One man was killed with an IED [improvised explosive device],” he added. “After that, they actually went into the houses and killed women and children.”
Marines allowed a two-star Army general, Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell, to carry out an "outside investigation" rather than have the Marine chain of command investigate itself, Hunter said.
Three Marine officers — a lieutenant colonel and two captains — whose 3rd Battalion 1st Marine Regiment was involved in Haditha incident, were relieved of command in April, but none has been charged in connection with the crime.
According to NBC news reports, photos taken immediately after the incident “show many of the victims were shot at close range, in the head and chest, execution-style. One photo shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer, shot dead.”
Also Time said it obtained a copy of a video, shot by a Haditha journalism student and confirming the residents’ accounts. The footage includes scenes at the local morgue and at the homes of the Iraqi civilians killed by the Marines.
In the video taken inside the houses, the walls and ceilings appeared riddled with bullet holes, with blood and flesh splattered everywhere.
The footage also showed Shoes, clothing and other household items scattered amidst blood.
The video showed bodies, including that of a young girl, piled up in a pickup truck outside the morgue, according to Reuters, which was also handed a copy of the Video.
In one of the scenes, a man’s face appeared totally torn apart by bullets, while legs and arms were missing from another corpse.
“This is my father,” a young boy says in the video, “He didn’t do anything wrong. Why did they kill him?”
Another man cries, “They were children. Are you telling me these were terrorists?”
According to local resident recounts: “They came and started shooting all at once. They didn’t even knock on the door. They killed them wholesale.”
Over 100,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the U.S. invaders set foot in Iraq three years ago, on the false pretext that the country’s leader possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction and had links to Al Qaeda network, which Washington alleges is responsible for September 11 attacks that shook the country in 2001.
05-20-2006, 10:21 PM
The trajedy going around the world. IS like living in the time of the pre-islamic era.Reply
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