Haditha. Complicit to the top.

We’ll be hearing a lot about the Hatidha Massacre was done by a few deranged soldiers. Don’t believe it. The derangement goes right up the food chain and into the top command.

On Friday, the New York Times reported that preliminary results of a military inquiry showed that the civilians killed in the city last November had not died from a makeshift bomb, as the Pentagon had initially stated, nor in a crossfire with insurgents, as was later announced.

Translation: The Pentagon lied twice.

One of the most damning pieces of evidence investigators have in their possession, John Sifton of Human Rights Watch told TIME’s Tim McGirk, is a photo, taken by a Marine with his cell phone that shows Iraqis kneeling — and thus posing no threat — before they were shot.

Natural Born Killers

Aws Fahmi, a Haditha resident who said he watched and listened from his home as Marines went from house to house killing members of three families, recalled hearing his neighbor across the street, Younis Salim Khafif, plead in English for his life and the lives of his family members. “I heard Younis speaking to the Americans, saying: ‘I am a friend. I am good,’ ” Fahmi said. “But they killed him, and his wife and daughters.”

The girls killed inside Khafif’s house were ages 14, 10, 5, 3 and 1, according to death certificates.

Wow, it takes some kind of macho he-man to murder a one year old. What a sick fuck. Him, his fellow soldiers, and everyone up the chain of command, they are all culpable. Their crimes are not ones of omission. They knew precisely what was happening and participated.

Another point of dispute is whether some houses were destroyed by fire or by airstrikes. Some Iraqis reported that the Marines burned houses in the area of the attack, but two people familiar with the case, including Hackett, the lawyer, said warplanes conducted airstrikes, dropping 500-pound bombs on more than one house.

That is significant for any possible court-martial proceedings, because it would indicate that senior commanders, who must approve such strikes and who would also use aircraft to assess their effects, were paying attention to events in Haditha that day.

Uruknet is eloquent on this.

This isn’t the only investigation either. From the San Diego Union-Tribune.

[It] was announced yesterday that other Marines are being held in a separate investigation of the death of an Iraqi man in April.

The April 26 death happened in Hamandiyah, a village west of Baghdad. It involved members of the 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment.

How massacres become the norm

Robert J. Lifton is a prominent American psychiatrist who lobbied for the inclusion of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders after his work with US veterans from Vietnam. His studies on the behavior of those who have committed war crimes led him to believe it does not require an unusual level of mental illness or of personal evil to carry out such crimes. Rather, these crimes are nearly guaranteed to occur in what Lifton refers to as “atrocity-producing situations.”

Several of his books, like The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide, examine how abnormal conditions work on normal minds, enabling them to commit the most horrendous crimes imaginable.

Iraq today is most certainly an “atrocity-producing situation,” as it has been from the very beginning of the occupation.

The only way to prevent any of this from being repeated ad infinitum is to remove US soldiers from their “atrocity-producing situation” in Iraq. For it is clearer than ever that the longer the failed, illegal occupation persists, the larger will be the numbers of Iraqis slaughtered by the occupation forces.

“Atrocity-producing situations” not only include the desire for vengeance anyone would feel when a compatriot is killed in combat but also includes a military hierarchy that either implicity or openly encourages such behavior, demonizes the enemy as subhuman, sees the conflict in apocalyptic religious terms, and is incapable of seeing that invading countries based on lies can only lead to blowback – the unintended consequences on one’s own actions coming back to haunt them.

  • I am always somewhat puzzled by the surprise at atrocities committed by “our” troops. We always seem to accept that atrocities will be committed by “our” enemies troops but “our” troops will behave like gentlemen and obey the rules. War is an atrocity and the history of war is littered with atrocities on both sides. British troops have a brutal record from the period of the British Empire, we slaughted to keep control, we slaughtered to intimidate and we slaughtered for vengence, we saw the indigenous population as subhuman. War is the real atrocity and until we stop sending “our” troops into foreign countries as imperialist shock troops we will have atrocities commited on both sides. Don’t expect the state to get too bother about the atrocities, they may take some action when it comes into the public domain, and sacrifice a couple of scapegoats, but they need the brutal macho-man to further their imperialist ideas.

  • Jim

    I have to disagree. We have two totally seperate issues here: The massacre and the cover-up. To say “Haditha: Complicit to the top” implies that the senior officers of the soldiers involved all the way up the chain of command had knowledge of what was going to happen that day before it happened. They did not. Nobody knew what was going to happen that day, including the soldiers involved.

    It is definetly a terrible thing what happened in Haditha. And those responsible should be brought to justice. But please don’t try and make this a deeper issue.

    Bottom line, some marines lost it and killed innocent people. They should be brought to justice. As for any cover-up, if there was, then those involved should be brought to justice but it is two seperate issues.

  • Bob

    If higher up brass didn’t know what happened, why does it appear homes of innocents were flattened with 500 lb. bombs in retaliation? Also, why did the Pentagon release two erroneous versions of what happened?

    Some of us remember My Lai, and the Pentagon lies and coverups there. 500 innocent villagers were slaughtered in ‘Nam. The Pentagon lied about it for months.

    Under military law, those in the chain of command are always repsonsible for the actions of their troops.

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