Saturday, May 27, 2006

Some Thoughts On Haditha

I wrote this post yesterday and then my PC froze up, the ancient piece of dinosaur crap that it is, and it was lost. Now I am re-writing it, sort-off. What I am going to do is let some other bloggers say what I think.

Let's start with Captain Ed, a man who can truly think when he takes his GOP-approved blinkers off.
This makes me physically ill. We can say it happens in every war, and that would be accurate, but it doesn't excuse it in the least. Our military has the reputation of high discipline and morale, and 99.9% of our troops live up to that standard. As with Abu Ghraib, only on a much less serious scale, the actions of one undisciplined unit will reflect horribly on those who have done their best to protect Iraqi civilians, especially the children. Those 99.9% of our troops provide the best possible security for the United States. If these men turn out to be war criminals of the most despicable variety, they will have damaged the work done by our armed forces immeasurably.

I keep hoping that this report will say something different when it gets publicly released, but I know it won't.

Needless to say, every Marine involved in this atrocity must face court-martial, and their command has to answer for the brutal murders of people that we took under our protection. Those court-martials must be public and thorough. Nothing should be held back.
I've known a fair few military types over the years and most were great-hearted people and great-hearted friends with a massive commitment to their personal honor. I figure, taking that small experience and generalizing, that most of the rest are the same. I have to say that this event, Abu Graib and others have shown that the "few bad apples" are perhaps greater in number than we would like, though. Even so, I applaud the military in this case. They did the investigation, they did the briefings and they did it fast. Let us hope they have figured out they have a problem and are doing something about it. The sudden visit of the Marine's Commandant to Iraq to tell his guys that they can and will fight war in a humane manner is another good sign.

Next comes Allahpundit at Hot Air - a man who I am coming to realise is only on the team so that Malkin can pretend to be balanced. I predict he and she will part company over some wingnuttery of hers within the year.
I meant to post about this last week when Murtha was making the rounds but I got caught up in other things. Yeah, it’s awful and par for the course that he’d pronounce the Marines guilty before the investigation is complete; and yeah, no one’s surprised that he’d exploit the incident to promote a pullout. But it rubbed me the wrong way to watch righty bloggers go ballistic on Murtha while dismissing the underlying allegations with a perfunctory “these are serious charges.”
The bloggers he refers to have to include My Pet Jawa, always a home to "the only good muslim..." thinking and of course Dan Reihl who writes "no effort should be made to minimize any possible war crime". Reihl then goes on to attempt to minimize any possible war crime - conducting his own investigation, obviously better than the one the military has made, on the basis of incomplete press reports and basically accusing eye witnesses of being complicit in terrorism for the crime of being awake too early in the morning.

Finally, to Jon Henke at Q & O blog, a man I respect greatly for his thinking and his integrity even when I don't agree with him.
It's difficult to estimate the kind of damage this does to the United States. For one thing, this may increase the pressure on the Iraqi government to push US troops out of Iraq more quickly and more completely. And of course, the propoganda value of this action to anti-US interests is enormous.

It helps, of course, that we've conducted an investigation and will (presumably) be taking legal action against the guilty soldiers. It also helps that people like Rep. John Murtha — and "[Rep.] John Kline, a Minnesota Republican" — spoke out forcefully against the war crime as soon as they were briefed on the findings of the investigation by Marine officials, who also claimed "the Marine Corps' own evidence appears to show Murtha is right." (though, for what it's worth, I reject Murtha's "overreacted because of the pressure" excuse)

...Apparently, John Murtha was not a "traitor", but simply privy to the outcome of the investigation before the Marine Corps released it to the press. I'd suggest that he's owed an apology if I thought it would do any good.
Yeah, what he said.

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