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June 06, 2006

Not So Fast On Haditha

Good piece about what is known, and not known, about the alleged "murders in cold blood."

I didn't know this-- the media keeps using quotes from two American servicemen about the killings, but neither of whom was there at the time. One had been evacuated due to being wounded in the IED attack before the engagement; the other was just around later to move bodies. While both speculate as to the attack, neither saw anything. And yet the media tends to report their words as if they're first-hand accounts.

Haditha is an insurgent stronghold. That doesn't make it a free-fire zone. But it should make claims coming from the locals suspect until backed by physical evidence or dispassionate witness reports.

There's physical evidence that will tend to prove this one way or another. Were the women and children -- presumably unarmed -- shot at close range? Or from far range? The first suggests a deliberate disregard for civilian casualties, the latter suggests collateral damage during a firefight. The latter doesn't get the accused off the hook -- they may still have responded disproportionately and in violation with rules of engagement, but it knocks down the idea that they stormed the house murdering unarmed women and children in cold blood.

CSI, not ABCNBCNNCBS, will decide this.

Thanks to Jim.


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posted by Ace at 04:25 PM

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