Sunday, June 04, 2006

Origin of Haditha

Once again, as the truth regarding one of the many ‘massacres’ in Iraq creeps into the public spotlight, the Pentagon has announced the useless steps it will take in order to ‘solve’ the problem.

As most Americans now know, after a Marine was killed by a roadside bomb in the Iraqi town of Haditha, his brothers-in-arms reportedly went on a violent rampage, murdering 24 innocent Iraqi civilians, including women, children, and elderly.

In order to prevent this from happening in the future, the Department of Defense has decided to give all US troops in Iraq an update in “core values” training—a “reminder on legal, moral, [and] ethical standards,” as ABC News described it.

The Marines in Haditha, however, were not ethically or morally challenged and it was not a lack of training or experience that pushed them over the edge.

After repeatedly witnessing their fellow Marines torn apart by roadside bombs, the men of Kilo Company simply snapped. Their actions were horrible and inexcusable, but nonetheless, they were the result of psychological trauma—brought on by the nature of the war.

Antonio Castaneda, a reporter with the Associated Press, met with Kilo Company prior to the incident. In a June 1st article, entitled “Marine rage just below surface,” he noted that the 3rd Battalion was “clearly...a select group, nurtured within the military’s finest institutions and trained to lead an important mission. ... They also seemed sensitive to local concerns.”

In other words, these guys are not a group of ‘bad apples’ with poor morals. They are well-trained Marines; but they are also human beings, and there is no training that can fully prepare any sane individual to repetitively watch their best friends get ripped apart by explosives.

In an all too familiar situation, Castaneda described the Marines reaction to an earlier attack that occurred just a few miles from the Haditha site:

“... A Marine officer later described to me the rage that immediately consumed his unit, swelled by the knowledge that local residents likely saw the men who planted the bomb that killed their friends. ... I’ve heard other Marines talk about the temptation to seek reckless vengeance, often fueled by exasperation toward an unhelpful Iraqi public either too fearful of insurgents or spiteful toward the Americans. On that day in August, the powerful, raw emotion that sought revenge was quelled. But, if investigators are right, the rage in Haditha wasn’t contained for much longer.”

Marines are patrolling areas where the civilians perceive them as occupiers, the insurgents view them as targets, and their continued presence makes the situation worse with every passing day.

The origin of the massacre in Haditha is the war itself, not a lack of ethical values on the part of a few individual Marines.

Such manifestations of rage are inevitable consequences of war, which is exactly why Haditha was not the first, nor the last atrocity to be committed in Iraq.

While the men of Kilo Company face the possibility of the death penalty, the men who conspired to illegally instigate this war are being permitted to send more Marines to die and kill in their place, so you can expect more Hadithas.

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