I don't know but the N.C.I.S. investigating the marines is perhaps woefully lacking independence. After the mass murder of babies, children and senior citizens in Haditha, there was apparently an investigation and $38,000 in cash payments were paid as hush money to some of the grieving families of the murdered civilians. I doubt if sergeants and lance corporals are walking around with that much cash. Could you imagine, however, murderers coming into your neighborhood, killing people in your house and along your block and then waltzing on by in a few weeks and paying $38,000 to compensate for TWENTY FOUR SLAUGHTERED INNOCENTS and the destruction of two homes. Do Americans consider Iraqis to be subhuman and without human emotion when faced with the loss of loved ones?
The marines lied about the circumstances shortly after the slaughter and it was not until Time magazine in March 2006 investigated and got access to a video, did the military have second thoughts about the events there. At My Lai in Vietnam in 1968, there was mass slaughter and army Second Lt William Laws Calley, convicted of murder in a military court-martial for his role at My Lai, merely got a short detention of comfy house arrest (40 months) and was pardoned by President Nixon on November 9, 1974.
I am not content with merely punishing teenagers or others who did the killings. They must not be scapegoats and those culpable within the chain of command leading to perhaps senior officers in CENTCOM should be prosecuted as well.
This is what happens during war and the U.S. military is unfortunately no different from other armed services, or perhaps they are worse. They are taught to kill; they are killers; they carry weapons; they shoot and kill people. I agree we should not demonize military personnel for the acts of a few. I also believe that in this country we should stop glorifying war and the warriors and see it at BEST as a necessary evil.
Our nation is so violent and so accepting of war–even if increasingly displeased with the war's progress–that it is almost impossible to hold accountable criminal acts of the officer corps and the higher ups in the chain of command.
I am struck that neither Gen. Peter Pace or any other senior military officer has shown any emotion concerning the butchery of twenty-four Iraqi citizens who were gunned down. Not even the babies have evoked public sentiment from one military official. Where is the sadness and remorse even among those who wish to have no punishment meted out to these marine marauders?
This is General Pace, who is chairperson of the Chiefs, (J.C.S.). Since he is a marine, and the first one to serve as chair, I question his objectivity with regard to the Haditha murders and probably other crimes by marines in American-occupied Iraq. Since this individual has NO command and not one soldier that he can directly order into combat, he probably did not know about Haditha and may not have participated in the coverup. Yet he seems to lack any empathy about the victims in Haditha and I doubt if he will exhibit any outrage at either the killings or the coverup by the marines or other military units. This is what war does to America. It breeds slick, photogenic, articulate military bureuacrats who simply lack that ethical compass or personal commitment to resolving issues short of war and violence.
I am appreciative that a major media website Cursor.org, in the Twin Cities in the HOME STATE of Bob Dylan, linked this under May 30, 2006 "Haditha." Thanks. It gives me energy to fight the fight against violence and the unwarranted projection of American military power.