Haditha shows USMC is a criminal enterprise

On November 19, 2005 members of the United States Marine Corps entered civilian homes in Haditha, Iraq and murdered 24 Iraqi civilians including seven children, a toddler, three women and a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair.

This is a much bigger problem than a squad from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion 1st Marines going berserk. The culpability of the USMC for these murders flows not only from the fact that it taught these young men to kill, supplied the weapons, put them in-country, and gave them license to kill, but even more so that after they killed innocent civilians in a murderous rage, the USMC, as an organisation, clearly acted as accessories after the fact.

We now know that no Marines will serve any time in jail for these murders. That is the final outcome of six years of Marine Corps cover-up, prosecution and military justice. Of the eight Marines charged with the killings, six had the charges dropped and one was acquitted in a civilian court. Last week, the remaining defendant, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, 31, who sanctioned the killings when he told his men to "shoot first and ask questions later" in Haditha was given a plea deal that allowed him to avoid any jail time. Upon hearing of this outcome, a teacher from Haditha who witnessed the massacre was quoted in the LA Times:

“The Americans killed children who were hiding inside the cupboards or under the beds. Was this Marine charged with dereliction of duty because he didn’t kill more? Is Iraqi blood so cheap?”

When all the facts surrounding the Haditha massacre are examined it should be clear to anyone that this is much more than a problem of a few bad apples, this is a problem of a bad apple farm. Retired USMC Major General Smedley D. Butler told us in 1935 that War is a Racket. I say more. I say the United States Marine Corps is a criminal enterprise.

Before proceeding, perhaps the best way to refresh your memory about what actually happened in that Iraqi town a little over six years ago is to watch this 3 minute eyewitness report made by ITN after the massacre:

This video already exposes the first two cover stories released by the Marines to explain these deaths. First that they were killed by shrapnel from the a road side bomb that killed a Marine and set off the rampage, and when that wouldn't fly, that the civilians were outside and got caught in a crossfire. These and the false stories that followed show that the USMC was far more interested in covering up a crime than they were in getting at the truth.

While we still have WikiPedia:

An initial Marine Corps communiqué reported that 15 civilians were killed by the bomb's blast and eight insurgents were subsequently killed when the Marines returned fire against those attacking the convoy. However, other evidence uncovered by the media contradicted the Marines' account.[3] A Time magazine reporter's questions prompted the United States military to open an investigation into the incident. The investigation claimed it found evidence that "supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot civilians, including unarmed men, women and children", according to an anonymous Pentagon official.[4] On December 21, 2006, eight Marines from 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines were charged in connection with the incident.[5][6] As of June 2008, charges against seven of the eight Marines had been dropped.[7]

Here is the Al Jazeera report:

In December 2006 this was "breaking news" only in the west. Iraqi sources reported on the Haditha massacre the day after it happened. This is what Uriknet [information from occupied Iraq] had to say:

November 20, 2005

Informed sources affirmed today that the blood thirsty US murderers execute in cold blood Iraqi civilians in the streets of Iraqi towns and villages.

The same sources ascertained that following the explosion of an IED near the Iraqi farmers town of Haditha, west of Iraq, the US thugs sent their war jets to bomb and destroy tranquil Iraqi houses on the heads of their inhabitants in a blind and hysterical revengeful act.

The sources and witnesses indicated also that after bombing Iraqi homes in the mentioned town, the US bloodthirsty gangsters raided three Iraqi homes and took their families out in the street and there the US thugs executed at gun point and in cold blood, the members of the whole three families, including elderly, women and children.

When the story broke in December 2006, I remember going back to see if uruknet.info reported on it at the time and they did, but even there it was unremarkable. It was just one more in a long list of atrocities committed by United States forces that week.

A Criminal Culture

There are many other indicators that a criminal culture that condones murder is alive and well in the US military. There is for example "Hadji Girl" a song about killing Iraqis written before Haditha and performed by a US Marine Corporal while he was at the Al-Asad Air Base in Iraq. It became popular among the troops after Haditha and was widely associated with that incident. It goes something like this:

So I grabbed her little sister, and pulled her in front of me.

As the bullets began to fly
The blood sprayed from between her eyes
And then I laughed maniacally

Then I hid behind the TV
And I locked and loaded my M-16
And I blew those little f*ckers to eternity.

And I said…
Durka Durka Mohammed Jihad
Sherpa Sherpa Bak Allah
They should have known they were f*ckin’ with a Marine.

YouTube removed the video from their site and rejected all subsequent uploads as a violation of site policy, however, it can be found here, on Google Video. Google owns YouTube so go figure.

That song is reminiscent of other songs sung by Marines in this and other wars, such as "Strafe the Town and Kill the People", a traditional Marine hymn, first heard in Korea but sung in Vietnam [mp3] and Iraq as well:

Strafe the town and kill the people
Let's declare a massacre.
Lay napalm in the square,
So you'll know that Jake was there

Drop the candy in the courtyard,
Let the kiddies gather 'round.
Crank your twenty-millimeter,
Gun the little bastards down.

Come 'round early Sunday morning,
Catch the village unaware.
Drop a bunch of cluster bomblets,
Get 'em while they kneel in prayer.

And there is that ever popular number from the Vietnam War, "Napalm Sticks to Kids."

We shoot the sick, the young, the lame,
We do our best to maim,
Because the kills all count the same,
Napalm sticks to kids.

Napalm, son, is lots of fun,
Dropped in a bomb or shot from a gun,
It gets the gooks when on the run,
Napalm sticks to kids.

In Korea and Vietnam, the racist dehumanisation that made murder easy was that they were all "gooks", today it's because they are all "hadjis"

Wars for conquest and occupation are criminal enterprizes

The truth is that the Iraq War was a composite of such atrocities. Four months after the Haditha murders, a 14 year old small town Iraqi girl was raped and murdered, along with her family, in Al-Mahmudiyah, south of Baghdad. Raed Jarrar told the Baltimore Chronicle:

Omar Al-Janabi, a neighbor and relative, was informed by Abir's mother that the young girl was being harassed by U.S. soldiers stationed in a nearby checkpoint. That is why Abir was sent to spend the night in her neighbor's home. The next day, Omar Al-Janabi was among the first people who found Abir, with her 34-year-old mother Fakhriyah, her 45-year-old father Qasim, and her 7-year-old sister Hadil, murdered in their home. Abir was raped, killed by a bullet in her head, and then burned on March 12, five months before her fifteenth birthday.

Muhammad Al-Janabi, Abir's uncle, reached the house shortly after the attack as well. Iraqi police and army officers informed him and other angry relatives that an "armed terrorist group" was responsible for the horrifying attack. This is exactly what the angry relatives of the 24 Iraqi civilians killed in Haditha four months before this incident had been told as well.

These two revelations raises serious questions about all those reports we've heard about Iraqis killing each other in terrorist attacks in the past eight years. One thing that is clear is that there are a lot of Iraqis that have been killed by Americans, including hundreds of thousands of civilians, that have gone unreported in the United States.

Civilian Deaths "Just A Cost of Doing Business."

Thanks to some recent dumpster diving by the NYTimes, they now have the once secret testimony of the Marines involved in the Haditha. The most remarkable thing that this testimony reveals is just how unremarkable the killing of large numbers of civilians by the U.S. military had become in Iraq. We are talking about Haditha because it drew the gold ring of media publicity, not because it wasn't part and partial of how the Marines conducted the war:

When the initial reports arrived saying more than 20 civilians had been killed in Haditha, the Marines receiving them said they were not surprised by the high civilian death toll.

Chief Warrant Officer K. R. Norwood, who received reports from the field on the day of the killings and briefed commanders on them, testified that 20 dead civilians was not unusual.

“I meant, it wasn’t remarkable, based off of the area I wouldn’t say remarkable, sir,” Mr. Norwood said. “And that is just my definition. Not that I think one life is not remarkable, it’s just —”

An investigator asked the officer: “I mean remarkable or noteworthy in terms of something that would have caught your attention where you would have immediately said, ‘Got to have more information on that. That is a lot of casualties.’ ”

“Not at the time, sir,” the officer testified.

General Johnson, the commander of American forces in Anbar Province, said he did not feel compelled to go back and examine the events because they were part of a continuing pattern of civilian deaths.

“It happened all the time, not necessarily in MNF-West all the time, but throughout the whole country,” General Johnson testified, using a military abbreviation for allied forces in western Iraq.

“So, you know, maybe — I guess maybe if I was sitting here at Quantico and heard that 15 civilians were killed I would have been surprised and shocked and gone — done more to look into it,” he testified, referring to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. “But at that point in time, I felt that was — had been, for whatever reason, part of that engagement and felt that it was just a cost of doing business on that particular engagement.”

The USMC sees a high civilian death toll as "just a cost of doing business." This, more than anything else, marks it as a criminal enterprise. One is reminded of the drug gangster Sollozzo that tried to assassinate Don Corleone in the Godfather, "I don't like violence, Tom. I'm a businessman. Blood is a big expense."

My recent related diaries:
The Sordid Truth about the United States Marine Corps
Itzcoatl Ocampo: Ex-Marine Corps Serial Killer

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