Monday, April 23, 2007

"Iraqi Civilian Lives Are Not As Important as U.S. Lives" -- But Who Really Cares?

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An Army investigative report on the civilian slayings at Haditha blasts the Marine Corps chain of command for "ignor[ing] 'obvious' signs of 'serious misconduct' in the 2005 slayings of two dozen civilians in Haditha, and [for] foster[ing] a climate that devalued the life of innocent Iraqis to the point that their deaths were considered an insignificant part of the war. ..."

The Washington Post article continues:

Maj. Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell's 104-page report on Haditha is scathing in its criticism of the Marines' actions, from the enlisted men who were involved in the shootings on Nov. 19, 2005, to the two-star general who commanded the 2nd Marine Division in Iraq at the time. Bargewell's previously undisclosed report, obtained by The Washington Post, found that officers may have willfully ignored reports of the civilian deaths to protect themselves and their units from blame. Though Bargewell found no specific coverup, he concluded that there also was no interest at any level in investigating allegations of a massacre.

"All levels of command tended to view civilian casualties, even in significant numbers, as routine and as the natural and intended result of insurgent tactics," Bargewell wrote. He condemned that approach because it could desensitize Marines to the welfare of noncombatants. "Statements made by the chain of command during interviews for this investigation, taken as a whole, suggest that Iraqi civilian lives are not as important as U.S. lives, their deaths are just the cost of doing business, and that the Marines need to get 'the job done' no matter what it takes."

Firedoglake has more.

See-Dubya at Hot Air makes it crystal clear that Bargewell's conclusions are spot on [emphasis mine]:

... Me, I think I’m going to wait to see the whole report, because it sounds to me like the Marine Corps was cleared of a coverup, even if there are problems with the way they regard Iraqi civilians, and there will be changes to the rules of engagement based on this incident.

Whatever those changes are going to be, I hope they don’t make it any harder for Marines to defend themselves.

Oh come on, drop the mask; it's hanging by a thread, anyway: "If there are problems (but there really aren't any worth mentioning), there will be changes to the rules of engagement (as long as we all understand that U.S. Marine lives really ARE more important than Iraqi civilian lives").

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