May 31, 2006
John Murtha: My Lai-r
Perhaps it is simply my perception, but it seems to me that the intent of some to turn the killing of approximately 24 Iraqi civilians by Marines into this war's My Lai has failed thus far, and I somewhat doubt that meme will have chance of growing beyond the far left. The differences between the incidents far outweigh the similarities.
For those of you unfamiliar with it, My Lai (note: the following is summarized from the Wikipedia entry on the subject) was a massacre of hundreds of unarmed Vietnamese civilians by a Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal Division of the U. S. Army. Ostensibly, U.S. intelligence pinpointed the 48th Battalion of the Vietcong as hiding in Son My village, specifically in areas labeled My Lai 1-4. Lt. William Calley led a platoon into the area, and after finding no Vietcong, they killed between 347-504 civilians, some after being raped or tortured. The date was March 16, 1968.
A cover-up of the incident was almost immediate, with the 11th Light Infantry Brigade's Commanding Officer, Colonel Oran Henderson running a cursory investigation that found just 22 civilians had died inadvertently while 128 Vietcong had been killed. Letters from several soldiers finally got the attention of Congress approximately a year later. They story broke publicly in November of 1969, and some reports indicate that thoughts of a cover-up (read the Wikipedia entry, take it for what it is worth) ran through many levels of the Army Officer Corps, all the way to the National Security Advisor and the Secretary of Defense.
The incident is major note not only for the brutality and scale of the massacre, but for the light punishment given to those who perpetrated it (Calley served just 3 1/2 years years as the only conviction), and the huge shift in perception it brought, bolstering and providing fuel for the anti-war movement.
But Haditha is not My Lai.
I will tread very carefully in discussing the Haditha incident as it is still under investigation, but we do know certain things that are beyond doubt. We know that on November 19, 2005, one Marine was killed and two more were injured when an IED went off near a convoy from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines. We know that immediately after the event other Marines in the convoy dismounted and approximately 24 Iraqis were killed, some of them women and children. Everything else at this point is speculation.
My Lai started without any recognizable provocation, and seems to be a blatant small-scale genocide. Haditha had a real and quantifiable trigger; the death of one Marine and the injury of two others by an IED detonation. Right or wrong, Haitha had a discernible triggering event.
Unlike My Lai, there is no evidence of an attempt at a high level cover-up whatsoever with Haditha. Three officers—two Captains and a Lt. Colonel have been relieved of command, and at least two separate and apparently quite thorough investigations by the NCIS were launched months ago.
The Haditha investigations will also be far more thorough and accurate than the investigations at My Lai for several reasons.
First, the investigation in the Haditha has same-day evidence collection, including digital photos obtained by another Marine unit that responded to the area. It may also have some real-time evidence collected, as there is some indication that drone surveillance aircraft and radio communications may have also captured details of the events of that day. Forensic science has also progressed phenomenally in the near 40 years since My Lai, and the likelihood of investigations obtaining a far more detailed forensic record of events is all but assured. It seems most of these events happened indoors where evidence such as bullet holes in walls, fragmentation patterns, and firing lanes are precisely known.
No, Haditha is not like My Lai, but that has not stopped some from trying to inflate it to that level.
Chief among them is ex-Marine and current Democratic congressman John Murtha, who has alleged that the Haditha incident was cold-blooded murder, that this incident is indicative of the policy of our troops and now, that the incident is being covered up by the highest authority in the Marine Corps, citing Marine Corps General and Joint Chief of Staff Peter Pace by position, if not by name.
All of these charges by Murtha are unproven hyperbole, set forth with but one goal in mind: "redeploying" all American soldiers out of Iraq. The Haditha incident may be Murtha's last, best hope of purposefully losing a war he first began trying to undermine in 2004. John Murtha is willfully attempting to smear the entire Marine Corps chain of command (and by the extension, the Corps itself) down the river to advance his political agenda.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at May 31, 2006 10:31 AM
massacre or not...judgeing by the polling data from Iraq found in last month Foreign Policy magazine even the people we "liberate" hate us.
I have said it before that the attitude of the politicians and the press on this and somewhat similar matters (the prisons) is leading us to another Vietnam. The way this is playing out is exactly the same as they did in the 60's. If you want to put an army in any country, even ours (hurricane relief), then you must accept and anticipate that bad things will happen. The ones to bear the responsibility should be the government officials who commited us to the action. Instead, we have a situation like this were people are second guessing what the soldiers did. Then strange rules of engagement will follow and more soldiers will get killed so the politician does not look bad. The men in this situation did what they thought appropriate under the specfic circumstances. If later it is deemed murder then too bad, they did right. If you don't want this to occur, then don't get involved in Vietnam or Iraq. If I were instructing my child as to what to do if he were going to Iraq, I would tell him to trust no one and kill anything near you.
Yes Murtha lost the war!
Because he was in charge of it!
And once the war is lost Murtha will be President of the world! It's good that you can see his scheme for what it is. If Murtha hadn't said anything or been right Iraq would be ice cream and ponies today.
And the murder of innocent civilians is nothing like the murder of innocent civilians so people should stop saying it is.
David, I don’t think Iraq is becoming another Vietnam. I do believe some very clever politicians, who now oppose our involvement, are trying to capitalize on circumstances that bear similarity to Vietnam for the purpose of stimulating the public to demand or at least support a withdrawal from Iraq. If these politicians can stifle our national ability to mobilize a will to win, they will have emulated the circumstances perpetuated by the antiwar movement of the 1970’s. Therein lays the similarities. The significant difference in that they have not succeeded at this point. The majorities of Americans still supports the effort and are beginning to see positive progress in Iraq. The politicians are playing their cards too early to be effective.
There is some irony associated with Vietnam and Iraq. A liberal president lied us into Vietnam (Gulf of Tonkin attacks) and now the liberals claim our current president lied us into Iraq. There’s something about liberals, lies, and wars; I’ll connect the dots one of these days…
If your child was deploying to Iraq, the very best piece of advice you could possibly give him/her is to remember his/her training. “Killing anything near you,” would only result in a Courts Marshal. Maintaining the discipline of what was trained is what will more likely enable a safe trip home. I understand frustration, but our military really is extremely professional, well disciplined and capable of inflicting the greatest damage on the enemy with the least collateral damage of any force ever to step onto a battlefield.
”And the murder of innocent civilians is nothing like the murder of innocent civilians so people should stop saying it is.”
Salvage, is your prejudgment reserved only for the military or do you apply it equally to liberal politicians who maligningly speak out of turn?
A new massacre today...US troops kill pregnent women at checkpoint. The Iraqi media will cover this over and over..unlike the US media. How do you think the fathers,uncles and grandfathers will take this "incident". We are creating terrorist faster than we are killing them.
This civilize way of war is crap. Seek and eradicated. If the population harbor the enemies, burn the city down and slaughter everyone. Very effective. As the shotgun of Japan, and it was a civil war. Don't have a rebellion since.
Yeah the judge and jury signed off on My Lai a long time ago and I have yet to see / hear anything that suggests that the Marines didn't kill civilians in retaliation in this latest outrage.
Now before y’all start fluffing up the strawmen this incident in no way is a reflection on your average Marine. I don’t think that they typically engage in these sorts of crimes. I think when the trial starts we’re going to see just how much pressure and frustration they were under. I’m not even going to pretend that I can understand their situation and reactions to that situation much less judge.
But the fact is that something very bad happened and that the Marines involved are most certainly guilty, that of course doesn’t mean we don’t need a trial because we don’t know all the facts or their nuances.
The typical wingnut boiler plate response of SHOOT THE MESSENGER! OH MY GAWD WHY ISN’T SOMEONE SHOOTING THE MESSANGETR!?!? is particularly galling in this case. CY over there rather than admit that Murtha was right and that he’s a flipping hypocrite for giving a GOP man a pass for doing the exact same thing instead gets all pedantic and Clintonesque trying to parse the difference.
There is none, they were both correct, deal with it.
As for the checkpoint pregnant woman thing, you’re an American soldier on the streets of Iraq, a car is speeding towards you, do you think terrorists trying to kill me and my buddies or do you think pregnant woman trying to get to the hospital? Let’s not mix our apples and oranges here.
centrist, I read the article you referenced; a very tragic loss of life. There appears to be a valid reason for the soldiers to have fired the warning shots that became lethal. It is indeed unfortunate all the way around; however, would it have been any less tragic if a car with a man, a pregnant woman and a bomb had sped into the checkpoint, detonated and killed two or three soldiers? Are not our soldiers allowed to operate militarily; establish rules of engagement that limit collateral damage, yet provide force protection? I’m sure there will be an investigation and I’m sure the results will be made public. I’m also sure that if the situation was justified, if the Iraqi driver was covering his butt because he failed to yield to rendered signals, there will be no media coverage. In the court of public opinion, the damage is done – American soldiers killed two women, one was pregnant. Even you profess our soldiers quilt by claiming we make more terrorists than we kill. Do you really and truly believe that garbage?
I respectfully suggest that you listen more carefully to what Murtha is saying. He is a war hero who bled for the country, has been a military hawk for decades, and initially supported the war. He has been a tireless defender of the Marines in Congress in issue after issue.
Murtha has closer ties to the Marines command structure than anyone else in Congress in either Party. He is likely to be very well informed on this -- and on strategic and tactical issues regarding the war as well. It is widely believed that what Murtha says is what Marines generals are thinking but can't say publicly.
”But the fact is that something very bad happened and that the Marines involved are most certainly guilty, that of course doesn’t mean we don’t need a trial because we don’t know all the facts or their nuances.”
Salvage, are you sure you wouldn’t just advocate for shooting the “guilty” Marines now and save all the expense associated with a trial? Man, the investigation is not even concluded and you’ve got these guys before a firing squad. That’s real American of you! Careful, you’re bleeding heart is becoming very black!
My post relates these incidents to the broader question of whether or not we can or are succeeding in creating a pro-american, democratic state and or killing more terrorist than we are creating by having troops in Iraqi....in short whether we are or can win. All of these incident lead me to believe we cannot achieve our broader strategic goals. We will leave Iraq with MORE people willing to die to fight america than when we arrived....with government that either listenes to it people(hates america) or ignores the will of it people and is pro-american.
Anh -- "This civilize way of war is crap. Seek and eradicated. If the population harbor the enemies, burn the city down and slaughter everyone. Very effective. As the shotgun of Japan, and it was a civil war. Don't have a rebellion since."
You are no better than Bin Laden. I love this country and the values it stands for. If we followed your advice, Bin Laden would have already won (and does seem to be winning...)
Decency and morality is not weakness. Athens eventually defeated Sparta. The Allies eventually defeated the Nazis. The Japan you laud fell into an ideological trap that led to self-destruction. Go read Karl Popper's 'The Open Society and Its Enemies'. You are with the enemies, and a traitor to the Constitution. Your shallow 'strength and ruthlessness' is nothing but weakness and cowardice -- and in the longer term would lead to the destruction of our country and our society.
”Murtha has closer ties to the Marines command structure than anyone else in Congress in either Party.”
Mikezw, if you believe those words, I’ve got some ocean front property in Sierra Vista, AZ that I’d like to sell you. Murtha is most likely briefed and just as likely has gone public with bits and pieces of information when he should have remained silent. The Marine Colonels that I know refer to Murtha as a “former Marine.” In case you are unaware, that is in essence the same as a yellow stripe being painted down the back of a horse cavalryman in the 19th Century. In other words it is a revocation of his ability to claim, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”
I have no qualm with Murtha’s service as a Marine; I do however have serious problems with his conduct as a U.S. Representative. And just for the record, a Hawk does not advocate a retreat in the face of the enemy.
Even you profess our soldiers quilt by claiming we make more terrorists than we kill. Do you really and truly believe that garbage?
You should ask the village, clan, and husband of the pregnent women who was killed....let alone the millions of Iraqis who saw it on tv. "Unfortunate incident" like that happen everyday with longterm negative consequences broader strategic goals of the mission.
Old Soldier -- well that's not what I hear, and I think my sources are pretty solid. However in the internet we can all claim whatever we want... But you certainly seem to be factually off-base regarding Murtha's congressional record -- his record defending the Marines and VA in the budget process is outstanding.
Posted by Murtha at May 31, 2006 01:08 PM
Cute, but ineffective. That ownership of your words or I'll not respond.
OK, I apologize for going way off topic here, but since you guys appear to have it covered pretty well I feel safe in doing so. And since CY lives here in Raleigh too I figured it couldn't hurt.
What is deal with the 'Canes and the Stanley cup finals getting so little press? You click on a sports page and you have look four articles down before you get to a Stanley Cup story. You have to go by Armstrong getting cleared of doping from six years ago?! I don't think anyone doubts Armstrong has solidified his legend status. You have to go by Clemens going back to the Astros. Are you kidding me? Again, it's established, he's great, but he has maybe one year left. Then you get to the Basketball finals which is at game four. Big deal.
The 'Canes and Sabres have been an absolutely great matchup. Both games 5 and 6 have gone OT with the Sabres forcing a game 7 here in Raleigh and yet it appears that it's hardly news! What's the deal with that!
I just had to get that off my chest and didn't have another outlet handy.
Please return to your discussion. :-)
Mikezw, being a member of the House Appropriations Committee and the Subcommittee on Defense certainly positions Rep Murtha to strongly support the military with funding, and he has been supportive. However, it does not necessarily equate to hawkism. Rep Murtha was one of the first (if not the first) to suggest President Clinton withdraw the troops from Somalia, even in the face of GOP leader support for the operation. Now he is one of the first to call for us to withdraw from Iraq. He has certainly been consistent in that position, I’ll give him that.
His public excoriation of the Marines with his “cold blooded murder of women and children” comment is beyond reasonable and civil rhetoric. It is insightful and wholly counterproductive to the ongoing investigation. He has publicly proclaimed guilt without a completed investigation and possible ensuring trial. That is extremely reckless behavior for a congressman!
O.S. -- yes, Murtha's record as a hawk is consistent: fight them when we have to, get the hell out when they're pointless and unwinnable. Somalia was the only other one where Murtha called for withdrawal. He was right then, he is right now. The damage being done to the military's strength and moral structure and to the country's security and moral values worsens every day we continue on this catastrophic path of incompetence, imperial folly, graft and lies.
the military has more than met its enlistment goals this year. Soldiers in Iraq are wondering why the US people don't support them. But they feel they are needed there. So what are you talking about - other than just spouting rhetoric.
"The damage being done to the military's strength and moral structure and to the country's security and moral values worsens every day we continue on this catastrophic path of incompetence, imperial folly, graft and lies."
Careful mikezw, your true colors are showing... Liberal talking points are not up for discussion; not by me anyway. Perhaps someone else will suffer your rant.
Yesterday Murtha was a war hero. Today he cares for the military, especially his beloved marines, like a female black widow spider cares for her mate. What a patriot!
I think miezw is either Michael Hiltzik or Jason Leopole in disguise. But KEEP HOPE ALIVE mikey.
I'm not going to continue this argument, I'll just leave a short coda.
Actually I'm just an old-fashioned guy who's done work in national security policy -- used to be an old-school Republican but, with what the Party has become, cannot see myself voting for a Republican again in the foreseeable future (I liked Bush Sr. and disliked Clinton -- but I think Bush Jr. really may be the worst President in US history, and the one who does the most damage to the country). My being appalled by the current situation and with where we're heading hardly makes me a leftie. The latest polls have some 70% of Americans saying the country is in the wrong direction -- and they are right.
My, Jesus' General loves you.
No, Haditha is not My Lai. The brutality is not of the same level, evidence more precise, the cover up less extensive. Then again look at the results of a cartoon, or the false news report of a Koran being flushed down the latrine. The raw numbers may not compare, but whenadjusted to scale the fall out from this will be huge.
To everyone's dismay Rep. Murtha has been right all along. Makes you wonder what else he's right about. Or is that why the focus is on him more than Rep. John Kline?
...and for the record, contrary to what you've stated, Murtha doesn't think the cover-up goes all the way to Pace.
Confederate Yankee's column is 100% correct. What Murtha has been doing generally is to atempt to cast Iraq as Vietnam, and in this instance, use Haditha as the Iraq My Lai. To do so, Murtha has been Kerry-like in his use of falsehood and speculation. It is a brazen effort to undermine our country's efforts in Iraq in furtherance of the war against the Jihadists.
In one of my irritatingly repetative comments in an earlier thread concerning this I said something along the lines that if something happened, those who didn't participate directly will tell exactly what happened. In the Wiki entry about My Lai, it stated that the investigation that led to the charges was instigated by some of the soldiers themselves. If something happened in Haditha, at least one of the Marines will have a problem with it and tell the truth. Yes they are a band of brothers, but there are things that exist in the oath of service that will come to the fore, now that the investigation is occuring, and there is no iminent threat to the individual Marines life. If something happened, one of the Marines will talk, if nothing happened, none of the Marines will talk.
I'm gonna wait till we hear what the investigation dug up, but truth is that Murtha has already defined all branches of service and a criminal enterprise engaging in deliberate conspiracy. Rot in hell Murtha, even if something did happen, you are still wrong.
Man, I take a couple of hours to go to the VRWC Steering Committee meeting, and I find the place completely infested. Let me see if I can clear up some fuzzy thinking and fact problems on the part of our left-of-center guests.
- Despite the somewhat amusing ranting of a false deity from the Art Bell universe (or so I’m told), there is quite a bit of difference between the hyperbolic charges made by Murtha as fuel for political grandstanding against a war he has been trying his hardest to retreat from since 2004, and the comments of Kline, who was reacting to allegations of war crimes as technically and dispassionately as possible. Kline’s focus is on the event, Murtha immediately labeled the actors, ascribed it to policy, and indicted the command structure of the Marine Corps itself. . Anyone trying to conflate the goals, choice of verbiage and overall message being conveyed by these two very different speakers as being the same or nearly so, is guilty of being very intellectually dishonest.
- No one is “shooting the messenger.” The messenger was Time Magazine and ABC News, which broke this story back in mid-March. No, John Murtha is an vulture, using over-inflated, unsupported hyperbole (unless you are actually insane enough to think civilian massacres are part of U.S. military policy as he implies) to push for political advantage, even at the expense of his “beloved” Marine Corps. If you would like to know how the Marines feel about Murtha in return, simply click though the milbloggers. “Ex-Marine” is a term I borrowed from them, and it has a very specific, very strong meaning.
- Murtha was a “hawk.” Past tense. He has been shrilly calling for a headlong retreat (excuse me, “immediate redeployment”) from Iraq since 2004, much louder than anyone in Congress. Murtha was once a hawk, but the “Pink Badge of Courage” winner not only gave up his hawk status, he forcefully rejected it.
On a somewhat related note, the next person falsely posting under someone else’s name gets banned.
WAPO reports more info - the Marines DID encounter enemy fire after the IED exploded.
And the Murtha Wannabe Marine that is telling all - (Briones)- did not participate, but is claiming PTSS, and was arrested for car theft, DUI, leaving the scene...how convenient he can now claim PTSS as his reason for breaking the law.
Of course all the facts are not in, but bit-by- bit Murtha is being shown to be an exagerating bloviate.
Comments regarding an earlier intemperate remark by former Marine Jack Murtha hold truer today.
"We mark the boundaries of legitimate disagreement by the way we characterize arguments that lie outside them. What Jack Murtha did last week wasn’t just wrong [call for cut and run]. It was cowardly and disloyal. That’s the truth and Jack Murtha deserves to hear it.
Thirty-five years ago he demonstrated that he had physical courage. This week he demonstrated that he lacks moral courage. There is no inconsistency here. Thirty-five years is a long time and physical courage is not the same thing as moral courage.
Jack Murtha served the nation honorably and should be honored for it. But his service doesn’t establish that he is loyal now. Nobody ever did the Republic of Rome greater service than Julius Caesar who capped off his military career by fighting a civil war and destroying the republic.
Peter Mulhern, The American Thinker, 11/20/05
Just a small nit to pick regarding the similarities/differences between My Lai and Haditha:
"My Lai started without any recognizable provocation...Right or wrong, Haitha had a discernible triggering event."
I believe My Lai also had a "triggering event," although it is not well known. Just the day before the massacre at My Lai-4, Lt. Calley unwittingly led his platoon into an old minefield that had been sown by soldiers from the ROK (Republic of Korea.) The minefield was not marked on American maps. One of the most beloved soldiers in Calley's platoon was killed attempting to get out of the minefield. In addition to this triggering event, although only in country for a short while by March of 1968, Charlie Company had an extremely high rate of killed and wounded due almost exclusively to snipers and booby traps. It frustrated the men to see such things as women and children walking down a trail, carefully watching where they stepped because it was obvious they knew where the mines and booby traps were placed. In the briefing on the night of March 15, led by Captian Ernest Medina, a number of veterans recalled that there was a strong sentiment of wanting to "exact revenge" for the death of this well-loved soldier, as well as all the other men of Charlie Company killed by snipers and booby traps. (This is referenced in "Four Hours in My Lai," by Kevin Sims and Michael Bolton.)
Therefore, I think a case could be made that at least in this respect, there is a similarity between the two events, My Lai and Haditha, the triggering event being the death of the soldier in the minefield just the day before the My Lai operation. Note that I am not saying this was in any way a justification for what happened, just pointing out that that is a true similarity between My Lai and Haditha. But that is where I believe any similarities end. In every other respect, I think it is incumbent upon those who would claim the incidents are similar to put forth their evidence.
It is sad that of all the good work soldiers and civilians accomplished in Viet Nam, such as providing medical care, improving infrastructure (much of which is still in place today by the way), all that most people can recall when they think of the Viet Nam war is "My Lai." I traveled to the Central Highlands in Viet Nam a number of years ago and met many people who expressed their gratitude for what the United States did for the Vietnamese people during the war. Although Haditha is sure to dominate headlines for the forseeable future, I hope that in years to come, the Iraqi people will express similar sentiments as I heard from many people in Viet Nam, appreciation for all the good we have done and continue to do.
Correction to the above:
Should be "by Kevin Sim and Michael Bilton," NOT Bolton.
the military has more than met its enlistment goals this year. …Specter 01:52 PM
Only by lowering their standards
Murtha was a “hawk.” Past tense….Posted by Confederate Yankee 03:28 PM
Anyone with any knowledge of the way Bush is conducting his war in Iraq would be against this terrible counter-productive waste of American lives, treasure, prestige and material. The number is terrorist incidents has increased drastically
As has Anti-Americanism
. It's one thing to be hated for being right, but quite another to be hated for being warmongers.
[ www.wws.princeton.edu/ppns/papers/speulda.pdf ]
That is the result of lying to one's population to justify one's irrational desire to launch an unjustified war in Iraq.
Geee mikey...Why don't you use a more biased reference. So let's see..as I read it the Army adopted the Department of Defense standards rather than using their own. Now if your belief is right, then I guess we got a lot of stupid people flying multi-million dollar jets and stuff....LOL. Get a grip. The whole point was the original poster said the military is on its last legs. I said that they have more than enough people.
Even funnier mikey....your WaPo cite is over a year old. Wow. Great research on your part.
And your anti-americanism study is from the same time period. What - you been asleep for a year? But be that as it may - the whole thing was based on Pew Research. Again - could you find a more-biased citation? Man you are funny.
I will pit ABSOLUTELY EVERY SINGLE VOLUNTEER FOR THE MARINE INFANTRY against EVERY SINGLE DRAFTEE authorized by hero of anti-war Leftist MacNamerra, who authorized the CONSCRIPTION! of substandard individuals into the broad military draft.
F! MacNammarra, and F! this BS!
CNN apologized for Zarqawi not knowing how to use a weapon with only 7 stages in it's cycle of operations, but NOW! everyone who is familiar with the operation of a weapon is STUPID!?
F you whoever it is that said "lowering standards" is the reason we make recruiting goals.
F YOU, F you from here to eternity. F YOU you self righteous scumbag, What are your standards for commenting? What are the goals you have achieved to stand in judgement of men and women willing to make a choice, while you will sit on the side and mock, from absolute safety eating pop corn waiting for a chance to call on the deaths of noble peoples who face harm just so you can make some sort of false snark that insults not just bush, not just his admin, not just the military, but all of those who ever served?
But - why don's you say what you really mean. LOL. But I think that you voiced what I would have said if I were in a rage...and I agree with you to some extent.
Hmmm. Murtha also broke the "Willy Pete/White Phosphorus" non-story. Goes to credibility.
And introduced the famous Cut and Run redeployment policy. Also goes to credibility.
He's batting 0 for 0. IMO those yanking his ear are also yanking his chain.
This will drum up a cacophony of leftwing hysteria - again - that THIS IS THE STORY THAT WILL GET RUMMY, CHENEY and BUSH.
Most likely it will end up another stinky leftwing fart floating on a breeze.
Folks just a reminder that here, we have certain, quite reasonable standards of what we consider acceptable speech that we try to observe. Keep your language clean, or you'll find your comment gone.
This story just doesn't make sense. If the Marines lost it why such a small number of dead civilians? I can't get excited about this when the pets of the Left are blowing up about ten civilians a day. But the Left will never protest that. I wonder why?
Who would have ever thought that those who defend us would need us to defend them. God save us from the left.
Mikezw expressed himself very well.
The Iraq war is a distraction from the WOT. We are under attack from Islamic fundamentalists, but Iraq was a secular nation under Saddam.
Sure the military is degrading. For example: the stop loss orders from the National Guard. Basically Guardsmen have been told they cannot leave, even when their official obligations are up. Obviously this is going to have a negative effect.
Search the internet "for military recruiting shortfall". Here's from the second hit I got, military.com (9/30/2005):
"WASHINGTON - The Army is closing the books on one of the leanest recruiting years since it became an all-volunteer service three decades ago, missing its enlistment target by the largest margin since 1979 and raising questions about its plans for growth."
Coalition deaths have been very consistent for years, see http://icasualties.org/oif/. Shiites and Sunis are killing eachother en masse and torturing eachother with power drills. How focused do you expect these people to be on democracy?
I do support our troops. I don't want to hear about another young man dying for a cause I don't understand. Bush Sr. was a wise man.
And the Murtha Wannabe Marine that is telling all - (Briones)- did not participate, but is claiming PTSS, and was arrested for car theft, DUI, leaving the scene...how convenient he can now claim PTSS as his reason for breaking the law.
Posted by Cheryl at May 31, 2006 03:36 PM
My father was an airplane mechanic in WW II, and often had to remove bodies from returning bombers. Anti-aircraft tended to pierce the plane’s armor and ricochet around inside the turrets. Gunners sometimes had to be hosed out of their enclosures.
My Father lost it once – stole a jeep and got so drunk he blacked out and ended up AWOL five days.
Briones, as you say, did not participate in the killings. He was ordered to assist in the clean up. While removing the body of a little girl, her guts spilled out onto him. His mother says he smells the blood to this day.
You would be in a better position to defend the soldiers who took part in the killings, Cheryl, if you showed a little mercy toward Mr. Briones.
The military is not degrading, if you think it should improve do us all a favor and don't enlist.
Fed, I was trying to be cautious in the actual language, the only outright epithet I shared was "scumbag."
But I unnerstand, a civilish discussion should be maintained, I was being civilish, while not outright being vulgar, at least that was my intention.
Please Cy...get some updated info. You are quoting sources from September 2005? Long time ago.
I think the other thing you should ask yourself CY is how many people are there in Iraq? What is the population? Then try to figure out how many people are actually participating in the insurgency - a few thousand?
There are almost 29 million people in Iraq. Even if there were 10,000 insurgents that is only .035%. So what about the other 99.965% of the population? What is happening here is that too many people draw conclusions about the entire country based on a few reports of a few people over there. That's not valid. Even if there were 100,000 insurgents, which is beyond the pall, you are still only talking 3 tenths of one percent. Get a grip on reality.
Just to clear up things....the CY in my last two posts was Cyrus - Not our esteemed host Confederate Yankee.....pretty dumb to use caps
No offense, but haven’t you opened yourself up to the same criticism you leveled against those who said Haditha is like My Lai? My Lai has been tried. The facts are known. It seems premature speculation at this point to cite certain of those facts and state, “these things happened at My Lai, but not at Haditha”. A trial may reveal that a high level cover up did in fact take place, and that innocent children were killed at point blank range by soldiers seeking vengeance.
What seems true now may change as more facts become known. My question is, what can we say about Haditha that will make those who compare it to My Lai seem ridiculous no matter what new facts come to light at trial?
Specter (btw thanks for the sorta support :)
Don't forget that ALL violence, and all DEATH is attributed to the war.
There are a lot of Crime deaths that are associated with "insurgents" and "secular violence" that are in fact, "basic crime"
And even more significant than all of that, the 4 bigwigs in "al queda in Iraq" were captured by Iraqi's, not by the US forces.
As for the military not lowering standard to meet targets. A co-workers step son....was interested in the new larger signing bonus. One problem...he is a crack head gang banger...no worries the recruiter "coached" the kid how to pass the drug test. Anything to make those numbers.
It then came as no surprise when the Chicago Sun Times ran articles last month about US gang activity in Iraq and US military weapons and know how turning up in major urban areas here in the US. All is well....we made the numbers!!!
"Please Cy...get some updated info. You are quoting sources from September 2005? Long time ago."
I'm not cherry picking. I'm looking through the links and most of them are from Sept/October 2005. I don't have any more recent information.
So you're telling me that recruitment is way up over the last nine months? I haven't heard one way or the other. I have heard a few anecdotal stories about "lowering the bar" such as the one posted by centrist.
By all means post a link to the great recruitment news from the last nine months. I'll read it.
Combat veteran reenlistments still high despite war
More than 500 "re-up" at Fort Carson. Note that the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment have now exceeded retention goals by more than 130 percent this fiscal year.
Study: U.S. Marines retain best recruits
"Despite four years of tough combat deployments, the U.S. Marine Corps has retained a higher percentage of top recruits.
"The Center for Naval Analyses in April analyzed the Marines' first term re-enlistment population and determined that the quality has continually improved over the last six years, with more first tier recruits remaining in the Marine Corps than drop out after four years."
Americans Enlist in Record Numbers
"May 16, 2006: In the last seven months, the U.S. Army has met or exceeded all of its recruiting goals. In that time, over 160,000 people have enlisted, or re-enlisted. The total strength of the active duty and reserve forces are 1.2 million men and women, all of them volunteers.
"Except for a few months in 2004-5, the military has been able to maintain its strength, despite wartime conditions. The biggest problem has not been casualties (only about 10,000 soldiers have been killed or disabled so far, less than one percent of overall strength), but the disruption to family life caused by so many troops getting sent to combat zones. This discouraged re-enlistments in reserve units, although mainly among the non-combat troops. In combat units, re-enlistments were at record levels."
One of those stories is less than 48 hours old, and others are all also from the Month of May.
If you require more reading material,please, be sure to let me know.
The PERPORTED BS of "go to jail or go to the military" idiocy is a standing LIE! about the service, at least the VOLUNTEER service, the first day of MEPS you take a comprehensive drug test, and are eliminated, you take one week in a drug test and you are eliminated.
This whole crap about "criminals are the first in enlistment" is stupid, let me correct, retarded, and even worse than retarded, those who think that the military is built on a Criminal alternative, are LIARS! they LIE, and they make up stuff, that they clearly know nothing about.
so LIE! LIARS, LIE AS YOU PLEASE, LIE LIE LIE and only those who are RETARDED and STUPID, and IDIOTIC will believe your LIES, YOU LIARS!
Note this, the "recruitment goals" may not be EXACT, however, look at the GROUND forces? Marines and Army are overflowing now.
You can LIE all you please, but the thing is that only the NON-conflict branches are missing their recruitment goals.
The very BRANCHES that the ANTI-VIETNAMERS were pushing for support, so that they can later challenge service, but, OH! NO! WAIT! the cowardice of impersonal war is losing? and the Army and Marines are overflowing?
OH! I must be lying, cuz that is your standard method, though, I am right.
I suggest you tell a volunteer Marine, or Volunteer Army Infantry that they are War Criminals.
You will have to hold your nose, cuz it will be bleading.
Tom Clancy said in one of his books, I don't know which one, "that the Marines were built as a naval support force, but they had the best ad campaign" that is trueish, but not actually true. Marines Originaly, were the on deck anti-mutiny service, they were coddledish, in their treatement on deck, but after the tripolitan wars, the Marines earned real value.
And it took the first Commandant, . . .DAMN, I know it, but I cant remember offhand, Arthur? Archibald, I think it was archibald, I've been out for about 7 years.
The first Commandant was Archibald something or other, and he decided that the MC was the most dedicated service because, it was the MC that EXECUTED every mutiny, and the MC had overriden other conflicts with non Naval armies.
The MC, is BUILT on an absolute resolution to the oath of service, and . . .
the MC doesn't have ANY problems, even in time of war to supply their numbers.
That should be a LESSON to whatsisfaces. . .whats the name of the jerky airforce general who fought the navy in the 40's 50's?
WAR, is WAR, and HONOR lives on the ground.
Increased BENNIES, is completely DIFFERENT from REDUCED expectations.
one is a BRIBE, the other is an acceptance of substandard creatures.
YOU think that BRIBERY of individuals who FIT the requirements are the same as reducing requirements?
Thats just STUPID!
REALIZE IT! You say that because politicians think they can bribe EQUALLY VALUABLE individuals, to join the military, that that is the same as REDUCING the requirements of service?
Then that is YOUR PROBLEM!
The Admin, wants the BEST participants, equal to, or better than, what we already have is a REDUCTION in service?
You think that coaxing a better servicemen is equal to MacNammara's "hundred thousand?"
You must be either stupid, or uneducated, or just plain retarded.
Why was my earlier comment deleted? Was it because I used a mild expletive, or because you are afraid of honest, well-informed debate? Assuming the former, I am re-posting my comment (insofar as I can remember the words I wrote; it may not be exact), with the offending phrase replaced:
Haditha is small potatoes compared to the atrocities and murders committed daily in Iraq by US troops and US-supported death squads, for more than three years now. It is just one tragedy among many thousands visited by US troops on the people of Iraq. The Haditha massacre is in the spotlight because Time magazine reported on it and a US congressman is outraged about it (why aren’t the rest of you?). As for all the others, few Americans know about them, and even fewer care. Even though they are committed in your name and financed by your tax dollars.
If you want to know the truth about what’s happening on the ground in Iraq, read (for starters) Dahr Jamail’s reports, beginning with this one, “Countless My Lai massacres in Iraq”:
A question for Old Soldier!
You seem to have some army experience, so migth I.
Read this and answer the question:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Two Iraqi women were shot to death north of Baghdad after coalition forces fired on a vehicle that failed to stop at an observation post, the U.S. military said Wednesday. Iraqi police and relatives said one of the women was about to give birth.
A car entered a clearly marked prohibited area near coalition troops at an observation post but failed to stop despite repeated visual and auditory warnings, the U.S. military said in a statement e-mailed to The Associated Press.
“Shots were fired to disable the vehicle,” the statement said. “Coalition forces later received reports from Iraqi police that two women had died from gunshot wounds ... and one of the females may have been pregnant.”
Is that murdering TWO persons or THREE???
Please avoid any tirade about ROF and the sort...
"Is that murdering TWO persons or THREE???"
I'll answer your question right after you answer one for me... Have you stopped beating your wife?
I'll not be set up with such elementary trickery. If you honestly seek an answer to a legitimate question, try again by rephrasing it.
Your characterization of your own arguments as participating in "honest, informed debate" is worthy of banishment.
None of your allegations are supported by facts. This tactic is generally the mark of a rabid ideologue of limited intelligence, well-suited to du but not here.
P.S. to above
Nice touch, linking to truthout for support. Now there's the ticket to "honest, informed" debate. You'd be funny if you weren't so pathetic.
Let me see if I get this. Your proof is TruthOut? You mean like Jason Leopold who hasn't hit a story right in years? Marc Ash who blindly supports without andy...well...proof...? The group that still says Leopold's story that Rove would be indicted in 24 hours....well...maybe 24 business hours...well...maybe Friday....next Wednesday...well, the next Friday...was correct in all of it's points? The truthout organization that bans people with different viewpoints - not swearing mind you - just a different viewpoint and you get banned. The same TruthOut organization that is now the laughingstock of the blogosphere over their reporting? That truthout? Maybe you missed all of that.....
Find some other evidence for us of these "Death Squads" from a reputable reporting source - you know - one that doesn't just make stuff up.
I'd suggest you start with the 911 conspiracy sites. They have a higher level of reputation than TruthOut. LOL.
You're evading the issue under discussion by referring to unrelated articles on other topics by other authors, and making gratuitous insults. I didn't cite Jason Leopold on Rove's indictment or anyone at all on 911 conspiracy theories, but Dahr Jamail on Iraq. If you don't like truthout you can read his reports on his own site or his interviews with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now. Or read Robert Fisk in the Independent, or Pepe Escobar in the Asia Times. Or Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker. Or a host of other independent and international journalists who don't simply swallow and regurgitate government propaganda and disinformation.
If you disagree with the facts brought to light by these and numerous other reporters, try refuting them--with evidence, if you have any--instead of attacking me personally as "pathetic", "a rabid ideologue of limited intelligence" and similar. So is your argument that US troops are NOT killing Iraqis and ravaging their country? The evidence suggests otherwise.
How would you feel if foreign troops came into American towns, bombed your houses, kicked down your doors, tortured and murdered your people, took over your government and buildings and resources, installed multi-billion-dollar permanent military bases, and showed no sign of leaving?
For that matter, how do you feel as an American when your government is in fact doing all of this in a foreign country? Do you really approve of this? You think this is good for America? Don't you feel just the tiniest bit defrauded and disappointed by a government that lies to its public and wastes billions of dollars and sacrifices American lives and alienates and disgusts the entire world with its behavior? Why don't you want to hold it accountable?
Rxcuse me, noborders, but what we did in Iraq were: to remove a murderous tyrant dictator in Saddam who had used WMDs on his own people and had killed hundreds of thousands, often by real torture; to deny al Zarqari, arguably the most dangerous al Qaeda operative after September 11, a safe haven in Baghdad; to disrupt what the uncovered Iraqi government documents have shown were lines of cooperation between Saddam's government and al Qaeda; to propel the Iraqi people toward three national votes by which they consensually adopted a Constitution and a democratically elected government; and to help rebuild Iraqi infrastucture. While we have accomplished this work of LIBERATION, the American military has performed magnificently. Yet, you, noborders, want to view it all through the prism of an oppressive occupation and cite various anti-war left wing writers as your sources. You can have them. I will gladly live in the real world and stand by our outstanding men and women in the American military. God Bless America and the American military.
Phil, apparently you prefer to view the world through the prism of long ago debunked talking points from an administration with zero credibility and a highly undemocratic agenda, for America and the world. Fortunately, your views are becoming increasingly irrelevant. Most of the world was against Bush's illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq from the start; it appears that American public opinion, with the exception of a few stubborn holdouts who prefer the glorious myth to the messy ugly reality, is finally catching up with the rest of us. Three years too late. The dead aren't coming back, and many of the survivors will be maimed for life. I'm not sure what world you're living in, but "real" is not the adjective that comes to mind.
It seems that this thread has devolved from any sort of real discussion to two diametrically opposed camps trying to talk—no, scream—past each other. I’ll wait a while to see if things improve, but as both sides seem to be settling into their respective trenches, I’m probably going to close down commenting on this particular thread.
I value opinions on both sides (even those I don’t agree with), but we seem to have reached a point of diminishing returns on this post, and it seems almost time to move on.
Don’t worry, though. There’s always another discussion around the corner.
No, noborders, what I cited to you were bottom line facts as to what we have accomplished in Iraq in the context of what we are dealing with in the war with jihadism. Saddam was a murderous dictator -- do you deny that? Al Zarquari was and is a murderous jihadist who had operated freely out of Baghdad before Saddam's removal from power -- do yo deny that? We now have Saddam governement documents establishing points of cooperation between Saddam and al Qaeda -- do you deny that? We did propel the Iraqi people to forming their own democratically adopted Constitution and democratically elected government -- do you deny that? We have been rebuilding the Iraqi infrastructure -- do you deny that?
What you responded with to me was a lot of spin and argument in which you basically say that my view is "discredited." No, it is not. You appear to be trapped by your spin and cannot acknowledge the bottom line facts of what we have accomplished and the good that the American military has done. You don't need Bush Administration talking points to see the facts that I have cited. For me, what is truly important are the guys on the front line.
And again, noborders, I say God Bless America and the American military.
Curfew and Riots continue in Kabul(the tranquil part of Afganistan). Another "incident"...a US semi plowed into traffic and killed 8 people. Riots and "death to american" chants have continued for days as a result.
At least when the active military massacre innocent civilian they are accountable. Their are tens of thousands of heavily armed civilain "contractors" that are BEHOLDEN TO NOBODY...not military, not Iraqi not US courts. Their videos circulating on the internet of the "contractors" just driving around and wasting Iraqis one after another....and then setting it to music. People who do things like this simply cannot get in trouble....who is going to stop them?
If we find out about events like that here in the states....the Iraqis are VERY aware of it and more. With all of these "incidents" in little surprise that the broader strategic goal of building of a pro-american place has slipped away
I think the term "incident" is best applied when the person who is killed is in someone elses family, village, country or religion. When is happens to us...it cause for REVENGE!
I stand by my coworkers story. His son in law owed him money...the only way he could raise it was to enlist. He has gang links and is a drug user and was told how to "get around" the drug tests by the recruiter.
I also stand by the behind the Sun Times story on gang/military/Iraq...an investigation is ongoing. The US military is a large organisation with a lot of poor people...so to think that some percentage wound not succomb to the temptation of some quick easy gang money is really quite naive...would be going agaist human nature.
Phil, all of your "bottom line facts" except the first are demonstrably false. I'll grant you that Saddam Hussein was a murderous dictator. He is currently on trial for crimes and atrocities committed in the 198os--when he was treated as an important ally by the Reagan administration, whose Special Envoy to the Middle East for part of that period was Donald Rumsfeld. The United States was not especially troubled by Saddam's massive human rights violations, any more than it was/is by the various other murderous dictators it has supported, in the past and at present. Promoting human rights and democracy is not a driving force behind US foreign policy.
But for all Saddam's brutality, daily life for most Iraqis, and especially women, was much better under his rule than it has been under the US occupation and sectarian violence that has followed.
Your "guys on the front line" are blowing away Iraqis. Kids, too. Lots of them. Do you deny that?
The American military should be used to defend the American homeland from real threats, not to indiscriminately slaughter foreigners in their own countries. I suspect a lot of the troops serving in this filthy war would agree. That's one reason why so many veterans antiwar groups have sprung up.
But CY is right--it's time to move on. "Mit der Dummheit kämpfen Götter selbst vergebens." (Friedrich Schiller)
You want to move on, noborders, because your last response is ridiculous. You say that I am wrong about the bottom line facts that I cite and then admit the first one about Saddam being a murderous dictator and ignore the rest, including that Saddam had ties with al Qaeda and that we have propelled the Iraqi people toward a democratically elected Constitution and democratically elected government.
Instead, you do two things. First, you try to paint Saddam as an American ally based on events in the 1980's when Iran and Iraq were at war, ignoring that in 1990 we went to war against Saddam and were in a state of near-war with him thereafter (remember those "no-fly zones"?). Second, you engage in a rant about American troops generally blowing away Iraqi civilians. That, I do deny; and that, I think shows how off the wall you are. The American military conducts itself according to the international rules of war; it faces an enemy that does not. The American military has generally gone out of its way to avoid civilian causalties; the enemy it faces has no compunction about causing civilian casualties.
The American military has a military justice system that works -- hence, the convictions for the Abu Ghraib abuses. The American military justice system is now operating in its investigation into what happened at Haditha, which was an insurgent hotbed. The sad thing is, noborders, that you want the worst to be true and need to believe the worst is true. I don't. I need to learn the full facts because our Marines in the front lines deserve that no pre-judgments be made.
In any event, it gives me great pleasure to say once again to you, noborders, God Bless America and God Bless the American military.
noborders, I cannot believe the wholesale spin you are buying into. Our press has never supported anything conservative, never cared for the military and continues to portray events worse than they are. I do agree that with soldiers dying, thats bad enough....but things could be worse! Take a close look to the time period post WWII and you will see throughout the media here many of the very same things were said and harped on by the press. The difference only being the time period and the administration was democratic. Not a BUSH supporter but call it like it is. We are only cleaning up and buying time before Iraq can take care of itself.
Noborders doesn't like it, but we're all in this together, humans believing in freedom to choose life, and humans believing in forced, involuntary and absolute submission to their interpretation of the Will of God.
Moral equivalence? The fighters for 'freedom to choose life' STRIVE to observe Rules of Engagement, even in the heat of battle. The fighters for 'enslavement to our clergy, under our God' HIDE behind grinning children, and fire on us, while videotaping their cleverness!
Some posters here want very much to make the 'freedom fighters' murderers, responsible for the death of a pregnant woman, while ignoring the existent and observable reality that she was in the company of the 'enslave and hide-behind-women-and-children' fighters, which, not to put too fine a point on it, argues for her classification as 'enemy', whether actively armed or not.
Parallel to Vietnam? This: CHILDREN can throw grenades, can count American troops, can report American positions, can wilfully obstruct troops in the belief that Americans are the "Bad Guys", when in fact, the Americans are there to help.
(Think of a surgeon's scalpel cutting through perfectly good tissue, to get at a life-threatening purulence behind it... 'innocent' cells die, to get the diseased tissue!)