Murtha Says Haditha Worse Than Abu Ghraib; Alleges Cover-Up
"This is the kind of war you have to win the hearts and minds of the people. And we're set back every time something like this happens. This is worse than Abu Ghraib."
--John Murtha, this morning
We all know that war is hell, and those who have fought in wars, unlike our president, vice-president, and Secretary of Defense, know the horrors of war firsthand. But there is no rationale or defense for what a group of Marines did in Haditha last November, nor is there any defense for the cover-up that followed. John Murtha, who is in constant contact with military men and women of all ranks, and who has now seen the evidence in the last ten days, says that what happened in Haditha is worse than anything the Bush Administration did at Abu Ghraib, and says there was a cover-up.
The shootings last November at Haditha, a city in the Anbar province of western Iraq that has been plagued by insurgents, were covered up, said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa.
"Who covered it up, why did they cover it up, why did they wait so long?" Murtha said on "This Week" on ABC. "We don't know how far it goes. It goes right up the chain of command."
A bomb rocked a military convoy on Nov. 19, killing a Marine. Marines then shot and killed unarmed civilians in a taxi at the scene and went into two homes and shot other people, according to Murtha, who has been briefed by officials.
Murtha said high-level reports he received indicated that no one fired upon the Marines or that there was any military action against the U.S. forces after the initial explosion. Yet the deaths were not seriously investigated until March because an early probe was stifled within days of the incident, he said.
"I will not excuse murder, and this is what happened," Murtha said. "This investigation should have been over two or three weeks afterward and it should have been made public and people should have been held responsible for it."
Of course, John Warner is setting the whitewash in motion, but some of the evidence in the Navy’s possession is becoming known overseas already. And the longer slime like Warner and Rumsfeld cover this up, the more of a disservice they are doing to the thousands of brave men and women who have done their jobs and served their country admirably in a war of choice foisted upon them by a cowardly and criminal commander in chief.
US Marines could face the death penalty after one of their number took horrific photographs of a massacre in Iraq on his mobile phone, The Independent on Sunday has learned.
The photographs, seized by the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), show many victims shot at close range in the head and chest, execution-style, according to sources who have seen them. One image shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer. Both have been shot dead.
Keep in mind that it was this Secretary of Defense and his hatchet man mouthpiece Larry DiRita who set up and then publicly browbeat Newsweek Magazine into eating its “Korans in the toilets” story six months before the Haditha massacre went down over fears that the revelations of what our interrogators did at Guantanamo would incite a firestorm in the Islamic world. Now we find out that Rummy applies the same "only good news" standard for stories of murder and official misconduct.
We also know that if it hadn’t been for outside sources of information apart from the Pentagon, we likely would have never heard about this massacre or seen anyone held accountable. Worse yet for the administration, after telling the Poodle that we have never imprisoned minors at Guantanamo, it now turns out that Bush has condoned the imprisonment and torture of boys as young as 14 years old there.
The commission and cover-up of these horrific acts are war crimes, and eventually Murtha and others will see to it that the truth is laid bare.
There is a cell at The Hague with W's name on it.