Guest blogged by David Edwards of Veredictum.com
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During a Wednesday press confernce, Representative Jack Murtha (D-PA), a former marine, revealed that an ongoing military investigation will show that Marines killed innocent women and children "in cold blood". The incident happened in Haditha, Iraq on November 19, 2005.
While the Pentagon's investigation has not been completed, Murtha reported:
Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood. That is what the report is going to tell.
There was no firefight... There were no [roadside bombs] that killed these innocent people.
These [Marines] are under tremendous strain, more strain than I can conceive of. And this strain has caused them to crack in situations like this.
At the time of the incident, a Marine spokesman said that 15 innocent civilians had been killed in a roadside bomb explosion and 8 insurgents were killed by U.S. Marines in a related gun battle.
Outraged locals reported a very different version of events. The Marines forcefully entered a home and murdered 15 unarmed civialians. There had been no explosion from a roadside bomb. There were no insurgents in the area. The Pentagon flatly denied the Iraqi's version of events.
We first reported on this incident on March 22, 2006 with video evidence (see our flash video or wmv video) that the Pentagon's version of events were largely a fabrication. The Haditha video evidence, shot by an Iraqi film student, showed the aftermath of the murders in Haditha. Unarmed bodies of women children were seen slain in praying positions. The walls were covered with blood and bullet holes.
A 9 year old girl survived the Haditha massacre and was able to provide an eyewitness account of the crimes. In the video at the beginning of this article (pictured at left), the 9 year old girl describes what she witnessed, "The American's came into my room where my father was praying. They went to my grandmother and killed her too. I heard an explosion. They threw a grenade under my grandfather's bed."
The Haditha video evidence was eventually obtained by Time Magazine and broadcast on Arab television. The Pentagon gave way to public pressure and opened an investigation into the killings at Haditha. We can't help but wonder how many other atrocities have been ignored or covered-up due to a lack of public evidence and public pressure?
This video contains yesterday's report from the UK's Channel 4 News. Then, in an interview on MSNBC, Rep. Jack Murtha can barely contain his frustration with Bush Administration's Iraq "policy" which he blames for creating overwhelming stress on American soldiers. The playing time is about 8 minutes.