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Marine Says Rules of Engagement Were Followed in Haditha

Yesterday, the Washington Post reported on a Marine's first-hand account of what happened in Haditha. A sergeant with the Marines who participated in the fire fight in Haditha recounted, through his attorney, what happened. And it is consistent with what we've been saying is the terrorists' MO: surrounding themselves with innocent women and children and then provoking American troops to fire at them.

A corporal with the unit leaned over to Wuterich and said he saw the shots coming from a specific house, and after a discussion with the platoon leader, they decided to clear the house, according to Wuterich's account


"There's a threat, and they went to eliminate the threat," Puckett said.

A four-man team of Marines, including Wuterich, kicked in the door and found a series of empty rooms, noticing quickly that there was one room with a closed door and people rustling behind it, Puckett said. They then kicked in that door, tossed a fragmentation grenade into the room, and one Marine fired a series of "clearing rounds" through the dust and smoke, killing several people, Puckett said.

The Marine who fired the rounds -- Puckett said it was not Wuterich -- had experience clearing numerous houses on a deployment in Fallujah, where Marines had aggressive rules of engagement.

Although it was almost immediately apparent to the Marines that the people dead in the room were men, women and children -- most likely civilians -- they also noticed a back door ajar and believed that insurgents had slipped through to a house nearby, Puckett said. The Marines stealthily moved to the second house, kicking in the door, killing one man inside and then using a frag grenade and more gunfire to clear another room full of people, he said...

...Wuterich told his attorney that he never reported that the civilians in the houses were killed by the bomb blast and maintains that he never tried to obscure the fact that civilians had been killed in the raids. Whether Wuterich gave false information to his superiors is the focus of one of the military investigations. He said the platoon leader, who was on the scene, never expressed concern about the unit's actions and never tried to hide them...

...After going through the houses, Wuterich moved a small group of Marines to the roof of a nearby building to watch the area, Puckett said. At one point, they saw a man in all-black clothing running from one of the houses they had searched. The Marines killed him, Puckett said.

They then noticed another man in all black scurrying between two houses across the street. When they went to investigate, the Marines found a courtyard filled with women and children and asked where the man was, Puckett said.

When the civilians pointed to a third house, the Marines attempted to enter and found a man with an AK-47 inside, flanked by three other men; the first Marine to enter tried to fire his weapon, but it jammed, Puckett said. The Marines then killed those four men.

This is a very different account from what was offered by Rep. Jack Murtha.

Sister Toldjah reminds us of the comments made by CNN reporter Arwa Damon who was embedded with the Marines who were involved in Haditha, although at a different time:

I know the Marines that were operating in western al Anbar, from Husayba all the way to Haditha. I went on countless operations in 2005 up and down the Euphrates River Valley. I was pinned on rooftops with them in Ubeydi for hours taking incoming fire, and I've seen them not fire a shot back because they did not have positive identification on a target.


I saw their horror when they thought that they finally had identified their target, fired a tank round that went through a wall and into a house filled with civilians. They then rushed to help the wounded -- remarkably no one was killed.

I was with them in Husayba as they went house to house in an area where insurgents would booby-trap doors, or lie in wait behind closed doors with an AK-47, basically on suicide missions, just waiting for the Marines to come through and open fire. There were civilians in the city as well, and the Marines were always keenly aware of that fact. How they didn't fire at shadows, not knowing what was waiting in each house, I don't know. But they didn't.

All Things Beautiful has more on the sergeant's personal account.

Update: Be sure to watch Michelle Malkin's interview with Ilario Pantano who was accused of the premeditated murder of insurgents. He was cleared of all charges, and has an interesting perspective on the "massacre in Haditha."


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Comments (22)

We can always count on the ... (Below threshold)

We can always count on the American left to work in concert with our enemies. Their strategies are virtually the same; hiding behind women and children to advance their cause.

They are our Marines, and t... (Below threshold)
Big Mo:

They are our Marines, and thus, deserve our support and the benefit of the doubt. And Jack Murtha can go F himself. My step-dad, who was a Marine platoon leader in 'Nam, is just itching to take those microphone that Murtha is always in front of and shove them where the sun don't shine.

Murtha and Matthews wildest... (Below threshold)
virgo1:

Murtha and Matthews wildest fantasies are all being divulged for the frauds they are..traitors even.

Kim - how are you still wri... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Kim - how are you still writing here? Especially on this same story after you already made a post with a huge factual error?

Besides, 11 women and children were killed? How can you possibly believe that "There's a threat, and they went to eliminate the threat."

Also, this in in November, 7 months ago? Something simply does not add up.

We've always had a Stalinis... (Below threshold)

We've always had a Stalinist fifth column in this country since the Russian Revolution. It was the very reason the FBI was brought into being in the first place. It's just that they kept a low public profile during WWII and Korea, concentrating on espionage and infiltrating our institutions.

The breakout came with Vietnam, followed by the Nuclear Freeze movement, when it became fashionable to openly advocate the Soviet position on America's streets. As Tom Wolfe termed it, "radical chic."

They never went away.

This jp2 fellow seems a bit... (Below threshold)
Brad:

This jp2 fellow seems a bit naieve. Either that or he's just one of those shallow thinkers blinded by hatred.

"Besides, 11 women and children were killed? How can you possibly believe that 'There's a threat, and they went to eliminate the threat.' "

Terrorists, even more so than guerilla soldiers like Viet Cong, use civilians as sandbags and often accomplices. Fire was coming from the house to the Marines. It's unfortunate that innocents were killed (if indeed they were innocent), but this can happen in a war. But you know, jp2, it wouldn't without the enemy using civilians to hide behind.

I'll give you the benefit of the doubt whether or not you're just an idiot, but tell me about the war in history where no civiilians were killed. Can you do that, professor?

11 women and children kille... (Below threshold)
jp2:

11 women and children killed in their homes...

"(if indeed they were innocent)"

Brilliant.

Wuterich immediately g... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Wuterich immediately got on the radio and reported the "collateral damage." When the company radio operator asked him to estimate how many civilians had been killed, he said he thought it was about 12 to 15".. And how many insurgents were killed? I suppose we owe the obnoxious euphemism 'collateral damage' to the Vietnam war. .Under 'the rules of engagement' when does collateral damage begin to look suspiciously like it may have been 'intended damage.'.

This morning, CentCom annou... (Below threshold)
TexAnn:

This morning, CentCom announced the death of 2 children in a fire fight with insurgents. You can bet this will now be standard procedure for the terrorist, take a child to war. All due to the hand wringing of our press. Z-Man had a copy of an Arabic Newsweek in that house. Sad, sad day.

JP2:You and I have h... (Below threshold)
Charles Bannerman:

JP2:
You and I have had cross words before and I told you in effect you are an idiot. You have absolutely no concept of being under fire by people who look and dress exactly like the civilian population and you will never understand what it feels like to wound or kill a seemingly innocent civilian or child.

You have absolutely no physical courage and would allow anyone to rub shit in your face and then you would thank them.

Grow a set of balls , come down out of your ivory tower and get a good look at the real world. There are a lot of really bad people who would love to blow you and everyone you care about to pieces and you lack the guts to stop them.
You make me puke you stupid wimp.
Chuck

I wonder if Zark rem... (Below threshold)
virgo1:


I wonder if Zark remembered to cancel his newsweek subscription?

I put the following questio... (Below threshold)
Brad:

I put the following question to jp2 earlier. He gave a smarmy holier-than-thou response from his high chair, but failed to answer:

"I'll give you the benefit of the doubt whether or not you're just an idiot, but tell me about the war in history where no civiilians were killed. Can you do that, professor?"

We're still waiting jp....

Steve & Jp2, THis ... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

Steve & Jp2,
THis is what the Vietnamese communists used to do: they hid in the peasants' houses and threw grenades at the South VN and AMerican troops to evoke the fight to cause civilian deaths for propaganda purpose. The Palestinian terrorists are doing the same hiding behind their women/children to fire rockets at Is civilians. The terrorists in Iraq are not afraid to blow up women and children and hiding in civilian locations.

I wonder why the liberal press and otherwise decent people on the left would provide a free propaganda service for these monsters?

It's a rhetorical question ... (Below threshold)
jp2:

It's a rhetorical question whoever asked about civilians killed. But if you want it, no, civilians always die. In every war. Especially when we bomb from the skies.

I feel very bad for the troops - especially after losing a fellow soldier - but 11 women and children, killed execution style is just too overwhelming to ignore. I wish I had more faith in the justice system, especially when it comes to military affairs. But I hope, regardless, that justice is served fairly. It just seems so suspicious that it has been delayed for so long.

Especially when we bomb ... (Below threshold)
wilky:

Especially when we bomb from the skies

Like Kosovo?

jp2I wish I had more... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:

jp2
I wish I had more faith in the justice system, especially when it comes to military affairs. But I hope, regardless, that justice is served fairly. It just seems so suspicious that it has been delayed for so long.
-------------------------------------------------
You should be more suspicious of people like Murtha and the liberal press who have been shown to be willing to sell out the US military and the women/children of Iraq (blown up by the terrorists) to score a political point.

The Times is caught in a possibly Dan Rather style of fake but accurate story. It reveals again the bias of the liberal against the US military and for the terrorists.

The US military is o... (Below threshold)
LoveAmerica Immigrant:


The US military is owed more than a simple apology, but even that is too much to ask of the liberal press. Can we, decent Americans, stand by and watch these people slander our military?


Setting the records straight on Haditha

http://www.townhall.com/opinion/columns/MaryKatharineHam/2006/06/12/200752.html

The "killed execution style... (Below threshold)

The "killed execution style" is what we don't know. If they were, then ONE is too many.

Maybe that's what you don't get? It's not "okay" for our guys to snap with the stress, get upset about a buddy getting killed. There is not a "measured" response to this with a point at which an execution style killing or two goes over some line. It is not *supportive* of the troops to try to excuse any execution style killing, not even of even one old male terrorist who was caught in the act. It doesn't *become* wrong because it's women and children.

The "suspicious delay" could be that the initial reports were accurate and higher ups saw no need to investigate. There *is* a report that is apparently inaccurate, but is it inaccurate on purpose or did someone get sloppy?

It could be a lot of things, jp2, including that the absolute worst of the rummors is true.

What I'm predicting, for now, is that the goal posts will move. Instead of "execution style - in cold blood" it will become some lesser "weren't careful enough" and then "see... we were right."

And IF a courtmartial finds the Marines followed the rules they were given or even anything less than "execution style - in cold blood" it will be seen as a cover-up.

The enemy frequently kills people "execution style"... such as those fishermen in Haditha who were tied up and lined up against a wall and shot.

I suppose that's one way of not shooting the wrong people... shoot people who aren't shooting back.

It is not *supportive* o... (Below threshold)
Proud kaffir:

It is not *supportive* of the troops to try to excuse any execution style killing, not even of even one old male terrorist who was caught in the act.

Synova:

Sorry to quibble, but if the "old male terrorist" is diguised as a civilian and caught in the act of an attack, even an attack against military targets, he is not entitled to any Geneva Convention protections and can be shot on sight. There is no need to take prisoners under that scenario.

I don't know what the particular ROE is for the US military under such a scenario, but I wish they would bring back the old custom of summary execution for combatants disguising themselves as civilians. The fact that we give these terrorists the protections of combatants leads to unnecessary civilian casualties.

Or maybe the the terrorists... (Below threshold)
virgo1:

Or maybe the the terrorists are using the media to cheat and fix the "game" to up their damages?

They appear to be very adept at collateral damage..wonder where they came up with the idea?

I doubt that we differ much... (Below threshold)
Synova:

I doubt that we differ much, Proud kaffir. I was mostly taking issue with the description "execution style." I'm certainly not arguing any moral necessity to even try to take non-uniformed combatants into custody.

To me, execution style means that the person killed IS in the custody of the forces that kill him or her. Maybe people are just being sloppy but this is what they are saying... that things were controlled and that our Marines shot children who were begging for their lives.

If that's not what they mean, then that's not what they should be saying.

And I expect that if we eventually find out that this was not a matter of cold blooded execution, that the story will be that that wasn't ever what anyone ment.

Oh, and check out Mudville Milblogs... the move is already on to discredit the military justice system so no matter what they do it can be declared invalid.

jp2, why do you hate the U.... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

jp2, why do you hate the U.S. military so much? Those guys are doing the hardest job in the world for you, and here you are assuming them guilty. For shame.




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