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Was Haditha A Hoax?

Clarice Feldman has a piece in The American Thinker that puts into narrative form the research Sweetness and Light has been gathering which casts doubt onto Rep. Murtha's and the media's charge that the US troops massacred civilians in Haditha. After outlining the research so far, Ms. Feldman comes to this conclusion:

The sum and substance of this thumbnail sketch on the Haditha claims is that it follows so closely the template for the TANG and Plame stories. Take a reporter with an anti-Administration agenda, an interested group (think of the Mashhadanis as the VIPS in the Plame case or Burkett and Lucy Ramirez in the TANG case) and a story too good to be checked and circumstances where the people attacked are limited in what they can quickly respond to and you get a story which smells to me like it will soon be unraveled.

I blogged earlier that the media need to take a step back on the charge of a US massacre in Haditha for three reasons: 1) the investigation is not yet complete; 2) we have recently learned that the investigation into massacre charges in Ishaqi proved to be unfounded; and 3) we have reports from troops that terrorists* create massacres so as to blame US troops with the expectation the media will report on them.

In the same way we don't know a massacre occurred in Haditha, we also don't know for sure that Haditha was a hoax. However, Sweetness' research so far is indicating that the allegation that US troops deliberately killed Iraqi civilians doesn't look as clear cut as Rep. Murtha and the media have reported.

*Good catch commenter Joe. I changed the word "insurgents" to "terrorists."

Update: A minister imbedded with his son's US Marine group in Haditha and says there was no indication that anything bad happened.

The father spent 12 days with the unit in January in Haditha as a reporter with the Sacramento, California-based K-Love Christian Radio Network. He also ministered to the troops.

"It was freezing cold and everybody gathered around this kind of metal fireplace where we chopped up wooden pallets and burned them and we'd sit there and talk about home and family and the deepest things with these kids," he said in an interview on Thursday. "Not once did anything come up that something horrible had happened."

"They talked about the first battle of Falluja and things that haunt them. They'd talk about they had mortars land right beside them that were duds and three landed right beside them and a third one went off and it injured the buddy next to them and they didn't get hit."

He said he also did not feel animosity from Iraqis he encountered while on patrol with Kilo company in Haditha.

"You would think that if something horrible had happened they would just disappear or just have nothing to do with these folks," Mathes said. "They came out on the streets and brought us bread and tea and invited us into their homes. The businessmen would have them come into their shops."

Christopher Price, a Georgia-based Presbyterian minister who traveled with Mathes to Iraq, also reported he saw no signs of bad feelings between Iraqis and Kilo company.

Additional thoughts: The two ministers who were imbedded with Kilo company were in Haditha in January, two months after the massacre in Haditha supposedly took place. The point these ministers are making is that if something terrible had happened in Haditha two months earlier, the Iraqi civilians wouldn't have been as friendly and welcoming to them when they arrived.

Update II: Dan Riehl does a great job pointing out the media's inconsistencies and errors in their reporting of the "massacre."

Update III: Time Magazine issued corrections to two articles that really jump-started the Haditha massacre story. In the articles, the author, Tim McGirk, asserts that a young journalism student videotaped the bodies of the Iraqi civilians at the morgue and at the home where the massacre purportedly took place. The video tape was then given to Time Magazine, which then used it as its key source for the two articles that insinuated that US Marines massacred the civilians.

Sweetness and Light has the scoop:

Time had originally reported that it was Human Rights Watch who had provided the tape [of Haditha victims]. They then retracted that and claimed that it came from Hammurabi which works with Human Rights Watch. And now they have backed off even that.

Note that even now Time still does not correct the intentionally false portrayal of the source of the videotape that they gave in all of their original stories and interviews.

Time's source, Thaer Thabit al-Hadithi, is not a "young man." He is not a "budding journalism student."

And al-Haditha is not separate and apart from the Hammurabi Human Rights Group. Nor is he a man who wanted to remain anonymous because he feared for his safety...

...Al-Haditha is 43 years old. He "created" Hammurabi 16 months ago. (Before that he worked directly under the head of Haditha's hospital, Dr. Walid al-Obeidi, who pronounced that all the victims had been shot at close range.)

In fact, al-Haditha is one of Hammurabi's only two members. He serves as its "Secretary General" while the only other member, Abdul-Rahman al-Mashhadani, performs as its "Chairman.")

Al-Haditha is the one and only person behind this tape. He made it. And he sat on it for four months before turning it over to Time magazine.

But it looks like Time did not consider these mundane facts about the maker of this tape compelling enough. So they made up additional romantic details and invented the involvement of the "internationally respected Human Rights Watch" to burnish the video's provenance.

It's something Time does on a regular basis.

This is a massacre of the truth.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Was Haditha A Hoax?:

» Fmragtops Spews linked with Is the Haditha Story a Hoax?

» Small Town Veteran linked with Is Haditha another Rathergate?

» Mark in Mexico linked with Please, let this be true.

» A Blog For All linked with Unraveling Haditha

» A Soldier's Perspective linked with BREAKING: Hathida Hoax?

» Iowa Voice linked with Media Is Concerned How Zarqari Died

» Blue Star Chronicles linked with Is the Haditha Story a Hoax?

» All Things Beautiful linked with Haditha's First Public Account

» Ninth State linked with The Marines Speak About Haditha

Comments (22)

... that insurgents<... (Below threshold)
Joe Edmon:

... that insurgents create massacres ...

Can we please call them what they are -- terrorists, murderers, thugs, Islamofascists, Middle Eastern Nazis -- anything but insurgents. (Or freedom fighters.)

It doesn't matter whether H... (Below threshold)

It doesn't matter whether Haditha is true or not, because the left will jump on the next outrage like the drama queens that they are. The shrieking left willfully refuses to reflect on the hypothesis--> evidence--> conclusion cycle that continually and devastatingly disproves their discredited worldview.

Unfortunately, as religious fanatics, the left rejects the basic rules of scientific inquiry that has pulled mankind out of the bondage of ignorance. To a dying patient they prescribe more leeches, to draw out the imbalance of blood. And to the corpse, they vow to bleed the next one faster.

Their mulchpile of failures reads like the comic-book characters of Greek Mythology-- Fitzmas, Lucy Ramirez, Jesse Macbeth, Richard Clark, Joe Wilson, John Kerry... Oh, and someone remind me what ever happened to the end of the world that started at the al Qaaqaa munitions depot?

Witchcraft, alchemy and superstition.

Sober analysis remains the landscape of the older, wiser, reflective life of the conservative.

Even is it was a hoax, it w... (Below threshold)

Even is it was a hoax, it would be just like the TANG & Newsweek KOran Flushing stories -- fake but accurate. Members of the press will dig up anything similar to the Haditha story (no matter how well sourced it it) and scream, "see it's happening everywhere -- so one story wasn't perfect, but our troops are still genocidal maniacs!"

Kim:> A minister i... (Below threshold)


> A minister imbedded with his son's US Marine
> group in Haditha the day the massacre
> supposedly took place

According to the article, he was imbedded for 12 days in January...didn't Haditha take place in November?

The military is investigating whether some soldiers from Kilo company went on a deadly rampage in November after an explosive device killed one of the most popular members of the unit, Lance Cpl. Miguel Terrazas.

The father spent 12 days with the unit in January in Haditha as a reporter with the Sacramento, California-based K-Love Christian Radio Network.


trb,Did you read t... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:


Did you read the whole section you quoted? He was discussing the behavior of the Iraqis towards the troops and noting that everyone seemed happy with the troops presence.

"You would think that if something horrible had happened they would just disappear or just have nothing to do with these folks,"

Notice the past tense.

sheik:I wasn't com... (Below threshold)


I wasn't commenting on his story, I was commenting on the accuracy of Kim's post. The article makes it sound like the father wasn't there on the day of Haditha, which she stated. Drawing conclusions based on someone who was there at the time versus someone who was there two months later makes a difference.


trb:You were corre... (Below threshold)


You were correct. My comments about the story were inaccurate. I changed them so they accurately reflected the facts of the article.

Thanks for catching my error.

trb,Now I see what... (Below threshold)
Sheik Yur Bouty:


Now I see what you meant!


Yes, it was a hoax. I guara... (Below threshold)
hoax finder:

Yes, it was a hoax. I guaran.... well, it is.

Defensive technique for the... (Below threshold)

Defensive technique for the troops part. When the press drills it down to a particular squad, the whole squad sends in letters stating nothing more than that they were there, nothing more. When the press finds it is a hoax, the whole squad sue for a couple of million each in civil court.

I have no illusion that they would win. But a sympathic jury might award anyway. Gotta remember that the press has an even lower opinion rating than Congress. So their stock in the court room would real low. I mean come on who you going to believe? Some schmuck with a scribble pad sitting in a hotel in the green zone or 10-12 marines in dress blues?

This is why I smile everyti... (Below threshold)

This is why I smile everytime a journalist is killed in a combat zone.

I'm sorry Kim, did you not ... (Below threshold)

I'm sorry Kim, did you not urge us not to rush to judgement on this one? Declaring it a fraud before the persons on the scene have been heard from, by courst martial, would be exactly that, wouldn't it?

Are you suggesting that the Marine leadership is under the irresistable influence of the left? How did that happen?

This is why I smile ever... (Below threshold)

This is why I smile everytime a journalist is killed in a combat zone.

This is why I smile everytime a neocon legislator/lobbiest/shithead goes to jail.

I smile a lot, actually.

courst martial Okay,... (Below threshold)

courst martial Okay, "courts martial." Who brought this beer in here? And when are they coming back?

This is why I smile ever... (Below threshold)

This is why I smile everytime a journalist is killed in a combat zone.

I thought your being batshit crazy was why you smile everytime a journalist is killed in a combat zone.

Still think so, in fact.

I smile everytime a neoc... (Below threshold)

I smile everytime a neocon legislator/lobbiest/shithead goes to jail.

See my comment above.

I am, as far as I know, the... (Below threshold)

I am, as far as I know, the first to call the Haditha a HOAX.

Please go to my homepage and read it. Let me know what you think of my reasoning


This is wh... (Below threshold)

This is why I smile everytime a journalist is killed in a combat zone.

Posted by: gozorak at June 9, 2006 06:41 PM

and that's why I love commenting here at Whizbang! I just love the warm, friendly, patriotic group 'round here.

You can go to a leftie blog... (Below threshold)

You can go to a leftie blog. God knows they don't have idiots making offensive comments.

I am, as far as I know, ... (Below threshold)

I am, as far as I know, the first to call the Haditha a HOAX. Please go to my homepage and read it. Let me know what you think of my reasoning

After we kill all the terrorists, can we kill all the spammers?

I reported on this after Ma... (Below threshold)

I reported on this after Mary McCarthy was fired. The Bush Administration is making up unflattering stories and giving them to suspected leakers in order to identify them. Virtually everything bad you read about the government is actually a hoax. You can read about it here.

The first account by a mari... (Below threshold)

The first account by a marine in the Kilo company. Needless to say, it doesn't match the Time account.






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