Investigators looking into alleged Marine misconduct in late 2005 in Haditha, Iraq, have uncovered documents suggesting Marine commanders ignored initial reports that Marines had killed 24 civilians. Three enlisted Marines have been charged in connection with the killings and four officers face charges of failing to properly investigate the incident. Documents show Maj. Gen. R.A. Huck, 2nd Marine Division commander at the time of the incident, received an e-mail shortly after the incident that 15 civilians had been killed, “seven of which were women and kids.” Huck later told investigators he did not recall getting word that civilians had been killed. “I didn’t know at the time whether they were bad guys, noncombatants of whatever,” said Huck.
One of his officers charged in the case, Capt. Randy W. Stone, is slated to appear in court Tuesday at Camp Pendleton. Stone said his superiors told him not to investigate civilian deaths. “There is a certain level of disappointment that the Marine Corps decided that, in the entire chain of command, that I am the one who should be held accountable.”
Information from The Stars & Stripes
We have had the horror of brutality displayed toward prisoners in Iraq jails controlled by American armed forces, we have learned about bombs dropped on “suspected terrorists” which turn out to be simply the homes of innocent civilians, and as of this date, not a single general or civilian government official has been charged with anything. The Nuremburg Trials held after the end of World War II made civilian leaders responsible for actions of their military forces, but, somehow, the lessons of Nuremburg have been lost in current times. Members of the armed forces are responsible for acting in accordance with Geneva Convention protocols, but generals in charge of our fighting men and women are also responsible for what happens on the fields of action. As I recall, “General Rumsfeld” boasted about his military genius and Mission Accomplished hero, George Bush, claimed to have a role in the defeat of Iraq’s armed forces. It would be a huge boost to the morale of members of our armed forces if a few generals and some civilians – those who took credit for military success – were placed on trial for violations of Geneva Convention protocols. It would send a message to one and all—and to the peoples of Iraq and Afghanistan that the United States is a moral society in which those violating laws are punished. Not only is Captain Stone disappointed that in the entire chain of command only one person is charged – so are the American people.