Now can we compare it to Viet Nam?
It’s going to be a while before anyone really wants to address the issue of the incident at Haditha because no one wants to look like they are capitalizing on it for cheap political advantage, but it’s now on the table and I believe that very soon we will speak of Haditha in the same way as we now speak of Abu Ghraib.
Too be honest, I’ve been been waiting for something like this to come to light because I feel like I’m watching the same war movie that I watched playing out in the late sixties when I was a teen. In this case, it’s less surprising when one looks at what preceded it: the fake rationale for a war, too few troops and too many tours of duty, the frustration that comes with being unable to distinguish between the enemy and the people we are supposed to be saving, little hope of an exit in the very near future, and the same lack of leadership that gave us the aforementioned Abu Ghraib with no accountablity up the chain of command. What surprises me is the fact that it involves Marines and not a National Guard squad made up of soldiers who thought they were signing up for weekends in the boonies, not months in Iraq. In the meantime the Right, unsurprisingly, is taking after the true villain of this piece: John Murtha.
Something called Let Freedom Ring:
John Murthaâ€™s said some extremely outrageous things the past 6 months but nothing as outrageous as his latest pack of lies. He was barely tolerable when he was hurling lies about conditions on the ground. This latest tripe is the stuff that should get him expelled from the House. Hereâ€™s his latest pack of lies:
Rep. John Murtha, an influential Pennsylvania lawmaker and outspoken critic of the war in Iraq, said today Marines had â€œkilled innocent civilians in cold bloodâ€ after allegedly responding to a roadside bomb ambush that killed a Marine during a patrol in Haditha, Iraq, Nov. 19. The incident is still under investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Multi-National Forces Iraq.
â€œItâ€™s much worse than was reported in Time magazine,â€ Murtha, a Democrat, former Marine colonel and Vietnam war veteran, told reporters on Capitol Hill. â€œThere was no firefight. There was no [bomb] that killed those innocent people,â€ Murtha explained, adding there were â€œabout twice as manyâ€ Iraqis killed than Time had reported.
Frankly, this is the actions of a traitor or a sellout. He deserves to be ridiculed, excoriated and frog-marched off Capitol Hill, then remanded to jail. No bail. Doesnâ€™t this idiot know the type of damage this inflicts on the Marines? Or is it that heâ€™s so intoxicated with the thought of becoming the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee that heâ€™ll say anything?
When Murthaâ€™s made prior outrageous statements, Iâ€™ve advocated that the Pennsylvania voters should fire him. This goes beyond him advocating â€œimmediate redeploymentâ€ of the troops or his claiming that â€œour troops are living hand to mouthâ€. This rises (sinks?) to the level of harming the U.S. military at a time of war. That takes it beyond Pennsylvania. Now itâ€™s the nationâ€™s business.
For that reason, Iâ€™m asking that the House Ethics Committee start an investigation into Murthaâ€™s actions and that they expel him from the House if heâ€™s found guilty of betraying the soldiers of the U.S.M.C.
Considering Murtha’s reputation I have little reason to disbelieve his account, but that won’t stop the chickenhawks on the right, for whom no atrocity is too horrible, from attacking him because that’s all they’ve got and it’s in their blood:
The soldiers found no insurgents in the village on the morning of March 16, 1968. The soldiers, one platoon of which was led by Lt. William Calley, killed hundreds of civilians â€“ primarily old men, women, children, and babies. Some were tortured or raped. Dozens were herded into a ditch and executed with automatic weapons. At one stage, Calley expressed his intent to throw grenades into a trench filled with villagers.
The precise number reported killed varies from source to source, with 347 and 504 being the most commonly cited figures. A memorial at the site of the massacre lists 504 names, with ages ranging from as high as 82 years to as low as 1 year. According to the report of a South Vietnamese army lieutenant to his superiors, it was an “atrocious” incident of bloodletting by an armed force seeking to vent its fury.
A US Army helicopter crew famously saved some civilians by landing between the American troops and the remaining Vietnamese hiding in a bunker. The 24-year-old pilot, Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, Jr., confronted the leaders of the troops and told them his gunship would open fire on them if they continued their attack on civilians.
With the support of the other two members of the helicopter crew â€” Spc. Lawrence Colburn and Spc. Glenn Andreotta â€” Thompson directed an evacuation of the village. The crew members have been credited with saving at least 11 lives but were long thereafter reviled as traitors.
We have been down this road before and it always seems to be littered with the bodies of the innocent.