Plea deal for Haditha killings sparks outrage in Iraq

The Los Angeles Times reports: The teacher still keeps family photos of the dead, visual mementos of lives cut short in an unremitting hail of gunfire.

“The Americans killed children who were hiding inside the cupboards or under the beds,” said Rafid Abdul Majeed Hadithi, 43, a teacher in the city of Haditha who says he witnessed the 2005 assault by U.S. Marines that took the lives of 24 unarmed Iraqi civilians. “Was this Marine charged with dereliction of duty because he didn’t kill more? Is Iraqi blood so cheap?”

In the United States, the brutal saga of Haditha — among the dead were seven children, including a toddler, three women, and a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair — may have concluded Monday with Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich’s guilty plea to negligent dereliction of duty. A military judge said Tuesday that Wuterich will serve no time in the brig under the terms of his plea bargain.

Charges were previously dropped against six others involved in the Euphrates Valley incident; a seventh Marine was acquitted. The plea closed the books on a politically charged case that sparked debate about the manner in which U.S. troops react amid the “fog of war” and the tension of combat.

For many Iraqis, however, Haditha remains a visceral reminder of the most troubling aspects of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and subsequent occupation of their homeland.

Along with the Abu Ghraib prison where Iraqi prisoners were abused by U.S. military police, and Baghdad’s Nisour Square, where 17 Iraqis were allegedly shot dead in 2007 by employees of American private contractor Blackwater, Haditha stands out as an inglorious icon.

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2 thoughts on “Plea deal for Haditha killings sparks outrage in Iraq

  1. BillVZ


    While disappointment and disbelief loudly resonate; it should be remembered that there is often little ‘justice’ ever in a military court and the U.S. rarely satisfactorily holds the military justice system accountable in the eyes of ordinary citizens.
    A tragic outcome of many years of trying to bring closure and justice for the egregious crimes, committed in the eyes of the Iraqi people and the families that were slaughtered.
    “It’s long past time to rip those blindfolds off of the Lady Justice statues. When the purpose of American justice is to shield those with the greatest power who commit the most egregious crimes, while severely punishing those who talk publicly about those crimes, it’s hard to imagine how it can get much more degraded or corrupted than that.” Glenn Greenwald-24-01-2012,

  2. Tom Hall

    I buy a daily paper called the Guardian. I’m not happy about it, but I need a newspaper and the available choices where I live (Ireland) are wretched. Yesterday (Jan 25, 2012) the Guardian- a liberal publication- covered the all but final disposition of the charges against the Haditha killers with a one-paragraph squib on page 18, in a layout dominated by an automobile ad. In the same edition the paper devoted twelve gushing paragraphs on page 5, with color photo, celebrating the courage and tenacity of a woman from Kent who has completed a solo trek across Antarctica on skis.
    The disparity in coverage between the complete exculpation of a pack of murderers and what was after all a masochistic vanity project by a publicity-seeking adventurer, is illustrative of priorities in the news business.

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