More on Haditha
An A.P. reporter who was embedded with the Marine unit before the incident:
Minutes after the Aug. 3 attack, Marines covered the maimed corpses of their friends with cheap military blankets. A Marine officer later described the rage that immediately consumed his unit, swelled by the knowledge that local residents likely saw the men who planted the bomb that killed their friends.The Washington Post:
But restraint held that day.
"We don't do that. We're better than that," the officer told me just a couple of weeks later.
Other Marines talk about the temptation to seek reckless vengeance, often fueled by exasperation toward an unhelpful Iraqi public either too fearful of insurgents or spiteful toward the Americans. On that day in August, the powerful, raw emotion that sought revenge was quelled.
But, if investigators are right, the rage in Haditha wasn't contained for much longer.
The U.S. military investigation of how Marine commanders handled the reporting of events last November in the Iraqi town of Haditha, where troops allegedly killed 24 Iraqi civilians, will conclude that some officers gave false information to their superiors, who then failed to adequately scrutinize reports that should have caught their attention, an Army official said yesterday.
The three-month probe, led by Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell, is also expected to call for changes in how U.S. troops are trained for duty in Iraq, the official said.