Jun 11 2006

WaPo Explores Marine’s Side Of Haditha

Published by at 8:51 am under All General Discussions,Iraq

The Washington Post has, thankfully, begun to present the Marine’s side of Haditha.  Up until now the story has been a bizarre combination of incredible coincidence (as in the bomb that detonated in the Marine convoy was just outside the house of supposed human rights zealot and budding video cameraman) and strange time delays in the story actually coming out.  Not to mention all the inconsistencies.  So it is good that the other side, our Marines, have a chance to have their say in the court of public opinion.

A sergeant who led a squad of Marines during the incident in Haditha, Iraq, that left as many as 24 civilians dead said his unit did not intentionally target any civilians, followed military rules of engagement and never tried to cover up the shootings, his attorney said.

Staff Sgt. Frank D. Wuterich, 26, told his attorney that several civilians were killed Nov. 19 when his squad went after insurgents who were firing at them from inside a house. The Marine said there was no vengeful massacre, but he described a house-to-house hunt that went tragically awry in the middle of a chaotic battlefield.

Wuterich’s detailed version of what happened in the Haditha neighborhood is the first public account from a Marine who was on the ground when the shootings occurred. As the leader of 1st Squad, 3rd Platoon, Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Wuterich was in the convoy of Humvees that was hit by a roadside bomb. He entered the house from which the Marines believed enemy fire was originating and made the initial radio reports to his company headquarters about what was going on, Puckett said.

Wuterich’s version contradicts that of the Iraqis, who described a massacre of men, women and children after a bomb killed a Marine. Haditha residents have said that innocent civilians were executed, that some begged for their lives before being shot and that children were killed indiscriminately.

Tragically, even the Marine’s side of the story sounds too aggressive for most people.  Given the Haditha region’s penchant for violence and the history of staged attacks by Al Qaeda and the insurgents, I am in no position to determine if it was too agressive for the environment or rules of engagement.  It seems very border line.  What is clear is the garbage flowing through the press is more propaganda than fact.   People died unnecessarily because they got caught up in the middle of a battle.  A battle created by the insurgency.

This goes back to the true source of the deaths.  No IED then the Marine’s would have driven right by (as they did daily which is why there is a clear indication those who have video are part of this attack).  Those who shot and ran away, drawing the Marines into the nearby buildings when they were standing by their Humvees discussing what to do, are also to blame.  They coaxed the Marines into the apartment building where people were trying to hide – and who were killed.

Could the Marines have used a little more constraint?  Who knows.  Maybe constraint has killed and injured so many they have had to be aggressive.  But one thing is for sure.  No Marine would have been in the apartment if not for the insurgents, who attack from behind civilian skirts and run away when confronted.  This is confirmed by others in the region:

A Marine who served near Haditha in November said it was not unusual for Marines to respond to attacks “running and gunning” and that it was standard practice to spray rooms with gunfire when threatened. “It may be a bad tactic, but it works,” he said. “It keeps you alive.”

What is important is there never was a cover up!  The Marines on the ground reported they killed a large number of civilians immediately:

After clearing the second house, Puckett said, Wuterich immediately got on the radio and reported the “collateral damage.” When the company radio operator asked him to estimate how many civilians had been killed, he said he thought it was about 12 to 15.

McConnell, the company commander, “knew the number was high” and reported it to the battalion executive officer, a major, according to McDermott, his lawyer. McConnell also said that a Marine intelligence team investigated the civilian deaths and reported their findings to senior Marine commanders, the lawyer said.

Wuterich told his attorney that he never reported that the civilians in the houses were killed by the bomb blast and maintains that he never tried to obscure the fact that civilians had been killed in the raids.

This is critical.  No effort was made to hide the events most troublesome aspects.  No effort was made to imply the deaths happened in any other manner than they did.  And this demonstrates that the new media will buy into any claim, no matter how wild, if it supports their liberal view.  And they will report it without checking all sides of the story, let alone reporting all sides.  I go back to the first few lines of that Time POS:

If the Marines are indeed guilty of an atrocity, they had the ill fortune to have committed their crime in the worst possible place: outside the front door of a budding Iraqi journalist and human-rights activist.

Yes indeed. That was an amazing stroke of coincidence.  Or planning.

15 responses so far

15 Responses to “WaPo Explores Marine’s Side Of Haditha”

  1. First hand account from Sgt. who led Marines in Haditha…

    Here are comments of the Sgt. who led the Marines during the alleged incident in Haditha. It’s the first public account from someone involved in what is alleged to have happened. It’s three pages, and I’m snipping it down to what is…

  2. Snapple says:

    I am glad you are telling the other side about this.

    The propaganda is just so omnipresent.

  3. Beto Ochoa says:

    Ther have been three other instances I know of where sunni insurgents slaughtered civilians and told the press that US troops were to blame. There may be more but I only know about the three. In each case it was proven to be a propaganda ploy. It was happening in the same time frame as this Haditha incident. The insurgents find the American and British press to be willing participants in anti-US propaganda so if they feel they have succeded in smearing these marines they will escalate their efforts. The press is getting innocent civilians slaughtered regularly and are guilty of criminal negligence and malpractice.

  4. jforrik says:


    I don’t know if you go to Bill Roggio’s bloq, The Fourth Rail, [billroggio.com], but he was embedded in Iraq last Nov and Dec 2005 in western Iraq right before the Iraqi elections. I went back to check his archives for Dec 2005 and found that he was with the 3/1 Marines at the Haditha Dam on Dec 4, just a couple of weeks after the incident that has caused the controversy. Here’s a pertinent paragraph from the Dec 4 thread:

    During a patrol on November 19th, a Coalition foot patrol was hit with such a device [IED], and then ambushed by insurgents firing from the surrounding homes, using women, children and families as human shields. The Marines fought back, as is their right to defend themselves, and innocents were killed. The insurgents used this as an opportunity to spread rumors of wholesale killings of civilians.

    Bill Roggio’s contemporaneous account matches up with the “Marine’s Side of Haditha” in the paper today and with what Sweetness and Light has uncovered and what you and Clarice Feldman have written about. There is definately another side to this story.

    While you are at Bill Roggio’s site go to the right side of the screen near the top where it lists “Presentations” and be sure to watch ‘Anbar Campaign: Nov 2004-Oct 2005 Flash Presentation’. It gives a great overview of all the hard, dangerous work our troops did to secure Anbar and the Euphrates River Valley for the elections.
    This gives you a sense of what our troops were doing right around the time of this incident in Haditha. The MSM never gave people the sense of what a corrodinated and largescale campaign our troops were engaged in. They are magnificent.

  5. CJ says:

    I’m suprised The Post even wrote this article and even more suprised that AJ hasn’t commented on this other report today by The Post.

    Public Secrets

    Seems The Post is trying to jump start their defense. ~Oh, the heat is on.~ (singing) This is a must read. Like MacRanger keeps telling us, “It’s gonna be a bang of a summer!”

  6. Marine Says Rules Were Followed At Haditha…

    While many jumped on the bandwagon to condemn our Marines of a bloody rampage of murder in Haditha, others have been staying on the side of caution. Red Hot Cuppa Politics has been following how much of the MSM’s story has been falling apart. …

  7. crosspatch says:


    Bill Roggio is now reporting at the Counterterrorism Blog and is currently back in Afghanistan on another embed. He can use some cash too, so if anyone would like to donate, there is a link on the site to help cover the costs of his travels to Afghanistan and Iraq (he is planning to head to Iraq after Afghanistan). He hasn’t been active at the Fourth Rail in over a month now.

  8. clarice says:

    CJ, Thanks for that cite. I just sent the author this:
    “To accept that the press is –over and above our elected officials who are charged with national security–in a position to determine what should remain secret, I’d have to have a great deal more faith in the media’s objectivity and skill than I do.

    Even in a fine piece like the one today on Haditha, the report leaves out that a sceptic, Jonathan Morgenstein, is employed at the Institute for Peace.

    Now why is that? If he were employed at say the Marine Defenders Society (assuming there were such an organization) it would certainly have been disclosed.

    I have been watching and blogging about reportage for a while now, and I am sorry to say it’s about as disgusting as watching sausage being made.(Say, to take one example, the lie-filled Pincus article on Joseph Wilson which it took your paper two and one-half years to correct, two and one-half years during which the lies took hold.)

  9. For Enforcement says:

    I originally said this on June 9, every day as more and more comes out I’m getting even more convinced this was a set up.

    “There is just no way in hell any US Soldier is gonna be found guily of a massacre in Haditha, the more I look into it, the more it looks like it’s all Anti American hogwash.

    blowhard Murtha is sure gonna be disappointed. ”

    Let’s all hope so.

  10. For Enforcement says:

    From above:

    “The insurgents find the American and British press to be willing participants in anti-US propaganda so if they feel they have succeded in smearing these marines they will escalate their efforts.”

    What’s even worse, we have people like Murtha that are willing participants in running down the US also, that seems to give the allegations more weight. Some people don’t know when to keep their mouths shut.

  11. jforrik says:

    Thanks Crosspatch,

    I know that Bill Roggio is reporting from Afganistan on the Counterterrorism Blog. But to see his reporting last Nov and Dec when he was embedded with the Marines in Anbar province you have to go to his blog, billroggio.com, [The Fourth Rail], to access the archives.

  12. Haditha Pushback…

    This is apparently the first statement from anyone who has direct knowledge of the events relating to the Haditha incident. Other soldiers and witnesses have thus far made statements relating to what they saw after the alleged incident occurred. Stil…..

  13. crosspatch says:

    This is why we are in Iraq.

  14. “Haditha: Signal to Noise” (Updated)…

    (I’ll keep adding new things to this post and bumping it occasionally till it gets too long. Originally posted 2006.06.10.23:39) Greyhawk has an excellent history and analysis of the Haditha story started here, and promises to add more to it…

  15. Haditha Story Falling Apart…

    So EVERY single player in this report holds a grudge or bias against the US. Whether it comes from the doctor who proclaims that the US taking Saddam out of power was not a good thing.
    Or from the members of the Hammurabi organization who states that …