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Investigator: Haditha Shootings “Appropriate”

Once again the DNC's house organ, the Washington Post comes through with a story surprisingly supportive of the Marines' position:

Marine Called Haditha Shootings Appropriate

By Josh White
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, August 24, 2006; A17

A sergeant who examined the scene hours after Marines killed two dozen Iraqis in Haditha last year said the shootings appeared to be an appropriate response to a coordinated insurgent attack, according to a sworn statement obtained by The Washington Post.

Sgt. J.M. Laughner, part of a Marine human-intelligence exploitation team that was hunting down insurgent bombmakers, went from house to house in Haditha on Nov. 19, 2005, and acknowledged finding two dozen bodies, including some of women and small children.

But Laughner said the scenes of the slayings appeared to match the version of events the Marine squad provided that day and did not seem especially out of the ordinary, according to a transcript of Laughner's interview with military investigators in March.

Laughner's account supports the argument made by some Marines in Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marines — that they believed they were following their rules of engagement when they opened fire on groups of people inside at least three homes after a roadside bomb killed a member of their unit. Several Marines are under criminal investigation in connection with the civilian deaths that day, but no one has been charged.

Laughner's statement, although just one viewpoint, is further evidence that Marines who were on the ground that day viewed the civilian deaths as accidental rather than the result of a vengeful rampage.

The transcript was provided to The Post by someone who is sympathetic to the enlisted Marines facing scrutiny for the shootings, which Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) has characterized as a coldblooded massacre…

In a 34-minute interview with two colonels, Laughner described taking pictures of each of the bodies while moving from room to room in three houses, as the Marines described what happened in each circumstance. The Marines told Laughner they had taken fire from the houses and believed they heard people "racking AK-47s" — preparing to fire the automatic weapons.

The Marines then "cleared" the rooms using fragmentation grenades and rifle shots. Two other accounts given by lawyers for Marines in the unit are consistent with the version Laughner heard from the Marines involved in the incident on Nov. 19.

Laughner also said that 30 Jordanian passports and large amounts of cash were found in a home near the shooting scenes…

Of course they once again had to point out that they were provided this information by someone sympathetic to the Marines facing charges.

But still, they are presenting the other side of the case that few others in our one party media have.

This article was posted by Steve on Thursday, August 24th, 2006. Comments are currently closed.

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