Many of the 24 Iraqi civilians killed by Marine infantrymen in Haditha in 2005 died from close-range gunshot wounds, a military prosecutor said Thursday.
At least five Iraqis, two women and three men, were shot in the head.
Until now, the prosecutors and the lawyers representing marines accused of murder in the Haditha case have said the civilian deaths resulted largely from hand grenades that infantrymen tossed into three homes to kill or wound enemy fighters within.
Marines were previously known to have followed the grenade blasts with some gunfire. But Thursday was the first time government lawyers had discussed how many of the victims appeared to have been targeted with seemingly well-placed gunshot blasts.
The above is from Paul von Zielbauer's "Lawyers in Haditha Case Say Gunshots, Not Grenades, Killed Many Victims" in this morning's New York Times. The "two women" that were "shot in the head"? That apparently refers to paragraph nine (yes, paragraph nine!) where a single sentence tells us two women, apparently trying to protect four children on a bed, were also shot in the head. The woman in prior paragraphs is said to be shot in the neck. The two women are the only other ones mentioned -- PvZ makes no reference to children being shot in the back of the head (all four children were shot dead) -- and those are apparently the women shot in the back of the head . . . while attempting to protect the four children.
Martha notes Ann Scott Tyson's "Gates, U.S. General Back Long Iraq Stay" (Washington Post):
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and a senior U.S. commander said yesterday that they favor a protracted U.S. troop presence in Iraq along the lines of the military stabilization force in South Korea.
Gates told reporters in Hawaii that he is thinking of "a mutual agreement" with Iraq in which "some force of Americans . . . is present for a protracted period of time, but in ways that are protective of the sovereignty of the host government." Gates said such a long-term U.S. presence would assure allies in the Middle East that the United States will not withdraw from Iraq as it did from Vietnam, "lock, stock and barrel."
They go on to say what they see, casting themselves as more upbeat Cassandras, Iraq is more akin to South Korea and not Vietnam. The 'enduring' presence in South Korea is hardly reassuring but with this administration, the more they deny, the more to zoom in on. The more they say, "It's not like Vietnam," the more it is. As for the "lock, stock and barrel," that withdrawal from Vietnam was the only thing that eventually allowed Vietnam to begin what is today -- which, for the record, is not an 'enemy' of the United States or a victim of the dreaded and feared 'domino.' Gates, the warrior king philosopher, might do a better job focusing on how to serve the people -- his bosses -- and worry less about trying to distort history to sell the (illegal) aims of this administration.
Iraqis do not want an 'enduring presence.' They want the occupiers out. It's cute the way all these handmaidens and water carriers to the administration keep citing "Iraqis" in their reports and comments and then it turns out the citations aren't Iraqis, it's the US military and the US administration (Washington Week) or those part of the puppet government (the Times on Sunday). If you weren't a legitimate government, weren't seen as one by the people, you'd keep screaming for the US forces to stay and allow you to maintain your proxy rule.
West notes this from Mediachannel.org:
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paul von zielbauer
the new york times
the washington post
ann scott tyson