News Coverage of Haditha
Collateral Damage or Civilian Massacre in Haditha?
Here is Tim McGirk's original March 2006 story in Time magazine, in which he writes that "the details of what happened that morning in Haditha are more disturbing, disputed and horrific than the military initially reported." In June 2006, the magazine ran a follow-up cover story on some of the wider questions raised about Marine leadership and a possible cover-up.
Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich on 60 Minutes
In this report, originally broadcast in March 2007, Wuterich explains his actions in Haditha and his reasoning behind his tactical decisions. Expressing regret over the number of civilian casualties, Wuterich nonetheless maintains that he made the correct choices given what he knew at the time. "What I did that day, the decisions that I made, I would make those decisions today," he says. "What I'm talking about is the tactical decisions. ... There is nothing that I can possibly say to make up or make well the deaths of those women and children and I am absolutely sorry that that happened that day." You can watch the full segment online: Part 1 and Part 2.
Rules of Engagement
This November 2006 Vanity Fair article by William Langewiesche argues that the Haditha incident "was not entirely an aberration," but a byproduct of American actions and strategic miscalculations throughout the war. Looking through the lens of Kilo Company's previous experience in Fallujah, Langewiesche attempts to clarify the attitudes and environment that contributed to the Marines' actions on Nov. 19, 2005, even if the actions themselves "will never be reconstructed completely, no matter what the courts may find."
The Road to Haditha
In this October 2006 Atlantic Monthly article, counterinsurgency expert and retired Marine Bing West portrays the strategic decisions coming out of Washington -- particularly regarding Fallujah -- as critically flawed. Drawing on his own experience in counterinsurgency operations in Vietnam, West protests the condemnation of the Marines by the press and others, and writes: "To consciously kill a child or, in a rage, execute unarmed men and women would be a criminal act meriting punishment and dishonor. But the world of an infantryman is unlike any other, and a soldier's motivations in battle are hard to judge from the outside looking in."
How We Fight
In this November 2006 essay from Foreign Affairs, then-University of Minnesota Assistant Professor Colin H. Kahl argues that because U.S. forces in Iraq have kept civilian casualties low by historical standards, Haditha should not be seen as emblematic of soldiers' overall conduct. While pointing out that there are still failures on the military's part in terms of preventing civilian casualties, he compares the casualty rate to that of World War II: "In a single day of firebombing over Tokyo, on March 9, 1945, some 85,000 people, mostly civilians, were killed -- more than eight times the total number of civilians killed by U.S. forces or crossfire in the first three and a half years of the Iraq war."
No Murder Charges Filed in Haditha Case
This Jan. 4, 2008 story from Washington Post reporter Josh White, reports that "the Marine Corps has decided that none of the Marines involved in the incident will be charged with murder. Instead, two enlisted Marines and two Marine officers will face trial in coming months for the killings and for failing to investigate them."
NPR: Investigating the Haditha Killings
This archive contains National Public Radio coverage of the events in Haditha, as well as a timeline of the investigation and legal proceedings through May 2007.
Lucian Read's Photography
While embedded with Kilo Company, photographer Lucian Read took the black-and-white portraits of the Marines used in FRONTLINE's broadcast, along with photos of the troops in combat. You can view more from that set of portraits, along with several of the photo essays he produced while traveling with Marines during the Iraq war. Particularly interesting are his photos of Kilo Company's push through Fallujah, images of Iraqi civilians and a group of multi-media slideshows.
U.S. Marine Corps: Iraq Investigations
This is a site maintained by the Marine Corps with regularly updated information on the progress of the Haditha investigation and cases, as well a timeline and links to legal resources. Includes a glossary of terms (Microsoft Word file), fact sheets pertaining to military justice proceedings and a diagram of the court-martial process (Microsoft PowerPoint file).
Army Gen. Eldon A. Bargewell's Report on Haditha
Gen. Bargewell was assigned to investigate how the events of Nov. 19, 2005 were reported up the Marine chain of command, how Marine Corps leadership responded to the information they received, and how the Kilo Company Marines were trained in the rules of engagement. The summary of his findings begins on page 15, and concludes that reporting on the event was "untimely, inaccurate, and incomplete," that commanders failed to investigate despite "indications (red flags) that further inquiry was advisable," but that "there was no evidence of an orchestrated cover-up by the chain of command at any point after the incident." In terms of training, Bargewell indicates "that the command climate may not have consistently or professionally encouraged the disciplined application of the ROE and LOAC" (law of armed conflict). [Note: This is a pdf; Adobe Acrobat required]
Defend Our Marines
This site, dedicated to rallying public support for the exoneration of the accused Marines, is frequently updated with news pertaining to the cases. It also hosts a large collection of documents from the investigations and legal proceedings, including the statements made during the preliminary Article 32 hearings by Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich and Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, testimonies and reports from NCIS investigators, the video taken by an unmanned drone aircraft overhead that day, and more.
Lance Cpl. Justin Sharrat's ROE Card
Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt carried this card laying out the rules of engagement, including guidelines for avoiding unnecessary civilian casualties or damage to culturally important structures, target identification and the authorization of deadly force "to protect yourself or others." [Note: This is a pdf file; Adobe Acrobat required]
Marine Corps Nov. 20, 2005 Press Release
This is Marine Capt. Jeffrey Pool's original press release from the day after the incident, claiming that "a U.S. Marine and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb in Haditha." [Note: This is a pdf file; Adobe Acrobat required]
Haditha City Council Letter
In the wake of the killings of Nov. 19, the Haditha city council drafted this open letter expressing its outrage and demanding an investigation, along with a general lessening of the U.S. military presence, to restore "the civil life to their city."
Rep. John Murtha's Official Web Site
Here you can read a transcript of his May 2006 press conference accusing the Marines involved of killing "innocent civilians in cold blood," as well as the accompanying press release. Rep. Murtha (D-Pa.) has not issued further statements on the issue.
Marine Legal Defense Sites
These sites, started by the families and supporters of Lance Cpl. Justin Sharratt, Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, Lance Cpl. Stephen Tatum, Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Chessani and 1st Lt. Andrew Grayson argue for their innocence, post updates on their trials and the status of the charges against them, and accept donations for legal expenses.