Rules of Engagement

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"A U.S. Marine and 15 Iraqi civilians were killed yesterday from the blast of a roadside bomb in Haditha," read a U.S. military press release in November 2005. Four months later, Time magazine would report that it was U.S. Marines -- not a roadside bomb -- who were responsible for the deaths of unarmed Iraqi civilians. Soon after, Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) would claim the Marines killed the Iraqis "in cold blood," igniting a media firestorm which labeled Haditha a "massacre" and one of the worst atrocities of the Iraq war. But what really happened that day reveals a far more complex story that gets to the heart of the war troops are fighting.

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posted february 19, 2008; updated june 18, 2008

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