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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Sep 2005
    Largo, Florida

    Default Dealing with Haditha

    Heartsick - but confident - describes my demeanor right now.

    I have started to post threads on the Haditha incident several times over the past week, but refrained – it was too damned hard and emotionally disturbing.

    Denial? MSM hype and sensationalism? Political posturing? Waiting for the true story to play out? Enemy IO campaign? Heat of battle? Justified reaction to an IED attack? Murderous rampage by those who just lost a brother-in-arms? My Lai II?

    I do not have an answer. Nor does anyone else – especially those of the “if it bleeds it leads” mainstream media community. Same, same for those who seek to benefit from this incident for political or bash-America gain. There is a process for uncovering the truth and to bring those suspected of guilt to justice. It is called the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.

    We are one of the few countries willing to conduct an unbiased investigation when alleged crimes committed by a military member are surfaced and pursue that investigation publicly. Moreover, our history in these matters speaks for itself – justice is served when justice is deserved. These investigations take time, as they should. Trying and convicting in the court of public opinion is ludicrous at best, treasonous at worst.

    As a former Marine and advocate of all the good the Marine Corps does in the training, education and planning for Small Wars this is tough, real tough.

    Q: If the parties in question be found guilty should their actions be interpreted as a reflection of the values, fortitude and professionalism of the US Marine Corps as an institution?

    A: HELL NO…

    Q: If the parties in question be found guilty should their actions be interpreted as a reflection of our country’s policy in prosecuting the war in Iraq – or elsewhere?

    A. HELL NO…

    Q: If the parties in question be found innocent should a public retraction by those who have prematurely convicted those parties be issued?

    A. HELL YES…

    Had to get that off my chest… This thread will contain “news”, editorials, commentary and blog coverage of the Haditha incident.

    I encourage our board members to chime in… We have to work this through and your opinions would be appreciated – even if they do not agree with mine.

    I leave you with some words by the Commandant of the United States Marine Corps and best wishes as we reflect on the important issues this Memorial Day weekend and what those that came before us fought and sacrificed for…

    Recent serious allegations concerning actions of Marines in combat have caused me concern. They should cause you to be concerned as well. To ensure we continue to live up to General Lejeune’s description of a Marine as someone who demonstrates “all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue,” I would like to review the importance of our core values.

    As Marines, you are taught from your earliest days in the Corps about our core values of honor, courage and commitment. These values are part of and belong to all Marines, regardless of MOS, grade, or gender. They guide us in all that we do; whether in combat, in garrison, or on leave or liberty.

    To a Marine, honor is more than just honesty; it means having uncompromising personal integrity and being accountable for all actions. To most Marines, the most difficult part of courage is not the raw physical courage that we have seen so often on today’s battlefield. It is rather the moral courage to do the “right thing” in the face of danger or pressure from other Marines. Finally, commitment is that focus on caring for one another and upholding the great ideals of our Corps and Country.

    The nature of this war with its ruthless enemies, and its complex and dangerous battlefield will continue to challenge us in the commitment to our core values. We must be strong and help one another to measure up. The war will also test our commitment to our belief in the rule of law.

    We have all been educated in the Law of Armed Conflict. We continue to reinforce that training, even when deployed to combat zones. We do not employ force just for the sake of employing force. We use lethal force only when justified, proportional and, most importantly, lawful. We follow the laws and regulations, Geneva Convention and Rules of Engagement. This is the American way of war. We must regulate force and violence, we only damage property that must be damaged, and we protect the non-combatants we find on the battlefield.

    When engaged in combat, particularly in the kind of counterinsurgency operations we’re involved in now, we have to be doubly on guard. Many of our Marines have been involved in life or death combat or have witnessed the loss of their fellow Marines, and the effects of these events can be numbing. There is the risk of becoming indifferent to the loss of a human life, as well as bringing dishonor upon ourselves. Leaders of all grades need to reinforce continually that Marines care for one another and do what is right.

    The large majority of Marines today perform magnificently on and off the battlefield. I am very proud of the bravery, dedication, honor, courage and commitment you clearly display every day. And America is proud as well. Americans, indeed most people around the world, recognize that Marines are men and women of the highest caliber – physically, mentally, and morally.

    Each one of you contributes in your own unique way to our important mission; I am proud of your dedication and accomplishments. Even after 38 years, I still stand with pride every time I hear the Marines Hymn. The words of that Hymn mean something special to me. Especially, “Keep our Honor Clean”. I know that means something to all of you as well. As Marines we have an obligation to past Marines, fellow Marines, future Marines and ourselves to do our very best to live up to these words.

    As your Commandant, I charge all Marines to carry on our proud legacy by demonstrating our values in everything you do – on duty and off; in combat or in garrison.

    Semper Fidelis.
    Last edited by SWJED; 05-28-2006 at 04:45 PM.


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