“[It’s] as bad as Abu Ghraib, if not worse.”
The massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians by US marines in November 2005 is turning out to be the worst war crime since the start of the invasion and the worst public relations disaster this administration has ever seen. That is no small task, considering the contenders for first place - Abu Ghraib, Katrina, Abramoff, and Plame, among other even BIGGER scandals that have yet to get the attention that they should.
'We're supposed to be fighting this war for democracy, and yet something like this happens that sets us back,' [US Congressman John Murtha] told the Cable News Network (CNN) Tuesday. 'It is as bad as Abu Ghraib, if not worse.'Though the murders themselves were beyond gruesome, the administration is fully capable and ready to dismiss them as an abberation. It's the subsequent attempt to cover them up that promises to be far more damaging, according to this Channel 4 video report.* * *
[Meanwhile,] Iraqi leaders openly accused US Marines of killing civilians in cold blood even before [release of the] US military's official report [.]* * *
The civilians were 'victims of a wrong operation,' Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said in a British Broadcasting Corp interview aired Tuesday. 'It is not justifiable that a family is killed because someone is fighting terrorists,' he said [adding that he would launch his own investigation.]* * *
[In response, the] Bush administration has promised full public disclosure of the results of a U.S. military investigation into the alleged killings of Iraqi civilians by U.S. Marines last year.
"There is a direct conflict between the findings of investigation team, that is the on scene investigation team, and what was reported by the Iraqi citizens themselves."But as usual, the administration attempts to isolate the blame to 'a few bad apples' conducting themselves beyond its command and control.--Senator John Warner, Chairman Senate Armed Services Committee* * *
Senior officers are thought to have been complicit in covering it up and according to some it goes right up the chain of command[.]* * *
"I know there was a cover-up someplace. They knew about this a few days afterwards," [Murtha] told ABC television earlier this week.
"There is no question the chain of command tried to stifle this story. I can understand why, but that doesn't excuse it.
"Something like this has to be brought out to the public and the people have to be punished. This thing has been going on for six months - they knew the day afterwards."
[Gen Peter Pace,] the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff - the president's most senior military adviser - is at the moment saying very little:We can only pray that that this time the TRUTH sees the light of day - at which point we must demand that every person responsible for the murders and the subsequent coverup be held accountable before the world - first and foremost - GEORGE W. BUSH.
"Clearly the individuals involved - if they are responsible for the things they are being accused of - have not performed their duty the way that 99.9% of their fellow marines have.
"We'll get to the bottom of the investigation and take the appropriate action if there needs to be any."