Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My Lai, 2006

There are so many versions of what happened in Haditha, Iraq, last November, that it's hard to comment fairly. But roughly, it ran like this: one of 4 humvees in a marine convoy was blown up by an IED, and one marine killed. The remaining marines spotted a nearby taxi with 4 or 5 guys in it, and thinking the bomb was detonated by someone in the cab, gave chase. Here it gets murky: the taxi's occupants either ran, or were shot while still in the car. Then the marines launched a search-and-destroy mission through 4 nearby houses, ostensibly looking for insurgents, ultimately killing 24 Iraqi civilians. Men, women, children. (Children?) Realizing how bad the situation would look (how else could it look?), the marines covered it up, reporting that an IED had killed 1 marine and x number of civilians. There are now allegations of "hush money" that was paid to witnesses. But presumably not everyone took the payola because the truth is coming to light, in bits and pieces.

Regardless of where you stand on the war in Iraq, no sane person wants to believe that such atrocities can happen. But those of us old enough to remember My Lai in Viet Nam know all too well that they can and do happen. How many more times?