Skip to comments.U.S. Military Denies New Abuse Allegations at Ishaqi (Marines Exonerated from Killings)
Posted on 06/02/2006 12:43:57 PM PDT by demlosers
Officials Conclude Troops Followed Rules of Engagement
Horrific images of Iraqi adults and children have fueled new allegations that U.S. troops killed civilians in the Iraqi town of Ishaqi. But ABC News has learned that military officials have completed their investigation and concluded that U.S. forces followed the rules of engagement.
A senior Pentagon official told ABC News the investigation concluded that the allegations of intentional killings of civilians by American forces are unfounded.
Military commanders in Iraq launched an investigation soon after the mid-March raid in the village of Ishaqi, about 50 miles north of Baghdad.
Maj. Gen. William Caldwell will make a statement about the Ishaqi allegations today in Baghdad, ABC News has learned.
In Ishaqi, American forces were going after a high-value terrorist target they succeeded in apprehending. The U.S. military reported in March that four people died when the troops destroyed a house from the air and ground.
But previously unaired video shot by an AP Television News cameraman at the time shows at least five children dead, several with obvious bullet wounds to the head. One adult male is also seen dead.
"Children were stuck in the room, alone and surrounded," an unidentified man said on the video.
A total of 11 people died, according to Iraqis on the scene. The Iraqis said the people were killed by U.S. troops before the house was destroyed.
Other Incidents in Question
The allegations in Ishaqi surfaced amid several other alleged incidents that have raised questions about the behavior of U.S. troops in Iraq.
Military sources told ABC News that charges will likely be filed against officers up the chain of command in connection with the killing of 24 civilians by U.S. Marines in Haditha, Iraq, in November 2005.
Among those who may be charged are senior officers whom officials believe were not on the scene at the time of the killings but should have been aware that something had happened and done something about it.
On Thursday, the White House confirmed that an investigation began nearly three months after the Haditha killings, after Time Magazine showed a video to a military spokesman.
(Page 2 of 3)
Until then, the military insisted the civilians in Haditha had been killed by a roadside bomb.
Two Women Killed
On Wednesday in Samarra, a pregnant woman named Nahiba Jassim and her cousin, Saliha Hassan, were killed by gunfire when their car entered what the U.S. military called a clearly marked, prohibited area near a checkpoint and observation post manned by coalition forces.
According to the military, the driver of the car ignored signals and commands to stop, so troops fired shots to disable the vehicle.
Facing a constant threat of deadly attacks by insurgents, American forces in Iraq are allowed to fire in self-defense if they believe they are in danger. One of the survivors of the incident told ABC News they were rushing the pregnant woman to the hospital because she was about to give birth and they didn't know the road was blocked.
Jassim's brother was driving, and he said the soldiers shot straight into their vehicle.
"I didn't see any warning," he says. "I was driving at speed, and they started shooting at us."
Doctors at the hospital tried to save Jassim's baby but failed.
The U.S. military generally compensates the family of any civilian who is killed inadvertently by American forces. It's not known if this will apply in this case.
Iraqi Leaders, President Bush React
The allegations of unwarranted violence have outraged Iraqi officials.
Reacting to video of the Ishaqi incident, Muayed al-Anbaki, chairman of the Iraqi Human Rights Association, said Friday, "It looks like the killing of Iraqi civilians is becoming a daily phenomenon."
On Thursday, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called the Haditha allegations "a horrible crime" his strongest comment on the incident to date.
"This is a phenomenon that has become common among many of the multinational forces," the prime minister said. "No respect for citizens, smashing civilian cars, and killing on a suspicion or a hunch. It's unacceptable."
At the same time, in light of the Haditha investigation, U.S. military commanders have ordered new ethics training for all troops in Iraq.
(Page 3 of 3)
"This is just a reminder for troops either in Iraq or throughout our military that there are high standards expected of them and there are strong rules of engagement," President Bush said. "The Haditha incident is under investigation. Obviously, the allegations are very troubling for me and equally troubling for our military."
Today, Army Brig. Gen. Donald Campbell explained to reporters what he thinks could be behind these incidents.
"Well, I'd say it's difficult to pin down specifically, but obviously, when you're in a combat theater dealing with enemy combatants who don't abide by the law of war, who do acts of indecency, soldiers become stressed, they become fearful," he said. "It's very difficult to determine in some cases on this battlefield who is a combatant and who is a civilian."
Campbell said the military will investigate the allegations.
"It doesn't excuse the acts that have occurred, and we're going to look into them," he said. "But I would say it's stress, fear, isolation and, in some cases, they're just upset. They see their buddies getting blown up on occasion, and they could snap."
Last week, Bush expressed regret for the Abu Ghraib prison scandal the first incident to raise questions about the military's handling of the war. He called it "the biggest mistake that's happened so far, at least from our country's involvement in Iraq."
ABC News' Hilary Brown and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Address that if ROE's were not followed our system takes care of that....but stress the facts that none of these Marines have been convicted of anything in Haditha and deserve nothing less the complete benefit of the doubt up until that point.
Stress the evil we are fighting and the realities that these enemies do not wear uniforms and can easily take the role of "civilian" when convenient.
Now watch Kerry and Murtha go flip-flop flip-flop.
The solution is really simple. Let's pull our forces back and let the Iraqi Army ferret these people out of their nests. This is total BS...just what the Kerry/Dean/Kennedy bunch are looking for...
They weren't there, but should have known, will be charged???
But I would say it's stress, fear, isolation and, in some cases, they're just upset. They see their buddies getting blown up on occasion, and they could snap."
Our soldiers are not Unisols who can easily turn it off with a flick of a switch. If the iraqis soldiers and security would step up to the plate and take more control of their nation, and move us more and more from the occupying equation, the less confusion and inaccuracies would occur.
We have freed more people from despotism than any other nation in the history of the world. All the accusers and detractors need to stick that fact in there pipe and smoke it. I wonder what kind of alternative world would exist if the U.S. wasn't around.
Do I understand this correctly. Ishaqi is a different incident from the more widely reported Haditha?
There are plenty of entities both inside and outside of this country trying to bring that about.
Never saw the movie, but why shouldn't we start thinking about plopping 500,000 stationary armed and armored robots at each intersection that just stand there and run video and have paintballs to mark suspects for the Iraqi Police to go in and pick up.
"why shouldn't we start thinking about plopping 500,000 stationary armed and armored robot"
Better yet, just have about fifty UAVs on patrol in the sky loaded with flourescent paintballs tagging the terrorists at 1,000 feet for pick up by the iraqi police.
They are so busy dredging up anew the other incidents that it's nearly impossible to separate from them the Ishaqui incident.
Thank you for adding the more accurate headline in parenthesis. Of course, the article spends more time on other allegations than it does on the subject of the headline.
Just thought I'd point that out, like I'm the only one who noticed. LOL
POLL TO FREEP
Do U.S. troops need more training in ethics and values?
This is always a good idea.
Yes, because it's clear there have been problems.
No, this is already part of their training.
No, they should just focus on accomplishing their missions.
SCROLL DOWN RIGHT SIDE OF SCREEN
It's the nature of command. The commander has a duty to make every reasonable effort to determine what's going on in his command.
That was what really pissed me off about Abu Ghraib; the general kept whining that she had no idea what was going on inside her own friggin' prison! It's called "management by walking around." It's called "get off your fat a$$, get out of your office, get down to where your troops are supposedly doing their jobs, and find out what's going on."
One of the first warning signs of a unit going to hell is when the senior leadership is closeted away in their offices--the troops start thinking that their leaders don't care, and pretty soon the troops don't care, and then they start doing things they're not supposed to be doing.
When I was in the Army, my first sergeant was almost never in his office unless the CO was holding him there at gunpoint to get some paperwork done. Otherwise, he was out there, talking to soldiers about what they were doing, correcting or commending them as appropriate, giving a good example of leadership to junior NCOs, and showing us that he cared very much about what went on with HIS soldiers, in HIS company, and in HIS Army. And the same with the company commander, the platoon leaders, and the platoon sergeants. The company CO once said that he didn't want to see a platoon leader sitting down during working hours unless they were eating or excreting--he wanted them moving around and through their platoons.
If stuff like this is what's happening--if the leadership isn't keeping track of what's going on--we have a huge problem, and it goes WAY beyond any allegations of "war crimes" or anything else. It will destroy our military if it goes on unchecked.
Bingo! - Without question there is a deliberate attempt to change public opinion based on fact-less reports and confusion on what events are actually even being reported on (being thrown at the average American viewer by this pathetic MSM).
America or bust!!
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