Posted by Curt on 7 June, 2006 at 8:17 pm. 1 comment.

The Commandant of the Marine Corps made a statement today about Haditha and answered some questions at a news briefing:

GEN. HAGEE:  Good afternoon, and thank you all for coming this afternoon.  

First, I would like to talk briefly about what it is to be a Marine and what we Marines hold dear.               

You know, we recruit some of the best young people in America. We only promise them one thing.  If they are good enough, morally, mentally and physically, they could become a Marine.  They too could wear the eagle, globe and anchor.  They too could join the most elite military organization the world has ever seen.               

We severely challenge them in boot camp and in officer candidate school.  Those who succeed in becoming Marines know we have high standards on the battlefield, off the battlefield, on liberty, on leave, wearing the uniform, discipline.  We really want to be the best at whatever we do.             

Our recruits are taught — and it is constantly reinforced — that an important part of being a Marine is accomplishing the mission while adhering to our core values of honor, courage and commitment.             

Our high standards, mission focus and selfless service are what enabled Marines to attack successfully in the Belleau Wood in June of 1918, after being told that the war was lost and their attack was futile.             

These same military virtues resulted in the successful assault on Iwo Jima in February of 1945.               

They're also what enabled the 1st Marine Division to conduct a successful withdrawal from the Chosin Reservoir when surrounded by 10 Chinese divisions during the Korean War.

And since 9/11, they have also enabled an estimated 180,000 Marines to perform so superbly in the very dangerous, complex and stressful environments of Iraq and Afghanistan.             

While Marines are proud of our high standards, they also know that if they violate these tenets, they will be held accountable. Without accountability, standards would be nothing more than goals. Where compliance with our standards is in question, we use well-established processes to determine as accurately and expeditiously as possible what happened and why.  But make no mistake; a Marine who has been found to have violated our standards will be held accountable. It is an important part of who we are, and all Marines expect it. High standards and accountability define Marines.             

As Commandant, I am gravely concerned about the serious allegations concerning actions of some Marines at Haditha and Hamdania.  I can assure you that the Marine Corps takes them seriously.  As Commandant, I am the one accountable for organization, training and equipping of Marines.  I am responsible, and I take these responsibilities quite seriously.  We are committed to fully supporting the investigations of both incidents.  We want to ensure the investigations are complete with respect to what actually happened on the ground and actions taken or not taken by the chain of command.               

I have told the commanders who are responsible for the investigations that the Marine Corps will provide any resources necessary to help.  While we want to complete these processes as expeditiously as possible, we are committed to ensuring they are thorough, that no avenue of investigation is left undone, and that due process and the rights of the affected individuals are protected.  If it turns out that an individual violated rules or regulations, he will be held accountable, regardless of grade or position.             

I need to stress that the investigations are ongoing within the operational chain of command.  Once finished, they will go up the operational chain to the final adjudicating authority, in this case the commander of Marine Forces Central Command.  Until they are complete, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on any aspect of the investigations.  I refer all these questions to the operational chain of command for comment at the appropriate time.  We intend to keep you informed to the fullest extent possible without interfering with the legal process.

[…]While I remain concerned about the current allegations, I am confident the American people recognize that Marines are men and women of the highest caliber.  I ask you to remember that day in and day out, in combat and in various roles throughout the world today and throughout our history, Marines have acquitted themselves with honor, dedication and dignity in some of the most difficult and dangerous environments imaginable.  We don't intend to change.             

Good words that bear repeating.

You can go to the link to get the question and answer part which was all pretty routine stuff.  Reporters trying to get information on the investigation and the General reminding them over and over that the investigation is not completed yet so he cant comment.

But one question was just ridiculous:

GEN. HAGEE: I can — I visit Iraq about once every two months, and I can only report on what I have seen in my interaction with the Marines and with the soldiers over there. And I can tell you that their morale is really quite high. The operational tempo is also high. They are very proud in what they're doing. They know they're well-equipped, they know they are well-trained, and they know that they are making a difference.

Q And they know right from wrong, General?

GEN. HAGEE: They absolutely know right from wrong. 

Are you kidding me?  Does this reporter think the Marines are 10 year olds?  Geez.

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