Posted by Curt on 26 June, 2006 at 9:45 am. 2 comments already!

A big hat tip to Carol who alerted me to this article. It now appears there was video of the Haditha area immediately after the house clearing that buttresses Sgt. Wuterich’s account of the day. The article does a good job of depicting the area they were working in also:

New evidence continues to emerge that U.S. Marines did not wantonly kill Iraqi civilians in Haditha last November – and the soldiers’ accounts of what happened are backed up by videotape shot by an ultralight vehicle, NewsMax has learned.

According to media reports, last Nov. 19 members of a Marine Corps company killed some 24 innocent civilian Iraqis in Haditha, a town140 miles northwest of Baghdad and near the Syrian border.

In the ensuing media firestorm that broke out after the story was revealed, many news reports here and abroad compared the Haditha deaths to the infamous My Lai massacre during the Vietnam War.

Michael Sallah, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his May Lai reporting, has said: “You would have difficulties finding a single newspaper in Germany or elsewhere in Europe which does not deal with My Lai.”

But the facts and accounts from Marines and others on the ground tell another story.

What is not in dispute is that the Marine’s engagement in Haditha began when an IED (improvised explosive device) detonated, killing a Marine from Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division.

In the aftermath of the action two investigations were launched, one by Army Maj. Gen. Eldon Bargewell, who was charged with investigating how the incident was reported through the chain of command. A second investigation, headed by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), is looking into any possible criminal aspects of the incident.

[…]Intelligence sources tell NewsMax the facts of the Haditha incident paint an entirely different picture from the one Murtha and others are propagating.

Military sources familiar with the incident have told NewsMax:

  • Within minutes of the early morning IED explosion, a firefight erupted between insurgents and Marines. Civilians were caught in the middle of a firefight. Also, although civilians did die, their deaths were the result of door-to-door combat as the Marines sought to clear houses and stop the insurgent gunfire.
  • Ample evidence proves a firefight took place. For example, every second of the ensuing firefight was monitored by numerous people at company, battalion and regimental HQs via radio communications.
  • Video evidence supports the Marines’ claims. Within a very few minutes, battalion, regimental and division headquarters were able to watch the action thanks to an overhead ultralight aircraft that remained aloft all day. Photos of some of the actions were downloaded and in the hands of Marines and the NCIS.
  • Some of the insurgents involved in planning the attack and firing at Marines during a daylong engagement have been apprehended and are in custody.

Much of the story claiming what really happened in the aftermath of the IED explosion was reported by the Washington Post on June 11. NewsMax can now reveal the rest of the story of what really happened at Haditha.

In order to fully understand what happened last Nov. 19, it is important to know what kind of city Haditha is.

“We require more manpower to cover this area the way we need to,” one military official told the Los Angeles Times. One Knight Ridder reporter called Haditha, a town of about 100,000 people, “an insurgent bastion,” reporting that “insurgents blend in with the residents, setting up cells in their homes next to those belonging to everyday citizens, some of them supportive.”

Knight Ridder said that around the time of an August attack when a total of 20 U.S. Marines were killed in two days, “several storefronts were lined with posters and pictures supporting al-Qaida. … “There is no functioning police station and the government offices are largely vacant. The last man to call himself mayor relinquished the title earlier this year after scores of death threats from insurgents.”

According to an August 2005 story in Britain’s Guardian newspaper, Haditha, under the nose of an American base, “is a miniature Taliban-like state. Insurgents decide who lives and dies, which salaries get paid, what people wear, what they watch and listen to.”

When the Marines first went into the city they were aware of the tight control insurgents exercised over Haditha. They discovered that the insurgents had freshly paved-over dirt roads leading into town under the auspices of civic works projects.

They were, according to a NewsMax source, “beautiful asphalt surfaced roads” adorned that even included painted lines. The only problem, the source recalled, was that insurgents had laid more than 100 mega-IEDs under that asphalt. And, in order to avoid having to change batteries in the triggering devices, they wired them into the city power lines lining the road.

It is important to remember that the so-called details of the alleged massacre came from Iraqis and residents of Haditha, a city run by insurgents who have those residents not allied with them under their bloody thumbs.

[…]As already stated, the Haditha massacre story reported by Time magazine was based entirely on accounts from Iraqis with an axe to grind. The facts of what happened tell a different story. The real story, it will eventually be revealed, is backed up by evidence Time didn’t know existed. It gives the lie to the idea that there was anything like a massacre in Haditha on Nov. 19. Here, for the first time is the truth about what happened.

NewsMax can verify Wuterich’s account. The site of the IED explosion was in an area well-known as an insurgent stronghold where as many as 50 IEDs were found previously, and from where, on two previous occasions, insurgents launched small-arms fire, rocket-propelled grenades and mortar attacks on K Company.

Within five minutes of the blast, Marines on the scene reported they were receiving small-arms fire. Within 30 minutes of the blast, and while the house-clearing was still underway, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team en route to the site, came under small-arms fire in a known insurgent tactic to ambush first responders.

At the same time, just 30 minutes after the house clearing, an intelligence unit arrived to question the Marines involved in the house clearing operation. NewsMax sources say the behavior of the Marines involved gave them no reason to believe anything but what they had been told.

At about the same time a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) arrived over the blast area and from that moment on, for the entire day , the UAV transmitted views of the engagement to the company command site, battalion headquarters, the regimental HQ, and the division HQ. What the UAV captured was a view of Marines in their perimeter, as they went about doing house-clearing. It was then vectored to the surrounding area to catch any fleeing insurgents. It showed four insurgents fleeing the neighborhood, loading weapons into their car, and linking up with their partners (the ones that had conducted the ambush on the EOD team).

Knowing what we now know about Wuterich’s account, these fleeing insurgents were most likely the same ones that left through the back door of the house he was clearing.

There are photos of this, and they show the insurgents getting back in their car after loading the weapons The UAV then followed them south to their safe house. From that point forward, until about 6 p.m., the safe house was hit by bombs, and an assault by a K Company squad. The UAV followed the insurgents who had been inside through town.

The final tally for these engagements was two insurgents killed by direct fire, one killed by GBU bombs and one detained. The entire action was followed by the UAV overhead.

Keep in mind, the entire action was followed by keeping the UAV overhead all day.

The Haditha “massacre” being referred to is the 30 minutes to one hour that took place first thing in the morning. The rest of the day’s activities, in fact, confirmed the nature of the morning’s attack.

It is clear that the entire incident was planned and carried out by insurgents who detonated the IED, and then, in a familiar tactic, attacked the Marines responding to the blast – deliberately putting civilians at risk.

This is what happened in Haditha that day. It was a daylong engagement with armed insurgents that involved civilian casualties who died as a result of being caught in the middle of a firefight. It had been reported as a blast followed by a TIC – Marine Corps terminology for “Troops in Contact.” In other words, gunfire directed at the Marines.

As the battalion went about compiling information on the insurgent’s identities and determining who had been involved in the attack, its actions in the ensuing weeks resulted in the detention of several insurgents who masterminded the attack, and who remain incarcerated in Abu Ghraib prison today.

As each day goes by the more it appears that the rush to judgement by our MSM, Murtha, and the Democrats may come back to haunt them. They crucified these soldiers before all the evidence was in and we should all make them pay for it.

It’s a sad state of affairs when our Marines need to keep a UAV overhead 24/7 just to prove that they are doing their jobs the way they were trained. Just sad.

UPDATE

W. Thomas Smith writes in today’s Townhall article: (h/t Small Town Veteran)

So I receive a phone call from a reporter at ABC News. They are working on a story about Haditha, and the reporter’s comments to me go something along the lines of; “I am particularly interested in your recent pieces on Haditha in which you say that in order to understand what happened, we must first understand the men involved, the dynamics of the system in which they operate, and the realities of ground combat.”

The reporter’s referencing of my own comments are somewhat paraphrased, but his following questions are clearly etched in my mind verbatim:

“Don’t you think the killings at Haditha [November 19, 2005] are the result of a wrong war and a failed policy?” he asks. “Much like the tragedy of My Lai [the killings of unarmed civilians by U.S. soldiers in the village of My Lai, Vietnam in 1968] was the result of a wrong war and a failed policy?”

I was taken aback for about as long as it takes to silently mouth the words, “This is going to be too easy.” After all, it’s one thing to read and listen to politicized versions of news stories spun by the various national news organizations. But to actually experience the machine as it begins to process what they plan to feed the masses is quite another. It wasn’t a first for me, nor will it be the last I’m sure. But I was temporarily surprised by the reporter’s lack of perspective, his obvious agenda, and his attempt to put words in my mouth. And by the way, this was no recent J-school grad. This guy was seasoned.

My response was quick.

“Of course not,” I said. “What happened at Haditha has absolutely nothing to do with what is or is not a good or bad war, or a failed or successful policy. In fact, no war is good. We’ve certainly had tremendous strategic success in Iraq. And Haditha has nothing whatsoever to do with politics.”

I went on to explain that Haditha had everything to do with the war in Iraq being a counterinsurgency. And every student of military science understands the ugly nature of insurgencies; where insurgents are un-uniformed, unconventional fighters who move freely throughout the community during the day, and become bushwhackers at night. They routinely use women and children as human shields, and often coerce the latter into the service of operating guerrillas.

[…]People – like the reporter who phoned me, Mr. Murtha, and others – will believe what they want to believe (with “want” being the optimum word here) then they will go to great lengths to attempt to justify those beliefs, even when the verdict is still out and some evidence begins to suggest otherwise. And when politics are at stake, people will sell their very souls to justify what they want to be true.

It becomes dangerous when those people have the power to influence the thinking of millions.

This my friends is the face of our MSM. The question posed to Smith shows us all we need to know about the thinking of the liberal reporters, their biased nature and their baised reporting.

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