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At least that’s what it’s being called in the press

If you were to ask me, it was bound to happen. Believe me, as a former Marine myself, I’m not making excuses for the actions of those that take innocent lives, especially unarmed civilians. All I know is that for all of the so-called good that’s being done by men and women thousands of miles from home, away from their friends, family and loved ones, all it takes is something like this to wipe all of that out. I don’t know, I wasn’t there and I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to live under that kind of pressure for so long without having a clear face of just who your enemy is and when they might attack. The constant vigil that those soldiers on the front lines have to endure would be enough to make even the most well trained, battle hardened veteran expose a crack in their armor.

My question is this…

Where were the officers and senior NCO’s when all of this was going down. Did they just stand by and let those that were in their charge blow off some steam? Did they think that this would be an isolated incident that would be merely glossed over by the press and those that were embedded with their unit? Did they think that as time went on; word of mouth wouldn’t spread?

To me, it paints perfect picture of a war that had no strategy to begin with and seems destined to also not have one to end with. Just another ugly incident in an ugly war. If it’s true what they’re saying and this was indeed an outright slaughter then I have little sympathy for those that fired the bullets. May God be their judge because only he or she knows what was going through their minds when it all went down. On the other hand, it all starts at the top my friends.

“They ranged from little babies to adult males and females. I'll never be able to get that out of my head. I can still smell the blood. This left something in my head and heart.

Those are the words of one Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones after the so-called Haditha Massacre in which twenty four Iraqi citizens were gunned down in what appears to be an act of retaliation by members of Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division based out of Camp Pendleton. It seems one of their brethren had been killed earlier in the day on November 19, 2005 by a roadside bomb.

The Marines initially claimed that the civilians were caught in the crossfire between themselves and a band of insurgents but after an initial investigation these claims seem to be dubious at best and at present a further investigation is being conducted to determine just how high the alleged cover up goes up the chain of command. Estimates are that the shootings took place over a period of three to five hours and the killing were done in cold blood.

All in all, of the twenty four civilians that were found dead, some of them ranged in age from 14, 10, 5, 4, 3 and 1 years old. There was also a 76 year old man who reportedly was an amputee and confined to a wheelchair that was discovered shot to death while still holding on to copy of the Koran.

I know war is an ugly business but if the reports turn out to be true and it was indeed a massacre then we should all be ashamed by what went on.

That’s if we aren’t ashamed already.

In closing, I’m proud to say that I once was a Marine. I’m proud of serving my country even during peacetime. I’m proud of most of the men and women who packed up their lives and were dropped thousands of miles away from home to do a job that most them didn’t want to do in the first place. The last thing a soldier wants to do is fight and if the actions of a few turn out to taint the actions of the many then there’s something wrong with the picture. That's especially true for the men and women who have either died or left a piece of themselves over there already.

Yes, something is very, very wrong…